Puppy Love

June 4, 2020

They started out in rough circumstances, some born in the dirt under a truck, with most of their littermates dying in their infancy.

But three little Labrador retriever pups have flown into a future where they are going to make a difference in the lives of people who need their help.

About nine weeks ago, just as the coronavirus stay-at-home orders were beginning, a man called Karen Martin at the Franklin County Humane Society to tell her he had a young pregnant female lab and that his family didn’t have the ability to take care of a litter of puppies.

“My dog’s about to give birth,” he told Martin. “She’ll probably have them in the dirt under a truck.”

The shelter director knew he was trying to do the best thing, but he wasn’t able to bring the dog in to the Eastpoint adoption center.

The next thing Martin knew the dog had begun her labor, and so she rushed over to help. “She had already given birth to two, and she was actively bringing birth to a third,” she said.

Martin transported to dog, still in labor, to the shelter. “She went on deliver seven more, and all needed assistance,” she said. “Mama is young and she was confused and tired.”

So with the help of an assistant, Martin removed the membranes and cleaned the puppies. “One we had to resuscitate,” she said.

The tiniest of the 10 never had a chance. “One very small one didn’t make it (and died) in three days, even with bottle feeding,” Martin said.

What did shock Martin and her volunteers was that when they were about three weeks old, the puppies started to become ill. “Several got sick with various symptoms,” she said. “We initially weren’t sure what we were dealing with,”

As it turned out the dogs had contracted from their mother canine herpes, sometimes referred to as “fading puppy.”

What happens is that otherwise healthy puppies become sick and die at three to four weeks from the illness, although it doesn’t affect the mother’s health and well-being.

“Nothing can be done,” Martin said. “It’s passed from mother to puppy and any puppy that contracts it will die.”

Of the six black and four blondes that initially comprised the litter, all but two blonde females and one black male survived.

She said based on the look of the puppies, they assume the father was a Labrador retriever as well.

While the story had a happy ending for these three pups, here is where it gets even better.
Doug Jimerson, a shelter volunteer and member of its board of directors, had been on a Zoom call with a friend of his in Des Moines, Iowa, Dean Lerner, who asked if the shelter had any pups he and his wife might adopt.

“I told him about the three lab pups we had available and figured we’d ship one to him via commercial airlines,” said Jimerson. “But the commercial airlines, we discovered, were not flying pets right now due to the pandemic.”

“He was concerned about traveling down, so my friend reached out to the Pilots N Paws Rescue organization for help,” he said.

Pilots N Paws, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, provides an environment in which volunteers can come together and arrange or schedule rescue flights, overnight foster care or shelter, and other related activities.

“They quickly got involved and also told Karen Martin about a group in northern Wisconsin, called Crossroads K9 Rescue that wanted the other two pups to train as service animals,” he said.

Also a non-profit, Crossroads rescues dogs left homeless and/or abandoned in overpopulated shelters where they are at high risk of euthanasia, and those in danger of abuse or neglect, and restores them to health, funneling many of them to training as service animals.

“It’s for whatever the dog turns out to be good at,” said Jimerson. “If it’s a better sniffer, they may train it to find an autistic boy who keeps running away.”

After a number of flight delays due to weather, Pilots N Paws worked to get pilot Matt Schuh, who had been in Pompano Beach, to fly in Friday to the Apalachicola airport, where he met Jimerson to take the three eight-week-old pups on the first leg of their journey.

Schuh flew the pups to his home in Janesville, Wisconsin, where they spent the night.

The next day, Lerner and wife Deana picked up the blonde female they had named Daisy, after it was flown to Ames, Iowa by pilot Steve Reeves.

Meanwhile, the other two pups, the blonde female Ruby and the black male Ryker were picked up by pilot Gaurav Dogra and flown further north in Wisconsin to Crossroads K9 Rescue in Mosinee, where they will both be trained as service animals, likely to help a veteran dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, or a child whose mental state calls for him to have a devoted companion.

“They’ll be in training as long as eight months. They’ll keep them in their care,” Jimerson said. “All three pups are doing great in their new homes.”

Meanwhile, the mother, who the shelter calls Trixie, is doing well, and once she is spayed, will be returned to her owner.

  • Most Recent News

    Former Victoria man’s diabetic alert dog helps him get back to life

    June 2, 2021

    When Luke Hengen’s diabetes worsened in his early twenties, it stripped him of the outdoor activities where the country kid felt at home. Countless wilderness adventures and years of hard-fought football games took a toll on his body, to the point where he could no longer sense when his blood sugar was too high or […]

    Read more

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    January 8, 2021

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    January 8, 2021

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    January 8, 2021

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    January 7, 2021

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    January 7, 2021

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more

    The Right Rescue Dog

    January 7, 2021

    If your New Year’s resolution is to add a canine family member, good for you. Somewhere out there is the perfect puppy or adult dog for your family. You have a lot of things to think about when you begin to look for that new family member, puppy or dog? Large or small? Purebred or […]

    Read more

    Police Dog Attack

    January 7, 2021

    A resolution headed to the Duluth City Council on Monday could put to rest a lawsuit filed by Teri Lynn Ehlers, an employee of the Patch Motel, who was bitten by a Duluth police dog named Oakley. Former Duluth Police Officer Marc Johnson was a registered guest of the Warroad establishment May 28, 2018, when […]

    Read more

    PAWS With A Cause

    January 7, 2021

    Pebble Hill Plantation and the Thomas County Public Library are pleased to announce the upcoming Enlightening Bites program, “PAWS With a Cause,” on Friday, January 8, 2021 at noon in the Flipper Room of the Library. The program is being presented by Jeri Anderson, field representative. Anderson is recently retired from the City of Monticello, […]

    Read more

    Police Canine Team

    January 7, 2021

    Kingston Police revealed in a news release late Wednesday afternoon that they’ve been keeping a four-legged secret for roughly three months. The force announced it added a second canine unit, with the arrival of police service dog Dak this past October. He is working with Const. Jeff Dickson, while police service dog Bask is working […]

    Read more

    More Recent News