Skip to content

The Valentine Puppies Say Good Bye!

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the record for the most puppies in one liter is 24, born in England, on November 29, 2004, to a Neapolitan bull mastiff named Tia.  Even though Champagne’s litter didn’t come close to Tia’s record, our mom still deserves a ton of credit for what she accomplished.

We want to take this opportunity to again thank those who helped Champagne and Guardian successfully bring our litter from birth to adoption:

Stacy LaPoint/Fresh is Best Pet Food

Victoria  Schwegel

The Mod Squad Volunteers

Gail Dukelow

Linda Luhman

Many Foster Homes

Susan Mann/Logan’s Doggie Bed & Breakfast

Lynn Olenik

Kaitlin Daugherty

Lauren Grimm/Fromm Family Pet Foods

Lisa Perreault

HAWS Staff and Volunteers

Everyone who read our blogs and shared our story!  You are kind – You are smart – You are important!

Bluebelle and Valentine are still recovering from their medical issues but have homes pending.  Thanks so the extraordinary efforts of their foster homes, their medical issues should not affect normal puppy development, and we are hopeful that they are not at risk for later behavior problems.  Many pups who suffer illness and infirmity during the first four months of life develop lifelong behavior issues because they are unable to engage in normal socialization activities.  We think Bluebelle and Valentine beat the odds!

We thought you’d like to see where the rest of us went.  We got great homes!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hope you’ve enjoyed our blog.  G’Bye!  G’Bye!  Happy Valentine Puppy Days!


Blue Has Her Surgery

On April 23, Blue had to get up very early.  She had an appointment for surgery at the Wisconsin Veterinary Referral Service.  A surgeon would open up her tiny chest and hopefully clear the blockage from her esophagus.  She was in the best possible shape for the procedure.  Nevertheless, the estimated chances of success were only 50-50.  Not high, but there were no other options.

What does surgery for PRAA cost?  HAWS received an estimate of $2500. – $3000. from the surgeon.  This did not include the nursing care Blue would need until she was on her feet again.  HAWS is very fortunate to have a fund that it can tap into for such situations.

Annie’s Fund is a private HAWS fund for homeless animals needing medical care.  It was started to help a dog named Annie.  Although no one owned Annie, people strongly felt she should get the medical care she needed rather than being euthanized.  So began a collection to pay her medical bills, and that was the start of the donations to the fund.  Over the years the fund’s balance has fluctuated,  but there always seems to be enough in it to cover the expenses of the strays and alumni who need it.   Anyone can donate to the fund at any time, but a lot of times the people whom the fund has helped, the owners of adopted dogs, choose to give back to the fund.

On behalf of Blue, we’d like to send out an appeal for your donations to Annie’s fund.  Your generous gifts will not only help defray the costs of Blue’s treatment, it will allow the fund to continue to be there for other animals who need it.

Donate here (Make sure you mention Annie’s Fund and the Val Pups in the ‘Purpose’!):

(^You may need to copy and paste the link into a new browser to access the page.)

We are very grateful for your kind and compassionate support.

Blue’s surgery was a success.  Her new foster guardian picked her up later that afternoon, and within days she was behaving like nothing unusual had happened.  Dogs are so amazingly resilient!

It will be several more weeks before healing is complete and Blue receives clearance from our Shelter veterinarian, Dr. Meyer, for adoption.  Thanks to the folks who have donated to Annie’s Fund, she will have that forever home that every animal deserves.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Blue and Olive Visit the Vet

On April 5, Blue and Olive paid a visit to Prairie Animal Hospital in North Prairie.  The pups were unable to keep down solid food, and we needed to find out how we could help them.

Guardian always keeps the pups safe during car rides by crating them, and making sure the crate is securely fastened so it won’t move if the car moves suddenly.  Two pups together are more confident than one, and they have a soft blanket to snuggle in, so the ride seemed pretty comfortable.  At least Guardian didn’t hear any distress sounds coming from the crate during the ride, and both pups looked perky when they got to the clinic.  They were given the chance to potty on the grass before they went in.

Dr. Steve Raabe checked each pup over carefully, then decided to do some xrays of their neck and chest.  It was then clear why Blue and Olive were having problems with solid food.

Blue had a branch of the aorta wrapped around her esophagus.  It acted like a purse string, tightening as the esophagus got bigger, and would allow only liquids to pass.  The name for this condition is persistent right aortic arch (PRAA).  While puppies are developing, and before they are born, the aorta has a number of branches that ultimately become different arteries, such as the carotid artery.  But one branch is redundant and has no purpose.  Normally this branch would eventually disappear.  But in some dogs it wraps around the esophagus and causes the problem that Blue had.  Without surgery the esophagus will eventually be too narrow for the pup to eat and starvation is the result.  This condition is genetic in some families of German shepherd dogs and Irish setters.  Blue’s father was a German shepherd.

Olive appeared to have a deformation of his esophagus where it meets the stomach, and megaesophagus was suspected.  In this condition, the esophagus is bigger than it should be because the nerves and muscles in it don’t work properly to move the food into the stomach.  When it occurs in young dogs, in is considered an inherited condition.  Megaesophagus is the most common cause of regurgitation in dogs.  Regurgitation is different from vomiting.  Regurgitation happens right after the dog eats, while vomiting happens after the food has been in the stomach for a period of time.  The incidence of megaesophagus is higher in some breeds than others.  One of those breeds is the German shepherd.  The condition does not respond well to surgical treatment, but dogs can do well in some cases if they are fed a liquid or semi-solid diet with their head elevated.  Some dogs spontaneously recover, but this may take a year or more.

