Puppy Breath

Posted by Pia

A dear friend of mine recently shared the story of what is not an atypical weekend for her- I thought I'd pass it along as it's a story that will likely resonate with many of you.....

Hey Pia-
I just recovered from quite an eventful weekend and thought that of all my friends, you'd be sure to appreciate my recent tale.

Last Saturday I flew back home to the Bay Area to visit my sister Vickie. On the drive between the Oakland Airport and San Francisco, we stopped to pick up some bargain socks and dog treats. Sounds simple right? Well Vicki walked out of the store before me and stumbled upon a big blue plastic bin full of puppies for sale.

1 of 8

1 "A father and his 2 young sons were trying to sell them. They were caring, but seemed unaware of the risks faced by these little pups."

2 "Two groups of people were bargaining to buy them. One man asked which was the biggest male and wanted assurance that they were not fixed, and 2 women asked if they would be good guard dogs..."

3 "My heart sank. I'd seen how hard it could be for little ones like these and wanted to make sure they'd be ok and get the love they desrved."

4 "With too little spay/neuter, not enough adopters and recent shelter budget cuts, it is only a VERY lucky dog who secures the loving home each of these great loyal dogs deserve."

5 "Beyond my concern for these 5 pups, I was painfully aware of their potential to create hundreds more if they remained unfixed- - all with equally low odds of securing a safe, loving home."

6 "I learned that the puppies had been born to the family's Boxer mix female and Pit-bull male."

7 "I pleaded with them to let me help have the adult dogs fixed and explained both the health benefits of this and the dire situation in shelters for dogs like them."

8 "When they declined my offer, I knew I had to refocus my efforts on helping the puppies in front of me."

Without even exchanging a word, my sister and I knew we would not be leaving without these pups. I explained to the family that I would be happy to get the dogs shots, have them fixed and find homes for all of them.

After much deliberation (and some tears) I was able to make my case and barter for custody of the bucket of pups. What began as some "light shopping" now included a big blue bucket, 5 puppies... oh, and a pair of purple socks! Both my sister and I were flying out of town the next evening, so we had one day to make sure our little charges were safely placed. A daunting task to say the least!

It was a huge leap of faith, but one we felt we had to take. Lena, an employee at a local pet supply store kindly donated dewormer, weewee pads and a big bag of food. Lena, volunteers for Rocket Dog Rescue, a local group known for opening its doors to all breeds, all ages and health conditions. They have experience finding good homes for those who other rescuers might fear would be a challenge to place. Lena advised us to bring the pups to their adoption event the following day and they would help us figure it out.

That evening we fed, bathed and named all 4 girls and 1 boy. By midnight, Bruiser, Mirabelle, Taluhlabelle, Sammy and Freckles settled down on their pillow and rested up for the day ahead. On Sunday morning I loaded them back in that old blue bin and headed to the adoption event. I arrived to find Pali Boucher, Rocket Dog's founder cleaning cages and setting up.

I told her the pup story, punctuated by multiple apologies for just showing up at her event. I shared that I simply needed some assistance getting the pups the exposure and oversight required to place them into forever homes. And I assured her I would not simply dump them on her.

Pali listened quietly, smiled, and in the tone of a mother reassuring a child, she calmly said, "It's ok- this is what we do."

What a perfect thing to say. Her solidarity provided me with great relief.

I quickly set up a crate between a recently rescued sweet Rottweiler mix recovering from surgery and a cute young cocker spaniel mix who was blind. My puppies settled in and were now ready to be met by adopters who might prove worthy of their love and loyalty.

By day's end, Sammy (the runt of the litter, named for my best friend's beloved Boxer) was adopted by a wonderful family and the other 4 were split into groups of 2 to go into foster homes that Pali had arranged for them. I breathed a sigh of relief, kissed my babies goodbye and called Vickie to share the good news.

Just another lazy weekend in San Francisco…

Love, A.

So Daily Waggers... Let's help get these pups into loving homes! Whether you know someone looking to adopt or simply want to offer up some solidarity and support for your fellow animal-loving comrades, let's spread the word and get these pups, and all of Rocket Dog Rescue's charges, the exposure they need to land them in happy homes.

The puppies are 8 weeks old, are current on shots and will be fixed and chipped
this week. If you'd like information on these pups contact the adoption coordinator representing them at a_ledden@yahoo.com. They are available though Rocket Dog Rescue

You can also make a donation directly towards their care and that of others in need. Be sure to note "Oakland Pups" when inquiring or making a donation.

