Last week we introduced you you to our “Music Legends” litter, five little puppies who bravely fought and survived Parvo: Freddie Mercury, Madonna, Celine Dion, Cher and Tina Turner. These brave little souls spent a week of ups and downs as we treated them together, hoping for the best possible outcome. While our rescue celebrates their lives, we are also mourning the loss of their five litter mates who took the same journey and unfortunately did not survive: Billie Holiday, Michael Jackson, Stevie Nicks, Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston.

The litter of 10 puppies arrived on a Monday night. Our intake team and a group of volunteers were on hand to transport them, give them baths, vetting, microchips and manage all their paperwork before the fosters arrived to take them home. It was a hectic evening that was full of puppy cuddles and joy for the new lives that were just beginning in rescue.

Things quickly turned urgent as one by on the puppies started breaking with the devastating signs of Parvo. We worked diligently with our vet partner to form a game play for how to treat 10 puppies for a virus that has less than a 30% survival rate. Less than 48 hours after intake, we had a puppy ICU set up at our foster managers’ home, moved nine of the puppies in and the 24/7 monitoring, medication and care began (one puppy miraculously was showing no signs of decline, so he stayed with his foster under close supervision).

With ten foster homes, our entire intake and management teams, and dozens of volunteers already involved, this was hitting our entire rescue very hard. A small group of volunteers gathered at the PICU to physically care for the puppies, while others supported the efforts by running errands and supplies, offering back up and communicating updates to our entire rescue, who was on pins and needles. Via posts to our private volunteer Facebook group, this is the timeline of events we all experienced over the next few days.

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WEDNESDAY, NOV. 6 @ 4:05pm
As many know, we had a BIG intake of puppies on Monday. Two litters arrived; three in the “Mountains” litter that are 16 weeks old, and 10 in the “Music Legends” litter that are nine weeks old. After the puppies went home with their respective fosters that night, the youngest ones started showing signs of illness. It was determined last night that the Music Legends litter has Parvo and treatment began immediately. Nine of the 10 Legends puppies have been moved to a makeshift ICU at the supply house where they will get three consecutive days of medication and subcutaneous fluids (Freddie Mercury has so far shown no signs of illness). Parvo is a highly contagious and very serious disease for small puppies so everyone’s best wishes and positive vibes are needed for the next 72 hours. Parvo is expensive to treat, and the outbreak also means that a lot of our foster homes have become infected with the Parvo virus, so this hits us very hard as a rescue. We’ll keep everyone updated with the puppies’ progress and if there are other ways you can help. We’re all in this together and these babies need our hopes, prayers and love right now.

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WEDNESDAY, NOV. 6 @ 8:25pm
Puppy Update: I’m shedding tears as I share this; the smallest of the puppies, Stevie Nicks, is failing quickly. Lorelei and Lori are en route to Como Park Animal Hospital to put her to sleep so she doesn’t suffer any longer. The rest of the puppies have had a second dose of fluids for the night and are resting quietly; they seem to be holding fairly steady right now. Continue sending healing thoughts and prayers for the Save-a-Bull family tonight, especially Stevie who was with us for such a short time.

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THURSDAY, NOV. 7 @ 11:57am
Puppy Update: Unfortunately the news is not good. We lost Whitney and Michael this morning. Billie is in critical condition, and Madonna and Aretha are also critical but stable. Celine, Tina and Cher are stable right now, and even though Freddie Mercury has now also been diagnosed as Parvo positive, he’s in his foster home and currently doing great. We wish we had better news, but keep the good vibes and prayers coming. We can only hope that things will start to get better.
RIP to these sweet babies ❤️

 

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THURSDAY, NOV. 7 @ 4:05pm
Update: I’m sorry, family…Billie Holiday has passed away and Tina Turner is taking a turn for the worse. Parvo is vicious and impossible to keep up with 😢 Our hearts are with Billie as she is no longer suffering. While it’s been a horrible 24 hours, we DO need to keep the faith. Cher and Celine Dion are doing really well in puppy ICU, and Freddie Mercury continues to be himself at his foster home. This is a great sign and we have to hold out hope that things will continue in this direction.

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FRIDAY, NOV. 8 @ 7:05am
We said goodbye to Aretha last night. She was surrounded by love when she left, rest easy, baby.

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FRIDAY, NOV. 8 @ 4:17pm
Puppy Update: It’s been a relatively good day. Celine Dion went home with her foster today, and Tina is “turning” the corner and showing a little improvement. Madonna is still having ups and downs and is deemed critical right now. Keep sending her your love, we SO need her to pull through this!

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FRIDAY, NOV 8 @ 7:25pm
Puppy Update: I finally have a nothing-but-good-news post to share! Per the puppy ICU this evening “Madonna just chased the cat, ate 2 bites of a hotdog, and drank some water!” Both Tina and Madonna appear to be pulling out of the worst of it and are feeling sassy enough to harass the very tolerant feline. We’ll of course continue updates until we’re 100% out of the woods, but we’re going into the weekend feeling pretty confident that the worst is over. XOXO

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The remaining puppies spent the weekend in the PICU just to make sure we were truly out of the woods. With a little more TLC they all finally went back to their foster homes by the following Wednesday – it had been exactly one week since this terrible cycle began.

We lost 5 puppies in 26 hours and the entire rescue felt the impact. It was hard to share and read the updates, and even harder to be there as each little life passed. This weekend, the fosters and volunteers closest to the puppies held a small memorial for the ones we lost. Their ashes were given to each foster who officially “adopted” each puppy before they passed.

We couldn’t be more grateful to the vets at Westgate Pet Clinic for supporting us through this entire ordeal. The doctors were literally on standby and took calls from our own vetting team 24/7. While losing five puppies is an unthinkable tragedy, we know that with their help, and the diligence of our own team of volunteers, the outcome could have been so much worse.

We celebrate the lives of five puppies that will go on to have wonderful lives with amazing families, and we mourn the loss of those that never got the chance to start.

In memory of Stevie, Whitney, Michael, Billie and Aretha. May you rest in peace knowing you were loved so much in such a short amount to time.