Only Wednesday and nearly 25 dogs and puppies are safe, warm and onto happier days. This is why I love Stray Rescue. Three days, many rescues and now the real work begins. Let’s back up to Monday.
Monday- North St. Louis is a tough area of town and even tougher on the stray dogs. Picture a house that looks as if a bomb exploded leaving just a shell of a building and remnants of people who once lived there, even a baby’s crib. Now picture Darrell, one of my right hand humans rescuing, chasing feral 8 week old puppies in the debris while the mama dog barks with fear. It is like chasing rabbits. He chased them into a garbage strewn, dark basement. Flashlights and speed saved the ten pups but mama was scared and confused. She also had an injury on one leg that wouldn’t stop bleeding, once cornered she was able to be rescued and reunited with her babies. Darrell names her Glasgow.
This whole time three big hound looking dogs and one of the good guys, a neighbor, watched from across the street. He was afraid we were going to steal the “people food” he was feeding to the strays. He then realized we were friend not foe. He tells Darrell the 3 big stray hounds in his yard were the only survivors from Glasgow’s last litter. Their turn will come.
Next stop, Wellston - Luigi’s pack. The pack is larger than when Darrell and I saved Luigi. It looks like his buddy Mario also experienced the life of a bait dog and needed saving fast. More leg trauma.
Lots of dogs rescued on this Monday but one not so lucky pup was lost today. Our grateful friend Renegade died. Unfortunately we got him too late. We are happy you spent your last few days feeling love and warmth.
I go to bed that night angry at people and sad. I pray I don’t dream.
Tuesday- starts with making a sweep of the basement from Glasgow’s old “home” to make sure no pups were left behind. Now, off to a junkyard on the north side, one German Shepherd wanting to eat us and one very pregnant female looking very miserable. The junkyard owner wanted our help but was nowhere in sight, so we leave a message to call and head east.
My favorite pack of dogs greets us like the ice-cream man. This took a year. I can love on at least two of them and the others are coming around quickly. We feed them and talk about the 2 that died in recent days, one from the cold and one from a gunshot. I miss them.
Next we spot a female dog that looks like she could be nursing, I ask Darrell to follow her into the war zone to try to locate the litter. While Darrell is doing that I see two dogs sprinting at full speed a football field away. I thought either they really hate me and want to kill me, which I knew couldn’t be the case, or they missed the ice-cream truck…which was the case. Leaving dogs behind…sucks, but with no space sometimes kindness and food will have to suffice. The one beagle-ish dog couldn’t decide if he wanted love first or food. A thought flashed through my head, someone saying to me recently “I will foster a beagle”. I load up Desi, yes that is his name now, in the SUV- call the foster parent and tell her I have your beagle. I keep to myself that he really only looks like a beagle if you squint one eye and cover the other…hopefully it is beagle enough.
We feed, drop off food to residents and feed more dogs, 5-6 blocks and over 50 plus strays get a meal, a pet if they let me, a kiss if they trust. While searching for one of my larger packs, Darrell waits in the SUV while I do my ice-cream man whistle. From out of the debris comes a Rottweiler at a full sprint running to me which looks like a femur bone in his mouth. He leaps in my arms as if I was his long lost friend, I trade him the bone for hot dogs and realize as I love on him that he is all bones. I had never seen this one before but if a dog could say “get me the hell out of here”, this dog yelled it in my ears, so I did. Welcome to Stray Rescue Schnapps! We move on but don’t get far; we left food for a large feral pack and now there was a lil tiny cotton ball eating the leftovers. Darrell jumps out and rescues this 8 pound baby, who wins the cutest street dog I have even seen and appropriately christened “Q-Tip”. With our catch of the day in the car and only a few blocks done we know we have to call it a day. Meetings after meeting on the construction of our new shelter and raising funds are scheduled for the afternoon. We leave.
Wednesday- the junk yard folks called and Darrell rushed to the scene; she gave birth outside in the freezing cold. 11 puppies but only 6 survive, 5 froze to death. Mom and pups are now safe with us. My phone rings and another dog passed away that I rescued just weeks earlier in the cold. I want a drink and maybe a cry. I have known some of our rescues for years on the streets. We’ve had great success but the faces of the ones left behind and the faces of the ones who have died haunt me.
All of the adult dogs rescued in these 3 days have heartworm. Most have had to have surgeries and emergency medical care on their wounds or broken bones. This is why we always ask for donations, they deserve that second chance; they deserve to sleep on the couch or by a fireplace or play with kids. They don’t deserve what Darrell and I saw these last 3 days. This is always where you come in, your help, be it a bag of food to a cash donation helps us help them!
A special thanks to Darrell for always being there for me and Stray Rescue.
I love our motto because I believe it with all my heart- Stray Rescue is where compassion rules!