A Gift in the Garbage

Irina Echarry

How we found them.

I was walking with my friend Erasmo down a street in the Reparto Electrico neighborhood when something caught our attention.  Something was moving on the ground alongside a dumpster.  Separated from the ground by a few plastic bags were eight puppies, all trying to melt into a single body in their individual quests for heat, company and protection.  So close to the street yet by themselves, it would be impossible for them to find any of that.

Our hearts almost stopped when we realized that someone had simply thrown them away.  We imagined that the mother must be desperate.  But…what if she had died?

We looked at each other and, without giving it much thought, we picked them up and took them to the little farm where we have a tree nursery.  From that moment on we begin seriously thinking:  How would we feed them?

Kiara with the puppies.

Kiara, a little dog that belongs to the family and that has demonstrated herself to be a good mother, took on that task for a few days.  I must mention that it wasn’t out of her own will though.  Kiara has just spent two months suckling three pups that demanded plenty from her, although the last remaining one has also found an owner.

However the idea of giving her eight more to care for, despite the relief that this means for the dogs, was something that didn’t go over well with either of us.  The problem is that Kiara is not so strong, nor is there much good food to give her.  Of course, the next step was to look for food for her.  We also decided to help her give something to drink to the puppies by using syringes so that they would gradually get used to other food.  I’m not going to go into the headaches we had trying to find powdered milk or a syringe, because the main characters are the puppies.

Feeding by syringe.

One evening we went down to the nursery to look for them and found them covered with green flies; and what’s more, these were laying their eggs on the puppies.  No one had to tell us that this could kill them; they were still quite defenseless.  In the excitement of the fly scare, removing the eggs and giving them some milk, we counted only seven dogs.  Worried, we wandered around in the darkness that had already filled the sky but couldn’t find the unfortunate one that was missing.

We put them in a box and decided to take them up to the house.  Sadness took possession of us.  Could the one puppy have died? Where could it be?  Will the other ones survive?  While we brushed their bodies to eliminate any remaining filth, it was then that I discovered that all eight of them were in fact there. Desperation had caused us to miscount.

Later, Kiara sacrificed herself and gave them some milk and they went to sleep.  She is increasingly acting more maternal: licking them, giving them milk and taking care of them a little.  However soon Kiara won’t be able to continue helping us; her milk will run out.

The puppies have survived one week.  If someone is interested in one of them, you can contact us.  The truth is that we can’t keep them when they grow up.  We need to find good people who will help us.  We’ll teach the pups how to shake hands and be amusing, but we still have to wait for them to open their eyes.

One thought on “A Gift in the Garbage

  • Hello Irina,
    Your story you posted is very heartwarming. I commend you for your good heartedness, even in these hard times. You know the saying…God rewards good deeds. In helping those puppies, you’ve shown great humanitarianism, hope my spelling is correct.
    I too have helped many different species and returned them to the wild when safe to do so. I’ve adopted many older canine friends and enjoyed every minute of the time spent. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that, even without having much money, you can help any animal in need. They respect and protect you afterwards, more than some humans would do.
    I live in the USA, New York. I will mark your pages and pass them onto friends and family so they know of you and your good heartedness. I wish you well and…
    God Bless you…

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