In kinship,
Dr. Pia Salk

Comments (11)

  • Good Morning Dr. Pia

    What a great story to start the day. I must say they are cute little pups (not as cute as me)

    Okay so I got totally screwed over yesterday at the 5th grade dog show. I showed up in my new Phillies shirt with a matching scarf and looked SO cool. I did not win best dressed, some poofy dog with a bow won then I place 4 in most interesting breed - are you kidding me!!! These kids picked their friends dogs. But I did win second in the "Trick" category. Silly kids thought I could curl my tongue on demand. I won't do any tricks so mom told them I curl my tongue - hahaha :) Little do they know that when us Frenchies pant our tongues curl.

    Mom said it was a very expensive dog show for her, on the ride home I sat on a pair of her glasses in the car and broke them - OUCH :( Oh well, it was fun to see all the kids and other dogs.


  • Hi Dr. Pia,
    I hope your puppies find forever homes. You did a good thing to help them out. Bravo Dr. Pia!!!!!
    Zoe, that is just like dog shows, it can get very political but I bet you looked cute. Maybe those kids aren't Phillies fans. I curl my tongue too. Maybe that is why I have so many Frenchie girlfriends, they think I am a furry Frenchie. hehehe Stay cool everyone.

  • Hi Dr. Pia,
    What a great story. My Mimi saw the title & told me how much she loves the smell of puppies breath and feet! OMG I had no idea she was so whatever.
    Zoe, I'm sure you were really the best dressed & cutest one at the show. I had an eyeglasses accident, too. I have no idea what got into me, but one night when Mimi & Papa were asleep, I mistaked Papa's glasses for a chew toy. Mimi had a hard time not laughing at Papa when he put on his bent up glasses the next morning. I haven't done that again!
    Maddox, I thing you've got "it" going on. hehehe.
    Til Tomorrow

  • Dear Friends,
    This is Basil's Mom, Lynn, checking in with you today. Basil had to be rushed to emergency yesterday morning and is in the hospital. I am sure he would want you to know he is in good hands and behaving and minding his doctors. When we returned from our trip last weekend, Basil had been sick vomiting that day and the night before. I know he gets stressed when I am away, but this was out of the ordinary for him. We know the routine well, and agreed after speaking with the vet and the plan of action. Yesterday however, he started vomiting blood--not good--and scared his Mom greatly. He was very good at the doctor's, but dehydrated and needed anti-nausea meds and his regular meds. As he has explained to you, he is on a regiment of medication due to health issue caused from having distemper at a year, due to his shots being given by a dumb vet all at once. Little guys should never have it that way. Anyway, his immune system was compromised as a pup and what might be easy for most is very difficult for him to combat. He is very lucky to be 10 and doing so well. I miss him lots and will find out more today and let you all know. Just keep him in your thoughts and prayers and keep your paws crossed he can get well soon.
    Hugs to all,
    Basil's Mom, Lynn
    P.S. Zoe, there should be a protest about your dog show. I saw your photo one time in costume, and you are the cutest. Maddox is correct--politics!! You are number one in mine and Basil's eyes.

  • Hello ladies, Kirby here.
    And hello to you too Dr. Pia. Well I haven’t had any accidents around here but I am trying to keep from bothering those “hot spots” I’m getting now days. It happens to me every spring and summer. Mommy says that if I just leave theme alone they will go away. As you can guess, I can’t leave them alone and I have to wear that dreaded “lamp shade” around my neck at times. I’ve had my walk, breakfast and now time for a nap.
    Catch you later, Kirby.

  • Dear Lynn,
    Please give Basil a lick for us. Hope he's better soon.
    F & S

  • Hi Dr. Pia, Thanks so much for sharing this very special, but frightening blog post. Those sweet young puppies certainly do deserve great care and love from forever homes and families. Thank God your wonderful friends were able to save those special babies and I hope more and more people will do the same. Spaying and neutering is very important to prevent this kind of event. Sure hope everyone has a delightful, safe day! My heart and prayers go out to Basil and his wonderful Mother, Lynn. Sure hope you get better real soon, sweetheart! Love to all, Jan

  • I hope all the puppies find wonderful homes! thank you for being such a caring person, and doing what you could for them... we see people selling puppies from the side of the road in our neighborhood all the time, and it breaks my heart to know they probably resulted from the same sort of situation... however well-meaning they might be in having puppies, I wish people would understand that their pets would be healthier spayed and neutered, and leave breeding to responsible breeders, not contribute to the overcrowding in animal shelters.

  • Dear Lynn,
    Rebel's Mimi, Sharon here. We are so sorry to read about Basil. We are keeping our best thoughts coming your way today. We will all be checking in with you tomorrow.

  • We need more people like you and your sister!


  • I want to Hug your friend A, her sister Vickie and Pali! What a great story, what great hearts! Thanks for sharing this Pia....it made me smile and feel good.

    I wish the man who was trying to sell the puppies would FIX his female PB, that would solve some problems as such in the future.

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