COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - It's a photo of a puppy feeding on mother's milk. But it isn't his mother's or even his species. A woman posted the photo to show what she said was her last resort to save the runt of an orphaned litter of lab-mix puppies.
"I just felt like he just had an hour left. That's how weak he was, he wasn't moving and I just did it," the woman told KRDO exclusively.
The puppy wouldn't eat from a bottle or the K-9 formula.
"He just wasn't taking it. I didn't know what else to do, I was desperate and I just couldn't bear sitting there watching it die," the woman said. "Literally what clicked in my head was like, put him on you, just pray to God he will take something and not die."
We aren't identifying the woman because of the backlash she fears from the "taboo" action. Ironically, before she was faced with the puppy dying, she felt the same way.
"I never thought I would ever do that, it was taboo to me as well," she said.
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The woman posted it on her personal Facebook page to explain why she did it. Someone then took the photo and began spreading it around the Internet.
"I did the right thing. I can't let their criticism bring me down when I did something right and I've seen the results. That dog is alive because I took that initiative," she said.
The puppy, now a little over a week old, is no longer the runt. His is doing so well, is new name is "Tubbs." He and his four other orphaned siblings are being fostered by another family until they will be old enough for adoption.
Veterinarian Dr. Amber Williams says she wouldn't recommend breast feeding a puppy. Dr. Williams says she is less concerned about the taboo.
"I'm more concerned about zoonotic diseases because there are things that can be passed from puppies to babies," Dr. Williams said.
Dr. Williams says nutritionally, human milk isn't the best for other animals.
"In an emergency situation, I don't think it's a big deal, but for them to grow appropriately I think it would be important for them to get on a K-9 formula," Dr. Williams said.
The puppy's foster mom says she isn't worried about anything being passed to her 15-month old child because that child is weaned off her milk.
So is Tubbs. He's now woofing down formula out of the bottle.