Animal Photos Index
80. Baby Raccoon
81. Chihuahua Nursing Chipmonk
Apparently, a quick-thinking vet sent this Chihuahua home with an orphaned baby Chipmunk and hoped for the best.
Buffy the Chihuahua nurses her puppy and a baby chipmunk (right) named Marty at the southeast Salem home of Imogene Wills on Wednesday.
August 5, 2004
A dog named Buffy has nursed a little rodent for a week.
When Buffy the Chihuahua lost a puppy during a C-section July 29, the doctor sent her home with a replacement for consolation — a chipmunk weighing less than an ounce.
Marty the chipmunk has adapted well to Buffy’s nursing, surprising even his caretaker.
"He won’t know he’s a chipmunk when his eyes open," said Imogene Wills, 70, the dog’s owner.
The baby chipmunk, species not yet identified, was found in the parking lot of a nearby Safeway store. He was brought to the Companion Pet Clinic in Keizer the same morning as Buffy’s operation.
"It’s unusual to see a chipmunk in the city limits," said Dr. Mark Stoenner, clinic veterinarian.
When the clinic’s receptionist, Marty’s namesake, showed the struggling chipmunk to Wills, she knew that Buffy, her long-hair, Deer head Chihuahua, could nurse him.
"I thought mother’s milk is better than frozen goat’s milk," Wills said. "Buffy is so protective. She thinks it’s a puppy."
It is not rare to see one species take to another, especially during whelping, because giving birth is the best time for adaptive nursing, Stoenner said.
Although Buffy and Marty are compatible now, Marty is not out of the woods yet.
It will be a few more weeks before Marty’s eyes open, and if he makes it, he most likely will not be able to be released into the wild, Stoenner said. But the vet thinks that if anybody can ensure that Marty survives, Wills is the one.
"She’s a hard-core gal," Stoenner said. "She doesn’t give up."
The Chihuahua-chipmunk relationship has been among the most unusual in Stoenner’s 12-year career.
"It’s kind of neat," he said. "You like to think there’s good going on, and this supports that."
Buffy, who will be 4 next month, gave birth to one surviving female puppy Thursday.
But Wills, who has other Chihuahuas, thinks one chipmunk will be enough.
cluong@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 399-6833
Update: Marty, chipmunk species not yet identified, weighed about 7/8 an ounce.
When he was brought to Companion Pet Clinic in Keizer on July 29. He was no more than 2 to 3 days old.
He now weighs 1 1/4 ounces with no signs of rejection after seven days of nursing by Buffy, a Chihuahua.