updated 03/23/2012 AT 1:00 PM ET
•originally published 03/23/2012 AT 2:30 PM ET
She may be far from bootylicious, but a 2-week-old puppy named Beyonce has a survivor’s spirit.
The dachshund mix was one of five puppies born to an 8-month-old mother named Casey, a dog that was once abandoned and found living on the streets of California. After being rescued by Devore Animal Control, Casey was later transferred to The Grace Foundation of Northern California, an animal sanctuary in El Dorado Hills, where she was spared from having her pregnancy terminated and being euthanized.
Once at the Foundation, Casey was taken in by executive director Beth DeCaprio, whose goal was to ensure the young mother could successfully deliver her litter. But while four of the five fetuses were deemed healthy, the fifth was diagnosed as being underweight and anticipated being stillborn. But little Beyonce had other plans.
“She wasn’t breathing [at birth],” DeCaprio tells PEOPLE, “but I was able to put a couple of little breaths in her mouth, and a couple more later, and soon, she was breathing on her own,” adding that a veterinarian also helped perform heart compressions to kick start Beyonce’s heartbeat.
Her significantly smaller size also made it difficult for Beyonce to nurse in the beginning, which led DeCaprio to start bottle-feeding her.
“I carried her around for a few days,” DeCaprio says, “but at night, I let her be with her mom. Now she’s able to nurse on her own, but she still needs a little extra, so I just have to supplement her.”
Now 2 weeks old, Beyonce is “getting stronger every day,” says DeCaprio, “and there’s no indication that she has any permanent problems.” The puppy currently weighs 4 oz., and is less than 4 in. long – about the size of an iPhone – but is expected to weigh 1.5 lbs. upon reaching adulthood. Her appearance at birth has also prompted an inquiry with the Guinness Book of World Records as to whether Beyonce can be qualified as the world’s smallest puppy born at term.
Regardless of her place in history, DeCaprio says that Beyonce will go on to lead a healthy life, and will soon be placed with a loving family.
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