To the person who let go of two of the most resilient dogs I’ve ever met, this post is for you.
On March 7, 2016, you surrendered a pair of sweet, innocent, beautiful red pitties. You made the decision to load them up from wherever ever they called home and drop them off at a tiny, rural, high kill shelter here in NE Florida. Whether or not you knew they’d be immediately marked for euthanasia, we’ll never know. I hope you didn’t… that would somehow restore some of my faith in humanity.
While both girls are amazing, in this post I’m going to focus on “Mama 2”, now known as Rose/Rosie/Mama Rose.
You apparently told shelter staff that Rosie just had a litter of puppies, and they had all passed. We weren’t told why you decided to let both girls go after just losing a whole litter of puppies, but you did. You can see the confusion and loss of faith in Rose’s eyes in her intake pictures. Looking at these pictures again breaks my heart as this is not the happy girl we know today. I can’t imagine her being so lost and shut down that she wouldn’t smile. The girls were evaluated by the shelter and found to be very high HW positive, Rosie more so than Lexi (Mama 1). The shelter also estimated that our little Rose was a senior (we now know she’s closer to 3 years old), which they thought gave her an even smaller chance of being saved. So, on March 8, these girls were marked as “extremely urgent” and to be euthanized within the week.
With the help of a small, dog loving network of donors, fosters, and transporters, we took your girls in. Right away we saw how emaciated they were. How little fur they had. How red and irritated their skin was. And our little Rosie was still lactating. Milk was literally dripping from her…
Flashback to the week before. We took in a littler of 1-week old puppies left in a box at a vet’s office. Two amazing ladies volunteered to bottle feed 10 puppies every couple of hours to keep them alive. Until we saved your throw-away-dog, Mama Rose. We’d all read the stories of a lactating animal caring for offspring who weren’t hers, but we didn’t think we’d be that lucky. Our vet gave us his blessing to give it a try and off we went with our trainer, Courtney Keppen, of Pro Pet Train.
There are people out there who are in it for the money and fame, then there are others who are in it for the animals. Without a shadow of a doubt, Courtney is in it for the animals. She opened her home to Rosie and the puppies the first weekend. She introduced Rose to her new puppies and after a little confusion, Rose’s maternal instincts kicked in. She laid down, and to our amazement started nursing the hungry puppies. She started cleaning them and fussing over them like they were hers. It was a sense of relief for her and for all of us. It was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget. I am forever in debt to Courtney for not giving up on Rose.
Rose raised 10 healthy German Shepherd/Malinois puppies who, as of today, are all in their forever homes. She saved these innocent puppies and they gave her a sense of purpose. They helped her poor, swollen body cope and she gave them security and love.
Now, it’s Rosie’s turn.
As of last week, Rose has finished HW treatment and is looking for her forever family. The family you couldn’t provide her. Rosie is exuberant, funny, loving, caring, playful, genuine, and she has a heart of gold. Her foster mom is absolutely in love and Rose has her wrapped around her sweet, little paw. And I don’t know if all of this is despite you or because of you. Did you give them love and attention? Did you know the dangers of heartworms? Could you not afford HW prevention or did you just not care? Were you breeding her repeatedly intentionally or was she a “yard dog” subject to any roaming male on your property? Were you selling her puppies? Were they left to fend for themselves? These are questions that will never be answered and I know I would do better to move on and quit asking them.
For now, please know that your girls have been living in the lap of luxury since you let them go. They’ve put on weight and their fur has filled in. They both developed the most amazing burnt orange, brindle patterned coat. I’ve never seen anything like it, they really are stunning. We want you to know that your girls, now our girls, will never go a day without, ever again. We will find them families who can give them the life you felt you couldn’t.