I had a dream one February night. It must have been the cold freezing my brain that brought on the crazy maltipoo dreams. I couldn’t remember a colder winter than the one of 2015, but I digress…
I’d like spin a little yarn for your entertainment about a dream detailing the largest intake of dogs by Beaver Creek Farm Sanctuary.
The Dream: A Tail of Too many Maltipoos
I sit in the old farm kitchen waiting and I am not comforted by the glow of the fireplace or the feel of the warm terracotta tiles under my feet.
I pace the worn floor fretting at our next intake. There are stalls to clean, dogs to walk and farm animals that need tending, but I’m wrapped up in a tight ball of tension as I wait for the crazy pack of Maltipoos (maltese / poodle cross puppies).
Or, at least, the potential of a crazy pack of maltipoo puppies.
Let me take a step back. In February we got a cryptic phone call from a women with a soft voice who said she had some dogs she wanted to surrender. We requested the usual information and never heard from her again. She left no name and no phone number.
We were immersed in the wild cold of March, which is when these dreams started and probably why I dreamt of white fluffy dogs — they reminded me of gently fallinng snow. I didn’t give the call much thought. All our energy was going towards keeping our outdoor critters warm.
In early April a middle aged couple pulled into the farm driveway, unannounced, and told us they wanted to surrender between 17-20 dogs.
Jaw drop — Beaver Creek Farm Sanctuary is a small foster based rescue and taking in 17 dogs would be a big challenge. I woke from this particular dream with a start!
It took us a few minutes to wrap our heads around 17-20 dogs and we must have stood staring for several minutes before we began to ask questions. The surrender, Lisa was skittish and jumpy with one eye constantly on the get away vehicle. She wouldn’t give her address or much information. That part of the dream was pretty vague.
The only thing she said for certain was that she didn’t want any of her dogs to go to a humane society or shelter. She loathed cages. After a tour of the farm, she deemed it acceptable and left with a promise to call tomorrow.
We reminded ourselves why we created BCFS: to help animals. We refuse to speculate on her occupation with regards to these dogs. Was she a hoarder, a backyard breeder or a puppy mill? We didn’t know and in my dream that part didn’t seem to matter.
While we waited for her call we talked to experienced people at other rescue organizations and a lawyer who has a big heart for rescue. We gathered all the information and decided our best course of action was to get as many of the dogs out of their current situation while the opportunity existed.
This is the part of my dream where I envisioned our volunteers all dressed in black with flashlights crawling on our bellies through dark, creepy spider-infested caves in search of white kleenex boxes. Dreams sometimes go to strange places.
The evening grew dark as we waited for her call and it eventually came hours later. In her soft high voice she asked “would we help her?” Absolutely, we said. She’ll call us in the morning to arrange a time to bring a litter of puppies.
The list of dogs she suggested she would surrender:
- 10-12 puppies under 12 weeks
- 2 seven month old maltipoos
- a 2 year old and a 4 year old maltese
At 10am the next day she called and said she’d come to the farm with half the dogs between 3pm-4pm on Thursday.
We gathered: information, tools and people. By 3pm on Thursday we were spun tight. By 4pm we nearly unraveled.
We had folders labeled and identity ribbons cut. We had surrender documents prepared for each dog. The stack of paper grew tall as we cut and wrote and taped.
When she called at 4:30 pm we weren’t sure how we felt anymore. Excited? Relieved? — maybe she wasn’t coming?
She called to say she was coming at 8pm, because she need to bathe all the puppies –they were too dirty to bring. We said we didn’t care, but she was insistant on two things: this was happening on her terms and she wouldn’t accept any transport help.
Moral, ethical, emotional and physical reactions threatened us during our wait. We talked it out and got more restless wondering if she would bring her abundance of puppies. Wondering if she’d changed her mind?
They all likely need vet care and we have our vet on standby for the next morning. We think we’re ready, but could we ever be ready for something like this?
This will be our biggest intake to date. This will be our biggest intake ever, if they show up.
Lisa finally arrived a mere four hours late at 1000 pm. She came bearing a crate with six little puppy faces. We walked out to the truck to help carry the loaded crate into the farm.
We welcomed six very dirty, but relatively healthy puppies into Beaver Creek Farm Sanctuary. They were indeed mostly Maltese with a splash of Poodle. We had her sign a surrender release on each dog. We got as much information as we could before we got to work processing each dog and then sending them for a “shave and bathe”.
I’m certain the night I had this dream I had consumed a great deal of home-made red wine.
We had an assembly line of volunteers. We had to shave these puppies down to nearly nothing due to the mats, urine stains and feces embedded in fluffy coats. We had to soak their paws to get the packed filth out from between their toes. We used a washcloth on their faces.
The bubbles flew as we cleaned, soaking ourselves with dirty soapy water, but thankfully, the smell finally began to improve as we scrubed and dried six puppies.
It was just past 2am when we finished and looked at our charges huddled together “puppy mill style” (piled on top of each other) in a heated crate.
