Four days ago, I met a guy who was parked along a curb, sitting in his car with the door open, holding a tiny puppy that he had found while camping up in our local mountains. He brought her home to care for her, but for whatever reason, wasn’t able to keep her. He was asking people walking past if anyone could take her.
The guy was near a park, so my biggest fear was him leaving the puppy there if he couldn’t get anyone to take her. We already have three dogs and two cats at home, so I know taking in anymore pets would just be too much for us. I offered to take her to the Pasadena Humane Society, assuring him that she would receive great care, shelter, and food, and would be adopted in a heartbeat because she’s so adorable. He agreed and handed her off to me. This little dog didn’t look more than 6 weeks old, all of her ribs and both of her hip bones showing, yet so happy and affectionate from the moment she crawled into my arms. I got in my car and snapped a picture of her, sending it Wil and to my best friend before heading to the shelter.
Not 30 seconds went by after sending that picture, and my friend called me to say she wanted the puppy. She’s been saying for months that she wants another dog, and her other small pup would love to have a buddy. She lives in Sacramento and with a huge rain storm about to hit all of California, I decided to wait until Thursday (today) to drive the puppy up to her. I took the pup to my vet to have her checked for a microchip (none) and get a health check-up, shots, and a flea and parasite treatment. According to how many teeth she has, the vet says she’s about ten weeks old, but only weighs five pounds. Other than the obvious signs of malnutrition, the puppy is totally fine.
I stopped at a pet supply and got some basics to care for her over the next few days, and then brought the puppy home. I decided it was best to keep her in another room away from my way-too-curious large dogs, and two cats that probably wouldn’t appreciate a new face in the house. I set up a little camp in Wil’s office, and mentally prepared myself for round-the-clock care of a very hungry, very attention deprived little dog.
The first 30 hours, the puppy was up every 2 hours eating and going to the bathroom. As soon as she was done though, she came straight over to me and whimpered to be held, tucking herself into me as tight as possible, adjusting that tuck multiple times throughout the night. I hardly slept because I just kept kissing her little face and holding her into me so she would know she’s safe. The second and third nights, she mostly slept straight through, only waking once after about 6 hours to eat and go to the bathroom, before crawling back in bed with me, still tucking in as close as possible.
I have always known how important foster care is for rescue animals. Sometimes shelters don’t have the room, the pet may need special care, or they’re just too small to be in a shelter (they need to be a certain weight to get vaccinated, so if they can’t get shots, it’s unsafe for all of the animals to be around a potentially sick one.) After this experience, I have a whole new level of respect for people who selflessly offer their time, love, and care for an animal in need, knowing it’s eventually going to live somewhere else. What has gotten me through this experience (besides her obvious need for food and shelter) is knowing my friend is adopting this puppy. She has such a great personality and is so affectionate, that it would break my heart to not get to see her grow up.
So, thank you to those who foster animals (which I hear can sometimes be a failed foster, because you end up keeping the pet) and for those who take the time to rescue an animal, either from off the streets or from a shelter. There are so many homeless animals that need our help. Please continue to adopt and not buy from breeders. You and your rescue pet will be so glad you did.