The pups were born Feb. 7 without front legs. They were part of a five-dog litter; their two 4-legged sisters are still alive, according to Cause for Paws (CFP) of North Carolina.
"I am grateful for the outpouring of support pulling for these tiny pups, and know that my sadness is shared by so many," said CFP Program Director Nicole Kincaid, who was fostering the trio. "Our rescue is not afraid to take on the hard medical cases-recognizing that imperfection is perfection. We looked past their physical problems and saw hope. However, the pups just had too much going against them to stay in this world very long."
The mother of the puppies, Gidget, had a severe infection which made it impossible for her to feed her puppies. All of the dogs were taken in by CFP and are under veterinary care.
The two surviving puppies, Babs and Betsy, are still eating, but Kincaid has noticed some minor physical deformities with them also.
Gidget is on pain medicine and antibiotics, but the rescue group said it believes she will be OK.
"We hope their passing sparks the talk about how important it is to spay and neuter your pets," said Kincaid. "This was an accidental litter where the owner thought she could keep them separated while the mom was in heat. We regularly hear this belief about why people do not alter their animals, and more often than not it ends up with an unplanned litter of pups."