On a quiet morning in May, area resident Bonnie Bowman received a call from a friend that set in place a two month lifestyle change for the Hamblin family of Barriere.
Bonnie’s friend said she needed immediate help for four newborn pups who’s mother had just been killed. The friend said the four puppies were still alive, but she had no time to hand-raise such young puppies.
Bonnie knew there was no possibility she could take on the commitment of raising the pups herself, but she agreed to take the seven-day-old little canines that morning until another ‘foster mom’ became available.
A number of local animal advocates rallied to find someone to foster the pups until they were old enough to adopt out; they turned to social media, and with the help of Facebook, one person answered their desperate call for help.
That person was Barriere resident and dog lover Leanne Hamblin.
Leanne said she could take two pups, and bottle feed them until they could eat on their own and be found good homes. But when she saw the tiny puppies, which were by now hungry, dehydrated and whimpering, Leanne’s heart went out to them, taking all four home to her family, and hoping for a positive outcome in raising such young puppies.
That was the beginning of over two months of being a surrogate mom to four little canine bundles of fur and whimpering. Constant vigilance, bottle feeding, cleaning up the canine nursery in the living room, and giving up all of her own personal time, Leanne dedicated herself to seeing all four pups be given a chance and the opportunity to survive. Leanne’s husband Brent, and daughter Emma, were happy to assist in looking after the pups. The whole family, including the Hamblin’s three dogs, committed to helping the orphans grow up until they could be adopted into suitable, loving homes.
It was evident on first inspection of the new pups that one had a problem with its tail, and another seemed to have a malformed front paw. Leanne took the pups to see a veterinarian, where is was decided that the tail needed to be amputated, and the other one pup could have surgery on its paw at a later date.
The Hamblin’s absorbed the cost for the veterinary visit, as well as all the other expenses incurred in caring for the pups.
Asked what it would cost to be able to adopt one of the pups, Leanne answered, “We only did this to give the little dogs a good start, not to make money”.
Raising the pups was a lot of hard work with very little sleep; but the Hamblins say there were also wonderful funny moments. Moments such as seeing the pups develop into energetic, lovable smart individuals, watching them wrestling with each other, and continuous happy puppy interactions.
Leanne says that when the pups took the initiative to explore and expand their territory, and wandered all over the house, it soon seemed to the human inhabitants that the place was getting very crowded.
When the pups were able to eat solid food and leave the bottle feeding behind, the Hamblin’s were very happy; and when the pups, after eating solid food, or playing with each other, actually went to the back door to be let out for their ‘business’ the Hamblin’s were delighted.
Young Emma adored the little fellows, and so did her friends when they came to visit. Soon the pups were showing their own individuality, each with its own personality; one wanted to be cuddled the most, one was shy, one was bossy. The family says that all of their young charges were so “adorable”, that they knew there would be no problem in finding homes for them.
Just over two months from the first day Leanne gave her heart to the orphan pups she posted the following on her Facebook page, “I am puppy free. It is sadness and celebration at once, but we are grateful that all four of them have found loving homes, and that is what it was all about, we loved them and learned all about raising ‘orphaned puppies’; it has been a rewarding experience for our family”.
On behalf of four healthy young pups who cannot speak for themselves, we say a heartfelt thank you to the Hamblin family – you are the best!