Every now and then you come across a story that makes you smile and this is one of those stories. Owner breeder Helen Sayer has one of WA’s most successful brood bitches, Tayza. Not only was this brindle staying sensation a great chaser, she is also a great mother.
On the 27th of December 2012 Tayza gave birth to eight puppies fathered by Collide. Helen is know for the extra care and attention she pays when whelping litters, so it was no surprise she quickly found one of the pups was having trouble sucking after it was born.
“I found she had a cleft palate not even an hour after she was born, that’s what I think saved her.” Helen Sayer explained.
“She couldn’t suck, I noticed when I first put her on to suck she wasn’t sucking. I kept a close eye on her, I opened her mouth and there it was. I have never had a pup with a cleft pallet before!”
It was a long and draining exercise to ensure this special little pup survived past the first few weeks. The pup lovingly named Moët, after the French champagne, has defeated the odds already. Generally puppies with a cleft palate die after the first few days because their mothers reject them.
“I fed her every two hours; it was like having a baby for the first six weeks of her life. After that I felt sorry for every mother in the world because you have no sleep. I just kept thinking this will be over soon, but they have to put up with it much longer!”
It was always a scary process bottle-feeding Moët because of the noises she would make. Despite making choking and snorting sounds, Moët was an expert on her cleft palate and knew the tricks of the trade to make sure she kept the food out of the roof of her mouth.
“I thought after a week I would try bring her inside and have her beside the bed, I thought that way I could feed her every couple of hours without having to go out the back. That didn’t work out, she just screamed! I ended up getting more sleep going back and forth between the whelping room and the house.”
Nothing was more apparent then Moët’s will to survive; during the bottle-feeding process Moët had learnt to tip her head back enough to prevent the milk from reaching the roof of her mouth and then coming out her nose. As she grew older she did the same drinking milk and water from a bowl on the ground, lapping it up and then tipping her head back.
“Min (Tayza) looked after her in every other way. She used to always come and lick her and make sure she was all right. She is a great mother and that makes all the difference.”
“When she started eating I knew she was in the clear. I watched her grow and put on weight everyday; I made sure she was putting on weight so she never went backwards; she never went through a scrawny stage. The only thing she missed out on was her mum’s milk.”
Moët is now 14 months old living with her mother and Helen’s three other brood bitches; Countess Of Cork, You’re Fancy and now retired Miss Marley. Moët had daily play dates with her mother up until she came in season and was sent away to be mated.
“Min (Tayza) looks forward to going in with her every day, when they go in the yard they give each other kisses in the morning.”
Moët could always be distinguished between her and the rest of her litter because of her very round tummy and funny little face. She didn’t let the fact that she had a hole in the roof of her mouth stop her from fighting with her brothers and sisters. When it came time to send the pups away to be reared Helen felt the need to have her at home so that she could keep an eye on her growing up.
“This part of breeding is very new to me, I will just have to see how it goes.”
“Moët is very smart, She watches the other dogs from yard and she learns a lot! I think she has as much chance as any other puppy has of making the racetrack; she will be given every opportunity.”
“Moët is crazy! She is as keen as any other puppy and can spot a bird in the sky and be too worried about chasing it that she almost runs into something!”
After talking to a number of vets about options for Moët Helen has decided to delay any operations to try and fix the cleft palate because her little black puppy has adapted to having the hole in the roof of her mouth.
“The vets have said to me that if she has trouble breathing or looks to be struggling to eat they can perform an operation to close it over. I have spoken to three and they have all basically said to just leave it.”
The corrective surgery is estimated to be about $2,000.00 and Helen just wants the best for the special little pup. The love and time that Helen put into saving Moët is a credit to her, even if Moët doesn’t makes it to the racetrack she will have a home for life.