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Column: A call to rescue 74 dogs

Posted: August 20, 2018 2:49 p.m.
Updated: August 21, 2018 1:00 a.m.
Andrea Walker/C-I

Dr. Wendy King examines one of 74 dogs recently rescued from a hoarding situation.

How would you respond if someone asked you to rescue 74 dogs? Now what if that same person asked you to rescue those 74 dogs … tomorrow?

That simple phone call,  on June 29, turned into the biggest challenge yet for Fostering Foster Animal Rescue, but with the help of many different people we answered the call and celebrated when were able to declare, “mission accomplished.”

The very next day after we received the call, Debby Marshall, Jackie Sanders and I went to the home where all of these dogs lived together with their owner and we quickly realized that not every situation is as it seems. While the hoarding of animals is truly a horrible situation for both the hoarder and the animals, with both invariably living in substandard conditions, it is not an intentionally cruel act.

In many cases, people take dogs in with the best of intentions. Maybe they take in an unneutered male and an unspayed female, thinking they will get them “fixed” later and suddenly an unwanted litter of puppies are born. Before you know it, the puppies start mixing and all of a sudden, another litter is born and the cycle just repeats itself over and over, leaving the poor beleaguered owner with more dogs than they know what to do with.

In this case, the owner had a name for each one of the dogs and loved all 74 of them. We could have stayed all day and night listening to her stories about the dogs; the very same dogs that she had asked us to come and take away while she cried. Debby, Jackie and I were stunned at the reality of the situation and of the poor condition of both the home and sadly, in many cases, the dogs. It was almost surreal as we brought dog after dog out of the home but not before the owner stopped to give each one a last pet or a kiss.

What is real, however, is that there are so many people and animals in need in our very own community. They may be our neighbor and friend, or they may be someone that we’ve never met before and only cross paths with in the grocery store. Regardless of how we meet or come into a situation, I believe that God calls us to help. To be His hands and feet to take care of our neighbors in need. On that day, we knew that we were being called to help in a very big way.

Happily, with the help of our rescue partners, all of the dogs that we rescued that day have already been placed. The owner still thinks about them and I try to assure her that they are all safe and in good hands. She smiles when I tell her about some of their new families and that they have yards to run in and someone’s lap to sleep on. I smile when she tells me about the help that she is getting and how much her living conditions have improved. And I also smile knowing how thankful I am to have such good friends, and to have the support of a community that allows Fostering Foster to help when our neighbors are in need.

And while we are truly blessed to be ready to help when needed, I do hope the next call might be for a little less than 74 dogs!

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