Area animal shelters including the Surface Creek Shelter at Cedaredge participated in the rescue rehabilitation of mistreated dogs over recent weeks.
On Friday, March 25, around 1 p.m., CAWS Adoption Center manager Sirena Ward got an emergency call from the county sheriff's department.
Deputy Sheriff Taylor Blanscet had eight starving dogs that needed immediate help. They were living with a family that could not afford to feed them. The dogs had been running around the neighborhood in search of food scraps or anything else they could find including grass, blankets and tree bark, fabrics and belts.
The dog pack consisted of a young mother and her seven babies who had been from two separate litters (four are six months and three are four months old). All eight had not only been deprived of food, water and shelter, but they were also starved of human companionship and as a result they are extremely nervous around people.
CAWS Adoption Center staff were wrapping up the day's tasks when the call came in. Everyone immediately went into high gear. The first thing to do was to make room for these traumatized dogs. A quick call to fellow rescuers from Surface Creek Shelter, Jacki Dapkus and Deb Fairchild, started the wheels turning and three canine residents of the center were relocated to Surface Creek.
Deputies from the sheriff's department encouraged the owners to relinquish and transport the frightened dogs to the center and get them settled safely inside warm kennels.
Due to their starving condition, food could only be given in very small amounts several times throughout the day. This is vital to allow the dog's digestive systems to recover and begin to work normally again, but the biggest threat is passing the foreign and indigestible materials that the dogs eat just to survive.
After six days at the center, the dogs were taking food directly from the hands of center staff, which is a major behavioral improvement as they begin to show signs of trust.
All are in treatable health despite the extreme period where they lacked food and water, although many are passing bloody stools of what appears to be blanket material. If the situation worsens and cannot be handled by the Center's veterinarian technician and manager, the dogs will be transported to North Fork Clinic for treatment. Slowly they are coming around and will soon be spay/neutered and ready for adoption.
The mother of the pups is reported to be in really bad shape. She was vomiting blood which could just be a sign of the intestinal damage that has occurred from eating foreign matter.
Nevertheless, the staff was concerned about the animal and late last week she was transferred to Dr. Vincent's in Paonia.
CAWS reports they have received about $1,500 in donations as word gets out about this family. They have been receiving money, food, blankets, toys and other items.