I continue to foster puppies as a volunteer with Royal Rescue and as a small way to contribute to Manatee County's no-kill effort.
It's been an adventure so far, and I am now on my third batch of puppies, bottle-fed babies who have yet to open their eyes.
I meant to write about the second group — three boxer puppies — but they came and went so fast I never got the chance. I feel great about every family who adopted the boxer puppies. It was fun to watch the couples — the men made over the puppies more than the women.
The good news is that it turns out Sadie, the mama dog of my first batch of puppies, loves to help with the puppies. Her maternal instincts have not waned. And she is a great help in keeping the new puppies happy and feeling safe.
After they were adopted, I got another mama dog who gave birth to six puppies at animal services. My guess is that she was barely more than a year old. She wasn't very maternal — three of her six puppies died when she did not keep them warm — and it turned out she was quite aggressive.
I can only guess at what her life was like before Manatee County Animal Services picked her up. I don't know if she was taught to be agressive or if she was so used to fighting and protecting herself that she attacked because she always felt threatened. I know mama dogs can be protective of their puppies, but her aggression seemed to go beyond that.
While I did my best to keep her away from Sadie and my beagle, Buster, she attacked Sadie in the house. It took two people to pull her off and I knew all of the techniques for breaking up a dog fight, but she was undeterred. After that I was even more careful to keep the dogs apart.
I had her in the back yard behind a six-foot high privacy fence one morning, and a friend took Sadie in the front yard. But the the new dog pushed through the gate and silently and quckly came after Sadie again. It took three of us to pull her off and by then she had injured Sadie, who didn't fight back, leaving her with three deep puncture wounds in her neck.
I had to take the new dog back to Manatee Animal Services where she was put down. I hated to take her, but after she came through the fence, I was afraid of what she might do if someone were walking their dog on my street.While Manatee County is on a mission to become no-kill that doesn't mean the county saves every single dog.Tthe goal is to save all adoptable dog. A dog that is extremely sick, severely injured or that is extremely aggressive can not be adopted out.
A week later I met someone who has done amazing work with aggressive dogs. He is able to retrain them so that they don't believe they have to fight all the time. I wish there were more people like him with the skills and training to retrain aggressive dogs, and dogs that have been conditioned and taught to fight.
But with the mama dog gone, I was left with her three five-day-old puppies that I am now bottle feeding. They eat every four hours and they need help learning everything. Thankfully Sadie has recovered nicely, although she has a few more scars.
And Sadie, who is the most gentle and forgiving dog I've ever seen, is helping teach the new puppies what they need to know, even helping me clean them up and keeping them corralled, calm and warm during feeding time. When she's not sitting with the puppies, she sits besides me and watches over me and the puppies to make sure I am doing everything right.
I did have someone ask about Sadie recently because she saw Sadie was no longer on Pet Finder, available for adoption. Well, Sadie is adopted. She found her permanent home.
I officially adopted her from Royal Rescue. I couldn't let her go to another home — she is an amazing dog, friend and gentle soul.
I am grateful for her companionship and to have her by my side, as I care for the new pups. I know that she will help to nuture and teach them as they grow and thrive.