In My Own Backyard

I woke up one day last week to the unmistakable whimper of puppies.

My heart sank.  I knew immediately where it was coming from.  I had heard it before.

I looked out my back window and my suspicions were confirmed. 

I counted at least six little puppies, maybe 5-6 weeks old.  I know who their momma is – she’s a repeat offender.  She’s one of the many stray dogs who roam my neighborhood, un-cared for, un-loved, and of course un-spayed.  She hangs out in my neighbors back yard a lot of the time, though she doesn’t “belong” to them (that is, they claim no responsibility for her).  And so, these puppies,  like other litters before them, will go unclaimed as well.

Since Foster Dad and I began our foster journey almost a year ago, we’ve rehomed five dogs.  Five dogs who otherwise might not have had a chance at a happy healthy life, are now in loving furever homes.  This last batch of stray puppies brought more dogs into this world than Foster Dad and I have rescued and rehomed since we started fostering.  Because of this one dog, all our efforts have essentially been canceled out – plus one more!

Talk about a deflating moment.

I see these poor puppies and I feel completely helpless.  We are absolutely not in a situation to rescue a litter of puppies.  And if they have any pit bull in them (and knowing who the daddy most likely is, they probably do), they don’t have a chance at the Humane Association or our local Animal Control – neither of whom adopt out pit bulls. 

At the same time, my heart aches for them and their mother – did Roxie come from a situation like this?  Was she born under a shed to a malnourished over-bred mother?  When she was big enough, did she finally wander off because she didn’t know what else to do?  If we hadn’t picked her up that night, how soon would it have been before she popped out a litter of her own?

I’ve had this post in “draft” form for nearly a week now, trying to think of a nice tidy way to wrap it up.  I don’t have it.  I am beyond upset at what I see going on right in front of me.  I can’t even bring myself to think about how many other stray dogs in my city alone are contributing to the pet overpopulation problem, right this moment – let alone all over the country. Every time I come back to this post to finish it up, I get so angry I could cry.  So, with nothing else to say o the matter at this moment….

…to be continued.



Filed under Our Foster Journey

19 responses to “In My Own Backyard

  1. Laura

    Ugh! So many emotions but frustration, anger, and sadness seem to be at the top of my list right now. I see happening too (although not literally in my backyard) and I to get so angry I could cry and sometimes do. I’m not sure what you’re going to do (or did do) but I look forward to the “to be continued” post and want to wish you strength in any decision you make!


  2. So hard to see that kind of thing going on right in your backyard (literally). I see dogs I can’t help all the time. It’s heartbreaking. Do you think you might be able to get some help to get the mama dog spayed? 😦 Sorry you have to deal with this.


  3. Shelley

    I keep wanting to holler…catch her, and I’ll pay for her spay…but then…i think…how can we just turn her back out? Ugh…I feel so helpless 😦


    • I know Shelley, I keep thinking the same thing every time I see a stray dog with sagging nipples wandering the streets…I’d be more than happy to scoop them up and get them spayed, but – then what? How could I honestly turn them back out onto the street? This is when the cold hard “you can’t save them all” is just too much to bear.


  4. I can understand your frustration and not that it would make you feel any better but I too would have a hard time finishing this post.


  5. The situation with the puppies is unfortunate, but please don’t feel like your rescue efforts have been canceled out. By opening up your home to foster dogs, you’ve ensured that those dogs are loved and prevented them from creating more unwanted litters. By blogging your experiences, you’ve inspired others to rescue dogs, especially pitbull-type dogs. For what it’s worth, I am very thankful for the work you do and hope to foster dogs in the future, when Badger and Mushroom are better behaved.

    I’m curious to hear the conclusion of the story. Since the mom appears to be a border collie mix, maybe the pups could be listed as that on paper?


  6. That’s sad that the rescue places there won’t handle Pitbulls. Are there any Pitbull rescue places around or anything like that (private organizations)? I feel so bad for the little guys, and the mom, and you!


  7. Having a foster puppy in the house right now only multiplies the feelings of sadness I have for your situation and of course, for the helpless puppies. The thought of our foster munchkin being in that situation is heartbreaking. I’m sure it seems hopeless, but everyone is right, you are making a difference. 🙂


  8. Jessica Russell

    I know a woman in Byrdsville who fosters dogs and gets them to the Northeast. I’ve sent her an email to see if she has contacts who might be able to help.


