When puppies become mothers… it may sound like an oxymoron, but it is a reality.
A few weeks ago, we introduced our new mama, Sihwa, from our Sihueng dog meat farm rescue who gave birth to 7 beautiful puppies. Sihwa is only estimated to be around 1 year old now, and her size/breed is generally not considered to have reached adulthood until 2 years of age despite experiencing their first heat around 4-6 months.
What was initially going smoothly nursing her pups took a turn for the worse when they started opening their eyes and becoming mobile. Sihwa ended up snapping at one of her puppies (causing puncture wounds) and pinning them down with her paw. She repeated this behavior shortly after with 2 other pups. Mother and pups were subsequently separated for safety reasons, despite the pups being still too young to be separated from their mother.
Our trainer has advised that Sihwa was likely annoyed at her puppies when she lashed out. She was too young and emotionally immature to be a mother, and probably didn’t experience or learn any nurturing behaviors from her own mother because she was taken away too soon or because her mother was also too young, immature, and inexperienced. They were both victims of an unending cycle of breeding puppies.
This is not the first case we’ve seen, and has actually been a common pattern among our dog meat farm mothers. When a business model is built to maximize profits, whether dog meat farmer or irresponsible breeder, it means starting as early as possible without any regard to consequences.
For now, we are monitoring the situation to see whether they can safely be reintegrated at some point. Our volunteers are busy hand rearing the puppies and filling in a surrogate as best as possible. As we always say, it takes a village, and our village has come together once again for these pups.