Four tiny, week old puppies are being bottle-fed by their new “foster mum” after being found sheltering under a crate near the dump in George Town.
The pups, whose mother had been run over by a car, have been taken in by Janette Fitzgerald, who runs the Humane Society shop. She has to feed them by hand every two hours and even has to help them go to the toilet. She has named them Ed, Eli, Eugene and Evie.
When they arrived at the shelter on Tuesday, the puppies were covered in fleas and ticks, severely dehydrated and appeared to have a skin problem.
If they weren’t found in time they would have probably died within a few days from starvation, dehydration and blood loss from the ticks, Ms Fitzgerald said.
The puppies are so small she can fit two of them in the palm of each hand. Only two have opened their eyes, which suggests they are between seven and 10 days old, according to Ms Fitzgerald.
Puppies don’t normally leave their mother until they are at least eight-weeks old.
Ms Fitzgerald said looking after them was a round-the-clock job. She said that it was like being a mum again and, since she had raised two sets of twins, she was used to multi-tasking.
“It is hard work and I am not getting much sleep, but it is worth it,” she added.
Terrie Farrington, of the Humane Society, said the pups would most likely be sent to Florida to be adopted when they were old enough and well enough to become pets.
She said: “It is quite unusual to get them this young. It is a lot of work and takes total dedication on the part of the foster mum because they need to be bottle fed all the time. We got lots of offers from people, saying they are so cute and we want to look after them but when they saw what was involved they realised they didn’t have the time or the energy.”
She added that they were on the road to recovery now that they were at home with Ms Fitzgerald. “They have got warmth, they have got food and they are being loved, so they have a good chance.”