I remember the summer when I did my first dog rescue. It was a hot summer in 2010. My baby cousin was about 2 years old, in a stroller, my sister was 7, and I was 9. We were walking in the heat with my aunt to the hospital around the corner, so she could get some bloodwork done. We were walking slowly and sweating as we moved.
On the way to the hospital we saw a little brown ball of fluff romping around in the shade, in front of a large house. My Aunt looked at it, as we walked by, asking with wonder, “Is that a puppy?”, the small ball of fluff was smaller than a kitten. We walked up to the little brown creature, that was playing near a lady in front of the house, smoking a cigarette. My aunt asked her while my sister and I pet the puppy, “Is that a puppy?” As the lady was smoking her cigarette she said, “Yeah, the couple out back are getting rid of them. Their dog had a litter of them.” My Aunt pushed the stroller to the back of the house, down a long, hot, stony driveway with my sister and I followed her. My sister and I knocked on the door of the second floor apartment, while my aunt and cousin in a stroller watched us from below.
A woman came out, with her baby who was wearing only a diaper. She came down carrying a puppy to show us. My Aunt asked “Do you have any females?” The woman said, “We only have one.” She went back up the stairs to get the puppy, returning with a tiny black and tan puppy. That puppy was also smaller than a kitten. My Aunt talked to the woman who was trying to get rid of puppies, and said that we would stop by her house on the way back from the hospital to pick her up, and with that we left for the hospital across the street for my aunt’s short appointment. The whole time we were walking in the heat, or sitting in the hospital waiting room, I could not sit still! I was rocking back and forth, squeezing myself because I was so excited. This was my first ever puppy.
After about an hour or so we left to go to the apartment that held our new puppy. I smiled, and my sister and I giggled as we carried her to my Aunt’s house around the corner. We hurried to her shaded backyard. I placed the puppy down and we played with her. My cousin even put her on the plastic blue slide that came with his swing set. That’s when we thought of her name. My Aunt came up with the name of Lucy, which she was going to name her daughter if she ever had one. It was the happiest time of my life to get Lucy. When we got her, all that we knew from the people who gave her to us to take off of their hands was that she is a Cheagle mix. The next day, we drove Lucy to our family veterinarian office where we updated her on all of her medical needs and learned that Lucy was barely 5-6 weeks old, which is very young for a dog. In fact, too young to leave the care of her mother and pack.
My aunt and I took turns holding her since she was so tiny, and needed protection. At the time, we had an old beagle and an old cocker pug (half cocker spaniel, half pug). Also, my toddler cousin still pushed around giant Tonka toy trucks inside and outside of the house.
Later that summer we found out, through neighbors, that Lucy was the only survivor out of her mom and her packmates. Lucy’s mom and two of her brothers died in an attic that summer, from being neglected in the heat. We then felt even more fortunate that we had rescued Lucy from a place where she wasn’t cared for properly.
Today, Lucy is a healthy cheagle. She is still living with my Aunt today, bossing around with her bark and growl, a new beagle puppy named Leia along with our cat OJ. Lucy is very defensive of her people and she is always under either my Aunt’s feet or my feet.
Today, I still feel thanks for finding Lucy and giving her a home. In return, Lucy has grown to be a tiny adult dog with a huge personality that is smart, loyal and affectionate to her family more than anything we’ve ever known.
My first dog/puppy rescue has still an impact on my life. Instead of buying a dog from a pet store, or breeder, try to save another dog’s life by adopting from a shelter, or from a house that isn’t able to take care of their dogs. It’s life changing for us and for them to save a dog, and give them a wonderful home to grow old in and be loved.