Stories of life on our farm in Northwest Georgia where every day is an adventure in this beautiful spot that God has entrusted to our stewardship.

Friday, May 29, 2015

When God Sends a Gift

Driving home from Chattanooga on a couple weeks ago, I suddenly stopped the car in the middle of the road.  There near the edge of the road, heading into a patch of dense woods, was a tiny puppy--too tiny to be wandering alone.  I called the puppy and it came right up to me.  I picked it up and drove to the nearest house to see if it was theirs.  It wasn't, and all we could assume was that someone had dumped one more defenseless puppy out in the country, although we couldn't figure out why on earth someone would dump such an adorable, friendly puppy.

I called every vet we know, but they were all closed for the weekend, so I drove home with the puppy curled up in my lap.  Kara pitched in, and we gave the puppy some water, which it lapped thirstily.  We fed it a bit of milk and some congealed meat juice, then gave it a bath.

As we bathed it, several things became obvious:  It was a boy, it was skin and bones, and it was swarming with ticks.  I started removing ticks, but it soon became clear the puppy needed more help than I could give him at home.  Kara offered to drive us to R.I.V.E.R., the emergency animal clinic in Chattanooga, so off we went.  On the way, we decided to name the puppy Kona, Hawaiian for "trade wind."  The first dog we had in France was named "Alizée," which is French for trade wind, and it seemed to fit my theme of wind names which began with Zephyr, Misty (Mistral) and Jet.
At the animal hospital a sweet tech named Becca took us to a room.  She began to remove ticks, and we counted as she pulled them off and dropped them into a vial of alcohol.  After a while, Kona got some prescription dog food and Becca drew blood.  While she went to run the tests, I kept removing ticks.

By the time the vet came to see us, we had some numbers:  At approximately six weeks old, Kona weighed 2.5 lbs. instead of the 5 lbs. he should have weighed.  Even after eating, his glucose was only 62 instead of over 100, which it should have been.  The worst news was his PCV or percentage of red blood cells.  Instead of a normal of 35, Kona's was only 11.  That explained his white gums and tongue, as well as his weakness and lethargy.  Basically, his life blood was being drained by starvation and the ticks.  We were up to 180 by the time I left, and before Becca was done for the night, she had removed over 200 ticks from Kona's tiny body.  She told Kara and me that her previous record in school was a full-grown pit bull that had 100 ticks on it.  I'm not sure that's the kind of record a puppy wants to break at such a young age!

In consultation with the vet, we decided to leave Kona overnight for treatment:  IV fluids, a blood transfusion, prophylactic antibiotics for tick-borne diseases, treatment for intestinal parasites, and a re-feeding regimen.  The vet called us before she left for the night and told us that the blood transfusion raised Kona's PCV to 20, and that he stood and wagged his tail.  When I heard that news, I was pretty sure he would make it.

Before we headed home, Kara called and gave Herb the heads-up that I had found a stray puppy, was getting it treated at the animal hospital, and planned to keep it.  Herb thought she was joking!  He told me later he didn't mind me helping the puppy, but he sure didn't want another dog!  I told him that the puppy had snuggled right into my heart, but that he was going to need a lot of care to recover, and meanwhile we could keep an open mind . . .

Sunday we brought Kona home, quite an improvement over the bedraggled creature I had picked up the day before.  Kona met Hero . . .
. . . and Misty.  He wasn't afraid, just respectfully humble the way a teeny puppy should be.

The grandkids were at the house, and they couldn't wait to meet the new puppy.  Hugs and cuddles were shared all around, and Kona generously handed out kisses and tail wags.  The eldest asked, "Are you going to keep the puppy?"  (Smart little girl!)

Kara told her to ask Didi.  (Smart young woman!)

Take a look at the way our youngest granddaughter clutched Kona in her arms, and tell me what you think Herb said . . .

That was an easy guess, wasn't it?!

Yes, Kona has a home!  I told Herb that his appearance at the exact moment I drove by was an "act of God," and I meant it.  It's incredible to me that such a sweet puppy could have been discarded, but God did not intend this special part of His creation to be wasted, so He literally dropped Kona into my lap!

I remember telling one of my daughters many years ago, "When God sends you a gift, even if you didn't ask for it and even if the timing isn't what you might have chosen, you don't say, 'No thanks!'  You take it in both your hands and say, 'Thank you!'"

So . . . thank You, Lord!


With company over Memorial Day weekend and the arrival of Siobhan's calf, I didn't get Kona's story posted. However, he quickly wagged his way into all of our hearts.

Just a few days after his arrival, he was sleeping in my lap when Herb walked by. Kona woke up, jumped up wagging his tail, and whined for Herb. I told Herb Kona wanted some loving, so he came over and petted him. Kona kept whining until Herb picked him up. Then Kona settled into Herb's arms and gave tiny little moans of delight, while Herb stood there grinning in delight, too.

Yesterday I spent about five hours treating Siobhan (that will be another post) for mastitis.  When I came in at about 8 pm, I found out that Kona had been acting like he was trying to throw up.  He began doing it more frequently, wheezing at the same time, and about 10 pm Kara drove us to RIVER again.  There we learned some very sad news.  Kona has food bloat because his food has not moved through his stomach and intestines properly, although I did ask our vet about his distended tummy.  He also has aspiration pneumonia with fever, which is causing the wheezing.  And finally, he seems to have megaesophagus, probably the congenital variety, which often appears at weaning, leading to emaciation (and perhaps making him prey to so many ticks) and aspiration pneumonia.  This would explain--although never, ever excuse--why someone might have dumped such a precious puppy.

We had to leave Kona at RIVER again, and it looks like he'll be there for a while longer.  He's still bloated, though somewhat better.  (My concern is whether the lack of esophageal peristalsis carries into his intestines and what that would mean for his prognosis.)  His fever is a little better, but his breathing is still difficult.  He's in an oxygen box, receiving antibiotics and nebulizer treatments.

When Kara and I went to tell him goodbye last night, I picked him up out of the oxygen box, and he wagged his little tail like crazy and licked all over my face.  Kara got the same treatment.  When we put him back, he was so weak and tired he laid down at the edge and peered out at us.  I said, "Look Kara, Kona's looking at us!" and he wagged his little tail again.

We're asking God for another gift, that He would heal Kona so he can come home again and have a chance at a happy life.  This little puppy is a ball of love, which he lavishes on all comers, and we love him right back.  Right now there's a huge Kona-sized hole in our home.


  1. Oh, what a precious little guy. I will pray too that God heals him so you can bring him home and he can have a long happy life on your farm. What a blessing that you saw him and stopped for him.

    1. Thank you so much, Lanita! I'm praying that he was a long-term gift, not a short-term one. He's such a loving little guy, he has so much to give.

  2. Oh dear, I pray this little fellow of yours will be healed. What a precious little sheppie looking puppy!

    1. Thanks so much, Petey! Every time I read your updates on Heath, I think how much alike they look. Kona and I both appreciate your prayers!

  3. Such sad news about Kona! I will be praying . . .

    1. Thank you so much, Lesa! That's such an encouragement!

  4. I will be praying for Kona too, Susan. My dear friend here in Cape has a sick kitty that she is asking prayer for so I will certainly add Kona. God is so good to us.

    1. Thank you, Gayle, it means alot to me because I know you and your mom are prayer warriors! I'll remember the kitty, too.


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