"Davey's Voice was deep into the holiday season, sending out Davey Beanie Babies to our generous donors. Orders for Beanie Davey kept our team busy all the way up to Christmas Day. Beanie Davey made its way into children’s stockings, under trees and even table centerpieces, delighting families and children while still teaching an important lesson: that animal abuse and neglect are very rampant in our County and beyond.
It was Christmas morning. A message came through our Facebook page. A concerned citizen had informed us that newborn puppies were being sold on State Street right here in Santa Barbara. This good samaritan went on to say that a group of homeless folks were selling these puppies--they appeared to be dying, malnourished and far too small to be sold. With a houseful of company, I decided to go take a look, setting out with dog food, toys, blankets, dog crates and a hand full of cash to buy the mama dog and her pups.
Choices of this nature take a full team response. Where could these dogs land after being purchased? Who would sponsor them to be checked by a veterinarian? Where would the dogs be quarantined until all could be checked for parasites and infectious diseases? How would we find homes for all of them? I quickly asked these questions to the DV team. Replies came in an instant. DV would sponsor all veterinary care for them. Amy, another DV board member would foster the mama and pups. Shadows Fund, another wonderful rescue group, offered to give vaccinations, and use their program to find homes for the pups. All of our questions were answered within 30 minutes and the help we needed was in place. They next part was to get the homeless folks to release the dogs.
After arriving at the location where the pups had been reported, I sat and watched for a bit to see what the mama dog looked like, where the puppies were being kept, and if it appeared that it would be safe to approach. My hubby, at home with our Christmas guests, was ready to meet me if needed. After assessing my surroundings move carefully in the event I would need help, I determined that the owners seemed like a group of young transients and did not appear under the influence. I made a move to talk to the group to see if mama dog was friendly.
It was obvious that the pups were in need of much more care than they were getting. The young lady was vehement that she did not want to sell the mama dog. She said she and the dog were inseparable and that the mama dog had saved her life and she couldn’t be without her. I offered to take the brood, pay for all vet care for the bunch, get the mama dog spayed once pups were weaned, and then get the mama dog back to her within the next month. The owner said she could not be without her dog that long.
The thought running through my head was that mama dog was a cash cow, and would have more puppies in order to fund the next rainbow destination. If I bought the 3 puppies, it would further add to the breeding problem and I would be contributing to this ugly breeding cycle...
So I decided to test the owner. I told her that it was illegal to sell puppies in Santa Barbara under the age of 8 weeks, that her mama dog was not vaccinated from rabies or licensed and that I had the authority to call Animal Control to report all of this activity and she would lose her mama dog most likely for good. I said I didn’t want to do this on Christmas Day or any other day for that matter but she was leaving me no choice. She promised that she would get her mama dog fixed as soon as possible and had in fact been in touch with the folks at CARE 4 Paws. She just hadn’t heard back and wished that the mama dog could be fixed as soon as puppies were gone. With that knowledge, I came up with my next plan. To make sure I was getting the true story from the owner, I wanted to talk to my Isabelle at CARE 4 Paws to see if in fact the owner had inquired about when her mama dog could be fixed. I wanted to know how quickly this could be done and still be safe for the mama dog. I told the owner I would not buy the puppies from her unless she promised to spay the mama and that I would check into how quickly that could be done. I agreed that I would make a donation to her and take the puppies as soon as I checked her story that she had called for an appointment for the mama dog. She told me that would be fine and that I would see she had made the effort.
Before I left, I gave her a donation so she and the pups could could spend their Christmas night out of the cold, wet weather. I told her I would be back to take all the pups in the morning and make another donation if in fact her story checked out.
Isabelle, the wonderful leader of CARE 4 Paws, was quick with a response to me the next day and they had indeed found that the owner had made an effort to contact them. However, it was never mentioned that the dog was pregnant and had delivered pups. Isabelle and I talked about the need to move swiftly to spay this dog if the owner now was willing and still in town before another unwanted litter was born.
The three pups are safe and warm
I set out to meet the owner and take the pups the next morning with another volunteer. I found them right where they said they would be. The pups were loaded up in a crate and I thanked the owner for being truthful and honest. I made a deal with her that she would get a small donation for the pups and if she agreed to stay in town until the spay was performed on the mama dog, that I would match the donation once again. The owner thanked me for helping her take care of her dog and made me promise that we would find the best homes for the puppies.
I took home 3 somewhat undernourished, sedentary puppies to my home until DV Board Member Amy got back later that day. Amy and her family have fostered many puppies for organizations and she came to my home once she got back from the holiday. I named the puppies Holly, Noelle and Yule in honor of their Christmas miracle.
Amy concurred that they all looked sickly, underweight and underdeveloped. The pups were seen by a veterinarian the next day. Fecal results showed several parasites that were treated. Over the span of the next 4 weeks, Amy and her family nursed these puppies to health, giving them the medicine they needed, great vitamins, food supplements and equally as important, lots of stimulus, exercise and love.
Holding them, bathing them, engaging them to have what all puppies need which is lots and lots of love. Shadows Fund provided the puppies with vaccinations and used their magic to match these puppies to their furever homes.
All 3 puppies are now safe and in loving homes. Much thanks to Amy and the team at Shadows Fund in Lompoc!! Mama dog was spayed by CARE 4 Paws in early January. A huge thank you to Isabelle and her team for keeping communication going with the owner and for helping us at Davey’s Voice fulfill our promise that mama would not end up being a cash cow ever again."
written by Becky Kelber, DV Board Member