On January second of 2018, we took a call from the local electric department. One of their technicians had been working at a property out in Madison County and had seen a burned-out trailer home, and scuttling around the house was a skinny, scared dog and her young puppies. He wasn’t sure how to help but contacted the shelter to see if there was anything we could do. While we were working to obtain the address and get permission from law enforcement to be on the property, we received several phone calls from concerned neighbors. It became apparent that these dogs had been alone for at least two weeks, and while neighbors had taken turns dropping off food no-one had been able to take the dogs in, so they were in urgent need of care. They had been all alone for some time before neighbors even spotted them, and were already extremely skinny. The January weather was brutal with overnight temperatures dropping well below zero - barely creeping above freezing even in the daytime. We were scared this rescue mission might prove futile - would the puppies even be alive? Hanging a ‘closed for emergency’ sign on the shelter door, our little team loaded up the old van with supplies (crates, dog food, treats, blankets, and leashes) and headed out into the country. The scene that greeted us was bleak. There were no dogs visible upon arrival, and the only shelter available was an old chicken house, which they had clearly been squeezing into at night.
To our relief and amazement, the mama dog - a beautiful red and tan Doberman, old, skinny, and exhausted - finally came into view, trailed by two of her pups. Our hearts sank for the missing third puppy, as we searched every available hiding place to no avail. You can imagine our relief when, as we loaded the rest of the family into the van, a little brown female came running out of the woods, ears flapping. “Wait for me!” she seemed to say! On the way back to the shelter the pups snuggled down into the puppy pads lining their crate as though they were the warmest, softest thing in the world and fell straight asleep. Grateful mama Blaisey put her head into my hand for the whole ride back to the shelter, with ''Thank you, human.'' shining from her tired eyes.
This crazy rescue mission was followed up by hours of bathing, washing black soot from the dogs’s coats - they had evidently been snuggling in the smouldering remains of the house seeking some warmth, and maybe looking for traces of food.
Mama dog and pups also received a full check-in, including an exam, vaccines, dewormer, flea and tick prevention, and over the next few days we gradually increased their food intake to get them back up to a healthy weight. They had huge appetites and were thrilled with their cozy beds (we let the puppies share a kennel and gave mama a well-earned break with a kennel of her own). In a nod to the tragedy that they had survived, we named mama dog ‘Blaisey’ (Blaze for short!), the two black males ‘Sooty’ and ‘Charcoal’, and the little brown female ‘Ember’.
Blaisey was older and had some ongoing health concerns, and our wonderful friends at Doberman rescue took her in, but her pups stayed with us and after check-ups and lots of TLC became available for adoption!
Sweet Ember was the first to leave, and when she visited us a couple of months ago we were stunned by what a beautiful girl she had grown into! Ember’s family knew she wanted a buddy to play with and now that she was well and truly settled in they were looking to add a doggy sibling to their family. They didn’t find the right match that day, but we were all impressed by how well Ember played with the other dogs at the shelter. She was a little nervous to be back in that environment - did she remember being there before? - but greeted us shyly. We were thrilled for the opportunity to visit with Ember and her family and see just how healthy and happy she looked. Ember’s shining coat and bright eyes were such a change from the scared, filthy little pup that ran from the woods that freezing January day.
We wanted to share our latest Ember update with you all - she now has a doggy sibling whom she adores! She loves her human kiddos too and is so gentle and kind to them all. She's a spoiled girl who loves the couch and knows just how pretty she is!
Ember's life started out really badly, and were it not for several good Samaritans who dropped off food for her and came to us for help, she would never have made it. We are so grateful we were able to help this family and that we made it there in time, and we are thrilled to see the updates from Ember's new, spoiled life! What a contrast between her first Christmas; abandoned, alone, slowly starving, and her second; loved, warm, snuggling on the couch with her forever family and a full belly. Way to go, Ember!!!
It's only thanks to you, our supporters, that this kind of lifesaving work can happen. We want to thank you for your love for the animals of Madison county, and we appreciate your continued help as we move into a new year! Each rescue mission comes with a cost - the cost of food, supplies, medical necessities, veterinary care, staff to do this work, and when the pets are ready, spay or neuter surgery to prevent more unwanted pups - these are just a few of the things your donations provide. Electricity to keep the shelter cozy in winter and cool in summer. Cots to give our cats and dogs comfortable sleeping places off the floor - for many of them, this is a brand-new luxury. Blankets, toys, treats...and lots of disinfectant and cleaning supplies to keep everything squeaky clean! There’s no way any of this would be possible without you. Thank you, dear supporters, from the bottom of our hearts!
And a huge thank you goes out to sweet Ember’s family for choosing to adopt and save a life!