Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A challenge or a blessing? Maybe a bit of both!

Life seems to bring things your way for a reason, or so I believe.  In April 2012 I received a request from another BRAT member about a basenji mix that needed a foster and help from BRAT.  I tried NOT to get involved as I was already very busy with the 2012 convention and work and family - blah blah blah!  BUT, out of respect for this wonderful volunteer, Jennifer Ihns, I made a request to BRAT to help this little basenji mix in Indiana.  They agreed!!!
I was hoping to take a break from fostering until after the convention in June, so when my last foster went to his new family and I was actually without a foster for all of about 5 minutes - literally.  Then Kaylee arrived.  She was so full of life and energy.  I wasn't sure this was going to be a good idea, but I had promised to help. 

When I went to get her out of Jennifer's car I thought, "this dog is pregnant...or so I think. this really happening!"  I had no idea what to do with newborn puppies...I wasn't sure how to react.  I wasn't sure how my husband, David, was going to react.  BUT, as soldiers in the fight to rid the world of the need for animal rescues, we moved onward.

I took Kaylee to the vet on my way home and had them test her.  YUP...she was pregnant.....GREAT.  Now what?  I asked a lot of questions and did some research online.  I've had cats that had kittens and I've had puppies, but none younger than 5 weeks.  All I could think was that they were going to be mixed with something like a pit bull or great dane and they'd be HUGE and unplaceable.  A couple of weeks went by and still no puppies.  We had an x-ray done and found there were going to be 7 puppies.  REALLY?  That many?  Oh jeesh...the pressure kept mounting ...I got more worried.  BUT, I said to myself, "Suzanne, you can do this.  You have a great husband to support you and friends and BRAT.  It'll be okay."  Another week or so went by and still no puppies.  I was like a pacing dog in a cage about this pregnant dog who I thought would pop at any moment.  So I took her back to the vet for another check know, just to be sure all way right with her and the babies.  Well, another x-ray was done and the vet comes back and says, "Well, I have good news and bad news....The good news is that everyone is happy and healthy. "  I'm thinking, what's the bad news?  She says, "The bad news is that there are not 7 puppies, but 9!"  WHAT!  ARE YOU SERIOUS?
Well, I thought, this is going to be ok...I know that people do this all the time.  Plus, because there are so many they are likely to be smaller.  This is good.  SO...I went home and for the next few days I just kept close watch over this tiny little whippet/basenji mix who looked like she had a volleyball strapped to her tummy.  On the night of May 2, 2012, I was up all night working.  I checked on Kaylee and she seemed fine.  On the morning of May 3, 2012, David went to check on her and came back inside telling me she was having her puppies!  YEAH!  I grabbed the camera and RAN to the kennel.  Well, much to my surprise she wasn't "having" the puppies, but rather she had already "had" the puppies.  They were all cleaned up and in a pile ready for inspection!  She stood there next to them very tired, but very proud of her accomplishment.  Good job Kaylee!  You did great! 
We counted them all as we placed them in our makeshift welping box.  There were 9 very healthy puppies.  Kaylee delivered 7 beautiful girls and 2 beautiful boys.  They were fact, I cried because they were so sweet and Kaylee was so attentive.  What a beautiful little family.  Now what are they mixed with and what do we name them?

These little "gerbils" looked like boxers in coloring and markings.  So, that is what we first!  Now that they are a bit older and bigger, they are mixed with beagle for certain!
I had done a lot of contemplating on names.  We thought it'd be fun to name them after characters in a TV show, but there were so many.  So, I kept the boys names that I liked - Alcide and Godric.  Then, because I promised a friend, I named one of the girls Sophie.  I liked the name Clover so I named the "runt".  Well, we still had 5 more!  I immediately went on Facebook for help.  I made an announcement that if someone wanted to name a puppy, they'd have to donate $25 to BRAT for the naming (although it may not be kept by the adopting family).  Within 1 hour we had the remaining girls named!  We had Felicity, Shiimsa, Zeba, Primrose and Cinnamon. 



The puppies are now almost 9 weeks old. A few weeks before their birth, we had made a special Facebook group for Kaylee and the puppies. We began generating interest in their story and their lives in hopes to raise funds for their vet care and find them all loving homes. It has been a big success! We have over 200 followers (and more join daily) and have been able to find a home not only for Kaylee, but for 4 of the puppies. We have applicants for 2 more puppies as well! You can visit their page at

Between the BRAT site and Facebook, all the sharing and participation, these little basenji mixes are going to have wonderful lives!

As I sit here typing this story for you all, I'm a bit emotional. This morning I took Kaylee to fly to her new forever home. She was the first to leave. I may not have been ready for all of this excitement, but since they came into our lives I find it bittersweet that they will all be leaving soon. On July 12 we have the first 3 puppies going home and on the 13th another is flying to her new forever home. I'm sure the remaining 5 will be going shortly too. I'm so excited that they'll be in wonderful, loving homes, but I will miss the chaos and joy they have brought to mine!

I encourage you all to visit the Kaylee & puppies Facebook page and view all the photos and posts.  Share their page and help bring awareness to the breed, BRAT and all rescues in need.  See how much fun they've been and hopefully it'll encourage you to foster too!
-Suzanne D. Sarlls-Hartwell


  1. I have enjoyed following this adventure on Facebook. I am so glad you were there to give assistance to Kaylee and her pups. I wish I could have been available to do something more than send out best wishes. What beautiful little dogs- Mom and babies! What wonderful and great people you are too!

  2. Thank you, Suzanne (and Dave), for the love and care you provided to Kaylee and her puppies!

  3. Suzanne, You are such an inspiration! Kayleee and her puppies were meant to be in your loving care because God knew you could handle them and help them along their way. You do wonderful volunteer work! May we all aspire to be like you, Love to you and all your babies!

  4. She looks so much like my puppy hunny...exactly the same markings and all