A beautiful act of selflessness, and compassion towards another species was displayed when a Colorado woman shared her breast milk with a newborn mixed-breed Labrador puppy. The woman has asked to remain unidentified because of the backlash she fears from what many people consider a “taboo” action.
The pup was the smallest of a litter of orphans that the woman fostered following the death of their mother. The four-day-old pup refused to take milk, or formula from a bottle. “He just wasn’t taking it,” she said. “I just felt like he just had an hour left. That’s how weak he was, he wasn’t moving and I just did it,” she told KRDO-TV. “I didn’t know what else to do, I was desperate and I just couldn’t bear sitting there watching him die,” she said.
The unnamed woman, who has a fifteen month old child, confessed that she felt “weird” about breatfeeding the animal, but the idea just “clicked” in her head. “I guess you could call it, in a sense, like a maternal instinct,” she says. The woman said that she thought to herself “just put him on you and pray to God that he’ll take something and not die.”
Although, it appears that her actions saved the puppy’s life, veterinarian Dr. Amber Williams warns of the risks posed by breatfeeding puppies, especially zoonotic diseases, which can be transferred between animals and humans. The puppy’s foster mom said that she is not worried about anything being passed to her fifteen-month old child, because her child has been weaned off her milk.
Dr. Williams said that “In an emergency situation, I don’t think it’s a big deal, but for them to grow appropriately, I think it would be more important for them to get on a canine formula.” She added, “In an emergency situation, I don’t think it’s a big deal, but for them to grow appropriately I think it would be important for them to get on a K-9 formula,” Dr. Williams said.
After posting a photo of herself breastfeeding the puppy on Facebook, some individuals took the picture and circulated it around the Internet, drawing critical response from people, who think her actions are against society’s definition of what is considered morally acceptable behavior. “I never thought I would ever do that, it was taboo to me as well,” she said. “I can’t let their criticism bring me down when I did something right and I have seen the results. That dog is alive because I took the initiative.” He has even grown larger than some of his siblings, earning him the nickname “Tubbs.”
At this point the woman, her human child, Tubbs, and the rest of his siblings are all doing well. Tubbs, and his four other siblings are now in the care of another foster family, until they are old enough to be adopted, and found permanent homes.