Sunday, January 29, 2012

Their first afternoon

They arrived at 11am this morning, riding in a barrel in the back of a pick up truck. The man who brought them reported that "they bite" and showed me the band aid on his finger to prove it. I peered inside the barrel and watched as 4 puppies scrambled to the back as fast as they could. They appeared to be shepherd/heeler mixes of some sort, all four look different, all unique and each one beautiful in her own way. The man reached in with heavy gloves and passed the first puppy into my arms. Each one was checked, all girls, and then taken to the 30x40 foot puppy pen in the back yard. I had already prepared the area with fresh water and toys, although now I began to realize that this would be a completely different experience than the usual batches of puppies that were dropped off at our house for fostering. As I set each puppy into the pen, she ran immediately into the nearest corner and began to shake, until all four were huddled together as far away from me as they could get. I left them alone for a short while so they could explore their new area, and went inside to send out a plea to many of our volunteers asking for them to come as often as possible "to sit with puppies". I also took the time to give each one of our new special puppies a name. Since this was our "N litter" of foster puppies, the girls are now named Natasha (black/tan shepherd-like), Nevada (the most heeler-like), Nora (all black with white chest/feet) and Nina (white with brown/black markings). I then went back outside, entered the pen and sat down as quietly as possible on top the small igloo dog house. I sat sideways, still as can be, and eventually the puppies began moving around, Natasha always the first one out and Nina the last. They would freeze if I spoke to them, so I only occasionally spoke. After 20 minutes of sitting I left the pen and went inside. I watched the puppies out the window and from there they appeared "normal". They were chewing on bones, wrestling and playing with the toys. If we opened the back door of our house they would startle and sometimes hide. My second visit I took them a bowl of puppy kibble. I perched in the dog house again and tossed handfuls of food onto the ground 5-10 feet away from me. I sat still and waited. The girls were hungry and almost immediately Natasha began sniffing and then eating pieces of kibble off the ground. Soon Nora, and then Nevada followed. Nina took a few minutes to venture out of the other dog house, and would pick up a few pieces then scramble back into the dog house. They all kept a very close eye on me and I tried to be very still. If they came near me I didn't speak at all. Natasha came within 2 feet of me to eat some kibble that had bounced my way. I was very happy with that. I worry most about Nina and Nevada. Nina is the shyest of the four, and Nevada was the quickest to use her mouth when we had carried them into their pen for the first time. I realize that even if these puppies are rehabilitated to be adopted, that they will have to go to special homes.


  1. I went out for a short bit this afternoon to check out and help the pups. Carmen is right, they are all very beautiful in their own unique way. Carmen gave me some kibble to take out and there I sat on the igloo. At first, the four were huddled in the dog house. But as I starting tossing food to them, they all slowly came out to eat. Natasha was within a foot of me at one point and Nora and Nevada were not far behind. I even got a little ruff ruff out of Neveda. The water in their bowl was frozen and I could tell they were thirsty so I went back inside and got some water for them. They all drank water as soon as I left the pen. All in all, I think they made definite progress. Katie

    1. Thanks for coming out already Katie! After you left I took our own dogs for a walk, when we returned I stood outside their pen with Paige and Paloma. The puppies' curiousity got the best of them, and soon they all ventured out to meet the older dogs through the fence, even with me standing there. I will be taking Paige in the pen with me tomorrow for some dog therapy work and puppy confidence building.