March 2, 2012

We mingled with puppies.

A couple weeks ago, No More Homeless Pets in Utah posted a request for volunteers on their FB page. They do a program called Pup My Ride where dogs from various shelters across the U.S. are moved (essentially distributed) to other areas of the country where demand is higher. This particular load of pups was on its way from LA to Montana, stopping to rest in Salt Lake City.

In LA, people over-breed small dogs (lots of chihuahuas!) and use them like accessories. There are way too many homeless pets everywhere, but in LA it's particularly sad for the many small dogs who end up being euthanized because of others' ignorance.

So, the NMHPU needed help unloading this truckload of dogs at a kennel were they would rest for a night, then continue back on the road, Montana-bound, the next morning. The only minor catch? The puppies arrived at 1:00 a.m. After a nap and some coffee, we headed to SLC to greet the furry lil visitors, just passin' through.

Chris was afraid this experience would leave us sad and feeling hopeless. You know, the pissed-off-at-humanity feeling when an overwhelming realization of something terrible crashes down on you? It was actually quite the opposite, though.

The gal who picked up the 50 furballs and drove all through the day and into the night from LA to SLC was so nice. We could hear high-pitched yapping as she pulled into the parking lot, before she even got out of the vehicle. (Can you imagine the headache?) She even had two dogs loose up in the front with her. The rest were in kennels in the back of a van. She was smiling--not complaining--as she opened the back and helped us start to unload.

About ten volunteers gathering in the middle of the night (most of them dog owners and SLC residents) was totally inspiring. I felt proud of humanity. Proud that sometimes people do think beyond themselves and step up for voiceless, helpless creatures like these dogs.

Then we met the puppies.

There were mostly small, young dogs with about five big dogs peppered in the mix as well as a pit bull mom and her ten puppies. Fifty total. Each one was removed from its kennel in the back of the van, put on a leash by one of us, taken to a lawn area where they could run for a minute and potty, then taken inside to a gated kennel for dinner and rest.

You know that I obviously bonded with every dog I touched. But this one pup in particular...sigh. He was a love bug. He was a chihuahua puppy, peanut  butter-colored, with white spots. He was a little ball of fire! I took him out back and spent a little extra time running around with him. He jumped all over the shy lil dog Chris was walking on his leash. He jumped on every person that walked by. His tail wagged. I'm pretty sure he must have known he was on his way to a better life...or maybe he was just tired of being cooped up all day. Either way, I loved his personality. When it came time for me to set him up in his area inside, I bent over to put him down and he wrapped his little paws around my arm. His eyes said "No, don't put me down. Take me home, won't you?" I held onto him a little while longer then made him join his friends for the night.

If there wasn't a one-pet regulation in our neighborhood...

The pit bull and her puppies were in a separate, quieter area. She was the best mom, nursing her ten (TEN!) pups and being totally tolerant as I picked them up and loved on them.

Oh how I pray that each of those dogs finds a better life in Montana. They need forever homes--or even a good foster home--just something other than a shelter that will eventually run out of room. They deserve that. It's my dream to eventually run a ranch where I can foster all kinds of domestic animals. Chris is with me. We will make this happen one day.

Contact NMHPU if you want to come help with this project (and others). It'll feel good. Here are some photos from the night. Some are taken with my phone, the better ones were shot by Melissa Lipani.

Feeding time. 

Sweet puppy. These shots seem sad, but they're really not. It's a positive thing they got to stay the night in a bigger area with some blankets and food. :)

We missed the volunteer photo because we were still wrangling little ankle biters.

This jack russell couldn't play nice with the other dogs.

Mommy pit. 

I was interrogated, only for a minute, by my dog.

A little sleepy by the time we got home at 3:00 a.m.

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