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Beau, Paisley, Portia, Bella: Cover Dogs
September/October 2011

Beau, Paisley, Portia and Bella brightened our days when Jenny Froh submitted their photo for Bark’s Smiling Dogs contest. A professional pet and portrait photographer in Flower Mound, Tex., Froh was fostering Paisley and Portia, when she photographed the four littermates to help them find forever homes.

Originally, there were six puppies in all from a St. Bernard/Great Dane mix mother. They were pulled from a kill shelter in Wise County, Tex., by a large breed rescue. Froh agreed to foster two of the puppies and another woman took in four. “They were all very thin,” says Froh, who volunteers her photography skills for rescues and is a member of HeARTs Speak.

After having them for only one day, they were taken to the vet where they tested positive for parvo. The original rescue felt it couldn’t afford the care and decided to euthanize the puppies but the rescue coordinator got busy networking and connected with Life Is Better Rescue in Colorado, which agreed to fund the puppies’ treatment.

Unfortunately, just five days after their diagnosis, the other foster mom could not meet the needs of the four and surrendered them back to the coordinator. That night two of the puppies died in her arms. “Fearing the inhumane suffering of the remaining four puppies, we took them back to the vet to assess the situation again,” Froh says. “The vet told us to keep on doing what we’ve been doing, which included daily subcutaneous fluid injections, force feeding and more than six injections per puppy per day that included antibiotics, anti-nausea and anti-diarrheal drugs. One of the puppies was so bad off that she didn’t walk for almost two weeks. Slowly but surely they all started to eat on their own, gain strength, and get all their puppy powers back again.” 

Life is Better Rescue is the brainchild of a few passionate animal rescuers who found they didn’t quite fit the available rescue options, explains Georgia Cameron, organization president. With a focus on death row animals (and those most at medical risk—kittens and puppies), Life is Better started as an alternative to euthanasia. Although located in Colorado, the group networks and intervenes wherever possible.

“The lives of the four surviving puppies cannot be credited to the rescue. Instead, it was the dedicated foster families who put forth their time, caring and sanity to save the needy babies,” Cameron says. “Coaching someone over the phone at midnight on how to give fluid injections to a fading puppy is not the kind of hell I would wish on anyone. But rescue isn’t about the big moments or the easy play. It’s about giving your all for an animal that has no one. It’s about showing these guys that they are loved, that they will be loved, and that life is better.”

As of August 30, three of the dogs had been adopted. Only Portia still awaits a home. Jenny Froh wrote us recently that she's not sure why the pup she fostered hasn't been adopted yet. “She's a totally gem! She loving, funny, and sensitive.”

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