When space is available, Helping Strays rescues dogs from the streets of East St. Louis. Recent cold and snow means homeless dogs are in more danger than usual. Deb Dunevant sent this report of rescues from this past week.
As the snow storm closed in time was of the essence for the dogs on the street. Driving around checking for dogs on the normal route, Helping Strays volunteers ran across two little shepherd pups and their mom. Knowing this was not a job to be handled alone, Gateway Pet Guardians was called and sent a crew over to Washington Park to help. Frightened by people, the puppies scampered inside of a burned out, collapsed house. Every time the crew located one, it would scamper into a tighter spot. After crowbarring, digging and shifting debris, the two small puppies were pulled from the wreckage. Welcome to Helping Strays, Athena and Ariana.
After the snow and blistering cold the street dogs were ready for a day of leisure. Well lucky for them the rescuers were ready. One unknown mom found a home in a vacant duplex. She had buried her puppies inside a comfy cushion. The puppies were an easy rescue. Now it was time for mom. With the pups safely in the car, volunteers back off, hoping mom would join her litter. Desperate as whe was to keep her babies next to her, it was all too scary. She would look in the back seat at her babies, take a step into the car and then spook herself back onto the streets. We wanted to shout to her, "Take the leap, we promise it will be better." Today was just not her day. The next day, she was not to be found, but her babies will never suffer hunger or cold again.
Many days dog rescuing is difficult, heartbreaking, and full of whys. Friday, a group of many rescuers gathered to save a dog Gateway Pet Guardians has been feeding for several months. She had young puppies close by. The team set out and were able to quickly locate four puppies under a vacant house. Volunteers shimmied under the house and quickly brought out the 10 day old C litter puppies. Rescue does not usually work this fast, but today was the C litter's day.
The team split up, one group headed further into Washington Park and another to set a trap for Sissy, a stray we have been feeding for over a year. Sissy had a litter of three last summer and we were only able to rescue one puppy, Raini. Sissy is again ready to have puppies so her rescue is crucial.
Meanwhile, Washington Park rescuers had met with success. They found five more puppies whose eyes were squinting open to experience their new world. Momma dog, Darbie was willing to meet her new rescuers with open arms since they were holding her puppies. Darbie is now in a foster home doing fantastic. She is a super sweet momma loving all her new found attention.
With so many sucesses, we felt confident today was the day for Sissy. Driving by, everyone was so excited to see she climbed out of the crawl space and was investigating the trap. However, Sissy said, "Not today!" She quickly jumped over the trap and found her way out. But Sissy did not look pregnant? This time we were too late. Sissy has delivered her puppies under the house. The crawl space is so tight Sissy is the only one who will be able to crawl under. We do know the home is occupied, therefore she is getting warmth from the house.
17 puppies and one momma are off the streets and in good hands. Athena and Ari are old enough that they will soon be available for adoption. The B and C litters, at just two weeks old, will be bottle feed by their foster families for the next four weeks. They will then need foster homes willing to take two puppies per home. With Darbie's D litter pups, that means seven foster homes will be needed this spring. Please consider becoming a foster parent. If you can't foster, but would still like to help, donations of Esbilac, puppy food, and puppy pads are desperately needed. Or donate to help purchase needed supplies.