Last week we received a call that three dogs had been discovered when employees of the city of Diamond went out to shut off water at a vacant house. When they arrived, they heard dogs barking inside. A Chihuahua and a Border collie mix were discovered locked in the basement with no food or water. From the look of things they’d been there several days. They also heard barking coming from an enclosed back porch and discovered a small dog with puppies locked inside. The little dog was defending her puppies fiercely and would not let them near. The dogs found in the basement were taken to the Diamond "shelter", but they had no good options for this ferocious little dog and her family even if they were able to catch her somehow. The windows were broken out of this back porch and the weather was forecast to turn bitterly cold. They called FFAA.
Rich went with me to investigate and found the little dog and her babies, just as reported. Like her two friends in the basement she had no food or water and the porch floor was covered with mess. When she heard us at the door, she threw herself against it, growling, barking fiercely and bearing her teeth. I cautiously opened the door, sweet-talking her all the way. She continued her tirade of warnings as she backed up toward the corner where her babies were tucked in a shredded blanket. I used the few treats I had with me attempting to make friends. Starvation rendered her unable to resist taking them from my hand, but any move toward her was met with serious warnings for me to back off. The city employees came back to the house to tell us that the dog and her family must be removed because they had to secure the property before dark. One of the men grabbed a "catch pole" from the back of his truck, determined to catch this ferocious (but terrified) little dog. (She had met him earlier and remembered!) He caught her in the noose once but she struggled free. He caught her again as she stood her ground over her puppies and tightened the noose around her neck. I saw her tail actually wag as he drug her across the porch floor, but then it became obvious she couldn’t breathe. The catch-pole noose was too tight and seemed to be jammed. I panicked, horrified, as I watched her go limp and fall over on her side on the floor. I heard myself frantically yelling at the poor man to let her go, as her tongue turned blue. After struggling with the mechanism for what seemed like forever, he was able to loosen it enough for her to take a breath and then used the pole to deposit her in a plastic kennel he had waiting. Her exhausted little body collapsed inside the crate.
I know Rich and the two men were holding their breath as I opened the door of the crate when we arrived at our emergency foster location-wondering if the dog had recovered enough to continue her attack and eat my face off.Instead, she timidly licked my outstretched hand. Suddenly, she burst out of the crate and into my lap, gave my chin a quick kiss, then ran to check on her babies. Once she was sure they were okay and accounted for, she flew back to dispense more "thank-you” kisses. The two men apologized to her for the trauma and she forgave them.
Today, Nola and her family are in the loving home and hands of some of our special foster care givers. Praline, Chicory, and Gumbo are plump, healthy, sassy four week old puppies. Nola greeted me today with a deliriously happy dance and proudly escorted me to see her babies. The terror I saw one week ago in the eyes of this courageous little dog, who would have given her life to protect her puppies, has been replaced by eyes that sparkle with trust and gratitude. What a sweet transformation!
Written by Leanne Williams, president of Faithful Friends Animal Advocates