Rhett, Owen, and Junior were part of a litter of six who ended up in an Arkansas animal shelter with their mom. Eventually, they were transferred to another rescue group, New Jersey’s Don’t Bully Us Rescue. Since their mom went into one foster home, her six puppies were divided between two fosters.
Rhett, Owen, and Junior came to live with Wright-Feliciano, her husband, and their two young sons
Rhett’s two brothers, Owen and Junior were not there long. Sadly, after they arrived at their foster home, Owen died and Junior got so sick he had to go to the animal hospital. Rhett, is now 2 months old and was very unhappy without his brothers around.
So her foster mom, Mariann Wright-Feliciano, has to carry her around in a soft purple baby sling, with a fleece blanket tucked inside to make her extra cozy.
“He was perfectly happy while hanging out in it,” Wright-Feliciano said. “He howls and cries when he’s alone.”
The veterinarians aren’t yet sure what caused the puppies sickness.
“Possibly a viral infection. All the tests they took have come back negative. Blood work has [given] us no real answers except something is attacking their white blood cells,” Wright-Feliciano said.
It’s left her “an absolute mess and worried that Rhett could possibly get sick,” she said. “My heart can’t take losing another one.”
Wright-Feliciano spoiled Rhett because she knew it was extra important to keep her happy after she lost her siblings. At first, she tried to soothe her with a brand-new bed and blankets. Then she gave her a special stuffed camel to snuggle. But nothing worked.
That’s when she finally tried the sling. “Holding her seemed to be the only way to truly make her happy,” Wright-Feliciano said. “She needed to be loved.”
She can’t carry her around all day and she has to learn to be independent so she can be put up for adoption. It was helpful in getting her to get over her loneliness and the loss of her siblings so early in life.
Rhett is satisfied with 10 or 15 minutes in her sling at a time. When she’s not using the sling, Wright-Feliciano said, she’s busy running around the house, playing with toys “or looking for someone’s shoes to walk away with.”
Rhett will be ready to go up for adoption in a few weeks.
Wright-Feliciano thinks Rhett will still be a dog who thrives on affection and said that when she gets adopted she hopes “she goes to a family that has another dog.”
Wright-Feliciano treasures the moments with Rhett in her sling as much as she does. After all, it helped Rhett get over the loss of Owen, and Junior’s illness, as well.
“Holding Rhett close is comforting,” she said. “She’s going to be very hard to give up.”
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