By CHRISTINA NG
A tiny teacup Chihuahua named Nellie has stolen hearts on Instagram and at the Sacramento SPCA that has been nursing her back to health ever since she was found abandoned on a sidewalk.
The photos posted by the animal rescue group include Nellie wearing a sweater fashioned from a woman's sock, in a bowl of lemons and next to a can of soda.
The tiny Chihuahua was brought into the Sacramento Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in late September and was only 13 oz. at the time.
"She couldn't walk," Sacramento SPCA foster care coordinator Sarah Varanini told ABCNews.com. "She was only three weeks old and we don't know if she was dumped or how she came to be there."
Her young age and extremely small size didn't make it safe for her to stay in the shelter, so Varanini has taken her in until she is healthy enough to be adopted.
Varanini bottle-fed Nellie every few weeks for the first couple of weeks and then discovered that the puppy had a penchant for meat-flavored baby food.
"That's when she started acting like a puppy, running around and playing and being cute," she said.
Nellie is now 1 lb., 9 oz. and veterinarians want to wait until she is six months old, and hopefully two pounds, before putting her up for adoption. She will be four months old this week.
The puppy has been progressing well, but had a scare last week.
"Everything was going well and then last week, I had her at work with me and was getting ready to leave and noticed her sleeping in a weird position," Varanini said. "I picked her up and she kind of flopped over. She was totally unresponsive and looked like she was dying."
Varanini rushed Nellie to a veterinarian, who determined she was having a hypoglycemic episode and were able to treat her with fluids, syrup, sugar and a heating pad.
"After about 30 minutes with the vet and all of us messing with her, she finally came to and ate a whole can of baby food," she said.
The non-profit SPCA asked the community to help them out with the expensive baby food, which can also be used for other dogs and kittens, and have received "boxes and boxes" in the mail as well as in-person donations.
Varanini was amazed at the community response. "Wow, this is crazy," she remembers thinking. "All these people caring about this little, tiny puppy."