This week, I was reminded again when it comes to rescue—you can’t predict anything.
Or, at least, I can’t predict anything.
The wild ride began last Wednesday when I got a message from a reader and sister animal rescue advocate, Katie, who lives in upstate PA north of Pittsburgh and works for a shelter there.
She was distraught because she had just learned that it was shelter policy (as determined by a board of directors) to spay and abort pregnant animals.
They’d just gotten in a stray who Katie said was adorable.
She was. I can vouch for that; I saw the video. She was also heavy with puppies.
Katie wondered if there was any chance that if she convinced the board to make an exception OPH might be willing to pull the mama dog and save the puppies.
I had no idea as I’m not a shelter puller and I’d never heard of us pulling a dog in PA. Certainly, there were other rescues who could help her, but time was of the essence since the dog was scheduled to be spayed the next morning.
Katie reached out to me because she had read my book, Another Good Dog, and we had connected via Facebook about rescue and fostering earlier this year. OPH was the only rescue she knew well enough to trust with this, and since she’s read my book, I imagine she also knew I would move mountains if I could to help her and this pregnant dog.
OPH agreed to pull the dog if I agreed to foster it. I hadn’t planned on fostering another pregnant mama right now, but this was a situation I simply couldn’t turn my back on. We waited to hear whether the board would allow Katie to place the dog with rescue.
When we got word that the board granted Katie’s request for an exception, I began making arrangements to meet her to get the dog and I thought two things—I hope this is the first step towards this shelter board changing its policy and omg, my house is going to be overrun,
You see, I still had Tommy Hilfiger, the wild and crazy guy, who had multiple applications but had yet to be adopted.
Houdini (aka Hot Diggity Dog) was arriving on the rescheduled transport this Friday.
Plus, Daisy B, will arrive Thursday for us to babysit until Monday. For those without a program that adds up to five dogs, plus a pregnant mama.
Nick said, “You’ve officially crossed that line between rescue and hoarding.”
It’s temporary, I told him and myself. Tommy would be adopted, maybe even before Houdini got here if I was lucky. He had an adopter anxious to meet him whose car troubles had hindered his ability to get here, but seemed set on adopting and sounded like a great match. When we talked he only chuckled when I told him of Tommy’s antics, ferocious playing style, and meager housetraining abilities.
And Daisy B would be happiest out in the playyard anyway. I had purposely left this weekend free of other commitments so I could have time with her.
Houdini the Hot Diggity Dog would need a shut-down anyway to adjust to life in this crazy dog house.
And mama dog would be in the puppy room.
Fanny loved dog company
and Gracie tolerated it well enough.
It could work.
Monday morning, I bleached the puppy room, moved Tommy into the kitchen, and put together a large crate for transporting mama dog that afternoon.
And then I got message that mama dog was delivering her puppies. RIGHT NOW. At the shelter. This reminded me of another mama dog who did the same thing to me after extensive preparations.
So now we’re back to just four, possibly five dogs this weekend. And it’s an unknown when mama and pups will come to us.
But their story is an important one. Yes, we have a happy ending, but had it not been for one woman who spoke up and who did something – those puppies would be dead and gone by now, forgotten.
Instead, because Katie spoke up, because she sought a solution, and did not accept a long-standing policy, they are alive and in another eight weeks or so will join forever families just in time for Christmas. Katie is a hero. A puppy hero.
And I’m proud to be a part of a rescue organization that played a part in saving these lives, and I can’t wait to meet them and their gorgeous mama.
But here’s the biggest thing I hope you will take away from this story – the senseless destruction of adoptable animals is happening everywhere, not just in the south.
And once again it comes down to people who are willing to step up and be the ‘hero in their story’ as the motto of RARE rescue says.
You can be that hero.
Adopt. Rescue. Volunteer. Foster. Get involved.
We can fix this. It’s within our power.
Thanks for reading!
If you’d like regular updates all my foster dogs past and present, and to find out if my house will be invaded by puppies this week, but sure to join the Facebook group, Another Good Dog.
For more information on me, my writing, and my upcoming book, One Hundred Dogs and Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues, visit CaraWrites.com.
And if you’d like to know where all these dogs come from and how you can help solve the crisis of too many unwanted dogs in our shelters, visit WhoWillLetTheDogsOut.org.
Our family fosters through the all-breed rescue, Operation Paws for Homes, a network of foster homes in Virginia, Maryland, D.C., and south-central PA.
Recently released from Pegasus Books and available anywhere books are sold: Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs.
I love to hear from readers and dog-hearted people! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.