We received a call from a concerned citizen about an emaciated mother and her puppies, who were occupying a vacant house in the industrial landscape of far North City. These calls are always bittersweet. You are angered by the fact that people are capable of such cruelty, but you also rejoice that someone cared enough to make a simple phone call and save – in this case – eight lives.
That sense of joy and relief always collides with the cold reality that there are hundreds of other dilapidated homes potentially holding innocent animals prisoner right now. Without people who care and refuse to look the other way, their fate won’t be as hopeful.
What we found when we entered the door to the vacant home was both sad and disturbing. A very sweet, but sickly and emaciated female dog welcomed us. She was starving to death and obviously doing everything within her power to care for her litter. The absence of food or water anywhere within the home made that impossible. In a corner of the floor was a filthy blanket with six, three-week-old puppies. Mom, who we later named Crisco, seemed happy to have us in her makeshift nursery and appeared to know we were there to help. With absolutely no regard to whether she lived or died, Crisco was likely locked in the house to nurse the pups, so they could be sold. To think of the awful fate she had in store had we not been there is heartwrenching.
We placed a slip lead around Crisco’s neck and gathered up the pups using a small basket. Just as we were ready to head out to the rescue Jeep, more puppy cries rose up from beneath the floor. We descended into the dark basement and found a single pup wandering in the dampness, which was heavily soiled with feces. We quickly gathered him up and made one last room-to-room sweep of the entire house in case any more puppies were hiding. Once it was cleared, we took Crisco and her beautiful pups on their freedom ride back to the shelter… and towards a new, happy life.
Crisco and her puppies are now safe and sound and mom is on the road to a healthy, full recovery. She needs to put on considerable weight, but her sweet disposition and fighting spirit will undoubtedly help her on that journey.