  9. Jessica Russell – my friend said Nashville Humane would take all breeds. I also know Emmilou Harris has a rescue group –!/Contact and they would help I’m sure – it’s in Nashville. Are you able to drive the mom and puppies to a rescue if you can catch them? I wish I could be there to help you!!!


  10. Cassie

    I really think there is a place for these puppies, most likely in a northern state where the breeding season is short and puppies are easily adopted out by rescue groups. If there is a group that can take the mom and puppies, do you think that you could coordinate with them? Would the neighbors allow them to go to a rescue? (I know that they don’t really take care of the dogs, but they might feel like they have a say). I live in Minnesota, and there is a very large and active pet rescue community that frequently transports pups up from southern states. I would encourage you to get in contact with Midwest Animal Rescue Services ( and go from there.


  11. So heartbreaking and frustrating for you, but I agree with Rebelwerewolf, it doesn’t cancel out all the good work you have done and continue to do as a foster mum and as an advocate for pit bulls and rescues.

    We are lucky here because we have somewhere to take dogs and their babies and know that the staff at our shelter will spay/neuter, worm, vaccinate and rehome them unless there are serious health and behavioural issues. I hope that the contacts that others have provided can help, will keep my fingers crossed and think positive thoughts.


  12. It’s so frustrating having strays in the neighborhood, especially knowing how long it can take to adopt out dogs. We found a litter near our neighborhood that was adopted out very quickly, but a few months later three strays started frequenting our area. It was a mom with a collar but no tags who was soon pregnant again and two older pups, and my husband suspects the pups may have been from the same litter we found. We had some suspicions they may have belonged to a neighbor, but they were skittish of people and we never did catch them. They disappeared while we were out of town and another neighbor may have been catching them, but no idea of their fate. It was frustrating the entire time – what would we have done if we caught them? There were so many factors going into that big “if” that could have worked against them. Best of luck with this stray and her pups.


  13. Cassie

    I forgot to ask: Can you talk to the rescue you foster for about these pups, and see if they can help?


  14. call precious friends puppy rescue in clarksville for puppies. they need a vaccination 2 weeks prior to check in date. they are no-kill, they take [some, limited number] pitties especially if a mix (have pic of mom handy). they transport to north shore animal league on long island, also no kill.
    for mom, trap, spay, release is a great idea. well, while it isn’t the best idea, it is better than allowing the cycle to continue. and you shouldn’t feel bad about not having a home, you can only do what you can do, and be at peace with it. at least you will know she will be happier if her life roaming can be without the burden of little ones. hope this helps, at least the part about not feeling guilty about releasing mama after fix her. go to for precious friends info as well as info on grants for good people that will vaccinate the puppies and pay for mama’s spay.
    all good things


  15. Everybody – thank you so much for your kind words and support, virtual as well as offers to help! It’s been an extremely overwhelming and busy week at Foster House for several reasons. so I appologize for not responding to everyone individually. Believe me I am looking into several options, but the first step is making contact with the people who live in the house, which will have to be done delicately and may take some time. So it may be some time before we hit the “contact a rescue” stage. I promise to keep everyone posted with developments, and anything I need. Again that you all SO MUCH, it means the world to me in circumstances like this to know that we are not alone! 🙂


  16. I can’t help but feel your pain. It is heartbreaking to be making the effort to improve the world around you, only to be reminded how far society has to go. Remember, while fostering may not seem like we are making a difference in the problem of pet overpopulation, when you look at all of us out there who are putting in the effort, we are a powerful group! Fostering, adopting, rescuing, etc… maybe we aren’t putting much of a visible dent in the larger issue at hand, but the dogs you have saved might not be .alive. without your presence in their lives. That is some powerful action. You have certainly made a difference not only in their lives, but in the lives you prevented them from bringing into the world, and in the lives of the families they are blessing every day. Thank you for what you do, it does not go un-noticed!


  17. Pingback: Just a quick note… | A Heartbeat at My Feet

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