At the end of March, police officers discovered an illegal dog breeding operation at a home in Cloverdale. There were 16 golden retrievers in a filthy home, some of them two to a kennel, lying in their own feces. They were lethargic and unresponsive. They were being fed, and watered, but clearly neglected. The home was mildewed, full of garbage and broken glass, and had floor boards broken clear through.
Making it even more horrific was the fact that a 17 year old boy was living in this home with his mother. It was his job to feed the dogs. Somehow, in this chaos, he was managing to get to school every day, putting on a front for the world that all was well when in reality he was living with a severely mentally ill parent.
Cloverdale has no contract with animal control services, so a local boarding facility, King's Kastle, stepped in and took over care of the animals. An immediate call for help was put out to the community, asking for help in defraying the overwhelming costs for spaying and neutering, veterinary bills, food, grooming, etc.
We found out about it early on, and stopped by to donate as much as we could within days after the dogs were found. Today, we made a trip to Costco for our own bi-monthly animal food run, and picked up extra food for them. We went to King's Kastle today to deliver two large sacks of dry dog food and a case of wet dog food.
Up to this point, the dogs have been quarantined for health reasons. But Colleen of King's Kastle surprised us today, and gave us a special treat - she brought two of the dogs out to meet us.
Two big, beautiful golden retrievers came bounding out of the back room, full of energy and love. They were well groomed, with beautiful coats. They were playful and open, acting like the puppies that they are.
It was a huge transformation from the initial photographs that were posted on the website, where the dogs looked submissive and dejected. These dogs have responded so quickly to the love and care that they have received over the last two weeks, that it is nothing short of miraculous.
And on the front desk at King's Kastle there is a stack of application forms from people who are interested in giving these dogs good homes.
I am so touched by the way the community has responded to this situation, and reached out to creatures in need.
I hope that the teen-age boy is equally lucky - because I know that his scars run much deeper, and his recovery will take much longer. May he find loving, caring adults to bring him healing and wholeness as well.
(For updates on the dogs' care, and pictures, go to this King's Kastle link.)