Dumpster Puppies, Round 2: Tahoe animal shelter takes in another litter of dogs left for dead in trash bin
Special to the Bonanza
About Pet Network
The nonprofit Pet Network Humane Society, located at 401 Village Blvd. in Incline Village, transfers animals from local animal control agencies that are at risk for euthanasia. It is home to several cats and dogs looking for a permanent home.
Visit www.petnetwork.org to learn more about animals up for adoption and to find out how to donate.
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — This story began when an employee from the Radio Shack in Susanville, Calif., found seven puppies left for dead on Oct. 29 inside a garbage bin.
Just a few days old, the tiny, orphaned puppies were brought to the Lassen County Animal Shelter.
That shelter, however, didn’t have the staff or volunteers to take care of them, so the crew contacted the experts at an organization that had successfully taken on the challenge of rescuing another litter of pups from a Dumpster just a year ago — The Pet Network Humane Society in Incline Village.
“They knew we could do it, because we did it last year. The volunteers stepped up again,” said Brittney Schilpp, Pet Network’s Outreach and Events Manager. “We drove the three hours and picked them up. They were checked by a vet, and were fine. They needed to be fed and kept warm. They are so fragile.”
It’s a time-consuming and expensive job to feed and take care of a group of brand-new pups that are helpless without a mother, but the volunteers were ready to make it happen.
Residents stepped up as foster parents and took the dogs home to provide around-the-clock care.
The shelter provided heating pads, bottles, blankets, formula and a few puppies each, and then the volunteers went to work.
‘IT’S A LOT OF WORK’
The puppies — four females and three males, the breeds of which are unknown currently — need to be fed every two to three hours, all day and all night. In addition to constant feeding, the puppies had to have their bellies expressed to stimulate digestion.
While the dogs’ mother would have used her warm wet tongue to do this, the volunteers had to rub the puppies’ bellies with warm wet towels.
One of the volunteers who has taken on the task is Sabrina Thomson, who is also a veterinarian’s lab tech.
“It’s a lot of work. I feel like I’m helping,” she said.
Thomson finds it rewarding to be giving these little guys a second chance and eventually a rightful home.
“I love them to death,” she said. “It will be hard to see them go.”
Her three-year-old son has become quite attached as well, helping in the feeding and giving them love.
The puppies are progressing quickly and have begun to eat a mixture of milk and dog food mixed into a gruel.
Once the puppies can eat solid puppy food, they can move back to the Pet Network, and volunteers like Thomson and the others will get a chance to get some sleep.
When the puppies have grown big enough, they will be vaccinated, micro-chipped, spayed or neutered and become available for adoption.
“We are accepting applications now,” Schlipp said. “We are trying to make sure they get a good home.”
THE ADOPTION PROCESS
The Pet Network adoption application is a lengthy one, as it is designed to reduce the chance people take in dogs or cats that they can’t financially or emotionally handle.
The Pet Network sends over 500 animals a year out for adoption. Most common are puppies and kittens, but they also have older dogs and cats and other animals looking for good homes.
They are also starting an online fundraiser to help defray the substantial cost of raising the puppies.
You can go to crowdrise.com/DumpsterPuppies to give a donation. Or, to help the organization in general, go to petnetwork.org.
While most people’s first reaction might be horror and revulsion that anyone could dump helpless puppies into a garbage bin, Thomson wanted to make clear that if anyone is panicked and doesn’t know what to do with puppies, to please “call a shelter, they will take them in, in a heartbeat.”
Or better yet, if you have a pregnant dog and you don’t feel you can handle the puppies that are about to arrive, bring the dog to the humane society or shelter.
It is so much easier to rescue puppies if they are still with their mother, she said.
The Pet Network’s work in November comes after staff and local volunteers helped nurse a litter of six puppies left for dead in a South Lake Tahoe Dumpster in July 2013.
Those animals were all eventually adopted to local and regional homes, and they celebrated their one-year birthday with their original foster parents this past September.
Tim Hauserman, a nearly lifelong resident of Tahoe City, is a freelance author and cross-country ski instructor. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.