When All Paws Rescue, the group I volunteer with, stepped forward and offered to foster up to ten of the dogs, I was very proud to be part of such an amazing group of people. We were told the dogs were mostly under two years old and were small breeds which should be easily adoptable once they were released by the courts for adoption. We made arrangements for the dogs (I offered to take only one because I have several other foster dogs currently), and we waited for the call to come get them. As the hour approached, I prepared to leave work and head to the pre-appointed meeting place to pick up the dogs. Several other rescue groups were also meeting there to take in the dogs that they had offered to help. Then I got a phone call. It was my friend who was coordinating the rescue for All Paws and had offered to take four of them herself. She told me that among the many young small-breed dogs, they found a 16 year old pit bull. My heart fell – who would take this dog? All the groups helping out were anticipating dogs such as Maltese and Chihuahuas and Italian Greyhounds – the chances of someone taking an elderly pit bull were very slim. It’s not that the rescuers didn’t want to help her – but a commitment to foster a highly adoptable dog for thirty days is quite a bit different than a commitment to foster a 16-year-old pit bull who will have a really tough time finding a home. Still, this dog deserved to get into a foster home more than any of them. So I called the nice people at Wonder Weims who were coordinating all of the rescuers, and asked about the 16-year-old pit bull. That’s when I found out the dog was blind, and had a growth on her, and was very sweet. I asked what would happen to her, and at the time they had not found anyone to take her. That’s when I heard the words coming out of my mouth – “I’ll take her, at least temporarily.” I knew that my house was not the best situation for her – she’s mostly blind and very frail, and I have several energetic large dogs who would easily bowl her over. But at least she could stay with me until a longer-term foster home was found.
So a few hours later, the transport van pulled up in the parking lot, and they began to hand out dogs to the various groups for fostering. I helped load up the All Paws dogs, and quickly fell in love with a scruffy little Chihuahua pup. The dogs, although skinny and extremely smelly, were all adorable. Then as most of the other dogs were led away, they brought out Piper.
This frail, malnourished dog was missing an eye and looked overwhelmed by the noise and the people. As I walked her around the parking lot, she sniffed everyone she passed and even wagged her tail. She was not a small, fluffy little dog that everyone would want. She could barely walk, and stumbled several times. Her skin was awful, and she had several growths that would need checked out. But as I looked in her one good eye, and promised her that I would take care of her, she looked at me with trust and licked my face in thanks.
There were many heroes in this situation - the people from TASTC and Act Now and WonderWeims who coordinated and made this rescue happen, as well as the many other rescue groups who worked together to save these animals. All of the foster homes and shelter workers have their own rescue stories (one friend has spent the entire day bathing, trimming nails, and deworming eight of these dogs!) This is just Piper’s story, one of over a hundred in this case alone. And as with all the other rescued animals, Piper's story is really just beginning.