A dog owner whose three puppies were given little hope of survival has defied the odds and nursed them back to health.
Tina Pender from Avonbridge was heartbroken when her pups Matilda, Joey and JC - tiny chorkies, a mix of Chihuahua and Yorkshire terrier – were born on Christmas Day with life-threatening feeding problems.
Matilda has a cleft lip while the boys have cleft palates.
They have all had severe problems, more so the boys, as their condition means they can choke when feeding due to holes in the roofs of their mouths and food doesn’t reach their stomachs.
The distressed mother-of-five said she was advised to have the puppies put to sleep as they had little chance of a decent quality of life and surgery was expensive, but refused to give up hope.
Tina (38) then turned to Youtube and found a video which showed her how to wean the pups, who needed feeding every two hours, with bottles, syringes and tubes. She also nursed them using steam treatments and massage with the help of her children.
She said: “They all had problems latching on when feeding so I took over. On day 15 we took them to the vet but my heart broke and I couldn’t stop sobbing when they advised us to put them to sleep. They said it was a journey that would be too expensive
“But they mean the world to me and I just couldn’t give up on them.
“At the start we thought they would all need surgery but thankfully they have been getting healthier by the day and growing quickly. Now only the little one, JC, needs surgery as he is struggling.”
In order to afford the expensive operation, Tina has set up an appeal on Facebook - ‘Cleft Palate Puppies’ - and is setting up a gofundme page for people to leave donations to get JC the operation that could save his life.