I was taking surgery animals home late one afternoon. By the time I finished, it was getting late and I was losing my daylight fast. I decided to drive some of the alleys in Northeast until it was all the way dark. I always say that alleys are very telling! I was going down an alley and I saw a momma shepherd with her teats hanging with milk. She was on a chain and I could see some puppies in the wooden dog house that she had. I drove around to the front, got the address and decided to tackle this situation on Sunday.
Sunday, Judy and I went over to talk to the people and see what was up. A teenage boy answered the door and he said “we don’t want any” and started to shut the door. I said, “perro” (Spanish for dog and about all the Spanish I know!) and he opened the door back up and he said, “Oh, you want a puppy?”. I wanted to say, “No, I want ALL of your puppies”, but I didn’t. I explained to him who we were and he invited us to go back and look at the puppies. There were 7 of them and they were about 7 weeks old. Momma was chained up and had an old, wooden dog house that she had dug deep, deep holes under. She was pretty thin. The puppies were not socialized and would run behind the dog house from us and get far down in the hole. As we talked with the kid, he was starting to help us round them up and his mom came out. Right off the bat, I started talking to her about spaying the momma dog and she said she didn’t want to do that. She told me that this was the dog’s 2nd litter and that they “don’t have no trouble getting rid of them all”. These attitudes are very frustrating to us and make us angry at times, but we must educate, educate, educate! I explained how we could take the puppies and get them vaccinated, de-wormed and spayed and neutered. I talked about the benefits of spaying and neutering, the importance of stopping those breeding cycles and how we can continue to help them with food, hay, whatever they need IF they get their animal fixed. The woman was starting to come around and understand. She asked me a couple of questions. She finally admitted that she could see that it would be a good thing to do.
They had 3 puppies promised to family and/or friends. This is a sticky situation because sometimes we can play hard ball and when someone says they want to keep one or two of the puppies from a litter, we tell them that we take the whole litter or none at all. Usually, the people are so sick to death of the puppies running around pooping everywhere, they’ll send them all. Sometimes, though, they are dead set on giving one to Aunt So and So or their cousin or whoever and we can tell by interacting with them about it that they are not going to go for giving up the entire litter. At that point we just have to get as many puppies as we can out of there. You just learn as you do outreach and can read people’s attitudes when to press and when it would backfire on us and someone would say, “fine-don’t take any of them”. It’s a case-by-case thing. Regardless, we were able to get 4 of the 7 puppies.
They were unsocialized and scared to death. They ran and hid from us and constantly dove under the dog house. It was a real struggle catching them. We were at this house for a good hour and a half. We finally left there with 4 puppies, gave them info to read regarding spaying mom, and told them we’d touch base in a week or so about spaying and neutering the mom and the rest of the puppies. We gave them puppy food, put more straw in momma’s house, and gave momma a chew bone, which she totally got into!