Why You Should Foster a New Puppy Before Adopting

Christine Cheng, of San Jose, CA, had been wanting to adopt a new puppy for her current dog Mojo, so that Mojo can have play buddy.

After a LONG search, Christine was able to find one she liked: a Shitzu-Pekingese named Bernie, from a rescue group nearby.

But the story wasn’t “they lived happily ever after”.

In fact, he died in 4 days of getting adopted.

And what did the rescue group have to say about this?

Here’s Christine’s story, in her own words:

A New Puppy Love

I adopted a puppy 4 days ago from a PetSmart in Dublin.

The rescue who was promoting the adoption event was Stonecliffe Animal Rescue from Lemoore, CA.

I thought, what luck! I don’t have to drive all the way to Lemoore because they will be in Dublin! (I live near San Jose, CA which is closer to Dublin than Lemoore).

As I filled out the paperwork, an assistant pointed out that my puppy had a little wheezing.

Terri, the Stonecliffe Animal Rescue owner/coordinator said it was because Bernie has a short snout.

I glady paid $450 for the adoption fee and happily brought Bernie home.

Sunshine Gone. Clouds Looming

At home, Bernie wasn’t very active.

I thought maybe because it was a new environment but then Bernie started hacking.

I thought Bernie was throwing up because Terri said he hadn’t eaten that day yet.

Wheezing, hacking, through the night,…. I got concerned.

My personal vet and many clinics in the area were closed on Sunday so I brought him to a Banfield clinic.

They took some x-rays, gave me some meds, and said he has pneumonia. The cost was $348.

I brought the little guy home. Wheezing harder, coughing up liquids and tried to make Bernie as comfortable as possible.

The Sky Getting Darker

I contacted Terri and she said it (Bernie’s sickness) was impossible because Bernie had been playing and not sick since birth.

Pneumonia doesn’t occur overnight. Pneumonia is from an illness that progressively gets worse.

I believe in my puppy’s case, it was from untreated kennel cough.

I contacted Terri who told me she would give me a refund. I would have to drive to Lemoore on a Monday, lose my $348, and lose my new love.

Terri told me to get a second opinion. I got it on Monday and it cost me another $117.

Terri said it couldn’t be pneumonia otherwise the vet on site wouldn’t have neutered Bernie.

I told Terri that I could send her the x-rays and my vet was willing to talk to her.

Again, Terri told me, no dog, no refund.

I knew if I returned Bernie, Terri would not do what it takes to try and save Bernie.

My vet kept Bernie at her office for 2 days. I helped use a nebulizer on Bernie , gave Bernie antibiotics, etc. Total cost: $1,753.

What’s worse, I couldn’t eat or sleep for days.

The Life of a Puppy Vanished

My puppy died. In my arms.

Why spend time writing all of this?

I don’t know if anyone understands how that feels to have seen Bernie suffer for so long and not be able to do anything to help him.

1 minute after Bernie died, blood poured out of his body from his nose and his mouth.

His lungs had been filled with fluids from the pneumonia.

I don’t want to discourage anyone from adopting.

But, I just want to say, please, be careful so you don’t go through the heartache.

Not to mention the loss of so much money for only 4 days of time with a new family member.

I’m sure Terri means well but 50+ dogs on ranch means there is not personal detailed care for all of them.

Maybe Terri really didn’t know Bernie was sick.

Maybe Terri just didn’t want me to “badmouth her rescue” (something she actually said to me).

Either way, I lost more than a puppy tonight.

Our sympathy and condolences go out to Christine and her family. As fellow pet lovers, we feel her pain.

Here’s a clip of Bernie playing with Christine’s other dog, Mojo, in his final few days on earth:

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Showing 12 comments
  • Pat

    My 2 poms that we bought for$1000 both had pneumonia it started as kennel cough I almost lost my Jacques The so-called vet said he was healthy gave him all the shots till I decided I couldn’t keep going to him Jacques was full of worms ( i was told he was cleaned out)I had to bring Jacques to the vets on Thanksgiving Day Thank god he is ok now He did come down with stressful colitus from it. My Jolie wasn’t as sick but she had to be Nebulize he. I am so very sorry for your loss of Bernie he was adorable.

  • Judy

    I am so sorry this happened to you and you lost your new puppy. Terri should of give you another puppy or offered a refund of your money. If she couldn’t refund your money she should offered you another puppy. Asking you to get a second opinion was ridiculous. You had been to vet who said the puppy was sick what surprises me is why didn’t your vet keep the pup until it was in the clear.
    Just goes to show you have to check out rescue carefully.

  • danielle

    that is very said that si so much bull i am sure the vet whould have still done it wether he had pneumonia or not because i do not think they care as much as they say about dogs but that is just the way i look at it it that is a cute vido though

  • Christine C.

    Hi Everyone,
    I want to thank PawshPal for helping me get the word out. I also want to thank everyone for their support. I think if Bernie had passed away at the vet’s office, I wouldn’t have been so traumatized, but the way he died in my arms, it really took my breath away and left me with nightmares. I still can’t walk past the counter where his body last was without my heart feeling a pang of hurt. I think I am most upset with how the rescue responded. I am a full time student with another dog. I was basically told to bring Bernie back that day or not get my money back. Lemoore isn’t 30 minutes away. It’s not even an hour away. It is, at the very quickest, 3 hours away! Besides, I didn’t want to lose him. I wanted him to live. Apparently, he had 3 other siblings that all died due to a shot that was given to his mother when she was pregnant. (Not by the rescue I adopted from.) I thought, if he could make it through once, he can do it again. Trying to nurse him to health every day, holding him upright in my arms every night to help him breathe, my heart was crushed knowing this could have been prevented if someone had just noticed he was sick before it developed into severe pneumonia. He was so helpless. I’m tearing up just thinking about him. Please, everyone, if you adopt, make sure there is a return policy in place in case you realize the dog is sick. I attended the Bay Area’s Pet Expo this weekend and found another bundle of joy from a rescue who does just that. They have a 2 week trial period that they will take the dog back and treat his medical needs (at no cost to you) and offer you the chance for your money back, to adopt another dog, or to readopt the original dog when he is healthy. I wish I knew what to look for before I adopted Bernie. Stonecliffe said they wouldn’t knowingly bring a sick puppy to an adoption event. Maybe they really didn’t know. In short, do your homework and research where/how the dog you want to adopt is living. Some are fostered in homes. Some are in shelters. I’m not sure what Stonecliffe is like, but they boast having 50+ dogs “running free”. I don’t care how big a ranch someone might have, there won’t be enough people living there to care for that many dogs. If you want information on the rescue I found at the expo, please e-mail me: [email protected] Their adoption price covers neutering, and even rabies! Thanks again for all your support.

  • diane ozerow

    sorry for ur loss! 🙁
    maybe that person should look at the dogs she is resucing abit better. so that there won’t be another loss to a family that has adopted a puppy or dog.

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