LAKELAND - Lucy, Hank and Max have had a tough start at life, but thanks to the care and compassion of local RCMP and the Bonnyville & District SPCA, the three young puppies are getting a second chance.
The puppies were found abandoned on the side of Hwy. 897 on Jan. 14, in Frog Lake. Elk Point RCMP found the animals, and were concerned about the animals' wellbeing.
The puppies were then brought to the Bonnyville & District SPCA.
"They were weak, lethargic, and very little appetite," says Judith Rodriguez, Shelter Manager. "Even though they were not vomiting or had diarrhea, the staff knew there was something terribly wrong."
The puppies were diagnosed with Parvovirus, which is a highly contagious and very aggressive viral disease of the stomach and small intestines.
"This disease will destroy cells, impair absorption of nutrients and disrupts the gut barrier that will compromise the survival of any puppy," says Rodriguez. "The first few days were critical for them. Even with the best treatment, there is no guarantee of survival."
The puppies were cared for by local veterinarians, who discharged the puppies when they felt it was safe to do so. They were returned to the shelter and kept in a very strict quarantine.
"It is hard on a puppy to be isolated, but we have to follow protocols in order to protect them and any other animals," says Rodriguez. "They must remain in quarantine until they have completely recovered and are no longer contagious."
The care and hard work of those caring for the puppies is paying off.
"The three amigos are starting to look and feel like normal puppies now," says Rodriguez. While they are still a little anxious, they are wanting to play, have been taking long naps, and are loving meal time.
"Although they are craving attention, staff has to limit time spent with the babies due to their illness," explains Rodriguez. "We look forward to the day they can be reunited with their siblings and play like any normal little puppies should."
Getting the puppies healthy has not come without a financial cost. But the care provided by veterinarians was "the only way to save their lives, and it was very expensive."
Like all non-profits, the Bonnyville & District SPCA relies on the generosity of the public. The shelter's piggy bank, or what is referred to as the "Jenny Fund," has taken quite a hit due to the costs incurred to save the puppies.
"We are now in desperate need to replenish the 'Jenny Fund,' so we are ready to help our next four legged friend," says Rodriguez.
The shelter manager says they are not yet ready to set a date for adoption for the three dogs, but are just taking things day-by-day, allowing the puppies to recover.
The shelter has capacity to care for five dogs in isolation, and eight in the adoptable area. The feline capacity at the shelter is 30. The Bonnyville SPCA is normally at capacity for cats and kittens year round, according to the manager.
One message that Rodriguez would like to get out to the public is nothing new, but rather a message that is often reiterated by other similar organizations that care for animals in need.
"Be kind to animals. Help us to prevent unwanted litters by spay or neutering your dogs and cats."
Monetary donations can be made to the Bonnyville & District SPCA by cheque to P.O. Box 5444 - 5601- 54 Ave., Bonnyville, AB, T9N 2G5, or by e-transfer to email@example.com
If a person is wanting to donate in person they must call ahead of time to make an appointment.