About six months ago local authorities in Ottumwa became aware of a massive puppy mill operation - over 250 dogs; all being housed in unbelievably deplorable conditions. Gradually they've been able to get some of the dogs out. They've taken about 50, but there are well over 200 remaining. As the shelter has room, they try to get more out. The four corgis we pulled all came out of that mill.
We talked to Sandy, one of the most knowledgeable and level-headed shelter officers I've ever dealt with. She was awesome. She said that these boys were all basically nice, no aggression, displaying varying degrees of under-socialization. We know it is a long road for them, but at least now they have a chance. Local people know about the mill situation and won't consider adopting the dogs. Candidly, most owners are lacking in knowledge to deal with dogs with this lack of socialization. In the shelter, it these guys had no chance. Sandy was really touched that my foster person came all that way and was willing to take all four dogs. I am pretty touched by her efforts myself!
Thankfully, the foster person involved has an incredible gift with these "shy" dogs. She has worked similar situations for ForPaws before and the dogs transform from frightened creatures, unwilling to let people approach, to confident, grounded dogs, ready to make their way in the world with the right adopter. It is truly astonishing.
Obviously, four is a lot to take on. We already know that one of these dogs is reasonably outgoing, so we may be looking for some other foster options for some of them. For this next couple weeks we will just let the dogs show us who they are and we will know what to do.
Updates will appear on this blog as we learn more about the dogs. For the moment, we haven't even decided on names for them. The shelter had assigned names, but they don't respond to them. We will come up with something suitable. We will also be posting photos on the ForPaws website.
This marks the first time we've ever taken on four at once. Our veterinary costs are going to be "meaningful." We are an independent rescue operation, completely self-funded and not affiliated with any regional or national breed club. Should you wish to make a donation on behalf of these dogs, The Ottumwa Rescues, please contact Kathy Miller
for more details. Our main rescue website is http://www.ForPaws.org.
Stay tuned for more...there will be some Big Adventures ahead for the Ottumwa Four!