We all know how bad last winter was. It was brutal! Chain of Hope received an enormous amount of calls, mostly people needing dog houses and straw. There were days that we just hustled to get to as many houses as we possibly could before night fall. We had seen plenty and we knew that there were dogs definitely being kept outside 24/7 in below 0 wind chills, but many that had a dog house had no straw or hay in there whatsoever. We knew that every house we could get to, that that poor animal would be a little bit warmer that night because we got to them! Normally, when we go on calls, we must take a look at the animals at the house, we spend a lot of time talking about spaying and neutering and getting them signed up, getting them supplies, etc. When the weather is extreme, we are down to the basics-food, water and shelter and we keep it moving to the next house. Such was the case when people called and said that their dog house was too small for their dog and they needed a bigger one. They even said that we could trade them out-take the small one and leave a bigger one. I remember going there in the dark one evening with a bigger dog house. I dragged it up to the door with a bunch of hay in it and a teenage boy answered the door. He didn’t seem to know anything about switching out the dog houses, so I just told him not to worry about it-I’d stop by some other time and talk to someone and get it. I hustled to the next stop.
It wasn’t until spring that I found myself passing right in front of that house and I remembered about the dog house. There was an older man outside drinking a beer and washing his car, so I pulled over. I got out and told him that I was the one that had brought the dog house and hay over in the winter. I asked him how his dog was doing and he smiled and said, “She’s got 7 puppies.” My heart sank. Oh no! I asked him where they were and he told me they were in the dog house. We went around back and there they were.
This was terrible! Momma was chained up to a lawn mower. I asked him if he wanted the momma and puppies. He said he wanted momma. I told him that when they were a little older, we could help him with the puppies and get them vetted and find good homes for them. He seemed receptive to that idea.
Momma had water, but it needed freshened up. I talked to him about making sure momma had plenty of clean water to drink because she was making a lot of milk. I also told him to make sure she had food down all the time because she needed a lot of calories to make the milk. For now, the puppies needed to stay with mom and continue to get her nourishing milk. I left him a big bag of good dog food and told him I’d check back in a week or so.
We continued to be involved over there, stopping by every Sunday. Every Sunday, the old man was always sitting on his front porch with a beer in his hands. Rarely was he sober. We were so afraid that he would start giving them away to people in the neighborhood, relatives, etc. This is what always happens and it is one of the most frustrating parts of our jobs. When we become aware of a litter out there, we try and get the entire litter signed over. Inevitably, the “owners” start promising them to neighbors, relatives, etc. It’s always a battle, every single time.
Every week we asked him to sign the litter over and every week he said he wasn’t ready for them to leave yet. He’d always say, “maybe next week” and put us off. I was getting very tired of this and the puppies were getting bigger. We stopped by on a Sunday and he started in with, “well….the mail man wants one and the guy down the street wants one and I’m going to keep one,” It was starting, just like it always does. So he wants to keep a puppy so that it can grow up and live on a chain just like his momma?? It’s sad, it’s frustrating.
We’d been standing there talking forever, trying to talk some sense into him. I noticed something and stepped over to Erica. “He doesn’t have a beer in his hand today” I quietly said to her. This is how in sync Erica and I are from doing outreach for a few years together. That’s all I had to say and Erica understood immediately! She headed to the van, yelled over her shoulder to the guy that we were going to the liquor store and we’d be back.
We returned with a 15 pack of Colt 45 and asked him to sign them over right then and there. Well, guess what he did? He signed them all over but the one he was keeping. We just went with the flow like that was cool that he wanted to keep one. We told him that we could take that puppy into the vet with the others to get it’s vaccination and worming and then we could bring it back the next day. He agreed. We got the entire litter and he got his Colt 45!
We hooked momma up before we left. She had been getting tired of her puppies-they were getting older and she was weaning them. We whispered in her ear to hang on, that we would get her out of there. We promised her.
We got the puppies situated. They were hungry, but mostly they were exhausted.
We, of course, were not going to take that last puppy back to the guy. We expected his phone call, but it never came. We kept the puppy and we did not hear from him. We got the puppies all spayed or neutered and put them up for adoption. We knew we’d have a good response because they were all so adorable.
In the meantime, we would run by and give mom biscuits and pig ears, without encountering the old man. Didn’t want him demanding “his” puppy back! Our hearts broke for this momma, but we kept telling her to hang on.She was still sitting over there, chained to the lawn mower and lonely.
We were swamped with interest and applications on the puppies. They were thriving in our care.
Within a few weeks, we were finally able to make this beautiful, skinny, sweet momma dog a Chain of Hope dog. First thing on the agenda? A bath! She was filthy.
We wormed and vaccinated her. We would get rid of her parasites and let her gain some weight before spaying. This poor girl was impregnated while on her chain, gave birth while on her chain and tried to care for her puppies while chained. This poor, poor thing. Erica named her Anita and she began her road to recovery, good health, and soaking up the Chain of Hope love from all of us.
Anita filled out beautifully and then we had her spayed. She got along with everyone at Chain of Hope. We could let her play with anyone and she was totally fine with them. She had a really sweet and grateful spirit.
Anita was with us a few weeks when we received a good application for her. The people had a cat and we had cat tested Anita and it went fairly well. The family decided they wanted to adopt Anita. When they came down a few days later, we had Anita around the cats and she was acting way more interested in the cats now! Oh no!
The family decided they could work with her on the cat issue and they wanted to go ahead and adopt Anita.We showed them how we use a water spray bottle for behavior correction and off they went!
Well…….Anita ended up coming back because of the cat issue.
That’s ok! She was happy playing with her old friends at Chain of Hope again!
One day, an owner came in with 2 puppies that they had adopted from Chain of Hope, to get their vaccinations. They were Anita’s puppies! We brought Anita over to see them. They all sniffed each other a lot, but I wouldn’t say that any of them were ecstatic.
A couple of weekends later, Donna and Jackie took Anita to an adoption event. A wonderful woman came over and met Anita. She spent a lot of time with her. This woman had her very good friend with her and that woman is a vet tech. They both really liked Anita. The girls told that woman that if she was really interested that she needed to on online and fill out an application. We had the app the next day and it was very good!
Well, Barbara ended up adopting Anita! Donna took her over there to do the home visit and said that it is awesome and that Anita and Barbara’s other 2 dogs were getting along fine.
Barbara has renamed Anita, who is now Summer! We love that name for her! Thanks for giving her such a wonderful home, Barbara!
Chain of Hope is tenacious-we don’t give up and we don’t forget. We certainly didn’t forget about this incredible girl!
Welcome to your new, happy life Summer!