When I left for my vacation last week, the puppies were mostly squirming little gopher looking things. They were moving around and starting to play a little with each other. But mostly they couldn't control their direction and a little bit of play wore them out.
When I got home they were up and walking, one of them even climbing to get out of their pen. One of the puppies had deemed herself leader of the pack and had developed a bark and a growl to keep everyone in line.
She's the biggest of the litter and she knows it. She has a personality as big as she is. But still no name.
As the foster I get to name the puppies. But because you all have come along on the foster journey I would love input from the Patch readers. One suggested Eenie, Meanie, Minee and Mo. Another suggested John, Paul, George and Ringo.
While I was gone last week my wonderful pet sitter named the mamma dog Sadie. It suits her, so I guess it's going to stick. Kiera, my friend and pet sitter, has nicknames for all of the puppies but I don't know them. I am determined not to let any names stick until Patch readers have a say.
Vacation halfway through the fostering was a great idea. Sadie seems much easier now than she did before I left. That's good because the puppies are just now becoming a handful.
They come outside with me and Sadie to run off some energy. That doesn't take long. While I have them all outside, I am also able to pull out their bedding and quickly mop and disinfect their space. I do as much laundry for the dogs as I ever did for my teenager. (Although he's coming home from college this weekend so I may eat my words).
The neighbors who stop are all sure that it will be impossible for me to give the puppies away. They are cute and soft and they have that sweet puppy breath. But I am sure I can do it. Four puppies at once is too much and it makes it easy to let them go. I do, however, want to know that they will all be adopted into good homes.
The County's committment to becoming a no-kill community makes me think it will happen. This county surpassed its goal of releasing 63 percent of animals brought into the shelter in October. About 65 percent of animals were adopted or transferred from the shelter to rescue groups and foster homes. But that means 35 percent of the animals in the shelter were killed.
It's good progress, but it makes me worry about Sadie once the puppies are up for adoption. Will she be another statistic because she was abandoned her? And because whoever had her never bothered to get her fixed, so she ended up adding to the population of dogs in the county making it even more difficult for her to get a home. Competing with fat, cute puppies when she's an underfed dog with a big head and tiny ears will make her chances of getting adopted slim.
The good news is that because of the community's efforts, all four of her puppies will be spayed or neutered before they are adopted and they will not add to the population of unwanted or abandoned dogs in the county.
Spay and neuter programs are key to the county's no kill efforts. Maybe these efforts will help change attitudes countywide, meaning fewer litters of puppies born at the animal shelter.