Sunshine is an extremely special girl who had a very sad start to her life.
We imported Sunshine's Mum, Robyn, a beautiful Standard Red Dachshund, from Russia in January 2017. She lived with us for 9 months and then spent 6 months with the Carpaccio Kennels in Swindon, where she was shown and enjoyed the company of the other Standard Dachshunds that lived there. When Robyn was pregnant with her first litter, she came back home to stay with us and have her puppies.
Unknown to us at the time, Robyn was carrying 11 puppies, which is a larger than average litter for a Standard Dachshund. On the day the pups arrived, she gave birth naturally and beautifully to 9 babies at home, but unfortunately, puppy #10 was completely stuck in the birth canal. I performed an ultrasound scan and could see that, sadly, the stuck puppy had died, but also that there was another puppy, right behind, which was still alive. I tried everything in my knowledge and experience to help Robyn to pass the stuck puppy, but to no avail, so an emergency trip to the vets in the wee hours was needed. After much discussion with the vet on how to proceed, it was decided that she needed an emergency caesarean section to get both puppies out.
The operation, however, didn't go as smoothly as we had hoped. Unfortunately Robyn suffered huge complications - her uterus ruptured and she lost a lot of blood. Her little body wasn't strong enough to deal with everything it had went through and to our utter disbelief and devastation, she died, leaving behind 10 live puppies.
The heartbreak of losing Robyn was unimagineable, as was the panic that instantly set in at the thought of raising 10 new puppies alone - their lives were literally in my hands. I was absolutely crushed, but due to this was adamant that I would raise these babies, regardless of how hard it was, and would make sure that they survived. I knew I was perfectly capable of rearing them singlehandedly, so made it my absolute mission. I spent every waking minute with them and commited to their care as if they were my own children.
Sunshine was the second puppy born within the litter and we could see from the outset that she was very similar to her Mum. During the first week of the puppies lives, two of my nursing Mini Dachshund Mum's helped feed the orphaned litter. I would bring the ladies into the bedroom, place 5 pups with each, and they would feed and wash them for 5 minutes before I took over with a bottle and toileted them.
It was during the first week that Sunshine chose me, rather than vice versa. Once she had finished feeding from the surrogate Mums, she would crawl away from them and seek me out. Puppies can't see or hear until around two weeks old, but she would find me by scent and scramble up onto my lap.
Initially we called her 'Best Friend' as she always wanted to be close to us. I tried to put aside the bond we had as I was unsure of keeping another Standard Dachshund, and even had a home lined up for her, but the night before a couple were due to come and see her, I broke my heart at the thought of her leaving, so knew then that we were meant to be together. The couple ended up having another pup from the litter.
We changed her name from Best Friend to Sunshine as she is lights up our hearts after such a traumatic journey.
Follow Sunshine on Instagram @sunshine_the_dachshund_