February 11th, 2022
By Devon Krusko, Field Services and Community Programs Manager
The rural property in Smith County, Texas, was well-hidden behind fences and gates – but the noise coming from the property was unmistakable: dogs, and lots of them. The vocalizations rang through the crisp morning air, the pups aroused with varying feelings of excitement, frustration, and suspicion.
We’d been asked to assist our friends at the Humane Society of the United States and two local Texas partners, Animal Investigation and Response and the SPCA of East Texas, with the care of more than 40 dogs rescued from an alleged-neglect case.
When I stepped onto the property I made eye contact with the first two dogs closest to me: two red hound mixes, low-riders with tails propelling so fast they could have very well been lifted right out of their outdoor enclosure, excited as they were for human interaction!
Another beautiful brindle boy was running loose, and as a guardian breed, was doing his best job to protect his friends. After a briefing with all of the assisting organizations we were assigned our roles in removing the dogs from the property.
My team headed to the back, where there were dogs living in homemade structures, some with horse stall-like doors. The first dog I removed, who would come to be known as Rose, was a cream and butterscotch bully breed mix who peered out at me from a crack between the bars of her door. Her “stall” was one that offered limited light, and I opened it slowly to give her plenty of space and time to adjust to a stranger. But Rose didn’t need any time, she was ready! She bounded towards me, allowed me to easily leash her, and asked for lots of pets and lovings. The bright light of the day made her golden eyes shine as we made our way to the veterinary exam station. She was one of the first ones on the truck to a new life and my heart smiled.
The process continued until all 40+ dogs were removed from a life where they’d been forgotten. They made their way to a temporary shelter location to receive health certificates to travel to HSUS’s temporary shelter in Maryland. A tall, lanky, goofy young adult, who became known as Buddy, easily became a favorite. Once everyone was loaded up for their journey north, I went straight to the airport to catch a flight to Maryland to meet the dogs and another team of RedRover Responders who would provide daily care and enrichment for the Texas pups, as well as additional dogs housed at the facility from a recent rescue in South Korea.
When the transport vehicle arrived, familiar sounds filled the shelter, but this time my ears were ringing with anticipation and eagerness. Each dog was brought to their new space and quickly settled into a clean kennel with fresh food, water, and enrichment items. I found sweet Buddy standing at his door, full-body wagging, and giving kisses for days through his kennel! I’ll remember him this way, and I know the best part of his path has only just begun.
Our RedRover Responders team is only able to answer these calls for help thanks to our dedicated volunteers and generous supporters.