Well, as far as rescues go, this one by far has been the most heartbreaking for me.
A few days ago, our friend Ana with Boston Terrier rescue notified us of a bulldog at the Maricopa County Shelter (aka 'the pound'). The dog was found as a stray, roaming the hot streets of Arizona in July. I don't know how she is still alive.
We made some phone calls and did some investigating, and the shelter worker on the phone says, 'Whoa, wait a second. This dog is pregnant. Very pregnant.' My heart sunk.
Now, for those who don't know, English Bulldogs are required to have C-sections. So this girl being at the pound with limited resources, was not going to have that opportunity to have a C-section and raise her puppies. The shelter does not have the time, money or man power to do that.
I immediately got on the computer and begin e-mailing the 'powers that be' at the shelter, begging and pleading for them to release this dog to us ASAP so we can get her the prenatal care she deserves. Not to mention, the bulldog was in a 4x4 foot indoor/outdoor kennel run, with only swamp cooling to keep her cool. The runs are made out of concrete, so you can imagine how hot is was for her being pregnant!!!
The 'powers that be' at the shelter informed me of a new 'rule' that not even rescuers that are partnered with them are allowed to get dogs out for rescue that are not spayed/neutered. Ok, I said, so what does this mean?! It means that the mom will be released to us AFTER they open her up, remove the puppies, euthanize each puppy one by one, and then remove the momma dog's uterus and 'girl parts'.
GASP. I know you are all reading this in horror, wondering how any human being on earth can think this is okay. It's NOT ok. When I heard this, I got tears in my eyes and started calling every shelter phone number that I had, begging and pleading for an exception to be made. My volunteer, Michele said she would love nothing more than to raise this litter of puppies. We told the shelter workers that we will pay for the dog's c-section, get up every 3 hours to put them on mom to feed, and most of all- when they are ready and old enough- ensure that every puppy was spayed/neutered before they would be adopted out.
Not good enough. This was their 'rule' and there was nothing I could say or do to get this dog out with the puppies still inside of her.
I asked the shelter to move the momma dog into the section of the shelter that has air conditioning, and they agreed to. (THANK GOODNESS.)
Most of you know that I just had a baby, and the thought of any living thing waking up after being pregnant, and not being pregnant anymore- and NO baby or babies- is horrifying! My heart broke for this dog, but I had to accept the fact that there was nothing I can do.
I asked the shelter manager if she could ensure that Love-A-Bull Rescue would be able to get this dog immediately after surgery to give her the proper after care. She agreed to that.
SOOOO, that is what we did today. Michele came over, we loaded up Lucy in the van, and headed to the shelter after we got word the spay was complete. Can I just say, doing ANYTHING in 108 degree heat is miserable, let alone walking the shelter with only fans and swamp cooling! We take a number in line, and wait about a half hour. In that half hour we saw so many people with dogs to surrender. We heard things like 'I'm moving and can't take her,' and 'she pees on the floor,' and 'my boyfriend doesn't like the dog.' REALLY?! What happens when your children do this?? Do you just dump them off somewhere for someone else to deal with?
So we finally get up to the desk, and the lady said 'she is in the next door vet area, go there.' OK, so we do. We get there, and the vet tech informs us that there were SIX puppies inside of her, and they were glad they removed them when they did because she was very close to going into labor.
Michele and I sat there in horror listening to this. THOSE POOR PUPPIES! THAT POOR MOMMA DOG!
I have great respect for the men and women who work at shelters, but man. Hearing this being said got under my skin so bad! All I keep thinking is how those puppies would have had such amazing love and care in our rescue... But no. Not now. They are gone.
The worker there said 'the dog isn't moving that well.' REALLY?! I wonder why. She also said, 'from the looks of things, this is not her first litter, so there was a ton of scar tissue and a lot of blood lost during the surgery.' It will be great if this dog makes it.
Michele went in the back to get the dog out of the kennel while I went to cool the car down...
She had to carry this big ol' bully girl out wrapped in towels. My heart sank to the floor. The dog's nose was crusted over with green mucous, and the dog is sneezing and coughing. Great. She has kennel cough too. Oh, and a huge cherry eye that is blocking her vision. I can't imagine how this dog feels right now! She has to be wondering where her babies are and why she feels so awful! Her her world has been turned upside down in a matter of days.
We named her 'Momma Mia.' She is such a beautiful girl, and after she gets through this trauma and pain, she will be up for adoption. She is as sweet as pie, and NEVER deserved this! Where the HECK are her stupid owners?! Did they dump her off in the middle of summer because they didn't want to pay for a c-section? Did they not THINK when they let her get pregnant??
Honestly, THIS is why I do rescue. So we can ensure that these dogs are getting fixed and getting into homes that we would trust with our own dogs. There are so many stupid people out there that don't deserve the right to own a dog.
I am not against breeding. I am against irresponsible breeding. Momma's owners could have gotten on the phone or in their car, and found her at the shelter. There is a mandatory 3 day hold for ALL stray pets. Nope, no one came forward.
I hope Momma's story will make you think twice the next time you hear that your friend is going to 'breed his dog.' I hope her story will touch your heart enough to discourage irresponsibility. I hope that next time you decide to get a new dog that you will consider a rescue group or adopting from the shelter. Walking through the shelter (even though I have done it so many times) really puts you in a different place. A different state of mind when you see all of these poor animals laying there looking at you, wondering if you are there for them. I honestly say a prayer when I leave there, praying that these beautiful faces get adopted to good people. I know the reality is this: about 5% of those dogs are leaving the shelter and going to a home. (I am being generous.)
In Maricopa County alone, the East and West shelters take in hundreds and hundreds of dogs.
Is it fair that Momma dog ended up there? NO. Is it fair that her puppies are gone? NO. Should any dog or living thing have to go through this? NO!
Moving forward... Momma is now napping in her crate, in nice, cold air conditioning. She is going to be so incredibly spoiled that it's ridiculous!!!
My little Lucy was such a trooper. We were both sweating so bad she was sliding off me, but she just smiled and looked at all the dogs... Such innocence. She was happy to see the dog in the back riding home with her. She probably thinks, 'another Double??' (Double is Lucy's furry brother, along with SLIM!)
We will keep everyone posted on Momma Mia. She is in the best hands EVER and please send some good vibes her way!
Ahhh... so glad to be home now. Lucy is napping, the bullies are napping, and now I get to......... do laundry! BLEH!
Here are some pics of the beautiful MOMMA MIA and of course, my favorite little girl in the world, LUCY MARIE!...
Momma dog SAFE!
Notice her green nose :-(
Real great owners she had (IDIOTS!)
Michele loaded up and so is Lucy!
Lucy's favorite part is waiting for Momma Dog to come out while she sits with the AC blowing on her in the front seat with me! BIG STUFF!
The small kennel runs
So sad to see all of these lost pet flyers there...