Most summers, no sooner do I get a litter of puppies adopted then there’s another mom ready to move into my whelping box. But not this summer. After Paisley and Pebbles, I didn’t see any calls for fosters for pregnant dogs or moms with litters. Instead requests for people to foster puppies started trickle in.
You’d think after fostering litters of 8, 10, even 12 puppies, that taking on a puppy or two wouldn’t give me pause. But it does. It’s like the difference between having a mother and her baby to move in with you and just taking her baby. When I foster litters, their mother entertains and disciplines her puppies and keeps them from getting lonely at night. And while a pair of puppies will entertain and keep each other company, there’s no guarantee that one won’t be adopted quickly, leaving behind a lonely, needy puppy.
So ignored the notes for a while, letting other fosters say yes instead. Then this note arrived:
Just last week, Sue and I went down to rural SW VA to meet with two of our rural shelter partners. It was an eye opening experience as both of the shelters we met with face significant barriers in the care and placement of the animals in their respective counties. We are working on a more sustainable solution to begin lifting these shelters up and providing ongoing support to help keep the euthanasia numbers low and educate the community.
While we were down there, a large influx of puppies came into the shelter, and this is where we are asking for your help!
We are currently in need of puppy fosters- there were too many puppies to fit in our car and bring back- BUT a transport is able to run tomorrow.
Please is there anyone available to take a pair?
There are 8 boxer mixes and 4 hound mixes (look at those ears!!!). All are 8-10 weeks- adorable balls of love. Please help us give them a chance at a new life. They are not in a good place right now.. Let me know if you are open to help- even for 2 weeks to get them to safety!
So I emailed back that I’d take a pair. The next evening, Wednesday, August 24, a kind volunteer drove the puppies from No. Virginia to Gaithersburg. They were sweet, pretty little things with lovely black and white markings on their faces.
After a half hour of play time in the back yard, it was getting dark and the puppies seemed tired. Understandable since they’d had a nine hour trip from the shelter in SW Virginia to HTAR‘s office at Dog Paws and Cat Claws before the final drive to Gaithersburg in rush hour traffic. Before they arrived, I’d lined the whelping box with newspapers, put a metal crate inside and made the crate cozy with soft blankets and toys. When Steve and I carried them to the dog area and put them in the whelping box, both puppies climbed right in the crate. We left the crate door open so they could get out to go on the newspaper, turned off the light and left them alone. They were quiet all night (yay puppies!). Thursday morning when I came down to feed them let them out I saw they’d kept the crate clean and peed and pooped on the newspaper (yay puppies!).
My priority Thursday was to take pictures and video and put them up on Petfinder. Since many people like to arrange visits on the weekend, traffic on Petfinder is often heaviest late in the week and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity for them to be seen. I took the two photos above along with this one:
Which I then cropped to create close ups of each pup:
I also videotaped them:
By Friday morning Brownie already had several applications and on Sunday a couple came to meet her and took her home.
I was worried about how Scruffy would do after Brownie left but she adjusted quickly. The rest of Sunday she hung out with Little Dog and Wendy in the backyard or the kitchen. She learned quickly to keep her distance from Wendy – Wendy barks pretty fiercely at bothersome puppies – and that as long as she wasn’t too rough with Little they could be friends. That evening she settled down quickly in the crate and left us alone until morning.
By Tuesday afternoon Scruffy was adopted too, by one of the families who’d applied for Brownie and was open to meeting her instead.
But our house wasn’t empty for long……