LaGRANGE, Ohio - Carrie Graham has a home in LaGrange that also serves as a last-ditch animal shelter for animals that would otherwise have been euthanized.
Admittedly tending to over 35 dogs at the time, finding a litter of seven special needs Chihuahuas given to them turned out to save the lives of at least some of little pups, though not without a full-time nursing job. The entire litter was born with a rare disorder called Megaesophagus, an esophageal mobility disorder that keeps them from keeping food in their bodies.
Food tends to come back through their noses and mouths after meals if they are not kept, somehow, vertical.
"It was a really rare situation. Not many full litters are born with this syndrome. In fact, I just got online and found out that only one other litter, a full litter of nine Huskies in Canada were born with it. They lost two. They have not grown out of it," said Graham.
Given the pups by someone who had been forced to carry them around in their car this summer, Graham and her shelter partner have slowly saved five of the original seven puppies. Graham's method of hand-feeding them by syringes, then placing them in Pringle cans for a few minutes following their liquid meals, are held firmly by small PVC pipes in a plastic storage bin. The few minutes they are held vertically allows the food to be digested without them regurgitating.
"We've been doing this for five weeks," laughs Graham. "I haven't slept in five weeks. Yes, it's pretty exhausting but you know it's well worth it because we have five puppies who are still alive."
Graham's shelter, PetResQ, Inc., works with other area shelters and volunteers.
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You can also call Carrie Graham at 440-320-2723