It’s hard to imagine a five-month-old puppy taking care of itself, let alone multiple newborns.
It is a situation North Fork Animal Welfare League officials say can happen when owners opt against neutering their pets, leaving pups like Ralphie and Cricket without the support of a mother.
The newborn pit bull mixes were turned over to volunteers at the organization’s Southold shelter on Oct. 10 at just nine-days-old. They were the surviving two of a litter that once included several others.
“They were very tiny,” said Gabby Glantzman. “Ralphie especially. We were worried about him in the beginning because he was so small and he wouldn’t eat.”
Luckily, that didn’t last for long.
While Ms. Glantzman and other volunteers helped care for the puppies by day, organization director Gillian Wood-Pultz and her niece Grace took turns fostering the puppies at night, waking up every couple hours to bottle-feed the crying canines.
“They were bottle fed for about five weeks,” Ms. Glantzman said. “They are both doing wonderfully now. Ralphie is really social and wants to be around people all the time, while Cricket is very snuggly.”
Ralphie, she said, who is still only half as big as his brother, was adopted by a family in East Hampton on Dec. 13.
Cricket was adopted last Wednesday by a Riverhead man who will soon bring the pup to Vermont, she said.
“Five months is obviously very young to give birth, so [their mother] did not know how to take care of her babies,” she said. “We encourage spay and neuter every time you have a puppy, because that is one less animal that has to be adopted from the shelter.”
Next month is National Neuter Spay Month. Visit humansociety.org for more information.