It's springtime in Appalachia and you know what that means...puppies! Contrary to popular belief, the abundance of puppies this time of year is not due to a bacchanalian celebration of spring in the dog world. Dogs actually breed year round.
The seeming spike in the number of stray puppies in April and May is because: 1) the leaves are not yet fully out so the pups are easier to see and 2) puppies born in the wild, or tossed there by their humans, are more likely to survive in the temperate temperatures this time of year.
Now that we have that cleared up, let's move on to the pups. On Friday I got a call about these cuties (pictured here two weeks after their rescue)...
They were five weeks old and had been left out near a welding plant. The worker who discovered them gave them some of his sausage biscuit, then stored them in a wooden crate next to the welding action until I got there. They were terrified.
I called my friend Misti who agreed to foster them until they were old enough for the puppy wagon. We gave them names, Queenie (white face) and Maggie. Next came food (they were so young they barely knew how to eat), shots against puppy diseases, and deworming medicine. There was no time for a "before" picture because as soon as they were settled in, Misti and I went out to get more pups.
The next stop that day was to capture three puppies that lived under the porch of this humble abode. (I'd spotted them while driving home from my friend Ann's house.) There were originally four in this litter but one was hit by a car and killed.
If you have never stalked wild puppies here is a primer on how it is done:
First you set a trap with the stinkiest food you can find. Notice how the puppies appear when they smell the yumminess?
As a rule, wild pups will not get near humans no matter how good the food smells. These guys darted under the house and crept closer to the food but there was no way they would come all the way out with us there. We left for a bit. When we came back, we had one.
It shrieked and struggled and tried to bite Misti as she carried it to the car.
It probably thought we were big, hairless beasts. Once inside a crate, it covered its face, employing a proven technique to make scary things go away.
It took another hour to catch puppy #2. Having learned a valuable lesson about sharp teeth, this one entered the crate directly from the trap. The third pup refused to be caught and sadly, to this day, it is still at large.
I kept these two over the weekend to get them used to humans. On Monday I took them to a nearby shelter. They went on a puppy transport to a rescue in Georgia where they will be placed in good homes.
On Tuesday, this little fella showed up at Ann's house. At first we thought he was "the one that got away." Upon closer inspection we realized his legs were too short. He was covered in ticks and his belly was so full of worms he bottomed out when he sat. Notice the look of uncertainty?
But not for long. After he was de-wormed, de-ticked, and had a few good meals under his belt, he was a different guy. He's so cute, Ann decided to keep him. He is named T-bird and he has adjusted nicely to his new life, and his Snoopy bed, and to the adoration of humans.
Four weeks after Queenie and Maggie showed up at the factory, they took the puppy wagon to New York. Here they are the day of their departure. Queenie is drooling from car-sickness, Maggie is not drooling because she already threw up on Queenie. They arrived in New York the next day and with a bit of luck, will be in their new homes before the week is out.
Even though we didn't get all the pups at least we know five of them landed on their paws!
And that, my friend, is what it's all about.