I couldn’t help but feel the tears begin to fill in my eyes when I saw the wagon full of malnourished puppies at the Harris County Animal Shelter. I remember walking into the shelter and it smelling terrible. With the cries of dogs being heard from the back of the building where the euthanasia room resided, I knew I was in a high-kill animal shelter. I was not surprised. Houston after-all is the third highest kill city in the country, so I was not surprised that many of their animals were put down and mistreated. My parents and I were at this animal shelter to rescue a litter of nine puppies that were sentenced to be put down the next day. We foster puppies for the Houston Pup Squad, which rescues puppies and mothers on death-row at shelters, abandoned litters, stray litters and pregnant mothers. Naturally when we were notified that these one month old puppies were going to be put down we jumped at the chance to help.
I couldn’t stand to see the condition those puppies were in. They were covered in their own pee and feces, had scabs all over them, their spines and ribs were sticking out and they were obviously being physically mistreated by the looks of fear on their innocent faces. I could tell the staff didn’t care as they ripped off their collars hurting the puppies. In that moment I not only felt bad for the puppies, but every single animal in that shelter. My heart yearned to just empty all the cages and take the animals home with me. Sadly, that was not the reality.
Destiny, who had come to help, my father and I put three puppies in each carrier and we walked them out of the shelter. I remember picking them up, they felt like they didn’t even weigh a pound. All I knew was things would get better for them from there on. We drove to one of the board members houses who then administered de-worm medicine for all the puppies. After they had received their medicine my parents and I dropped off puppies at the other two foster’s homes.
Finally, it was time to take home our two foster pups home. I picked the scrawny black one because he was the tiniest out of all of the puppies. My heart ached for him and I wanted to help him recover and become healthier. We set them out of their cage and onto the floor of the computer room. They were so terrified and incredibly skinny. We got some food in their stomachs, gave them some water and washed them off to get the pee off of them. The next day we took them to the veterinarian who thankfully said that they had no serious illness and that they only needed to gain weight.
It has been five days since we began to foster the puppies and it has been one of the most rewarding experiences yet. Seeing them get better everyday, becoming more active and confident, gaining weight and seeing their personalities begin to shine through them is such a wonderful thing to see. I cannot wait to see what the weeks ahead will bring. I know that they will only get stronger and one day they will go to their forever home with someone who will always love and care for them.