This pet rescue story is an entry in the Most Heartwarming Story Contest, by Helen Woodward Animal Center. The Most Heartwarming Story Contest is open to any and all participating Blue Buffalo Home 4 the Holidays pet organizations. The winner will win $500 for their facility or rescue! Your organization can become a Blue Buffalo Home 4 the Holidays partner today. This story will now have an opportunity to be featured in the finalist pool in February, 2014.
The “Drainpipe Five” Puppies Flown to Forever Families
By Bedford County Humane Society, Everett, PA
Angels on Earth
A sad story with a happy ending is uplifting. When it involves people working together toward a compassionate goal it inspires our faith in human kindness. If bright eyes, a wet nose, and a wagging tail are involved, even the hardest of hearts begins to melt. The tale of the “Drainpipe Puppies warmed the spirits of our community, and now these lucky dogs are lively additions to six families thanks to a far-reaching network of angelic deeds.
A Rough Start
Six puppies found refuge from the sweltering heat in a grimy drainpipe. No one knows what happened to mama or how they stayed alive on what they could scrounge. But in early August, Richard of Farmerville, Louisiana, rescued the pups, patiently catching them one at a time.
Then dogs were dirty and their young bodies were covered with scrapes and scars. They were malnourished and parasite-ridden. Richard and his partner, Jan, could have looked the other way. But they didn’t. They welcomed the hungry half-dozen into their home.
The puppies, one tan and five dressed in black, came to life. Their coats began to gleam from care and healthy nourishment, probably for the first time in their lives. Now came the daunting job of finding homes for all six.
Power of a Global Community
With two dogs of their own and Richard starting a new job, he and Jan simply could not keep the pups long-term. They knew that taking them to a Louisiana shelter would likely be a death sentence, so they made impassioned pleas to every rescue group they could find. They got replies like, “Sorry, wish we could help.” But Richard and Jan were not giving up.
The Bedford County Humane Society (BCHS) is a limited access facility and often operates to capacity, taking adoptable dogs and cats from Bedford and Fulton Counties. But the shelter works with other rescue organizations when there is opportunity to do so.
As a result of an earlier outreach to save a litter of Keeshond puppies, an email and flyer about the “Drain Pipe Six” made its way to BCHS shelter manager, Janet Gates. She did some online research and found a brief YouTube video of these adorable hounds. There happened to be room at the shelter. Contact was made with Richard and Jan, and the job of arranging transport over five states began.
Janet posted their dilemma on the BCHS Facebook page and word spread virally. But just when it seemed that they would not be able to find help for every necessary leg of the trip, another angel emerged.
Jeff, a retired pilot from Old Forge, Pennsylvania, had been following the story. He uses his private planes at his own expense to fly animal rescues for Pilots N Paws. He’s transported nearly 900 dogs. As an animal lover himself, Jeff is passionate about helping them reach caring homes.
Jeff was already scheduled for a transport from Tennessee to Wilkes Barre, so the Drainpipe rescue made logistic sense.
By this time, Richard and Jan were able to find an adoptive family for one of the dogs. A volunteer drove the remaining five puppies from Louisiana to Knoxville, where they were delivered into Jeff’s (the pilot’s) care.
And They Lived Happily Ever After
Amid a bit of media flurry and a chorus of cheers, the “Drainpipe Five” arrived at the Bedford County Airport. The pups were initially bewildered, but quickly warmed up to hugs and kisses.
People waited at the shelter all day to give these little celebrities a warm Pennsylvania welcome. Adoption applications flooded in, but BCHS maintained its criteria of screening personal and veterinary references, and checking for suitable home conditions to find the best families for these high profile guests.
“I feel in my heart that they all got really excellent homes,” says Janet. “Not just because they are ‘Drainpipe Pups’. And I hope everyone knows that there many other wonderful dogs at the shelter waiting to find homes.”
The puppies appeared to be a lovable mix of black lab, hound, and only heaven knows what else. The handsome tan one, dubbed Leo, was the first to be adopted. Louie was next, then shy little girl, Piper. Big boy, Wolfie, (named after his savior) followed. His scars tell a brave boy’s story – as largest of the litter, he foraged for and protected his siblings. Lulu, with a congenitally stumpy tail, last of the Drainpipe saga, left foster care in early October to find a forever home with her angels in Hagerstown, Maryland.
It is absolutely heartwarming to see the collective efforts of everyone involved with this rescue…
Todd Gates, BCHS President, shared his perspective. “It is absolutely incredible and heartwarming to see the collective efforts of everyone involved with this rescue produce such a happy ending for these pups. They had such a rough start in life and deserve what everyone was able to accomplish for them. A sincere thank you and kudos to all who supported this effort.”
Thanks to Hometown Magazine for providing the “Drainepipe Five” story!
Every week during the 2013 Blue Buffalo Home 4 the Holidays campaign (Oct. 1, 2013 – Jan. 2, 2014), participating animal organizations are encouraged to enter heartwarming adoption success stories. Submissions can be made weekly by snail mail, fax or email, and at the end of each week Helen Woodward Animal Center will select a winning story to be featured on this very blog! After the campaign ends on Jan. 2, 2014, the weekly winning stories will be compiled into a pool and voted on by partnered organizations, animal welfare fans and the public. The story with the most votes will win a $500 donation for their animal organization and will be announced on Helen Woodward Animal Center’s blog in February, 2014. For more rules and guidelines, please click here.