Good breeders carefully review the genetic profiles of dogs they plan to breed, to make sure problems like PRAA and megaesophagus don’t get passed along to puppies.  There are many inherited conditions that can be avoided by getting puppies from professional breeders who will take time to teach you about the importance of genetically careful breeding.

But one good thing did happen today: Blue and Olive got names!  Blue is now Bluebelle, and Olive is Valentine.  Guardian said Blue reminded her of the perky bluebells in her garden.  And Valentine?  Well, a tribute to all who helped make the Valentine Puppies a success story.  But it’s not over yet!  Stay tuned!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

-The ‘V’ Pups

Back By Popular Request…

We thought you’d like an update on our Valentine Puppies.


Day 52 – Our biggest move yet!


On April 6, (oh, so long ago!) the puppies were the stars at Movie Night.  They met dozens of children and their parents, got fed lots of treats and played with, and learned that kids are fun to be around.


This afternoon we said good bye to mom.  Aunt Rosemary and Aunt Letitia packed us into crates and drove us to HAWS.  We were put into this beautiful sunny room where the cats normally play, and there were lots of new things for us to explore.  Later that night we visited with the children who had come for Movie Night.


The most important thing in our lives right now is socialization and more socialization.  The more new things we can experience in calm and controlled settings now, the more tolerant we’ll be towards strange new things when we’re older.  We sure met a lot of kids tonight.  They fed us and played with us and touched us, all under the supervision of adults.  Guardian says children and dogs must always be supervised when they’re together to make sure they behave well toward one another.  The adult supervisors at movie night helped the children understand that it’s important for them to let the puppy come to them first rather than pulling the puppy toward them.  They also showed them how to hold a treat on the flat of their hand to avoid painful puppy nips.  The children were asked to “EIP!” loudly if they felt puppy teeth on them, and to immediately offer us a toy to bite on.  The adults also showed them how to pet a puppy slowly and gently to make us feel good so we would want to stay around them.


At the end of the night, foster moms and dads arrived to tuck us into our new homes for the week before our official arrival at the shelter for adoption.  It’s time for us to break our connections with each other, as Nature intended.  So we are going off in small groups of 3 to start the process.  So many new things!  You can understand that at the end of this day we are all very tired, indeed!  Sweet dreams, baby puppies . . .


This slideshow requires JavaScript.



The Valentine Pups

The Puppies are Coming! The Puppies are Coming!

Day 49 

 We are 7 weeks old and starting to look forward to a very exciting event: Our arrival at the shelter so we can get ready to go home to our new families.  We’re counting down to that special day: Friday, April 13.  On that day we’ll be spayed or neutered and microchipped.  So today is Day 10 and counting.

It’s not too early to get your adoption application in!  We’re looking forward to reading them.

Some of us still don’t have names, and that makes us sad.  Blue, Gold, Olive, Rust, Rust-Blue, and Rust-Gold are all still hoping to have a sponsor.  Won’t you help?

Meanwhile, we’re practicing all sorts of things that we’ll need to be good at, like balance, coordinator, and playing hide and seek!  Take a look at our great photos.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Of course, when we’re done with practice we love to go for a walk in the sunshine and explore the grass and woods.  Then it’s time for a puppy nap.

We Help Write the Blog; Blue Gets a Prescription

Day 38

Guardian was a bit behind in writing the blog entries, so we decided to help her out.  We want to tell you a story about Blue.

Blue hasn’t been able to keep solid food down.  Our doctor said it’s not unusual for some pups to have immature digestive systems, so she thought a prescription diet designed to be gentle to the stomach would help.  She also suggested mixing human baby cereal with milk.  Guardian keeps Blue from getting dehydrated by giving several syringes of liquid to her 3 times a day.  The liquid is water mixed with a little honey for energy and fish powder for protein.  This seems to keep her going pretty well, but she sure would like to have some solid food.

So Blue and Peanut had a field trip to the shelter today, while the rest of us hung out with the Mod Squad in the nursery.  Bet they’ll be really tired when they get home! 

Here’s some pictures of us writing this blog for you!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


The Valentine Pups

We Thank Our Sponsors and Learn About Imprinting and Etiquette

Day 37

Your response to our Name Game has been amazing!  Thank you for all the great names, and we loved reading the notes you sent along with them.  We hope you enjoy our thank you cards and will show everyone our sweet puppy photos. A couple of us still need names, so if you’ve got a great name for a cute pup like us, feel free!

Did you know that dogs are unique because they can imprint on more than 1 species?  Imprinting is an attachment behavior that happens at an early age and promotes social bonding.  At 3-4 weeks of age, puppies form attachments to their littermates and often move around as a group.  Imprinting happens quickly, within hours of exposure.  People who raise working dogs, such as those intended to guard sheep, for example, take advantage of imprinting when they house young puppies with the animals they are intended to guard.  The puppies bond to the sheep and become protective of them.  Peanut and Cashew have bonded to guardian because she bottle fed them and spent a lot of time with them.  They tend not to want to nurse as much as the other pups, who are more bonded to mom.

We had a lesson in good puppy etiquette.  Guardian gave mom a bone, which we found very interesting.  Weren’t we shocked to find that mom had no intention of letting us share it!  We noticed that she’d freeze if we got too close.  We learned that if we didn’t go away when she froze, she snapped at us.  Well, THAT made us back off!  We’ll be sure to give her more space next time she has a bone.  There are some boundaries that only a mom dog can teach a baby dog.

The Valentine Pups