We were up at 6am the next morning to feed the other Sanctuary animals, packed up our six new puppies and beelined to Thorold Veterinary Hospital.
All six puppies were spayed or neutered, given vaccines, microchipped and dewormed. From the vet the pups went directly into foster homes where they would receive one on one socialization and love — not to be limited by the human kind.
Within 24 hours we were getting the same report from all our foster homes: the puppies were already looking to play, they picked up on the idea of house breaking and they were incredibly smart.
All six could be candidates for agility — they found ways onto countertops and tables in search of food. They constantly searched for things to put in their bellies. Sometimes it was food, other times it was rocks, toys, sticks or drywall.
They were packed full of personality. Like six little Super Tazil Puppy Dogs – big on fun and cuddling with lots of bang for their 7 pounds. I rarely dream about dogs that doesn’t include my Super Taz.
It wasn’t long before Lisa called us for round two.
We set a date and time for mid-April at 7pm. We were less anxious as we waited while the clock ticked past the hours. We were about to throw in the towel when we saw the familiar white truck pull into the driveway four hours late.
“She’s here” I whispered to our youngest volunteer and her eyes widened as she ran for the window. This was Princess Meonia’s cameo appearance in my dream (in my dream her name sounded like it was whisper by a songbird and not a jumble of vowels that clutter the page).
They brought us three more puppies – all four months old and all identical. We carried on our with our previous plan of tying a different colour ribbon around each puppy and assigning a number to keep track of each one. This is the only way I’d be well organized — in a dream.
The colour names stuck, and now we have nine different colours getting ready for adoption.
The three pups she brought were not as friendly as the first six and I remember she told me they were hard to catch. Not well socialized with people, places or other dogs.
The trio was filthy dirty with packed feces in their paws and dirty hair hanging in their eyes. We got to work with clippers, scissors and shampoo. By midnight we had it undercontrol and the three freshly scrubbed faced started up at me fearfully, but curious.
To the vet with the trio in the morning for the usual and then off to foster homes! We were getting a system, but we were also getting short on foster homes.
I was terrified to fall asleep that night for fear of more little fluffy kleenex boxes invading my dreams. No wonder I feel tired.
Another call and another date set for intake, but this time we implored Lisa to come earlier. These late nights and early mornings were taking their toll. She promised to arrive before 8pm.
Promptly at 7:55pm she pulled into the farm with two seven month old boys and a wee little three month old. As I wrapped the red and white ribbon around the baby’s neck it reminded me of Valentine’s Day and I nick named him Val. He was the only puppy I named.
The other two pups were about 7 months old and not nearly as sweet as their younger counterparts. These pups weren’t as dirty as previous, but they were more difficult to handle. It took us just as long to shave and bathe these last three than it had for us to do the first intake of six.
We loaded them into the car and headed to the vet. Many of the puppies had to have extra large hanging dew claws removed and we’re thankful only one of the boys had an undescended testicle.
During each intake I’d do a rather personal check of their testicles and would proudly declare “two!!” for our record keeper who would mark this in their file. It was Number Eleven, that we started calling Harley, who had to have his one undescended testicle removed through a small incision in his abdomen.
Post surgery the trio went directly to foster homes.
Twelve puppies all under seven months. All twelve have been spayed/neutered, microchipped, vaccinated, de-wormed and often they needed a tooth or a hanging dew claw removed.
In my dream we rescued them and now the adoption process started, which was a little bit of a nightmare.
Our adoption coordinator, Sparkles, rose to the challenge and put her best organizational skills to work, filing, charting, and calling out orders for home visits.
Jlow stepped up to organize foster homes and volunteers addressing issues and setting up a training session for all fosters with our trainer LL – lovely lady.
These pups were indeed a bit of a challenge. Their only course of action to everything new, and everything was new, was to bark. Oh the shrill barking!
Within a few days there was less barking and less fear. The pups began to enjoy their people and they seemed to do especially well with children who didn’t assess their behaviour, but merely played with them. They were part of a pack again.
In under four weeks we all had twelve puppies in their forever homes. In my dream I took all the volunteers out for a celebratory dinner to thank our foster homes, adoptions coordinator (Sparkles), our volunteer Coordinator (Jlow), our trainer (LL) and all the volunteers who called references, drove for hours to do home visits and transports. We had quite the party in my dream.
Red in Foster
Red two short months later…
Purple-white at intake
In my dream there are still dozens of maltipoos waiting to be rescued by Beaver Creek Farm Sanctuary, so I’d better get to bed and close my eyes and let the dreams come true.
Names, dates, people, places and especially puppies are all potentially fictious to protect the innocent. Special thanks to our anonymous photoshop editor for adding visuals to my dream sequence.
This post cannot be used in a court of law or any means of enforcement because its just a story…. maybe, but it isn’t, but maybe it is? Sometimes dreams seems so real.
I thank each and every person for reading my post. Please believe in helping animals and dreams can come true.