Written by Jim Park
Many people wonder about their adopted dog's past. Where did he come from? What happened in his past? Unfortunately, there are too many circumstances that cause dogs to become homeless. One recent case was 13 American Eskimo Dogs that had been raised in a barn in Carlise, Pennsylvania. The PA-13, as they became known, were originally from a single un-neutered male and un-spayed female dog, who logically reproduced. The owner did not think that the dogs would continue to breed as they removed the male dog and left the offspring to grow. Unfortunately dogs will very readily inbreed. So the number of dogs increased and they were put into a barn to live together. By the time the ERU became involved 5 of the female dogs were already pregnant.
Dogs that are not raised around humans are not socialized and they can be quite fearful of humans. They are difficult to catch and will struggle when they are held. They typically shake with fear and will hide when possible. If put in a crate and a car, they usually will get sick in only a few minutes of the start of the car ride. Moving fearful dogs like this is a very stressful experience for the dog as well as the human. These dogs do not make good housepets as they are typically not housebroken. It takes lots of time and work with such a dog before they will possibly come out of their shell.
What does it mean to have to take care of these dogs? It means:
- Going to a barn and in the dark, trying to catch and put collars on fearful dogs.
Feeding and caring for dogs every day and every night.
- Getting vet care for every dog, sometimes taking off work in order to fit in the vet visits. Typically each dog needs 3 or 4 vet trips. One to get shots; one to drop off to get spayed/neutered; one to pick up the dog; and one to get stitches removed or followup after surgery.
- Having the mother and puppies live in your bathroom because you don't have any other space for dogs. Then having to clean every day because puppies are not housebroken.
- Driving dogs to different locations in order to get them into a foster home because there is not enough space in one place.
- Having puppies born at all hours of the day or night. Trying to get the mother to care for the puppies in an appropriate place where they won't get wet, too cold, too hot.
- Trying to save a puppy that is not gaining weight by giving it special formula.
- Additional trips to the vet because puppies are sick. Or a tearful trip to the vet to euthanize a puppy because it's mother has stopped caring for it, or worse has started to eat it alive.
- Gathering dead puppies when they do not survive. Maybe there was a genetic problem with the puppy, or the mother is so stressed out that she cannot care for the puppy.
- Then finally there is the hours of work to review and screen applicants to adopt each dog, home visits, and transports to get the dogs to their new home.
Here are some statistics and information about the dogs in this group:
Mom - 4 1/2 year old - Pending Adoption
Buster - 12 week old puppy - Pending Adoption
Paige - 12 week old puppy - Pending Adoption
Gus - 3 1/2 year old
Mitzie - 3 1/2 year old - Gave birth to three puppies; only one survived
Jenna - 2 year old - Gave birth to four puppies; three survived
Harley - 2 year old
Sasha - 2 year old - Gave birth to three puppies; only one survived
Maggie - 2 year old - Gave birth to nine puppies; four survived
Sadie - 10 month old - Gave birth to three or four puppies; none survived
Teddy - 10 month old - Pending Adoption
Tiffany - 10 month old - Pending Adoption
Charlie - 10 month old - Sent to the HOPE prison program and is Pending Adoption
once he comes out of the program
That's a total of 13 dogs and 9 newborn puppies that survived!
The total cost of vet care for the entire group of dogs is about $6600
. This includes only
the neutering/spaying and vaccinations. The amount could be significantly larger if there are any medical issues.
Thankfully, some of the dogs will be going to their new forever homes soon. Other dogs will require months of time and training for socialization. Sadly, there are one or two dogs that may never be able to be handled by humans.
This entire issue would have been prevented if the owner of the original pair of dogs had simply spayed and neutered them! Regrettably this situation happens all too often in our society. As you can see, it takes a lot of work, time and money to rescue dogs in these types of situations. Lucky for these dogs, the ERU was able to step in and help out, becuase in many communities where space and people are not available, these dogs would simply have been euthanized.
This is only the beginning of the story.
Your support will help ERU determine the ending.