In pictures: A new sponsor puppy is born
Posted by Sarah O'Brien
Charlotte Beckett was working as a puppy midwife and supervisor to our puppy supply team, when she volunteered to foster one of our hearing dog mums and her pups at home.
“We had several litters on the way, including Cocker Spaniel Lyla, and were looking for new volunteer fosterers to care for them,” explains Charlotte.
“It was an easy decision – I adore puppies! I also knew it would be a great learning experience for my children, Harvey (6) and George (3).”
Keen photographer Charlotte captured the magic of Lyla’s puppies over eight weeks – and one of them was destined to become a sponsor pup!
Week 1: A very special night…
“Proud mum Lyla gives birth just after midnight on 10 March. During the labour I monitor Lyla and her pups to make sure everyone is well. The awesome foursome are weighed, health checked and named (L-R), Rusty, Raisin, Ralph and Rupert.”
Week 2: Rock-a-bye-puppy
“My son Harvey makes the most of having cute new puppies in the house. It’s all about getting them used to the sensation of being held gently, and Harvey loves cuddling them. Don’t we have the nicest job!
“By the time the pups are 14 days old they’re already nearly three times their birth weight.”
Week 3: Hearing – and snoring!
“The pups’ eyes and ears begin to open around three weeks. They’re more active but still need lots of puppysnoozes – yawn! One day, those ears will help a deaf person by listening out for crucial sounds. Characters start to emerge – that cutie with the pink nose always seems to be ‘top of the pups’ – he’s called Rusty.”
Week 4: Grub’s up!
“At four weeks needle-sharp teeth start to appear. Weaning involves swimming through their food, which resembles sloppy porridge. Lyla loves cleaning her mucky pups after mealtime because they taste delicious!”
Week 5: Playing is hard work!
“Their eyes and ears are fully open. They have a larger pen now with more space to sleep and play – they do a lot of both. After a rush of activity Rusty gives way to tiredness and puts his paws up. He has big dreams…”
Week 6: First adventures
“At six weeks old the pups are ready for a gentle introduction to the sights, sounds and smells of the outside world. In the garden Rusty sits and watches our cats sunbathe – he finds them fascinating!”
Week 7: A star is born
“Guess who? Yes, that’s Rusty – a pup who likes to think inside the box! No sign of the six-pack advertised on the outside, but who could resist giving that cute belly a rub! We get news… he’s definitely ‘the one’ Rusty is the new sponsor puppy!”
Week 8: A new beginning
“Eight weeks are up. It’s time for the pups to leave mum and our family. I spend my working life assessing and transporting puppies to their new homes, so I thought I’d be emotionally set for the handover. I’m not!
“There are tears as I pass Rusty to Averil, his new puppy training volunteer. It’s a bitter-sweet experience – having to say goodbye, while knowing he is going on the most amazing journey to become a life-changing hearing dog.
“Would I go through it again? Definitely!”
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