Sunday, February 8, 2009

Grooming galore

Submitted by Jannell Matthies, UAN emergency services manager

As another long day comes to an end I’m thinking over the whirlwind of activity these dogs have been through over the last few days. From the seizure and transport to new clean cages with regular meals, then to be taken out to be poked and prodded and looked at by the vets. Moving on to get their pictures taken, weighed, documented and the heavy chains cut off their necks -- usually done with bolt cutters, the chains were so ridiculously heavy -- spending sometimes hours on the grooming tables and still being able to give us a wag of the tail.

Some of the dogs had literally pounds of hair and fecal matter cut off their bodies today. They went from droopy, saggy sad dogs to spunky, alert and affectionate pups in minutes. The groomers are going through their blades very quickly though, so we will be on a massive search tomorrow for additional blades. The groomers have generously offered to pay for more, but I know it will be a big expense to get through all these dogs. Who knew that would be one of our biggest needs!?! If you want to help us buy more blades for the puppy mill dogs, please make a donation to our Disaster Relief Fund!

These guys have come far in a few days and it’s beginning to show. They are still a very quiet bunch; for 300 dogs you would think the noise would be ear piercing. Now that we are getting to know them as individuals, their personalities are starting to peek through. They are still very timid, but breathtakingly loving and affectionate, once they get used to being handled. They just cuddle in almost like they are trying to get inside you. Some of the friskier ones actually dig on our sweatshirts to try and make a bed. They seem almost calmer out of their cages than in them, strange for a puppy mill dog that has only known a cage. After the initial fear wears off, you can feel their bodies just melting into you. A few have even fallen asleep while sitting outside in the warm sun, wrapped in a towel and held by a volunteer.

We have at least one dog in active labor tonight. She went home with one of the volunteer vets to the immense relief of all the volunteers. They were going to spend the night with her, but we were concerned what we would do if she ran into problems. The moms are in such poor condition, they are only having single pups. We lost a few of the newborn puppies yesterday and today. The many on-site vets are doing everything they can, but some of the pups are so weak and fragile they just don’t have any fight in them. It seems like the pregnant mothers are the friendliest. They are almost frantic in their cages, but when we open the door they jump into our laps and snuggle in close for attention. I wonder if they’re worried? They have been pregnant many times and may have had some complications during some of the births, and I don’t imagine anyone was there to help them. I keep telling them this is the last time they will have to do this. Poor girls.

Well, they are at last all tucked in, fed, safe and warm for tonight. That in itself is a good day's work for the volunteers and me. We can go home, get some sleep and get up to take care of them tomorrow. Three hundred is A LOT of dogs!!!!

1 comment:

  1. We have a sweet old chihuahua that is a survivor of a puppy mill and your description of their affectionate and love-starved behavior reminds me so much our our little gal. Sometimes we think she's making up for a lifetime of neglect by getting in as much love as she can now.

    It is so heartening to know that more dogs are being given a second chance, like our little Vera has.


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