Izzy's first litter of pups when spotted in the desert

Resting comfortably in foster
home after being rescued,
fed, and bathed

Getting ready to be adopted.

A little black dog roamed our neighborhood, untouchable and alone. It was three years ago when a neighbor reported seeing her outside their fence. She had a collar on at that time. We would see her travelling in the arroyos and across some of the less travelled streets. Izzy would go from house to house to find food and water. She would hunker down under a shade tree during the heat of the day and close to a concrete wall or sidewalk to absorb the heat during the cold nights. Her long black hair and curly tail with the brown spots above her eyes were easy to spot in the grey desert. There is a name for her coloring in Spanish, it is golondrina. It means Barn Swallow. I can understand the nick-name, Izzy has the same coloring as this beautiful bird.

It was December when a friend called to say, “I have 4 puppies that just came out of the arroyo in front of my house”.  I am one of the people who gets a call when there is dog in our neighborhood that people don’t know what to do with.  You see I am a rescuer. A rescatista in Spanish. In the 12 years since we moved here, I rescued at least 40 dogs, mostly puppies. I have trouble turning a blind eye to those innocent little creatures. They all have great homes now, with the help of a great adoption team.

So that December morning I took a drive over to the friend’s house. I had some nice smelly ham with me to attract them. Then out of the thicket on the edge of the arroyo came 3 little puppies. They were around 7 or 8 weeks old by then. The fourth puppy that my neighbor saw was actually Izzy, the mama. At that time, she wasn’t much bigger than they were. I sat down and waited for them to get brave and hungry enough to chance an encounter with me.  It didn’t take long before the female, Olive, who looked like her mom, came and with a big stretch took some ham from my fingers. Next came Oro, the little blonde who looked like a mini–Golden Retriever. The shy one, Oso, an all-black fluffball, wasn’t going to chance it. So, we made a rescue plan. Bring a bowl of food every morning for a few days, until they were waiting for me and my bowl. We put up some barriers around the food bowl with an opening to let them in. Once they were in the pen eating, I came up and closed the door. We quickly scooped them up and put them in a crate.

As soon as they were vaccinated and spay/neutered, we put them up for adoption. Before long we had applications for all of them. It is a bittersweet moment for rescuers when they watch the dogs that they raised, trained, and loved to go off to their new homes. But it makes room for the next litter…And as long as there are abandoned dogs like Izzy on the streets, there is always a next litter.

Puppies we rescue cost an average of $575 each. Some of the ways you can help include:

  • $10 – vaccinates a dog;
  • $25 – will spay or neuter a dog;
  • $50 – feeds 3 dogs for a month;
  • $100 – pays for needed surgeries

We are hoping to take in more rescued puppies this winter and need your help!

Read the next episode of Izzy’s adventures.