by Wendy Hunter
Wendy Hunter is a volunteer with the Animal Rescue of Fresno. ARF shares with KRL their animal rescue adventures every month.
One warm mother-kiss dried the little wet eyes and stilled the little troubled heart. —Jay Benson Hamilton
Well kids, we did it. We made it through the holidays. We made it through the fudge, the popcorn balls, and way too many bottles of vino. We noshed on trays of appetizers, dips of all kinds, and cookies by the dozens. We popped Christmas crackers, shared classic stories, and vowed that 2021 will be a much better year. We remembered those we lost and toasted to the ones we still have.
Our very small family gathering of six safely spent Christmas Day at my sister Jill’s house, where we stuffed ourselves silly. There were piles of fresh crab, ninety-seven pounds of clarified butter, pork loin, salad, fettuccine, and homemade “butt” biscuits, named for the way they puff up in the pan. This was followed by the most amazing bourbon-laced pecan pie I’ve ever had. I mean, this was the good stuff. I think I might have dreamt about it that night. I woke up drooling, so I can only assume. Later, presents were opened, photos taken, and Jill’s crazy herd was rounded up. Three wacky hounds who rumble through the house like a freight train, plowing into furniture, oblivious to the havoc they wreak. Sort of like the Year 2020, that blew into our world like a whirling dervish and scattered our lives to the wind. But, just like a 1970’s era Weeble toy, the human race may wobble but she won’t fall down.Yup, we’re a strong bunch, and that includes many of our four-legged friends as well. At Animal Rescue of Fresno, it can be tough to decide which dogs to save because we just cannot save them all. It’s the sad truth. People often don’t understand that we only have so much room at our facility, and so many funds to work with. But sometimes, our hearts take over our heads, and we leave our wallets by the wayside. And so it was that Roxanna came into ARF with a tummy full of babies who couldn’t wait to greet the outside world. Roxanna was rescued from a mobile home, along with several other dogs. I was told it looked like a homeless encampment, and it was obvious by the condition of the dogs that there was a lot of inbreeding going on. Roxanna has a little underbite, and the others also have slight disfigurements in their mouths. The owners were probably well-meaning, but with the care and feeding of so many animals, the dogs suffered for it. We do know one of the residents was arrested for unknown reasons, so perhaps the remaining occupants became overwhelmed. In any event, Roxanna arrived on a Sunday, and before the evening was over, she had delivered five tiny puppies. And since Roxanna means “little star,” you could say we now have our own little galaxy.
Now Roxanna is a copper-red terrier mix with gorgeous hazel eyes and the sweetest disposition ever. She looks like someone took an Irish Setter and shrunk it down to a smaller size. I’ve been at ARF for almost six years now, and she’s the first mommy dog that I can remember who didn’t want to bite my face off. Most moms are so protective of their babies, you can’t even come near them. As a matter of fact, I was reminded just recently that my own Cocoa dog, an ARF rescue, was that kind of mom. She did not want anyone around her little ones at all. Roxanna comes right up to anyone in her yard, and she has no problem with you picking up her pups or petting them in their kennel. Last weekend, however, she did not want to go to bed with them. For some of you in rescue, this scenario may sound familiar: “C’mon Roxanna….kennel, kennel…let’s go to bed.” “Okay Roxanna, here’s a treat, c’mon girl, your puppies are waiting.” “Roxanna, it’s getting late, now c’mon mommy, let’s go to bed.” “Roxanna, I don’t have all night, let’s get to bed.” ‘ROXANNA, GO TO BED!!!! KENNEL! KENNEL!” Yeesh, I gave up and had one of the other volunteers get her to bed. Sometimes, you have to choose your battles, and I knew I was going to lose that one. Until we meet again Miss Roxanna….until we meet again.
When Roxanna’s pups were born, they were the tiniest of things. They fit in the palm of your hand, and looked nothing like their mom. Where’s all that beautiful red hair? Where are those amazing golden eyes? Hmm, it appears that mommy may have gotten around more than we thought. Or maybe it was just all that inbreeding. Whatever the reason, Roxanna’s pups are adorable. It’s amazing what puppies will do to people, even those who swear they’d never have one. One of my friends recently told me that an acquaintance of hers had bought a puppy for her mother. The mother is in her 70s, and they thought it would be a great idea to get her something cute and wiggly. But not just a puppy, a JACK RUSSELL TERRIER puppy. Oh no. Have you ever done any research on Jack Russel Terriers? Have you ever watched ONE episode of Frasier? This bouncy breed is extremely energetic, and needs lots of exercise and stimulation. I’m not implying that someone over seventy doesn’t have the stamina to keep up with a puppy, just maybe not one that’s going to be leaping like a kangaroo from chair to sofa to footstool 24-7. How about a retired greyhound instead? All they want to do is lounge across your furniture with their head in your lap all day. Choose your breed wisely, my friends, because that just may be a battle you don’t want to lose.
At Animal Rescue of Fresno, it seems to be feast or famine when it comes to puppies. Either we don’t have any at all or our puppy yard is bursting at the seams. For example, just a couple of weekends ago we adopted out three puppies all from the same litter. And not only that, they were all black, which is astounding. Folks tend to stay away from black dogs and cats, for superstitious or other reasons. And just a month or so ago, we had a couple litters we posted online, and we received hundreds of applications for them. It was quite the puppy palooza. I imagine we will have the same response once we put up Roxanna’s pups for adoption. But just remember, a puppy is a lot like a human baby; there’s a lot of crying, a lot of sleeping, lots of eating, and good gawd, there’s a lot of pooping. But if you’re up to the challenge and need some sweetness in your life, keep checking our website. They’re not quite ready yet, but we’ll be posting the puppies for adoption toward the end of January. After the year we’ve all been through, welcoming a creature that brings nothing but joy into your household might be just the thing to ring in the New Year. May 2021 be the warmest and fuzziest one yet.
Animal Rescue of Fresno
4545 E Dakota Ave.
Fresno, CA 93726
Check out more animal rescue stories in our Pet Perspective section and check back every month for another animal rescue adventure from ARF. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to a local animal rescue. We also have a pet Facebook group for KRL and we would love to have you join!