This weekend I helped transport four adorable puppies with Paws on the Ground after spending the rest of the day mailing items from our recent fundraising auction, picking up a donation of supplies, and cleaning and readying crates for transport. Since the beginning of the year we have been working to help a local retail pet store offer rescue puppies for adoption. Here in Colorado we have a licensing and inspection program that oversees all aspects of pet care, both retail and rescue, and we have to be sure that we comply with their requirements. We had a total of thirteen puppies arriving from New Mexico, four going to foster and nine going to the store we are working with. The transport would not be possible without From Forgotten to Forever whose volunteers devote every weekend to long-distance driving with a van full of precious spared lives. The van has designated drop-off points and they have the process down to a science. A Facebook message thread keeps everyone up-to-date on their estimated arrival times, dogs are transfered, pictures are taken, and they are on to their next stop. Between our own volunteers and those from other organizations, we formed a small tribe of animal lovers in the parking lot, sharing stories, appreciation, and excitement about the adorable cargo soon arriving. Mostly, we can't wait to get our hands on those puppies!
I was delighted to get to take a litter of four girls (my favorite!) with beautiful markings (my favorite!), one of which even had an eye-patch (my absolute favorite!).The first dog lifted down to me from the transport van was the eye-patch girl, who we decided to call Panda. Her three sisters, Polar, Pippa and Pearl followed, and I got them situated in their travel crates in pairs. Although they won't have them for long, the puppies need temporary names to help us identify them in our database, record-keeping and spay or neuter appointments. I contemplated making a run for it with this stunning girl, but I had three more puppies waiting for a ride. The four girls cried and howled pitifully the entire way - it was heartbreaking and all I wanted to do was pull over and comfort them. I played some Prince for them and made my way to the store as quickly and carefully as possible.
Once they were checked over and cleaned off (let's just say my car was NOT smelling very good by the time we arrived), the puppies were placed in their enclosures. These puppies have endured so much already, from being abandoned or even born in overcrowded shelters with little chance of adoption, to a long road trip that could be scary since they don't understand where they are going next. It's incredible to see how resilient they are, often going straight to playing in their new environment. The new arrivals always attract a lot of attention and I loved having the chance to educate about rescue and encourage adoption. Every time I go the store I talk with someone who tells me they are there because they heard about Paws on the Ground. Doing the right thing is good for business! A lot of people asked what kind these four were - they were listed as lab mixes on the transport, but I don't see that at all - any guesses?
Once they were settled in, I had a chance to observe the puppies' different personalities and get a closer look at them. Each of these four has the most exquisite eyes in different combinations of green and blue. One puppy has one blue eye and one half-blue, half-green eye! My little favorite proved to have the personality type I'm drawn to as well: observant and contemplative. While her sisters played, Panda say quietly in the corner taking everything in, or standing up and asking to be held when someone walked over. Often the rescue puppies are picked faster than those other puppies at the store, so I have no doubt that she will find her person soon, along with the eight other puppies we delivered. It's an extremely surreal experience being inside the store I spent almost six months protesting, joking with the owner and partnering to get these dogs out of danger and into loving homes. I couldn't have imagined last year that I'd go from spending my volunteer hours holding protest signs, to holding puppies that we helped save!
Paws on the Ground is now putting together an even bigger rescue effort, in conjunction with several other organizations across multiple states: a rescue flight with the potential to save up to 100 dogs. I'd be so grateful if you'd check out the GoFundMe page, donate and/or share if you can!