https://www.jacksonsun.com/story/opinion/columnists/2016/12/15/rescuing-feral-puppies-from-wildlife-den-no-easy-task/95451606/ Rescuing feral puppies no easy task
Carol Reese, The Jackson Sun Publ. 6:51 a.m. CT Dec. 15, 2016 | Update 10:37 a.m. CT Dec. 15, 2016
I listened to the voice message with a sinking heart. Several small puppies had been seen at the same place we had staged a rescue a year before. The feral mother dog we had been unable to capture had found this an ideal site to have yet another litter. The big attraction was an extensive network of roomy tunnels in the side of a wooded ravine, where a small stream provided a ready source of water.
Failed attempts at puppy capture over the next couple of days provided plenty of opportunity to study the den’s assets, and to wonder what creature had originated it, and how many different species of wildlife may have populated it over the years ... but more on this later.
These pups had been taught by mama dog to fear humans, so the trick was to outrun them to their earthen refuge. This task was made difficult by the many openings to the tunnels, and that the paths to them wound through thick growth. The quick pups could dash through and under, while we were hindered by bramble and brush.
Why not use a humane trap, you might ask? There were several other dogs and cats in the neighborhood, and from their interest in our activities, we suspected they would be the ones greeting us from the traps upon our return. It also occurred to us that we might catch mama and she could not then feed her pups, or we might catch a pup that was left shivering alone on a cold night when it should be huddled with siblings deep in the den. The site was not close to anyone whose schedule could accommodate frequent monitoring.
The previous year we organized a mass snatching, There were six women, one for each puppy, and we met around the corner from the site and charged in like the calvary. It’s a shame we didn’t have a seventh member for videotaping, as it was a wild scene. Most of us are kindly and generously described as middle aged . Probably all of us were once described as athletic, perhaps even graceful, but those adjectives would not describe the blundering dives made that day. Successful is a word that will serve.
We decided another mass snatching with a crew of fleeter humans was the ticket. Adriane Gremmels, the mail carrier that first spotted the pups showed up with her gallant teenage son Dawson. Karen Byers of West Tennessee Spay Neuter Coalition pulled up with husband Jason, and his plucky daughter Kara. My beau Mike Johnson brought the total up to 7 humans. If our count was correct, we would have a person per puppy once again, only this time the puppies pulled a no-show. There was no sign or sound, and we began to fear the mother had moved them to a place less plagued with puppy snatchers. To be continued ...
Carol Reese is ornamental horticulture specialist for the Western District of the University of Tennessee Extension Service.
Thank you to Carol Reese for supporting us way back when, and now!
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