But one puppy would need all the luck and fight of the Irish to beat what was coming next.
Keep reading to find out how this little puppy put his fighting spirit to the test to survive.
A Lucky Day
Nine tiny puppies had the luck of the Irish on one Saint Patrick’s Day – they were being rescued by East Tennessee Alliance for Animals, located in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
It was easy to see that not all the puppies were equally healthy. The runt of the litter, later named Toto, was much too little.
“I decided to take him on. His siblings were really healthy-looking compared to him. He was definitely needing a little bit more attention than the rest of them,” Erin Burke, volunteer foster and Board Member of East Tennessee Alliance for Animals, recalled.
Toto’s gums were a shocking white. He was half the size of his siblings; Erin could feel his bones.
Toto needed one-on-one love and Erin was just the person. Toto’s siblings would go with another foster, later all being adopted out.
Erin hurried Toto home, hoping luck had not run out for the tiny puppy.
Rushing to the Rescue
Erin quickly learned that a lack of appetite was not an issue for Toto.
“I’ll never forget when I first brought him home. He got into the entire food bowl and was trying to eat! He was really hungry,” Erin shared.
It was at this moment that Erin knew Toto was going to be okay no matter what he faced. He was a spitfire runt, ready to fight.
“Runts are so small, but they’re really strong at the same time,” explained Erin.
Little Toto needed all the strength he could muster for what was coming next.
A Turn for the Worse
Toto’s illness started with a little tiny cough. He was sleepy, only wanting to snuggle in blankets rather than get into his usual mischief.
The vet diagnosed Toto with phenomena and sent him on his way with medicine for the next couple of weeks.
But, Toto wasn’t getting better. When it reached its peak, Erin rushed the puppy to the emergency vet.
While there, Toto was diagnosed with parvovirus, a very serious, sometimes fatal, disease.
After leaving Toto at the vet overnight, Erin received a call she was least expecting.
Toto had been at the emergency vet for one night, fighting the battle for his life against parvo. Erin’s stomach flipped when she heard the vet calling her phone.
“The vet called and told us, ‘he’s really barking. He’s going to be ok,’” said Erin.
Just like Erin always knew, Toto was a fighter. He was coming home!
“After that, he just took off! He grew and did really well,” recalled Erin.
Toto didn’t let his previous challenges slow him down.
“He would bounce up and down like a little jackrabbit,” Erin laughed. “He was all four legs off the ground; up and down, up and down!”
Toto loved to sleep in bed with Erin, and even more, he loved all of the friends he was making.
Big or small, he could be found playing or snuggling Erin’s other fosters or resident pups.
Toto was happy and healthy. He was ready for his forever home.
The Perfect Forever Home
Saying goodbye to a foster is never easy for Erin, even when her foster finds their most perfect home.
“Of course you have a special relationship with the ones that are the biggest fighters,” explained Erin. “They’ve been through so much and they pull through.”
Erin said goodbye to sweet Toto who was starting his forever life with his forever human in Massachusetts, where he received a new name: Brewin
His human named him Bruin.
“He’s living the dream,” said Erin.
Thank you to Erin, and to all the rescuers and medical staff that helped make Toto’s dream a reality.
Keep up with Erin’s latest foster pup adventures and learn how you can help by following her on Instagram!