Sadly, nine out of ten dogs in the United States will never find a forever home. Even worse, millions of the animals are euthanized each year, a statistic that makes animal adoption all the more vital. Those who offer a loving home to a neglected or unwanted pooch, then, should be proud. Like these heroic Michigan families, for example, all of whom committed to adopting some puppies before they’d even met them. Little wonder they were so excited when the special day finally came…
The family members were sat side by side, eagerly waiting to open their bright yellow envelope. Each contained a number which corresponded to the order in which the families would meet the puppies. None of those present had actually seen the pups in the flesh before. In fact, the would-be adopters had only ever seen a video of the animals. But the video had certainly made a deep impression, containing as it did harrowing footage of the puppies being rescued from a terrible ordeal.
You see, the 11 puppies had been stuck outside with their stray mother during some terrible weather in Detriot, Michigan. Looking for shelter, the mama dog had tunneled a hole in someone’s yard, but unfortunately, her brood ended up getting trapped inside. And with local flash flood warnings in place, the muddy pit was the last place they wanted to be. The dogs were wet, scared and terribly confined.
The mama pooch is Raina, a gorgeous German Shepherd. And thankfully for her and her litter, a neighbour had heard the dogs’ frantic cries from the hole. The man then called the Michigan Humane Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping animals by rescuing them and organizing adoptions.
And when two staff from the society arrived, the severity of the situation soon became apparent. The pups’ mom was loose and nowhere to be seen, while her petrified litter cowered in the hole. But with the clock ticking and heavy rain forecast, the two workers knew they had to act fast. So, they set a trap for Raina, while they worked out how to get the pups out of the hole.
Ignoring the atrocious conditions, the rescuers then knuckled down to the task in hand. And the dramatic scenes were all streamed live on the Michigan Humane Society’s Facebook page. The rescue involved one of the volunteers, Chris, lying on the sodden ground and reaching his arm deep inside the hole.
Then, one by one, Chris grasped three of the helpless pups and handed them to his colleague Pam. With the rest of the brood hunkering deeper underground, Chris was forced to use a spade to dig out some of the soil. He and Pam also placed dog food at the den’s entrance in an effort to tempt the pups outside. The video captures the moment each pup finally emerges from the hole. And while each was as adorable as the last, understandably the pooches looked a bit dishevelled, with many shivering and whimpering in fear.
Amazingly, given the severity of the weather, all of the pups and their mama survived. The hounds were taken to the MHS shelter, where they were vaccinated and checked over. But then the rescuers faced their second big challenge – finding each of the dogs a loving home.
And that’s when the Michigan Humane Society conjured an exciting plan for the dogs’ adoptions. Using the dramatic footage of the rescue, they gave members of the public a chance to adopt the pups before actually seeing them in the flesh. And their idea worked a treat.
Many of the people who had followed the rescue online applied for a chance to adopt one of the pooches. Then, when the dogs had fully recovered, the chosen families were invited to an adoption ceremony. That’s where the animal lovers met the CEO of the Michigan Humane Society, Matt Pepper.
Pepper welcomed his visitors warmly and shared some jokes before they brought the pups out. “I feel like I should be telling you all to reach under your seats and find an envelope, like the Oprah Winfrey of puppies,” Pepper joked. “You get a puppy, you get a puppy, everyone gets a puppy!”
But instead of giving the dogs out at random, the society chose a more structured approach. A woman counted down from three, and then each of the families opened up envelopes which revealed the order in which they could meet the puppies. Following their interaction, the families could then choose the pup they wanted.
Naturally, the adopters were overjoyed, and there were smiles all round as they took turns to meet the puppies for the first time. Some family members were even reduced to tears as they held the cute little bundles of fur. Meanwhile, each family was faced with the same difficult decision: which pup should they take home?
“They were all so adorable it was hard to choose,” said one adopter, Christine. She eventually chose to adopt Cloud, a sweet pup who to Christine appeared more laid back than her brothers and sisters. “She wasn’t one of the ones who was running around crazy!” she laughed.
Stephen, Ayla and Diana, meanwhile, picked Skye, one of the black puppies. “She was super fun, great personality, plus she’s black and my wife wears black to work every day!” Stephen smiled. “It’s kind of a priority in the household.”
Then, Kelly and Ryan adopted Raiden. They had found out about the pooches’ plight after Kelly’s mom sent her the Facebook video of the dogs’ rescue. And the couple were keen to share their new space with a canine companion. “We’ve just a bought a new house and we thought this was a great time,” Ryan explained, as Raiden showered Kelly with licks.
As for what happened to the mother, well, she was adopted too. In fact, the lovely Raina was picked by Matt and Erica. “We’re excited,” said Matt. “She was everything we wanted. We got to meet her and we’ve loved her ever since.”
Amazingly, every dog that Chris and Pam rescued went to a loving home, which is a fitting tribute to the rescue pair’s valiant efforts. Like Chris and Pam, workers from the Michigan Humane Society go out every day to save animals from similar circumstances. But Pepper said that their noble actions only have a purpose when adopters step forward. So, people like these dog-loving families are making a huge difference.
“This story has had incredible reach,” said Pepper. “On one media outlet, this story reached 11 million people.” Others of course followed events on the society’s own Facebook page, where users were overjoyed with the adoption story. Some of the adopters themselves even uploaded photos of their rescued pooches.
Raina and her pups’ rescue is an inspiring and uplifting story that will hopefully encourage more people to adopt. The beautiful German Shepherds are among the lucky ones, but there are still many more strays out there waiting. So a big thank you to all those involved in this rescue – you deserve a round of applause.