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A week ago we bought an adorable fur baby named Bella.  She was so sweet, and we all adored her, but 20 hours later she was gone forever.  Before I go on much further let me say I wasn’t going to blog this, I simply wanted to move on and let our family heal, but a few reasons have changed my mind.  First of all, I want to spread the word and help these tragic events not happen to another family, and second I find writing very therapeutic and in cases like this healing.  I’m trying to move on, but it’s hard not to be sad.   Blogging and writing out my feelings and thoughts has helped me tremendously.

The only photos I have are from my phone, some are a little blurry.

For those who do not know me personally, let’s start with a little back story.  I have a dog allergy, and by all means it has not meant an easy life for me.  In the past I’ve seen cute dogs, I’ve wanted to play with them and pet them, but fear has always stopped me.  Fear of my allergies and feeling miserable.  Growing up we did have an outside dog and every time I played with him I would have reactions.  Not just our dog but others as well.  Depending on the dog and the environment I get a range of symptoms from mild to severe.

So this misery has given me a little bit of a fear of dogs over the years because who wants to feel miserable?  However my hair stylist has 2 maltipoos and she brings them to the salon.  Cautiously over the year I’ve learned to really enjoy them.  They’re so sweet, calm, and freakin adorable!!!  I hold them and they go to sleep in my lap, and best of all I didn’t get a reaction from them…. then again they never licked or scratched me, but still no reaction.  My husband has met me a few times at the salon to witness these beautiful well behaved dogs, and he played with them as well.  So he understands why I’m drawn to this breed.

My girls have always begged for an indoor pet.  Something got me thinking about dogs last Thursday and I thought you know what?  Let’s just try and go for it.  I asked Brian if it was ok, he said sure so I got to looking for maltipoos for sale, because I have the best track record so far with this breed.  So I got on some Dallas/Fort Worth breeder websites and saw maltipoos going for $2500-$3,000.  No, I am not joking.  $3,000 for a dog???  It was the cost of a family vacation, not to mention countless dinners, purses, and shoes.  I decide to skip animal shelters thinking the odds of finding a maltipoo would be low.  So I naturally turn to Craigslist and I see what I think is the perfect ad.

The post is deleted now but it read something like this:  9 week old Maltipoo for sale, it was my grandmothers and she’s unable to keep her.  She is nearly potty trained, loves to play fetch, and has beautiful white silky fur.  Her parents were 4 pounds each, so she will be a small dog.  Her name is Bella and she’s very sweet.  Please send us an email describing yourself.

We jumped on this, they instantly responded, we asked a few more questions and we agreed to meet later that evening.  I’ve never seen my girls so excited.  Two hours later we met the seller in the Starbucks parking lot, who said her Grandmother had died and she couldn’t herself take care of her.  Bella looked so tiny and sweet when were first saw her, we were all ecstatic.  My girls were so happy I decided if I had an allergic reaction I would find a way to adapt or deal with it.  I was committed and in this for the long haul.  She was our dog and no matter what we would make this work.

There was no photo of Bella in the ad, when I asked for one I was sent this, looking back it is strange there wasn’t a photo on the ad, and when I asked for one I was sent a screen shot… this may not even be Bella.  I just don’t know, it kind of doesn’t look like her.

 

That night she didn’t do much.  She seemed extremely tired, and I mean extremely tired, almost depressed acting.  We decided it was because she was scared of her new environment and because it was so late, with the 40 minute drive we got home after 10 pm.  She was shaking a little so we made her a comfy bed in a little basket with towels and she slept in my daughter’s room.  When Haley woke up the next morning Bella had vomited on the floor.  Again, we chalked it up to nerves.  We brought her into the kitchen and gave her a designated spot.

We cuddled her, and tried to play with her.  The girls went off to school and Brian and I tried to bond and play with her.  She wouldn’t move much but again we just thought it was the breed and her new home.  Remember my hairstylist’s dogs would always go to sleep in my lap so it’s really all I know in terms of a maltipoo.   We would pick her up, place her on the floor and she wouldn’t really move.  She would take a few slippery steps and then stop.  “What’s wrong with her?” I asked Brian.  “She’s just scared, she’ll get used to us” he replied.  “She’s so wobbly, I think it’s our wood floor, it’s so slippery she can’t walk” I said.

I took her to the pet store to buy a few things, keeping her near me at all times.  I thought this would be a great bonding experience for us and I could size her to the best bed and accessories.  In the pet store she threw up and had diarrhea.  Talk about a miserable experience for a 1 day dog owner.  I thought she had diarrhea because I’d scared her taking her to the pet store.  I decided not to take her anywhere else until she had adapted into her new environment.  I went home, bathed her, brushed her fur, dressed her, and placed her in her bed and she went to sleep.

She did temporarily perk up, and then it all took a turn for the worse.  This photo above was one of the few times she did move on her own. Throughout the day she only slept.  She would only wake up if I picked her up.  Again I chalked this up to being a maltipoo who loves to sleep and fear of her new environment.  Each hour of the day got worse, she loved her pink bed so much, but she would only get out of it to throw up or have diarrhea.  It was becoming more constant.  She would on a rare occasion take a few sips of water but not food.  I would try to play with her and pick her up and she would just let out a faint moaning sound.  I have no experience with small dogs but pretty quickly I realized something might be wrong.

