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How One Homeless Dog Becomes Eleven

Champagne wasn’t much more than a puppy herself when she was dumped by an anonymous person at our local shelter. She ducked low as a leash was looped over her head and, sadly, seemed used to being led into a cement kennel with limited amenities. She moved uncomfortably and, before they even had time to do a basic medical evaluation, she gave birth to 10 squiggling little puppies. What was previously only one life that needed saving, quickly became 11 lives that needed saving. While puppies are always cute, the shelter staff’s hearts sank at the sight. Unfortunately, a shelter, even the cleanest, most sanitary shelter, is no place for puppies to spend the formative and important first 8 weeks of their lives. Our county shelters have a good working relationship with all the local rescues and a call was put out to see if anyone could take a momma with 10 nursing babies into foster care. While one would think that might be a fun task, this many puppies are a 24 hour a day responsibility. Thankfully one of the rescues did have a foster parent who maintains a special room for nursing mothers and they were moved quickly from shelter to rescue. Champagne watched calmly as volunteers and shelter staff carefully packed her babies into a small crate with warm blankets. Happily she climbed into the car next to the crate and allowed herself to be safely buckled in. She gently kissed each of the shelter staff who reached into the car to wish her well. She sniffed at the crate as if to say, “let’s get going”. During the first eight weeks of their life, a schedule was set up with volunteers in the rescue. Adults, children, men and women came in on a regular basis to help clean up after as well as socialize and love on the babies. Blankets were washed and replaced several times a day. Hard surfaces were wiped down daily with antiseptic wash. All puppies were weighed weekly and smaller puppies were ensured greater feeding time with momma. All puppies were handled and touched everywhere and careful attention was paid to every sneeze or sniffle. Champagne was fed high quality food several times a day and put on a regular walking schedule. Champagne patiently allowed volunteers to clean and handle her babies, never moving more than a couple of feet away but also using the time to ask for belly rubs, toys and treats. Donors contributed food and supplies and a professional photographer donated her time to document their young lives.  It takes a village... Both momma and puppies suffered from parasites so the family was routinely dewormed. Worms are typically passed from momma to babies in her milk. Champagne was particularly strongly infested. While some parasites might be expected in any litter, her infestation bespoke of the poor care and hygiene in her past. The tiny puppies bore the brunt of this, as parasites can compromise their internal development, and their little bellies were perpetually upset. Clean up was particularly nasty after each bout. Thankfully, the diligence of the volunteers won out and, by the time they reached 8-10 weeks old, all their bellies seemed better. Unfortunately, because one individual did not bother to spay their dog (either on purpose because they thought they wanted puppies or through ignorance or neglect), there are now 11 more homeless animals in America, adding to the millions that are already waiting patiently in shelters and rescues. One of the top priorities of the Petco Foundation is to place grants in the hands of organizations that can provide spay neuter services and education to people who would not otherwise have access to these amenities. Please spay/neuter your resident pets and please consider donating so that those less fortunate than yourselves can do the same. Not all litters of puppies that end up in shelters are as lucky as Champagne’s crew. Your dollars might save a young life from being a young death.
  • Michael_js

    Sad story.  Well written! :)

  • Pachecodiane

    My GOD BLESS YOU AND ALL THAT WORK SO HARD TO WORK WITH MANS BEST FRIENDS. I TINK YOU HAVE ONE OF THE BEST JOBS IN THE WORLD TO HELP OUR TRUE LOVES.THE IS MENS BEST FRIEND. HY I SAY THAT IS BECAUSE NO MATTER WHAT THEY WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU. I HAVE MY LITTLE PUNKEY AND HE IS MORE THEN A DOG TO ME .HE IS MY BEST FRIEND.SO PLEASE KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. BECAUSE GOD WILL BLESS YOU AND ALL THAT WORK WITH YOU

  • Melissa8719

    This breaks my heart. Glad to hear they are doing well and I pray all 11 get a new FOREVER home!! Champagne and her pups look like sweet little angels!

  • Gypsydaisy28

    Where are these pups located?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=569270093 Kim Leary Smith

    They are in San Diego.  All but two pups have been adopted now.  Mom also found a forever home.

  • Kasie0919

    I would like to adopt one of the pups or even the mother please send details to Kasie0919@aol.com. I have been looking to get myself and my daughter a dog. We lost our dog of 11 years in Feb. 2011, she was my best friend and I am now ready to move on and take in another. Please please send information. Thank you Angela Clark

  • Tperkins

    This is why I only shop Petco for my pet supplies & will gladly round up my purchase to donate to the Petco foundation, because every little bit helps. Keep up the good work & thanks Petco & all the shelter volunteers.

  • Megan

    Incredibly sad story. I’m glad that momma and pups are doing well and finding forever homes. I love Petco!

  • Ashleyfarias524

    ill buy one !

  • MisStarr_83

    I just adopted our second dog from the Humane Society. Both of our furry babies are sweet hearts. We are our male’s 3rd home. But I guess for him the 3rd time really was the charm. Our female comes home today. Good luck to Champagne  and her little ones.

  • Ravakian

    thank you for all the work you do!  People please spay or neuter your pets-remember that old saying an ounce of prevention is a pound of cure!

  • Bramhowdea

    I strongly agree with the spay/neutering BUT you have these delusions in your accusations that soemone didnt take care of her before she got pregnant.  Yes … she wasnt taken care of parasite wise but this tells me belonged to someone who no longer had the means to take care of her … not everyone abuses animals on purpose.  I haev 2 females that are not fixed because I CANNOT afford to have them fixed.  They were dumped on a country road and left to starve.  We took them in and take very good care of them but we have to keep close tabs on them when outside due to

  • Ravakian

    Thank you  for all the great work you do.  People please spay or neuter your pets! As the old saying goes an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

  • Whynot744

    Did the mama and her babies find hoes I really want to know

  • Dana Lindeneau

    I know it is very sad news. Cats are equally as much of a problem if not more so. We dealt with a neighbor’s cat for a year, and four litters later, we had enough. We went down and talked to the owners, and brought their cat into our house to deliver the fourth litter, when only one kitten survived the 3rd litter. We took responsibility for her and she is now our cat. This cat and her kittens caused us to go from a 5 cat household to 9 (she had 7 kittens in the last litter, and we adopted out all but 2). We have since found a great Spay/Neuter Assistance Program in the Houston area, Spay/Houston. If anyone reading this post is in the Houston area, they deal w/ the general public on discounted Spay/Neuter/Vaccination services, and offer additional assistance to low income pet owners. 10% additional discount for Senior Citizens and College Students. And btw, they are in the midst of a Groupon fundraiser this week, which offers matching funds. Their goal is 500, they only need about 150 more. Please consider helping this worthwhile organization! http://www.groupon.com/deals/grs-spayhouston-2

  • Dana Lindeneau

    What area do you live in?  If you live near a major city, there is likely a Spay/Neuter program that will help you (regardless of your financial situation).  If you can respond and let me know where you live (and your nearest major city), I will be glad to do some research for you.  I just posted on in the Houston area.

  • Melissaomoreno95

     how can i get one ??

  • BJBlood

    are these puppies already in homes and where are they located if not, I’d love to try and make a home for one , prefer girls..but will not snub a boy in need either.

  • guest 1

    We see the same thing here on the BIg Island of Hawaii.  It is a never ending cycle and heartbreak.  While the rescue group I work with helps one, there are another 25 that need help also. 

  • http://www.sgdogtown.com/ pet store singapore

    it’s a sad story. well done to you guys! its all the hardwork and sacrifices that you guys made that gives these dogs a hope.