In terms of good problems to have, I would say that having your office overrun with a bunch of weeks-old puppies is certainly pretty high on the list.
Early September saw a group of 8 one-week-old grey/blue pit bull puppies and their mother (lovingly referred to as the “hippo puppies”) come to live in the Real Life Room, which is located in the Animal Behavior & Intake Department’s office that shares a wing with Community Programs. This means we’ve been able to spend the last month watching these puppies grow from wrinkly little blobs of grey fur to actually resembling something like a dog.
The Anti-Cruelty Society’s policy is not to adopt out any kittens or pups that are under 2 months of age. Whenever possible, this means keeping them with their mothers until they are comfortably weaned. If the mothers do not come into the shelter with the babies for whatever reason, staff members and dedicated group of volunteers will take on the responsibilities of nursing the newborns. Because we get so many litters of kittens in throughout the year (especially during the summer months), we have whole sections of our two cat rehabilitation rooms used to house and care for these young cats. We see a significantly smaller number of litters of puppies, though, and so they will often just come back and live in the Real Life Room for a few weeks before they are ready to get their physical exams and vaccinations, undergo a spay/neuter surgery, and move to the adoption floor.
Normally, these few weeks mean that we have an adorable group of pups that our Community Programs staff, primarily because of proximity, gets to help socialize during their formative weeks. Often, this also includes bringing the puppies in to meet lucky groups of school children or Crafting Crew volunteers that just happen to have scheduled a visit to the Society while the puppies are staying with us. However, by the time the hippo pups were just getting old enough to show some personality, they were already out the door. If you’ve been paying attention to the timeline, you’ll know that these dogs are still just about a month old, and so not ready to go up for adoption yet; they’ve actually already been moved out of our Real Life Room and are set to be sent (all together, with mama in tow) to a foster home until they reach 2 months of age, because a sudden emergency required us to open up the Real Life Room to yet another pregnant dog.
This past Saturday (October 3), Sable gave birth to 11 adorable and healthy little black beans that we get to spend a few months getting to know. Just as the hippo puppies are starting to come into their own and make their way out in the world, a whole new litter takes their place. The Circle of Life! (But let’s be real, the main point of this post is just to show cute pictures of these puppies.)
And speaking of fun visitors, last weekend also saw the arrival of a group of 7 students from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania, who spent two days hanging out at the Society. The group came to Chicago as part of a regular series of service trips that they take at the school called “Carebreaks,” where students travel to different parts of the country to participate in service projects for non-profit organizations like The Anti-Cruelty Society. For two days (Sunday and Monday), the group came in to enjoy educational presentations (about the history of the Society and anti-dog fighting), tour our facilities, make toys and beds for the cats and dogs in our shelter, and help socialize the hippo puppies, of course!