In late May, Forever Friends Golden Retriever Rescue (FFGRR) of Ventura received a call on their hotline asking if they could take a six-year-old Golden male, Harley. When they returned the call, the owner asked if they could also take a two-year-old Golden girl, Molly. No problem. Then, the owner said that the girl had recently given birth to 12 Golden puppies – the unplanned offspring of Harley and Molly. The woman was in ill health and did not know what to do with them. Of course, FFGRR wanted to help. But as a rescue dependent upon foster families, this presented an urgent need beyond their current capacity. Partnerships and strong networks make all the difference in rescue. Homeward Bound partnered with FFGRR in the past, and, lacking a facility, they knew that they could count on us again.
On one day’s notice, our respective teams kicked into gear. FFGRR picked up the dogs and puppies and headed for a meet-up with Homeward Bound’s Golden Taxi van in Santa Clarita.
For our team, it was a 12-hour trip, but it was an even longer day for Harley, Molly, and their pups. With a whelping box loaded in the van, Molly was able to nurse along the way and climb into the front seat when she had had enough!
All were safely transported. Back at Homeward Bound, Molly and her pups were settled into our Puppy Palace – a dedicated space with a shed, whelping box, and outdoor yard exclusively for puppies.
Every litter at Homeward Bound is given themed names (flowers, movie characters, even cars!). Our transport pilot, Jan, is a huge Giants fan. Rattling off player names, they arranged the roster on the drive back. And then, it was time to play ball!
Shortly after his arrival, gorgeous Harley had “a date” with our volunteer vet, Dr. Codde to ensure these would be his last puppies. That was all the time he wanted to spend with our Doc. With his pitching game ended, he made a quick, adopted escape. While Molly and our team did the hard work of raising 12 adorable and very poopy puppies, Harley sent postcards from the coast updating us on his adventures. What a guy!
Then it was batter-up for Miss Molly! This dedicated, first-time mom took to it like a pro: feeding, cleaning, and watching over her pups.
Exhausted and thin from the chores of mothering such a large litter, we weaned them as soon as it was healthy, and then sent Molly to her new home for a well-deserved rest – but not before a full spa treatment!
Our relief pitchers moved mountains of poo, fed, bathed, and socialized the pups so they would grow up to be happy, healthy, and well-adjusted dogs someday (despite all brawling appearances!).
Homeward Bound’s puppy list is long. So long, in fact, that we never publicize a litter as we work down the list of pre-approved families to see if they are still waiting. After weeks of feedings, poo, med schedules, and play, the puppies went home almost as quickly as they arrived – including big boy Connor, who was reunited with his mama, Molly.
The FFGRR team also drove all the way up from Southern California to bring back three of the pups to their own waiting families.
Our partnership with FFGRR rescued 14 canine lives, prevented countless more litters by ensuring all were spayed and neutered – and made 12 waiting families very, very happy.
We would call that a home run. And not a bad way to spend our summer “vacation!”
Happy lives to all the Giants litter. Way to go team!