I got up for my usual 5:15 AM walk with Ashok yesterday. It was still dark, and we tooled along taking care of business and saying morning prayers. I was almost to the end of Capitol Heights when I spotted something that would end up totally changing my day. It was an undistinguishable mass right on the edge of a street that crossed Capitol Heights. “What is that?” I said to myself as I walked a little closer. The pile started moving in a hurry, and I realized it was a pile of sleeping puppies.
They were situated in the road but to the side. If a car had turned that corner in the dark, the whole pile would have been hit. As puppies do, they started bounding toward me but in a wide swath. I didn’t know what to do. I was still sleepy and a little shocked, and I certainly wasn’t looking to take in 4 puppies on a Monday morning. But as I looked around, I realized they were all over the road, and if I walked on, at least one would surely be squashed by a car before I came back.
One of the puppies ran over to Ashok who was sitting on command and started trying to nurse her. She doesn’t like other dogs, and I guess it was a little too close. She snapped and growled and all the puppies started running, squealing and scattering down the street. A car came to a stop at the intersection, and I was standing in the middle of the road with puppies scattered all around me. He couldn’t move without hitting one. I finally walked over and told him that I had just found these puppies and asked if he could help me carry them back to my house. He said sure, and he took 3 puppies in his lap to my house. I tried to find the fourth puppy but apparently he ran into hiding.
I went back after getting the other puppies settled in a cage to look for the fourth puppy but could not find him. It still wasn’t daylight, and it was hard to see anything. I had no idea what direction he went, so I finally gave up. I came home and posted on Next Door – the neighborhood social media site – that a puppy was missing and to contact me if anyone found it. Then I had to get ready for work as I had an out-of-town meeting with a start time that was quickly approaching.
A neighbor, Stacy, whom I’ve passed on the street a number of times when I’m walking Ashok contacted me and said she would go out looking for the puppy. I thought the chances were slim on finding him, but I gave her a description of the little guy and a proximate location where I found them. She didn’t find him on the first pass, but about 10 AM she texted me that she had him. He was hiding under the house close to where I found them. I was astounded that she knew to look under that house, but she said she tried to think of where she would go hide if she was a dog, and she found him.
Stacy was nice enough to go get the puppies off my porch. I couldn’t let them go in because I had no idea if they had a disease, and I didn’t want to expose Ashok. She took them in for the day and ended up taking them to vet to get a preliminary checkup. The vet said they looked to be about 12 weeks old, all males and seemed very healthy except they had worms. She got them dewormed and then I met her over at her house.
Stacy has a toddler and a beautiful black labrador retriever. The house was in chaos with a toddler running around and four puppies peeing all over the place. Stacy was following close behind with a spray bottle. Another neighbor came in with some puppy pads, and we decided that I would take them home for the night and put them in my back room where it was quiet. I thanked Stacy and Keith for all their help, and I went home.
Meanwhile, I was posting pics of these adorable puppies on Facebook and getting lots of ideas about where to take them. I’m in a rental, so I knew I couldn’t keep them long enough to find homes. I was astounded at how many rescue groups contacted me about these puppies. Baton Rouge seems to be very connected with resources for stray animals. In fact, even the vet said our city shelter was usually pretty good.
My house was chaos. My usually tranquil yoga room was a stinky, squirming mess for about 24 hours. Ashok hid in her kennel. She wanted nothing to do with the squirrelly things, and the cats stayed in my bedroom. The puppies were entirely in control of my time, and I basically ran around trying to keep things somewhat sanitary. When I wasn’t cleaning up the floor, I was talking to rescue agencies and getting references.
My niece Hannah fell in love with the black and white puppy the minute I posted the first picture. She and her fiancé have been wanting a puppy for awhile, and this seemed to be the one. So, I promised it to her early on. I could have found 10 homes for that puppy. It seemed to be the most popular one, but I loved the little tan and black one. I also loved the runt of the litter. But I’m a sucker for the underdog. They were all adorable, but I was surprised that no one wanted any of the other ones. They were all so sweet. Nevertheless, three of them ended up going to the Return the Favor Animal Rescue in Folsom LA this afternoon.
I met Cynthia and Jessica in Hammond to deliver the puppies, and they were so nice. Jessica is 14, and Cynthia is her grandmother. Cynthia said Jessica was hell-bent on starting that animal rescue operation when she was 13, so she helped her do it. In her words, she said, “If she wants to spend her weekends chasing stray dogs instead of stray boys, I’m totally supportive of that!” We loaded the puppies in the car, and they headed off to their new lives. I cried half the way home – happy and sad at the same time.
I thought of the day I adopted Ashok. I remembered walking her out to the car, and she jumped right in. She was older. She wasn’t a puppy. But she jumped in the passenger seat where she would continue to ride almost daily for the past 7 years. She looked at me expectantly, and I told her that I was going to take her on so many adventures. I promised to take her camping and hiking and running, and I told her that she was a very lucky girl. In my heart of hearts, I hoped that each of those puppies would have a similar experience soon and that somehow I was partly responsible – along with Stacy and her crew and the rescue team – for making today the first day of the rest of their lives.
I came home and bathed the black and white for my niece and helped them get out the door with their new little family. I texted Stacy a pic, and we both said we felt so happy and sad that all these little guys were finally moving on with their lives. It’s funny how things happen in life. When I took off on my walk yesterday, I had no idea that the next 48 hours would be filled with new friends, beautiful little helpless puppies and as much pee and poop as you can rightly imagine. It was such an awesome experience to help them get on their way. I got 48 hours of pure fuzzy love.
BTW…. if you can help to defray the costs of the shots and medical care for these lovely puppies, you can donate to Return the Favor Animal Rescue at GoFundMe. Or you can donate directly to the Folsom Animal Hospital. The links and numbers are below. Midlife Moments and the Capitol Heights puppies thank you. It takes a village to save a pile of puppies, and you can help. And if you know someone who wants a puppy, check out the Facebook page and look for my puppies up for adoption soon!