Even though it was the first day of fall it felt more like mid-summer, with a temperature that was over 90 degrees. A graffiti covered abandon warehouse and an urban field is what an ailing mama dog and her pups called home. It always strikes me as odd knowing the arch is less than a mile away with clueless tourist enjoying our city while so many strays try to survive from a guarded distance.
This mama was no easy rescue. She was terrified that “humans” invaded her space. She constantly paced and circled while giving warning barks. Her frail tired body broke my heart and her sickly pups did as well. I first tried our standard; lobbing food but it just worried her more. Hotdogs wasn’t the norm this time. Next I tried to calm her and every time I thought I was making progress a truck or some other inner-city distraction would scare her off and back to pacing. Donna was called to bring a trap.
The trap just sat and of no interest to her, filled with a buffet of stray dog favorites, from chicken to cheese. Mama wanted no part of it.
I don’t usually rescue with Kathleen but with our new capacity filled center we are always shorthanded and she was eager to help. She suggested trying water. I looked at her like she was nuts. All these years of rescuing I never once caught a dog with water, but then again I never once tried. Donna had a couple hot bottled waters in her car and armed with water and a bowl I decided to take a puppy and go sit in the center of the area she circled. It started working.
Mama’s circles became smaller while the barking stopped. I let the puppy drink from the bowl and that was the eureka moment for mama. She stopped and looked at the bowl and pup then at me; I made myself go neutral as if I was just another piece of this decrepit place. The walk of trust towards us began.
The puppy drinking the water gave the mama her indicator that it was ok to do so as well. Although scared to death she started to drink and drink trying to counteract her dehydration. I started to touch her nose, then a fleeting stroke on her muzzle. I had to save her. I wasn’t leaving without her.
I poured more water and placed the bowl in the trap. Now I was welcomed in her space, I guess I was her water boy. Within minutes of the H2O being placed in the trap we all heard the sound of the door shut. Donna, Kathleen and I all hugged. I swallowed my pride and while embraced said to Kathleen “you were right….wow…wow…wow”. I never thought we would rescue a family of needy dogs with just water. This old dog learned a new trick: carry water at all times!!
Mama is now named H2O and her 6 puppies will all have bottled water names. The water family. H2O once in my SUV allowed me to love on her and I thanked her for trusting. I told H2O “you see, I needed to rescue you as much as you needed rescuing”- it reassures my own troubled soul.
Welcome to Stray Rescue, your bad days are over.