I first consulted with an online vet for a fee.  They said yes it was possible it was nerves but it could be something more serious and that little dogs can quickly dehydrate and die.  I had my Mom ask my aunt who was a dog expert and she said she’d never had a new dog act like this.  Finally after calling several local vets and finding them booked solid until the next day I found a 24 hour animal hospital that could squeeze us in late afternoon.  Above, you see Bella with little socks on, her socks had grip pads, remember I thought she was having trouble walking on our slippery floor and this might help.

When Ashley came home from school we left for the vet.  I was careful not to stress Bella out more so we kept her in her little pink bed in the car and at the vet.  In the vet’s office people in the waiting room went nuts over her pink cuteness and i can’t blame them, she was an adorable puppy.  My husband happened to be working nearby and met us at the vet’s office.

Once she was examined things took a bad turn.  First off, upon examination there was a lot of doubt if Bella was truly 9 weeks old, the vet thought she was much younger.  She was also severely dehydrated.  A couple scenarios were given on what could be the cause.  We were told worst of all it could be Parvo but to stay positive, it could be a few other things and to wait on the lab results.  A stool sample was taken and we were told that it takes 10 minutes for a parvo test to show positive.  Well, her’s showed positive almost instantly.  During the 20 minutes we waited for the test results Bella threw up again and had diaharea several more times.  She was whimpering from the pain.

The vet said without a doubt she had it when we purchased her, she’d probably had it a week.  We had a few options for Bella.  We could admit her into the animal hospital which would run us at least $3,000, we could bring her home to die within a day or two, or we could put her down.  This is a horrible situation to be put in.  The vet said even with hospitalization it was a long shot.  Another dog might have a better chance of survival, but because of Bella’s tiny size and young age her odds of surviving were extremely low.  We could bring her home to die and pet her but honestly with her moaning it seemed wrong to prolong her suffering.   With each minute she seemed to get worse, so our new puppy we’d had less than 24 hours we paid to have put down.  It was horrible.  I can’t imagine what people must go through putting down a pet they’ve had for years, I’m so sorry what that must be like!  You have my full sympathy!  As we signed the papers Ashley was crying and shaking so hard we decided to leave and not watch her go to sleep.  I told them to please leave her in her pink bed because she loved it so much, the pink bed that would need to be destroyed because it was contaminated with parvo.

Below is Bellas last photo at the vet.  Looking though all her photos you really can see how sick and miserable she felt.  Poor thing, she was just too sweet to keep suffering.

To make matters even more painful the vet said we shouldn’t try again until at least 6 months passed because although the parvo virus doesn’t affect humans it’s still incredibly strong and can live in our house.  So any new puppy could catch Bellas parvo and die.  We can not watch this again.  I researched parvo and it can live in the ground for year!  Yes, Bella did go outside, go potty, and take few steps before she got really bad.

I’ve cried a lot over this and so have my girls.  Not only am I sad, I am angry over this situation.  It’s amazing how quickly you can bond with something.  I’m normally a very positive person, but I have to admit I’m struggling hard to see the silver lining in this situation.  I unsuccessfully tried to reach the seller to inform her what happened.  I’ve replayed these events over an over in my mind, each time picking up more detail.

The fact is I can’t see at all how someone sold us Bella not knowing she was sick.  This was cruel.  The vet said she had been sick for a while, it would be impossible not to see her symptoms.  I think the entire story about the grandmother dying was a scam.  When we meet the sellers my girls were so bubbly and excited and I can’t see how someone with a soul could do this to another person, especially kids.  We paid $450 for Bella, which seemed like a reasonable rehoming fee considering we saw breeds up to $3,000.  I felt like we had done a good deed taking Bella from a lady who could not longer take care of her, I thought we prevented her from ending up at a shelter.  I spent $150 on pet supplies and the vet bill was $325.  So we were over $900 for a puppy who is already gone from our lives, yet the hole in our heart feels much bigger than that.

With my eyes watering  I’m trying to comprehend what God is trying to teach me and I have to say it’s very hard.  I just wanted to be a good Mommy and makes my kids happy.  Now they’re more upset than ever.  I don’t know what I’m supposed to learn from this situation other than to help spread the word so this doesn’t happen to other people.  I guess I want to raise awareness to please be aware and be careful when purchasing a puppy.  A puppy is not fully vaccinated against parvo until 4 1/2 months, it’s a series of shots, so this is something to consider as well as finding a very honest breeder who has references.

We’ve had countless great buy and sell experiences on Craigslist.  I know there are many honest and reputable breeders on there.  For several years we raised and bred bunnies, and we always sold our baby bunnies on Craigslist, we were honest caring people who sold healthy pets.  I don’t believe it’s full of animal abusers and scammers but I guess we did encounter one.  We’ve given up on getting the seller to respond to us, probably everything we were told was a lie.  In fact we believe her shot record may have been faked as well.  All I can say is karma will come back to these people and I hope they learn from their mistakes and become better people.

I have no idea if Bella was a pure maltipoo, but I do believe it’s a great dog and the perfect breed for us.  Our time with Bella was so special.  The morning after she had died I walked into the kitchen and when I saw her corner was empty I was so sad.  Goodbye Bella it was such a joy to know you.  We wanted you in our family so bad.  I hope one day we get another dog who’s as sweet as you.