Woman Brings Home 5 Frozen Puppies Hoping For A Christmas Miracle

“Our families have come to expect some special animal guests joining us for Christmas dinner.”

Most people were already well into their holiday weekends, but Tessa Lee was still on the clock at the Whitecourt Homeless Animal Rescue Foundation (WHARF) in Edmonton, Alberta, when she received a call the evening of December 23.  

“We were contacted about the five puppies in distress on a private property 45 minutes west of Edmonton. All five puppies [were] severely emaciated and dehydrated,” Tessa Lee told The Dodo.

Puppy rescued from cold in Alberta, Canada
Tessa Lee

Lee rushed over immediately and was given access to the property near Alberta Beach. Though there appeared to be other animals on the property, she was only allowed to pick up the five puppies, who were nearly frozen to death in the surge of cold weather. Driving the puppies to her home, Lee didn’t know whether or not they would make it through the night.

Ruby a puppy saved from the cold
Tessa Lee

Lee knew she had to act quickly and think on her feet to save the five little lives. “I assessed their hydration levels, and put them on heat packs while administering fluids subcutaneously,” Lee said. “We relied on maple syrup to boost glucose levels and slowly began administering recovery wet dog food every two hours via feeding syringes.”

The fact that Lee would spend her Christmas reviving a litter of puppies didn’t bother her family, who have come to expect the unexpected. For Lee and her co-workers at the volunteer-run rescue, as long as there is an animal in need, work doesn’t stop during the holiday season.

“Our families have come to expect some special animal guests joining us for Christmas dinner, whether it is a litter of kittens, puppies or even a 'bottle baby' lamb,” Lee explained. “We find that this time of year many people are traveling to be with family and therefore more animals in distress are noticed and reported. Our phones are definitely never off during the Christmas season.”

Puppy recovers in Tessa Lee's home in Alberta
Tessa Lee

By Christmas Eve, with the help of bottle-feeding and a warm home, all but one puppy seemed to be on the mend. Unlike her brothers and sisters, a sweet girl with soft red fur and a protruding rib cage still couldn’t hold herself up. Lee named her Ruby, and knew the next 24 hours would be crucial. “She is holding on and beginning to perk up,” Lee wrote in a Facebook post on WHARF’s page December 24. “Keep her in your thoughts and we will update everyone on her after the holidays.”

What Lee and Ruby needed was a miracle, and Christmas morning, that is what they received. The weak puppy fought through the night, and in the light of day, she could finally stand on her own four paws again — for a short time, at least.

“Merry Christmas everyone!! We have movement,” Lee wrote on Facebook. “This puppy didn't have the strength to lift her body up yesterday. She is drinking water and eating on her own now.”

An outpouring of support flooded Lee’s Facebook post, along with several offers to foster or adopt Ruby. Though the little puppy is improving, she is far from out of the woods. “At this point, Ruby's condition is touch and go, and she is under 24/7 monitoring with us,” Lee explained. “The other four seem to be holding fast, we will be keeping everyone updated on Ruby's condition as time goes on.”

Caring for the puppies certainly wasn’t easy, but for Lee, it was well worth it. “Special cases such as these just require a huge dedication of time and effort, whether that's waking up every two hours to feed them or monitoring alertness throughout the night,” Lee added. “Every animal deserves to be cared for and over the last decade we have done everything in our power to provide that to every animal that comes through our rescue.”

If everything goes according to plan, Lee expects that Ruby’s brothers and sisters will be ready for adoption in February.

Ruby sleeps in Edmonton
Tessa Lee

For those thinking of adopting a dog or cat, Lee has one very important piece of advice when it comes to proper animal care. “We urge people that are considering bringing an animal into their families to ensure that they are able to afford to spay/neuter their animal so situations like this no longer happen,” Lee said.

To help support Lucy’s care, and help other animals in need, you can make a donation to Whitecourt Homeless Animal Rescue Foundation by visiting the website here.