Extreme Rescue Mission: Saving Trigger & Her Puppies

Wadding through 12 inches of stagnate sewage water.  Crawling up a slippery, muddy hill avoiding a menagerie of objects in complete darkness.  Then inching through a crawl space with a  12 inch height. No, this isn’t an episode of American Ninja Warrior but an actual lifesaving rescue mission of six dogs needing help.

The backyard of the abandon boarded up home sat with overgrown brush.  In the distance you could hear warning barks sounding off in rapid fire with an echo - as if they were coming from a cave.  Kristi and I walked to the entrance of what can only be described as the foundation of what used to be a home; the entrance was like entering an ominous cave that most humans would avoid at all cost. The barks grew louder and more urgent. As I pointed a flashlight toward the yelps and growls, a glowing figure of a dog became apparent as she took a strong stance perched on a mound of mud while the house sat above her head. She was protecting something or someone, and I just knew it had to be her puppies.

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Wadding through 12 inches of stagnate sewage water.  Crawling up a slippery, muddy hill avoiding a menagerie of objects in complete darkness.  Then inching through a crawl space with a  12 inch height. No, this isn’t an episode of American Ninja Warrior but an actual lifesaving rescue mission of six dogs needing help.

The backyard of the abandon boarded up home sat with overgrown brush.  In the distance you could hear warning barks sounding off in rapid fire with an echo - as if they were coming from a cave.  Kristi and I walked to the entrance of what can only be described as the foundation of what used to be a home; the entrance was like entering an ominous cave that most humans would avoid at all cost. The barks grew louder and more urgent. As I pointed a flashlight toward the yelps and growls, a glowing figure of a dog became apparent as she took a strong stance perched on a mound of mud while the house sat above her head. She was protecting something or someone, and I just knew it had to be her puppies.

Getting to her was a daunting task.  Having no other choice, I waded through the sewage leading to the large mound. I remember telling myself I need to stop wearing sneakers on rescues as my feet became cold from the muck. Maneuvering in a boot camp type crawl up the muddy mound, the dog ascends higher and away from me into complete darkness. I hear the sound of a pup’s chirp and know they are all in a small space where I will never fit. I yell to Kristi, “call Donna!”

Donna and I have rescued together for probably 17 years.  I joke with her often that I keep her around because her petite frame will fit into places most people will never be able to go.  And she is fearless.

I watch her do the same obstacle course I endured, and now like two miners in a cave-in, we lay there knowing if we lift up our heads they will be met with a solid floor ready to cause some pain. The flashlights are on, and the scared families of dogs are huddled as far back as this cavity goes. I question if Donna can squeeze into such a tight space, but she goes for it anyway.

The temperature is smoldering hot as Donna attempts to lasso the white terrified mom.  After many failed attempts, it finally happens and I hear the magic words, “I got her.”  I reach as far into the hole as possible and grab the slip leads around the mom’s neck.  I pull, she flails, I pull again and with the most soothing voice I could muster, I tell her it will be okay.  We go down sliding, falling from the sludge mound in unison, and she immediately melts into my arms. She knows we are the good guys.  She knows her bad days are over. I just want to hold her but know we have much more to do.  Now it’s time to save her babies.

Donna plucks the 8 week old pups.  I grab them and splash through the sewage pond to Kristi who helps get each pup into the jeep. Like an assembly line, we eventually get everyone safely into the jeep. We did it!  Now the reward for us all:  the mom - now named Trigger - and her beautiful pups together, relaxed and grateful.  Trigger comes to the front of the jeep and licks my hand, her way of saying “thanks.”

My gratitude goes to Donna for her strength, courage and friendship and to Kristi for her unwavering, solid support. 

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The Stracks Fund is money that is used exclusively for the medical expenses incurred to treat and heal the thousands of dogs and cats that come through our doors.The majority of dogs rescued require extensive and costly medical care. Some requiring hospitalization at a speciality clinic

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