While the Seattle Animal Shelter is well-known for the physical shelter on 15th Ave, foster programs are working behind the scenes to help save animals in a special way.  Many happy endings come from fostering an animal.  Take the story of Indie and her seven puppies: Estelle, Willow, Lucile, Ferdinand, Hudson, Findlay and Juneau.  Indie was found running loose on the streets of Seattle and a Good Samaritan brought her into the shelter.  She was pregnant and went into labor less than 24 hours after her arrival, delivering seven puppies.  Though she took to motherhood quickly, nursing and cleaning the pups, shelter staff believed she and her babies would benefit from a foster home.

A request was sent out to the foster volunteers to take the whole family.  Ivy Cunningham, previous foster dog lead, went to the shelter to meet Indie and assess the situation.  She came up with a plan to take in Indie and the puppies, taking them home three days after the pups were born.  Ivy felt confident that she could handle the challenge of a mom and seven newborns, but quickly realized that it would be different than other fostering she had done.  She did research on how to care for newborn puppies and had concerns that she could meet all their needs. It was important that their body weight and temperature be monitored regularly. With seven mouths to feed, there were also concerns that not all of them would get enough to eat. Indie was also showing signs of stress so it was important to keep her relaxed and focused on her puppies. Ivy worked with the foster dog team to recruit eight volunteers to help.  They took turns cleaning, feeding and walking Indie to help her be less stressed.  They also bottle fed the puppies.

As the pups got older, the volunteers worked on handling them, introducing them to new surfaces and sounds and early potty-training.  Ivy said, “It was pretty calming to just go to their room and hold them and snuggle Indie.”  Once the puppies were 8 weeks old, each went to an individual foster home to learn to live outside their litter.  They stayed in their foster homes until they were ready to be spayed/neutered and able to go to a permanent home.  Rex and Juneau were adopted by their foster families. The rest of the puppies were adopted through the shelter web site or adoption events. Indie however is still waiting for her forever home.  Ivy describes Indie as an active, loving, affectionate dog who would enjoy an active home that would run or hike with her.  She would also do well being part of a family with kids.  She loves playing catch so a yard or trips to the park to play fetch would be a bonus.  To learn more about Indie, visit: www.seattle.gov/animal-shelter/adopt.


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