Special to the Tribune/Advisor
Four puppies are on their way to a better life after being rescued from a remote Chilcotin refuse site by fire crews last weekend.
“The little one, I don’t think he’d make another day,” said Anvil First Aid attendant, Mike Gunst, who was on location with crews from the Cariboo Fire Centre when he found the pups snuggled up to a dead, adult dog outside some burnt cars.
“All that was left was fur and bones,” said Gunst of the possible mother of the pubs.
As he drew closer, the four tiny puppies quickly ran to his heels.
“They huddled around my feet, and weren’t letting me go very far. I said come, and they followed. One was smaller than the rest. We walked three metres, and the little guy sat down and howled.”
Because he couldn’t go any further on his own, Gunst said he picked up the little puppy and cradled him in his arms as he took them to his truck for some water and the hot dog lunch he had packed for the day.
“I made sure each received their fair share, but they were still pretty hungry.”
Unable to leave the site, Gunst radioed wildfire unit crew supervisor Dave Altrows and from there, the furry rescue campaign continued.
Altrows radioed dispatch, who contacted the SPCA and then later the Animal Care Hospital of Williams Lake, who said they could take the puppies in after hours.
Turning the hungry foursome over to Altrows and firefighter Matthew Edwards, the crew headed for Williams Lake, an hour’s drive from the site.
“It made me angry that someone would just drop them off like that –– that’s why I wanted to help,” said firefighter Matthew Edwards on Thursday.
“But they’re in good hands now.”
Working late, Dr. Jenny Thompson waited for the pups to arrive.
“I saw them Saturday evening. The fire fighters that brought them in were reeking of smoke. They had the puppies in a rubbermaid tote, and had extended the sides with cardboard as puppies can jump out.”
Altrows and Edwards also helped Thompson hold the pups while she examined them, thought to be crossbred Rottweiler and Australian Cattle Dogs about four weeks old.
“They were pretty lively and all waging their tails,” said Thompson. “I didn’t see any other problems than hunger and parasites.”
Monitored overnight, one was quickly adopted by veterinary technician and staff member Katharina Koppe.
“He’s already taken over the household,” said Koppe, cuddling her new puppy.
“He’s very energetic, very lively.”
Altrows, himself an owner of two dogs, said he’s hoping all the puppies can find permanent homes.
“It’s unfortunate, but I’m glad we were able to get them to town,” he said.
The remaining three puppies went to the Williams Lake SPCA shelter where they have been placed in foster care to gain strength before they are spayed or neutered and put up for adoption, said branch manager Liz Dighton, noting she’s already received more puppies this week from very similar circumstances.
“I hate to say it but (dumping animals) is almost a weekly occurrence. It’s a sad reality in our area.”
Dighton said the local SPCA is in need of more volunteers who are able to foster puppies.
Anyone interested can register for fostering online at the BC SPCA website.