Hope and her puppies

The story of Hope and her tiny puppies is a story of Life. A story of how life is reborn in the midst of abandonment. It is a story of the will to survive in the most desperate conditions.

Volunteers with Life Force Inc. in Beaumont, Texas received a call in June 2015 about a dog living under an abandoned home. When the volunteers came upon the house, they found a female dog living in such squalor it was remarkable she was alive. It seemed her instinct to live was the only reason she had survived. The dog was terribly injured as volunteers reported she was coughing, had a bloated stomach, and her leg was dangling. It is suspected the dog was in a leg hold trap and had chewed her leg off to free herself. Volunteers rightfully named the 4-year-old Pit Bull/Cur Mix, Hope.

Initially, the Rescue was informed Hope was pregnant, when in fact she had already given birth to her puppies. However, the puppies were not found during her rescue. It was instinct which helped keep Hope alive and it was instinct which led the volunteers to believe she had hidden her puppies. The volunteers knew they needed to act quickly in this emergency situation as the puppies would surely perish without their mother. Attempts were made to get permission from the homeowner to go on the property and dig under the house in hopes of finding the puppies. Astoundingly, it would be 28 hours after Hope’s rescue her 10-day old puppies were located as well as another young dog, thought possibly to have been from a previous litter. Once reunited with her puppies, Hope “just didn’t have the energy or the milk to support their care”, Kelly of Life Force Inc. said, “she has delivered her puppies and cared for them the best she can, but this baby girl needs our help for her and the puppies to survive. Every day of life has been a struggle for this girl for a long time. We need to show her not all humans are bad and give her the best care we can even if not for long.”

Life Force Inc. reached out to the Ian Somerhalder Foundation and was provided an Emergency Medical Grant for Animals to help lessen the costs associated with the medical care all of the dogs desperately needed.

Volunteers committed to bottle-feeding the puppies to provide them with their best chance of survival. One puppy named Faith, unfortunately, did not survive, but not before rescuers gave their all to try to save her. Hope’s remaining puppies began to thrive from the bottle-feeding. Hope, however, was still a great cause of concern for her rescuers. She experienced bleeding complications following her spay procedure. Once again, instinct saved Hope as Kelly had a feeling Hope’s bloated stomach was indicative of heartworm disease which was causing congestive heart failure. Her persistence paid off when a second veterinarian confirmed Kelly’s suspicions. Hope was in fact suffering from congestive heart failure due to heartworm disease. Finally, these new findings enabled Hope to be stabilized, vaccinated, and started on heartworm medication.

Hope’s puppies and the dog possibly from her previous litter, Rocky, also received the medical treatment they needed including vaccinations, spay/neuter, and Demodex mange treatment. Hope’s male puppies required an unexpected surgery before they could be neutered, but thankfully recovered without any further complications. The puppies were soon well enough to be transferred to a no-kill shelter in Austin, Texas to assist in finding these babies their forever homes. Kelly stated the no-kill shelter was “very happy to get our sweet bottle-fed babies.” Charity, a female puppy was the first to be adopted followed by her brothers. Kelly further expressed, “After 31 years of rescuing you learn a little with each rescue. I have learned to let these babies go to reputable good shelters so they can get adopted quickly. It is in their best interest.”

Updates on Rocky revealed, “He is doing well and the mange is gone. He just hasn’t been socialized. One of our volunteers has Rocky so he will most likely stay with her.”

As for Hope, she will always require heart medication to be comfortable but Kelly updated ISF and said, “Sweet precious Hope is doing well with her congestive heart failure, and she does need to loose some weight as it is making it hard for her to walk especially with the loss of her leg. She is just as sweet as they come, even though at first she had no love and no care she still wants to give love to humans.” Hope gives love and receives love as she found her forever home within the rescue group family.

Hope’s instinct to protect her puppies, although she herself was unprotected, was as natural to her as the care and compassion selflessly given to her and her puppies by their rescuers.

ISF would like to thank all of the volunteers at Life Force Inc., for it was out of the depths of abandonment the unprotected and neglected were reborn.

Written by Theresa Blangiforti

Edited by Bob Stone