By Janet McAfee

In a nation that treats dogs like family and delights in the joy of lively puppies, there are still countless litters of these little creatures rendered homeless by a variety of circumstances.  Groups of abandoned and neglected puppies suffer in our desert heat, laying huddled together for comfort.  They are subject to heat stroke, parasites, and a variety of deadly diseases.  Some will perish.  Some litters of young puppies end up in large public shelters that simply cannot accommodate their frequent feedings, including possible bottle feeding.

The recent case of a Coachella Valley woman arrested for cruelly tossing a bag of live puppies into a dumpster was widely publicized in the media, bringing attention to the vulnerability of these little creatures.  Fortunately, the tiny animals were rescued by a homeless man passing by.  Those puppies were placed into a loving foster home and all, exempt for one sad casualty, survived and adopted by loving families.  Thousands of people responded wanting to help the “dumpster” puppies.  Their stories might not be as dramatic as the dumpster puppies, but there are hundreds of more homeless puppies in the Coachella Valley who need your help now.  

One local woman making a difference is Marie Marcinko, Loving All Animals extraordinary foster mom, who specializes in fostering precious homeless puppies.  This amazing woman has fostered a total of 87 dogs for Loving All Animals, most of them puppies.  Sometimes Marie fosters a mother dog with nursing puppies.  At other times she fosters just the little orphaned ones.  Loving All Animals rescues dogs from public shelters that euthanize, and they also rescue abandoned stray dogs, placing them into loving foster homes where they become healthy and socialized.

A retired nurse, Marie began fostering 8 years ago when she volunteered at the old Indio shelter.  Finding the shelter’s stark environment depressing, and wanting to provide a warm and loving environment where the dogs could thrive, Marie found fostering to be the perfect solution.  She began taking the dogs into her home, and networking them into forever loving adoptive homes.

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Marie enthusiastically exclaims, “I love fostering!  I love knowing that my efforts often save a dog’s life.  Fostering is such an important part of my life that I can’t imagine not doing it.  Yes, sometimes I cry a little after they leave for a home, but the sadness quickly leaves when I anticipate the next one.  And I think about how sad that dog was when it was in a shelter.  Fostering gives me purpose, and it fulfills a need within me that is hard to explain in words.”

Why does she favor fostering puppies?  Marie explains, “I originally started with puppies because one of my dogs, Annie, doesn’t always like every adult dog.  However, Annie always reacted favorably to young puppies.  My approach to each group of puppies depends on their age and whether they come with mom.  Mothers and puppies are easy as the mother dog provides much of the care, and I provide food for the mom and a quiet resting area.  Orphan puppies require more care and frequent feedings.  The youngest puppy I had was just 2 weeks old, and I had to feed him puppy formula.  I monitor all the puppies carefully, watching for signs of illness such as vomiting or diarrhea.  It’s so much fun to watch the puppies grow.”   

Dedicated foster parents like Marie Marcinko expand the walls of our valley’s shelters.  They are the vital link to creating a “No Kill Coachella Valley” where the number of dogs and cats euthanized in public shelters are dramatically reduced.  A rescue dog is more likely to be successfully adopted after the loving handling and attention he gets from a foster home.  Foster parents provide valuable information about the puppy’s temperament.  

Loving All Animals provides foster parents with food, supplies, and the support they need every step of the way.  Loving All Animals pays for the vet care the puppies require, including their vaccinations, deworming, microchipping, and spaying/neutering.  They have extensive social media contacts that quickly find wonderful adopters.

Your phone call today enables Loving All Animals to go out tomorrow and save a despondent puppy from a cold kennel in a public shelter.  Your phone call today gives them the power to go out tomorrow and save a suffering pup abandoned in the desert heat.  Call Loving All Animals at (760) 834-7000 or visit www.lovingallanimals.org to find out how you can become part of their life saving foster team.

Janetmcafee8@gmail.com

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