About Me

Twenty years ago I asked a Tarot card reader what would I be doing when I was 50. She replied, “I see you doing something so wildly creative, it defies a job title.” Only recently did I realize that was a slick way of saying, “I have no idea of what you’ll be doing.” But that prediction kept me charging ahead to the fifties with zeal and anticipation. Now that the future is today, I’m ready for anything!

Foster Home Found for Abandoned Puppies

As sure as God made little blue heelers, when you live in rural Minnesota, count on crossing paths with an abandoned puppy or two or three.

The fact that their savior was located 120 miles away in Chaska was something, however, I’d never counted on.

My husband Mike brought home three puppies that he found on the roadside when he was en route to Cloquet. There was no mother, no people, and no houses -- just empty vacation properties. The puppies were a whitish-yellowish mix of Golden retriever or Yellow Lab. A zaftig little girl and two smaller boys. We made a home for them in an empty 55-gallon fish tank. 

“We’re not going to keep them. We’re not going to name them,” Mike warned me and our 14-year-old son Wyatt.

Jerry's Kids
Of course, we did name them. Jerry’s Kids, as our Weimaraner Jerry took them under his wing. A rescue dog with issues, Jerry was showing the puppies the care he hadn’t received as a pup. It was a lovely moment, but in retrospect not a wise moment. 

Despite abandoned puppies being infectiously cute, they can also be acutely infectious. 

As we put out calls to rescue agencies, we learned that canine parvovirus, a devastating intestinal disease, was rampant. Jerry is fully vaccinated, but apparently there’s a strain of parvo that can make its way past adult vaccines.

Because of a tight budget, keeping even one puppy was out of the question. At a Cloquet rescue agency, we were told to start in Pine County, where we live. Connie at the Pine County Guardian Angel Shelter explained that the shelter was a giant-breed rescue facility and not suited for puppies. She told us we'd be contacted by a woman named Jean, who volunteered at the Carver-Scott Humane Societya sister agency to the Pine facility. The intricate network made me think of the Twilight Bark from 101 Dalmatians.

Moving Day
Jean called us on a Sunday. She was headed to Albert Lea with a puppy on a pre-adoption visit, and asked if we could drop off the puppies with her husband. Mike arranged to meet him at a strip mall about 20 miles away. The idea of someone driving over 100 miles at a moment's notice to pick up abandoned puppies from total strangers amazed me.

Pine County isn’t affluent. In rural areas like ours, it’s not unusual for pets to be euthanized with a bullet to the brain, a practice which I realize sounds barbaric. But when an owner is faced with a suffering animal, a veterinary clinic that’s closed or is fifty miles away, and a treatment bill beyond their affordability, it’s the most merciful alternative.

Jean explained that the puppies would be given a health check, microchipping and spaying or neutering. She would provide a foster home until they were adopted at a Pet Adoption Day at the PETCO store in Chaska. Adoption sales help CSHS raise revenue, as do donor contributions and an annual walk.  The agency receives no government funds.

Jean explained that she’s been volunteering for four years, and has fostered several hundred dogs and puppies. She said she’s driven to Wisconsin to place a puppy, and her sister-in-law drove halfway to Colorado to deliver a staghound to the man who was adopting it.

As I worked on a huge writing project, I tried not to get irritated by the whining and yapping. The big female puppy, who we eventually named Bertha, tried to climb out of the fish tank. There was a piece of plywood on top of the tank and Bertha knocked it to the floor. At the sound of the noise, Jerry barked loudly. The puppies cowered. I imagined the conversation: “All right you guys, knock it off!” “I didn’t do it! She did it!”

But when the puppies were gone, the house seemed eerily quiet. Even Jerry walked over to the fish tank to see where his charges were.

A Clean Bill of Health
On Tuesday night I called Jean. Thankfully, the puppies tested negative for parvo, but they did have worms and numerous tick bites. Jean is fostering them until they find homes at a Pet Adoption Day. There’s one coming up on May 7.

Minnesota has a huge network of animal rescue groups. Start at the humane society or rescue agency in your county. If that group can't help, they'll connect you to someone who can, like the Guardian Angel Animal Shelter in Pine City or Red Lake Rosie’s Rescue

While politics creates rural/metro divides, puppies help bridge them. As do the  volunteers who give of their hearts and weekends. You give hope to pet lovers and Minnesotans everywhere.

The Carver-Scott Humane Society's 2011 Walk Fur Love  is Sunday, May 22. Raffle prizes include a 40" LCD HD TV, $200 in gift certificates, and a Blu-Ray DVD player. You need not be present to win.

Related Posts:
Jerry's Kids
Can Dogs Have PTSD?
Ads and Sales and Puppydog Tails


  1. Jean tells me the puppies are doing great, and all but the littlest one (Leo, at 3.5 pounds) will be available for adoption this weekend. Check out their portraits at Petfinder. I love the names!

    Leo: http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/19468709
    Blondie: http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/19468658
    Dagwood: http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/19468695

  2. I see someone who Googled "who can come pick up abandoned puppies?" found my post. I hope it helps them. Good luck and many thanks to the kind person for having the compassion to rescue the puppies.


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