By Krista Siefken, Cowichan News Leader
Wrapped in a blanket inside an apple basket is a heart-wrenching product of neglect.
Puppies, just a couple of days old, who along with their one-year-old mother are fighting to survive in impossible circumstances.
Trent was travelling home on Wednesday night when she got a call about a dog and her litter that weren’t wanted or being taken care of by their owner.
Three of the eight puppies were already dead by the time the SPCA’s constable arrived at the house. The mother, a lab/pitbull cross who should weigh in at between 55 and 60 pounds, is just 33 pounds.
But Trent soon discovered that wasn’t even the worst part.
“Covered doesn’t even begin to described it,” she said, obviously searching for words.
“Fly eggs and live maggots. They had maggots crawling out of the anus and nostrils.”
The mother’s entire back-end was covered with them, and was so dehydrated and emaciated vets are still unsure if she’ll survive.
By the time Trent got home with the pups Wednesday night, another had already died.
One more died at about noon on Thursday, and Trent was bracing to lose another.
When she had picked them up, the pups’ umbilical chords were still attached and bloody, obviously attracting the flies and maggots.
They were also hypothermic after being left outside in the cold night air.
“I had these ice-cold puppies I had to warm up, but I was stuck because if they got too warm too fast, the fly eggs would hatch.”
Armed with just a flea comb, Trent took the puppies into her washroom and started combing. She even measured how many maggots came off the four pups that were still alive Wednesday night -— a quarter cup.
“I’ve never seen this before,” she said. “A lot of cases I see are bad, but this? I was just heartsick.”
The mother dog — who Trent said is “just a baby herself” — was described as a walking bone-rack. This dog was actually part of a litter seized by the SPCA at the same house last year, but the owner wanted to keep her.
Now she’ll be lucky to live through her severe ailments.
“The cost factor is going to be huge for us. If it goes to surgery it’ll be tricky at best,” Trent admitted. “She deserves a chance, but I’ll be surprised if she has the stamina (to survive).”
As for the puppies, Trent is similarly honest.
“Prognosis? I don’t know. But I’m trying my best.”
Trent said an investigation and charges against the dogs’ owner are pending. Anyone who’d like to make a donation toward the adult dog’s vet costs can drop them off at Central Cowichan Animal Hospital where the dog is in intensive care.
For those who’d like a tax receipt for their donation, contributions can be made at the SPCA’s office, 7550 Bell McKinnon Road, or call 250-746-4646.