Every parent’s worst fear. When you are separated from your babies and can’t get back to them. When you can’t breathe as fear and anxiety grip your chest. Their very lives depend on you, yet you can not reach them. My story is one of heroics, instincts, the love of a mother, and the very best of humanity.
I am pregnant, alone, and scared. I must find a safe place to have my babies. I wander to the landfill, there are scraps in the garbage for food. I search around and find a spot high on a hill overlooking the municipal pound. I can survey for danger. There are other dogs in the pound that bark and help keep predators away. The ground is soft enough to dig a deep den. Alone, I give birth to 8 healthy pups. It is up to me now, I am all they have. I nurse and clean and care for them. The first days, I never leave their side, but I am rapidly losing whatever weight I had. I must venture out to find food. My first thought is the dump, hunting through garbage, but then I think of the pound. The dogs there have food. I timidly sneak towards the gate, seeking sustenance to keep my family alive.
No food in reach.
Fear grips me.
I see a man – friend or foe, I don’t know, I hide.
He speaks – we are full little one, no room in the pound, SCARS is unable to take anyone, but you must be hungry, he leaves food and walks away when I am too scared to approach.
Those first bites tasted like heaven. I gobbled down every morsel and rushed back through the woods to my babies.
A Mother’s undying love. Days turn to weeks, each day is the same. Care for my babes, sneak through the thick brush, and wait for some food from the attendant and rush back. My milk supply is dwindling, like my ancestors before me I start to feed my pups by regurgitating the food I eat. They continue to grow. Patrol for coyotes through the night, there is a pack nearby. It is exhausting, but I have no choice.
One day, it is different. The pound attendant convinces me to come into the enclosure. He tells me it is my lucky day, SCARS has found room they are coming to give animals their second chance. After all these weeks he knows I am homeless. He doesn’t know about my puppies.
An act of kindness, but a terrible mistake.
I scream and cry at him.
I must leave.
My babies.
The coyotes.
Please, please, let me out.
He doesn’t understand, he says it will be alright…I am terrified.
SCARS arrives. Kindly people, helping us into their vehicles. I try to tell them I can’t go, my second chance is not worth my babies lives. I cry, but they don’t understand.
At the rescue center I am distraught. And then someone notices. Without my pups nursing constantly, they can tell I am a nursing mother.
Panic sets in, where are the puppies. Phone calls and messages, a search party sets out. The nearest volunteers rush back to the pound. Search the dump. Search the area. Where could they be? Have they perished, please no.
What is that? A faint trail up the steep hill. Through the heavy brush they scramble.
To the top they make it.
It is to be a day of miracles.
My hungry puppies tumble out of the den, into the loving arms of the SCARS team. 8 little souls, safe.
Multiple trips up and down the hill… they feed them, and then make the long drive to me.
A Mother’s love, instinct and the best of humanity. Our lives are saved, we get our Second Chance.
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