On March 21, we dug six small puppies out of a den in a hillside near Antigua. The pups were born to a feral female that we have been trying to catch and spay. We have managed to catch several in the group she roams with, but have not yet managed to get her.
The six puppies were five weeks old and growing up feral. We had to bring them in at this age or risk not being able to socialize them and have them grow up fearful. They were in very good condition; their mama did a fantastic job raising them.
The pups came into our center and after baths, worming, and preliminary vaccinations, they were bombed by wonderful volunteers Izzy, David, Anna, Denise, and Gwen who carried them literally everywhere with them, exposing them to all the sights, sounds, and humans that bustling Antigua offers. Within a few hours they went from frozen and growling to curious and playful. (This intense socialization can only be done with very young puppies. With older pups you run a very real risk of sensitization).
Our student volunteers carry on with the learning process every Saturday morning, luring the pups, playing with them and handling them. They are exposed to healthy, slightly older puppies and to tolerant adult dogs and are growing into friendly, social and playful puppies. They are being fostered by the fabulous Kristin Bush and live in a stimulating and safe environment with her and her adult dog Theo.
We have four males-Jude, Balu, Ollie and Henry, and two females-Minnow and Anouk.
Ollie was the biggest of the six puppies on intake, weighing in at 5.2 lbs. He is still the biggest and has blossomed into a sweet, friendly, little dude. Ollie is a sensitive pup. Now just over 5 months old, he is struggling a bit when out on walks on the street. He has become fearful of people walking toward him on the sidewalk. We have done a lot of careful counter-conditioning but he is extremely sensitized and is too afraid to walk on leash in areas with much traffic or people. Ollie does great off-leash in wooded areas, and would likely do fine in large off-leash parks. He needs a semi-rural home where he won’t have to navigate streets filled with people.
Ollie is smart and funny and silly. In familiar surroundings he is relaxed, loves people and approaches everyone to play or cuddle. He is wonderful with other dogs and lives with a cat in his foster home. He is just a perfectly wonderful package of puppy-ness!