Stray Rescue of St. Louis

Urgency Rises as Temps Drop - Meet Champagne & her 7 puppies!

December 11, 2017 | 4:35pm

Urgency Rises as Temps Drop - Meet Champagne & her 7 puppies!

It was the first bitter cold day in St. Louis. I had been keeping my eye on a dog full of milk in North City, and she was spotted on a block of abandoned houses. I thought that she may be with her puppies on this freezing morning, so we pulled up in the alley behind the abandoned houses where she had last been spotted. The first house had broken boards covering the missing back wall, and it was a perfect spot for a mom to go in to keep her puppies safe. All the windows on the second floor were also missing, so we could actually see piles of trash inside.

We hadn’t even made our way in before we heard a dog barking. Did we really get that lucky that mom was here with the pups in the first abandoned house we decided to investigate? We climbed through the holes in the board to get inside. To say that this house was disgusting would be a gross understatement. There was trash, broken boards, blackened peeling paint, rusty nails, and a strong, foul smell that took our breath away. And scattered amongst all of that were remnants of the lives of people who had lived there – like a child’s stuffed bear, a toothbrush and porno magazines.

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Mom was standing on the landing of the first set of steps. There was an open window that was right at eye level for her, and she kept barking and looking out the window looking for an opportunity to escape. With each bark, we could see a cloud of her warm breath on this freezing day. She turned and made her way up the next set of stairs and into a back bedroom. With her back feet on an old, ripped up, king size mattress, her front feet were on a window sill as she kept barking and looking back at us. She was inching her way toward the window’s edge and looking out, while shaking in fear. Her fear broke our hearts, and we were so scared she would consider jumping. We could hear the puppies crying in another room, but for now our primary focus was getting mom safely out of the house.

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To our great relief, she gave up the idea of jumping out of the window as she ran across the bed and into an adjoining room. She found an old askew baby crib to hide behind. She had more or less trapped herself. We were able to get a slip lead around her neck, and we carried her down the rickety stairs and out to the jeep. Mom was safe! Now it was time to go find the puppies.

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We went back in the dilapidated house and made our way upstairs to the back room. As we turned the corner, in the midst of wall-to-wall garbage, there lay a pile of innocent, adorable, tan puppies huddled together for comfort and warmth. Mom had found the best place she could to keep her puppies safe and warm. As if a higher power was looking out for us, we noticed an old white laundry basket that was perfect to transport the puppies out to the jeep. One by one, we picked up a puppy and put him/her in the basket. Seven total, chunky puppies. Mom had done such a great job!

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We all piled into the jeep with this new little family taking their freedom ride back to the shelter. We named mama “Champagne.” This exhausted Mom must have known everybody was finally safe – she lowered her head as her eyes closed. Her dark days were behind her. Knowing that she and her babies were in loving hands, she was no longer on guard. She could finally rest.



We are so happy Champagne and her puppies are safe, but our heart breaks for so many other cold, abandoned pets this winter season. As temperatures drop to dangerous levels, there is a sense of urgency at Stray Rescue. It is heart wrenching to watch “Man’s Best Friend” doing what little they can to survive on the streets without us. Unfortunately, this isn’t something they are equipped to do in any weather, especially in the bitter, unforgiving winter. There is no refuge from the biting cold, and many take shelter in drafty, abandoned houses. It is inside these houses where we often find dogs huddled together in an effort to stay warm and sadly, we often find dogs frozen to death.

Your donation helps us to save the lives of so many skinny, shivering dogs who have done the best they can on their own but desperately need our help now. They need your help. You can make the difference between life and death. Please give today.

With Gratitude,

The Stray Rescue of St. Louis Family

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