This is the story of the puppies in the photo on the training page and their mom Angel:

Late one evening in April of 2001 while driving through the foothills of the mountains I saw a dog lying on the side of the road, motionless. It looked as though as the dog was dead. We pulled over to see if the dog had ID tags, so I could notify the owner.

The dog was not dead but just entirely exhausted. As if in slow-motion she got up as I approached her. She looked terrible! The poor girl was skin and bones, her head was sunken low in despair. Her scruffy tail was tucked between her legs in fear, she was absolutely not approachable. She appeared to be lactating. I figured she had to have had puppies very recently. I always carry dog food, water and leashes in my car, so I fed her and gave her water to drink. She ate the food fast once she felt I was at a safe distance.

The next day and every day following I made time to drive out to where she was. I would feed her, give her with fresh water, sit near by and just talk to her softly. I was never able to get closer than about 15-20 feet from her. She was terrified of all human contact. It took me about one week of 'investigating' to find out where her puppies were hidden (I secretly followed her at a distance). Her puppies were in a deeply buried den under a huge steel storage container on the premises of a summer camp belonging to a Christian youth organization. The pups were impossible to reach, I could barely see them even with a flashlight. I counted six puppies; I guessed they were maybe two to three weeks old.

I gradually started digging my way under the container, desperate to get these puppies from out under the steel container. A local farmer told me that he had seen the stray dog getting attacked by coyotes on several occasions and I knew time was running out for her and her babies...

Even though I was working hard for two days already on rescuing the little family someone at the youth camp called animal regulations the very next day (I plead with them not to, but they were not compassionate at all). Animal Regulations was able to reach two of the puppies and took them to the East Valley shelter. After spending several more hours digging that same day I was finally able to get to the remaining four puppies. I had to leave mom-dog behind for now.

Eventually with the help of some friends in the rescue business and Animal Regulations consent
I was able to get the two puppies that were taken to the shelter released back to me that very same day. I was grateful and knew mom-dog would be, too. I had to bottle-feed (Esbilac) all six pups until I would be able to capture their mom.

So here I was with six very hungry puppies right in my living room. At first they were scared, squeaking and crying for their mom. There were three boys and three girls; soft, adorable and so precious. There were two black ones, two beige ones and two brownish ones. After just a short while the little fur gang really started to have a good time though. My own dogs acted as though as there was nothing unusual going on around the house, I was amazed by their calmness and how content they were.

The next day after many hours of attempts to gently lure her toward me I decided to borrow a large humane dog-trap (Actors and Others for Animals in North Hollywood, CA: THANK YOU!) to finally get mom-dog. It took me a day and a half (and a half pound of liver) until she finally went into the trap. This was the only way to capture her safely.

I had to temporarily board the homeless fur-family at a friend's kennel.
At that time I didn't have the facility to care for a feral dog and her litter of six.
When she was finally reunited with her puppies she made sure all her babies were there, it seemed as though she was taking a 'head-count' over and over again. The look on her face when they were reunited was unforgettable, she seemed so relieved and complete. I went to spend time with her and her pups every day. As mom felt more and more comfortable with me, I was 'allowed' to handle her pups, clean her kennel, etc.; she slowly started trusting me. I got in contact with yet another dog rescue that was kind enough they set up a huge cage (12x12) at my house as the boarding at a kennel was just a temporary solution. Now I could bring them all home safely.

It was necessary to have a large cage for her away from my own large dogs now. She was a traumatized, bewildered and very scared mom trying to protect her babies. I named the mother "Angel" as my veterinarian's little daughter told me about homeless dogs having angels, too.

When the pups were old enough their pictures went on the Internet of the local animal rescue. I would take them to be shown during their local dog adoption days every other Saturday. We named the puppies Lucy, Mickey, Raven, Jason, Linus and Sam. They were six adorable little monsters. Although this was an challenging and exhausting task I loved taking care of them. All pups were adopted into wonderful loving and responsible homes.

Angel turned from a scruffy looking, hungry, frightened feral dog into a playful and stunning "beauty-queen". I have worked with Angel ongoing since she came into my life. She is still very reserved with strangers, especially men. I don't want to imagine where she would have ended up if we hadn't found her. Maybe killed by Coyotes or starved to death, who knows....well it doesn't matter now as she will be with me for the rest of her life...

 

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