“I worried I would give her too much milk and drown her”: Owner of Britain”s dinkiest dog reveals how she brought her fragile pup back from the brink
At first glance, the furry brown creature curled up inside a porcelain tea-cup looks like a sleeping dormouse, with tiny button-like ears, fingernail-sized paws and miniature eyes squeezed tightly shut.
But this four-inch-long pet, whose lungs can emit only the tiniest of squeaks is, in fact, a dog — albeit a rather Lilliputian one.
Meet Mini, the pocket-sized Yorkshire terrier-chihuahua cross who is believed to be the smallest puppy ever born in Britain.
Careful: Owner Emma Williams reveals how worried she was for the future of her tiny dog Mini
How cute Mini is a mere four-inches long
When she came into the world ten days ago, weighing just 1.3 ounces — less than an average egg — she wasn’t expected to live.
But against all the odds — and thanks to many a sleepless night on the part of her besotted owner,
Emma Williams, 29 — she is still here and starting to explore the world, one tiny step at a time.
In the process, she has become something of a celebrity. A picture taken of Mini snoozing on an iPhone became an internet sensation this week, winning the pup thousands of online admirers.
Today, at her home in Sandbanks, Dorset, Mini is oblivious to her legions of fans. She has yet to open her eyes — though she is expected to do so within the next few days — and can’t even walk properly yet.
She won’t be able to leave the house for another seven weeks, and her whole world revolves around mum Bella, a rather tired-looking caramel and ebony dog of the same breeding, and her six siblings.
So what does the future hold for this super-fragile pooch Will she grow big and strong like her two brothers and four sisters
Sleeping time: Mini comfortably fits into a teacup
Come here: The tiny pup has a battle with this egg and eggcup
Resting: Mini may be the smallest dog in Britain, and she may also be the cutest
Well, she may grow strong but will never be big. Although she has gained 0.4 ounces, she will probably never grow to the expected full size of around 6lb.
‘The vet has told me she won’t get any bigger than 1.5lb — her father is 6lb, and Bella is 7lb, and they are small dogs. We just don’t know yet,’ says Emma.
But after Mini’s birth, the vet warned that, at just 1.3oz, she was dangerously underweight and probably wouldn’t survive.
‘It was awful to hear that,’ says Emma. ‘I knew I had to keep her alive if I could.’
Mini was so small she could comfortably fit on a iPhone when she was born, weighing just 1.3 ounces
Owner Emma Williams, 29, carefully holds what she believes is Britain”s smallest dog. Over the last week she has devotedly feed Mini every two hours
Mini struggled to fight her more powerful siblings for her mother’s milk, and was so frail she often fell asleep in the middle of a feed, so Emma decided to hand-rear her, using a plastic pipette and the canine equivalent of formula milk. Emma had to sleep on a mattress next to the puppies to meet Mini’s two-hourly feeding requirement.
‘It was like having a newborn baby,’ she says. ‘And even though Mini was only having about a tablespoon at a time, I worried I would give her too much too quickly and drown her, which it’s easy to do. I’d hear a gurgle and think: “Yep, I just killed her.”’
As the days passed, Mini grew and became more animated. Miraculously, the vet this week declared the tiny pooch to be out of the woods. She’s expected to live a normal life, without any increased risk of infection — although she will be more fragile because of her tiny size, so will have to be kept away from big dogs or clomping human feet.
The little puppy rest on one of her normal-sized siblings, who is around three times bigger than her
Owner Emma Williams believes little Mini, a Yorkshire terrier Chihuahua-cross, is the smallest dog in Britain
Pictures of Mini being cradled in her owner”s hands left, and on top of a food tin, right, shows the delicate size of the little puppy after it was born that weighed no more than an egg
Emma is trying not to think of when she has to part with her pups, which she plans to rehome when they are around eight weeks old. ‘I’d love to keep them all, but I couldn’t really, practically,’ she says.
Looking at Emma holding Mini in her hand, blowing on her and rubbing her gently to keep her warm, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Williams clan found a home for this little one right here.
After all, she doesn’t take up much space .?.?.
Mum Bella picks up the tiniest one of her litter, who was as light as half an apple when she was born
In the palm of my hand: The cute little puppy curls up for a nap on her owner”s outstretched hand
Mother”s pride: Mini”s mum Bella with her seven-strong litter of puppies