All 44 rescued dogs find homes

Alyssa McCloskey | Daily Press Brooke Sarasin holds her dog Link as her mother looks on at the Delta Animal Shelter. Link is one of the 44 dogs rescued from a home in Gladstone in March. All the dogs have since been adopted. A reunion of the dogs and their owners was held Wednesday at the shelter.

ESCANABA — Back in March, 44 dogs being kept in a Gladstone home were rescued and relocated to the Delta County Animal Shelter. Since that time, all 44 have been adopted into loving homes. The number of dogs involved is actually 54 because 10 puppies were born at the shelter afterwards. The dogs are a breed commonly called “Chiweenies” — a Chihuahua and Dachshund, mix.

The last dog, Ivy, was adopted last week. Shelter Manager Sue Gartland said if it were not for the tremendous effort from shelter staff, volunteers and donors, the undertaking would never have been possible.

“It was a great team effort, between staff and all the volunteers and community rallying behind helping us,” said Gartland. “Without the support of volunteers, and we are mostly a volunteer organization, without the financial support of the community we would not have been able to do that.”

To celebrate, the shelter held a reunion for the adopted dogs and their owners Wednesday night.

It was a long road getting to that point.

The amount of care the dogs needed to undergo in order to become adoptable became apparent shortly after they arrived at the shelter. Many needed medical care not only in the form of vaccinations, flea control and deworming, but also spay and neutering.

The female dogs that were pregnant or were caring for puppies had to wait to be spayed until their puppies were old enough to be weaned. As Gartland explained, socialization training for the dogs had to be put on the back burner because of this. After all medical concerns were taken care of, there was the task of socializing the dogs.

“We had many community members who would just sit and talk to the dogs, they couldn’t even touch the dogs,.” said Gartland.

They also needed to be potty trained before being put up for adoption. All these aspects of care became a huge job for volunteers and staff that were caring for the dogs.

“The financial strain on us was a little bit overwhelming at first, but we gave those dogs everything that they needed and that was important to us,” said Gartland.

“This has really been not only an animal shelter project for saving dogs, but it was really a community-wide project in saving so many dogs that needed a tremendous amount of help,” Garland said.

Gartland praised the people who adopted the dogs and gave them new homes.

“What a wonderful group of people to look at a very broken dog, under socialized, and say I am going to help that dog and I am going to adopt that dog and continue on the process that the shelter started,” she said. “Because it wasn’t easy, they were not perfect, wonderful, social dogs. They were getting dogs that came from horrific conditions and needed a lot more help once they left the shelter environment.”

According to Gartland, the most important lesson to be learned is that it was important the initial owner of the 44 dogs came forward to reach out for assistance when they did. The authorities did not press charges and the owner did not receive any type of punishment and that is important for encouraging anyone else in that type of situation to come forward.

The Delta County Animal Shelter is currently full to capacity and staff would like to invite anyone looking for a pet to come to the shelter and meet some of the animals there. In addition, the shelter is always in need of supplies and donations, which includes its program “Cans for Critters” where people are encouraged to drop of any returnables cans that they would like to donate. For information on adoption or about the Delta County Animal Shelter, call 906-0230.

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