Welcome to the world of The Texas Five! My name is Shannon and I will be your guide through this wonderful adventure.
Our tour begins in Texas at a gigantic shelter. The puppies were brought in by the authorities when they were found in horrendous living conditions, flea infested, covered in mange and emaciated. Rather than face charges, the owners were kind enough to surrender them immediately.
The shelter staff went to work, giving them food and flea preventative. Volunteers pitched in, thus introducing them to human kindness. Shelter life is very hard on animals so the staff started networking. And that is how they became known on the other side of our country.
A coordinator at Ruff Start saw a picture of these five puppies and posted it on her personal Facebook page where I saw it. Without a second thought, I asked if she could get these puppies to me.
Now getting these puppies back to Minnesota is no small feat and their time was limited. Their medical conditions were quite serious and made worse by the stress of shelter life. As hard as the staff worked, it soon became clear that without a rescue commitment, this group of puppies would have to be put down to make room for the additional 50 plus animals that enter this shelter every single day.
My coordinator and her husband dropped everything and drove to Texas and back. They left on a Friday and came back on Sunday. We call that a turn and burn.
Though they had baths in the shelter, the mange had wreaked havoc with their skin and the smell was overwhelming. Once they arrived in Minnesota, they received medication for that. It took a few days before they could get a bath because their skin was so oozy and delicate.
Rehabilitating emaciated puppies involves more than just getting them food. All the puppies have been fed 6 or more times a day with very small, nutrient dense food from Sojos. Some of the puppies were too ill and dehydrated to eat or drink so every drop of food that I could get into them had to count. I also gave them fluids under their skin to help combat their dehydration.
It was hard to see the combined look of mistrust and hope in their eyes when they first came. They shied away from touch while at the same time furiously wagging their tail in the hope that they could get some love.
And that is when we got a message from someone in Texas that the mother was still in the shelter. In my head, I heard the sound of the record player needle dragging across the record. My amazing coordinator went to work and within days, Mama (named Scout) was hitching a ride up to Minnesota.
Though she arrived scared and worn out, the reunion was everything we could have hoped for. Every last pup came back to life and the yard was full of wagging tails. Once they all got settled in the house, Mama cuddled up to her babies and they took a nap with doggy smiles on their faces. And that was the turning point.
Now, we work on building their immune system with healthy food and a steady supply of love. And it works wonders.
Steel and Harry were touch and go for more than a week. It has been magical to see them turn the corner and head toward health. I had to lift them up and carry them where I needed them to go: outside to go potty, back inside, to their food and water, to a fresh bed so I could wash blankets. The day each puppy got his/her go back is shown in pictures on their Facebook page: The Texas 5. Feel free to visit this page and see the transformation.
Scout (Mama), Big Red, Fluffy, Shaggy Girl, Harry and Steele will be getting ready to go to their forever homes before too long. They will need to put on some more weight and build their strength before they can be spayed and neutered. After this happens, they will be ready to adopt a human family of their own. Adopters don't have to wait to meet them though. In fact, I encourage anyone that is seriously considering adoption to start the paperwork and come meet these unfurry guys in Hastings. Everyone can benefit from puppy love.
If you are a human looking to be adopted and loved by one of these fur babies, please fill out an application with Ruff Start Rescue.
Submit an Adoption Application
* All animals are in foster homes located throughout the Twin Cities & Central Minnesota. We do not have a facility. *
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You'll receive a copy, too, at to help you keep track of which pets you've inquired about, and which shelters and rescues you've emailed.
NOTE: Some shelters have physical locations you can visit; some of these shelters may only have pets for a limited time, so please do not wait for a reply—just go visit the shelter! Other organizations are rescue groups run by busy volunteers who may take a while to reply. You can find information about the shelter or rescue group caring for this pet, and their adoption procedures, on the pet's details page on Adopt-a-Pet.com.