Obadiah is looking for a home.
The eight-week-old pit bull mix puppy has had an unusual start to life, but the people around him are hoping he can become someone’s permanent pet and live the life of any other family dog.
His mother, also a pit bull mix, was on an animal shelter’s death row when she came to the attention of Cecilia Lampitelli of Wilton.
“My daughter is very into animal rescue and she was looking on rescue websites,” Lampitelli told The Bulletin earlier this week. “She texted me they were going to put the dog down the next night.”
Lampitelli agreed to foster the dog and a few days later a van delivered her from Brooklyn.
“Her name was Minnie Mouse, but I renamed her Sienna because she’s the most beautiful brown color,” she said.
Sienna, believed to be one and a half to two years old, has unknown origins. The person who delivered Sienna said she was a stray, but Lampitelli said the dog was in very good physical condition and knew some commands, so she believes someone owned her. “She was not a street dog,” she said.
Not being familiar with female dogs and their heat cycles, Lampitelli made an appointment to have Sienna spayed at Cannondale Animal Clinic.
Veterinarian Paula Belknap picks up the story from here.
Although Sienna did not look pregnant, when Belknap examined her it was clear she was.
“I put my hands on her and I could see this mother was so far along,” she said. “I could feel the [puppy’s] skeletal bones in the abdomen.”
“She said, ‘you’re going to be a grandmother,’” Lampitelli recalled, “and I burst out crying.”
Belknap did not want to have to abort the puppy so close to being born and promised to help find it a home.
That was not the only surprise. There was just one puppy, which Belknap said is very unusual and had an effect on Obadiah’s development.
“We talk about one month being the same as one year for a child,” she said of a puppy’s development. “For the first five weeks, puppies only care about mom and food. By six to seven weeks they notice people and between seven and eight weeks they think we are the greatest thing going.”
In a normal-size litter, beginning at six weeks puppies also notice each other and begin playing. That play involves biting, and when they feel one another’s sharp, little teeth they learn to not bite. Being a singleton, there are no siblings to teach Obadiah — Obi for short — to not bite and so that task has been left to Lampitelli and her husband.
Belknap, who has trained a Rottweiler to be a gentle giant, has been advising Obie’s family on how to train him.
“The owners have been telling him ‘no bite’ since he was five weeks old,” she said.
Lampitelli said Obi has been listening, but he still play bites other dogs and that is why she cannot keep him. She has a small, older dog named Panda, who is not tolerant of the puppy.
“He listens,” she said of Obi. “He’s very smart and he’s a sweet dog. I am really devastated I have to give him up.” She is keeping Sienna, who she described as “a love dog, very gentle.”