A couple days ago, I was walking Hansel when a neighbor flagged me over. She held a small black puppy in her hand and when I came over, she thrust him into my arms.
"He won't eat."
The conversation that went on from there was too long to copy here, but the long and short of it was as follows: Five weeks ago, the woman's dog had delivered nine puppies, and when they were three and a half weeks old, the mother dog rejected them. Eight of the puppies were thriving without mommy - they were munching down on the dog food and everything - but the runt of the litter wasn't eating, wasn't growing, and was starting to fade.
She made it clear that she wasn't going to spend a cent on this runt, either to buy formula, or different food, or to take him to the vet. He was either going to starve to death, or I could take him.
So I took him.
Sean wasn't happy at first, but after walking back with me to talk to the neighbor (and seeing her apathy towards the pup), he calmed down. We discovered the woman had been feeding all the pups the same food she fed their mother - dry dog food, the kind for big breed dogs (so each individual kibble was huge). The rest of the puppies were more than double the runt's size, and could handle the large food pellets. But the runt couldn't even open his mouth up wide enough to attempt it.
We took the pup to the pet store and bought a dozen cans of puppy food. He ate that with no problem - in fact, he was almost inhaling the food, as though he was afraid his bigger siblings would magically appear and steal it from him. After his first meal, he staggered about five steps away from the food dish and went to sleep.
The first day, he did nothing but eat, sleep, and poop. The second day, he showed a bit more life, walking around and exploring a little bit, and playing tug-of-war. Today - the third day - he's almost as active as a normal puppy his age should be...though he still tires quickly. I have no doubt he's going to survive and thrive in our household.
Sean named him Trouble. He's mostly pit bull - his father is a purebreed American Pit Bull, and his mother is a pit bull/boxer mix. He's slightly bowlegged, with a deep chest, wide shoulders, and narrow hips. He's also got a remarkably wide wedge-shaped head, typical of the breed.
Earlier today, he was getting more active, so we took him outside to play while I hung sheets on the line. I took a couple videos of him out there...he's still a little emaciated, but looks much better than he did when I first brought him home.