In Praise of Save-A-Litter; Chesters Iva-Williams

Pulled: Tuesday July 5, 2011 from Dillon County Animal Shelter/Middle Mutts

Rescue commitment (the real one): Saturday July 16, 2011

Yesterday, I managed to deliver Chester Iva and her twelve pups to her new foster home in Loganville, GA. That’s right. Me and 12 dogs in my tiny Toyota Corolla. I took the kids’ car seats out and extended the backseat by putting a couple of buckets in the foot with a couple of thin sheets of wood (which Scott, handyman that he is, always has in his shop) on top. Believe it or not, this actually enabled me to fit the kids’ paddling pool, which Iva and the pups have been using as a bed, in my backseat.

They did wonderfully! Iva lounged and they nursed nearly the entire time.

I have to admit, though, that I was a little embarrassed about showing off Iva to her new rescue coordinator and foster mother. Who would have thought that she would go from this:

To this:

I certainly didn’t lose my pregnancy weight that quickly (still haven’t lost it all, in fact). But I also wasn’t nursing fourteen kids at one time, as Iva was in the beginning.

I shouldn’t have worried, though, because Jen, the rescue coordinator, and Carolyn, the foster mom, were so kind. So, now for the “in praise of Save-A-Litter” part:

Those of you who have been reading my blog know that I was in a bit of a panic — well, a full-scale panic, truthfully — because the rescue commitment Iva had when I pulled her from the shelter fell through. That’s why I’ve added the name “Save-A-Fisk” to “Save-A-Litter,” because Jen agreed to take Iva and pups almost immediately after the first rescue denied them.

Save-A-Litter is one of the only two — that I know of — rescues in the nation that focus on pregnant or nursing dogs and their litters. They rescue these dogs from shelters where they would have been killed, care for them during the pregnancy and delivery and afterward. They fully vet them, spaying mother/female pups and neutering male pups. Then they find homes. For all of them.

In short, they’re amazing. I encourage you to do two things:

(1) If you’re thinking of getting a puppy, please don’t go to a breeder. I say this while admitting that both of our dogs, Emma and Mr. Knightley, are from breeders. But that was before we knew about the overpopulation problem, before we saw all of the animals in shelters, and how frightened and lonely they are there. — and all because of our inability and/or unwillingness to take care of the creatures we’ve designed to be companion animals. Go to a shelter. Go to a rescue, like Save-A-Litter.

(2) Please consider contributing to the fund to care for Iva and her pups. Scott’s first thought when Iva’s original rescue commitment fell through was: “We can’t have 16 dogs.” My first thought was: “We can’t AFFORD 16 dogs.” If each dog’s vetting will be $100+ (and that’s a low estimate), then Iva+12 pups=$1300. And that’s not counting food. And, Iva eats A LOT, as I imagine anyone with 12 nurslings would. Save-A-Litter is a non-profit, so we’ve set up a link to help with Iva and pups’ expenses:

Oh, and “friend” them on facebook, so that you can keep track of their fabulous-ness:

As soon as Iva and I walked into Carolyn’s home, Jen — standing in the midst of a laundry basket full of food and towels, holding a clipboard with all of Iva’s information — set to work. Iva is 3 years old. Iva has a rash under her bottom lip (I just thought she had weird skin there). Iva can have dewormer (something I didn’t give her, because I didn’t know if it was safe in nursing).

Impressive, to say the least. I learned so much just from spending 15 minutes with this woman.

And Carolyn. I couldn’t have asked for a sweeter foster mother. She has a house fuller than mine, with four boys, and dogs and cats of her own. Yet, she was willing to add +13. I fretted over her white rugs in the master bath, where we put Iva and pups (Iva is still bleeding a little), but she laughed and listed all the things the boys have already spilled on them. — and I fretted over her white carpet in her bedroom and living room. “We have carpet cleaner,” she said cheerfully.

Again: impressive, to say the least. Her boys were ecstatic about the new housemates, just as Arina and Jack had been. — although when I went back in for my sunglasses, which I had forgotten (of course), the youngest said, with wide eyes, “She just growled and ran at our dog!”

“Yeah,” I said, “She did that to ours too.”

“Of course she did,” Carolyn explained, “She was protecting her pups. Moms will do anything to protect their pups.”

He nodded, mutely. Clearly, in his mind, Moms had just become a little more awesome.

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