Couple helping abandoned puppies to recover

When seven puppies were abandoned on the side of a highway to die, Denise Tramble said she and her husband didn’t hesitate.

“Yes, we will take these puppies,” she told Moncton Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. She hadn’t even seen them yet. The next day she brought two carrying cases full of two-week-old husky-mix pups to her home in Moncton.

RCMP officers had found them in a box beside a northern New Brunswick road on July 10 and called in the report that they were dead. Then they heard a faint yelp. Miraculously, all were still alive. But the puppies, who had likely sat on the side of the road for 36 hours on a hot day, were severely dehydrated and barely moving.

They were rushed to the veterinarian and then to the Moncton society, where Denise volunteers.

Denise and her husband Steve agreed to foster the puppies, which will need constant love and care.

“It was the right thing to do,” Steve said.

Denise isn’t working currently, so she’s usually able to stay home with them, but she said they also have neighbours and friends working in shifts to help out. And there’s plenty of helping to do.

For the first two days, the seven puppies – each of which is named after a Snow White dwarf – were fed every two hours, though that has since been lengthened to four-hour increments. They suckle from baby bottles filled with a mixture of puppy formula, evaporated milk, corn syrup and water. They are burped after meals, exercised in the backyard and snuggled often.

The Trambles usually keep their home phone unplugged so it doesn’t wake dozing puppies. The “puppy room” – formerly known as the spare bedroom – is equipped with a baby monitor. Denise and Steve don’t get much sleep, but they said it’s all worth it.

“I’m in puppy heaven,” Denise said. “They bring such joy to me.”

Her voice chokes over the phone line when she mentions the mystery person who left them for dead.

“There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t cry,” she said.

Denise hopes the media attention will help expose whoever abandoned the puppies.

“I want them charged, I want them fined, I want them with a permanent criminal record,” she said.

There is no shame in bringing a litter of puppies to the Moncton Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Denise said. To do so costs only $50, she said.

By Wednesday they’d had the puppies for a week. The day also marked the couple’s eighth anniversary. But, Denise said they’ve been so wrapped up in the puppies neither of them realized it until the reminder alarm on her phone went off. Celebrations will likely involve taking the puppies outside to play, she said.

When the puppies are six to eight weeks old, they will be ready for adoption. Interested parties can submit an application, and if approved can buy the pup for $200 (the Moncton society runs mainly off donations and adoption fees), with a deposit of $100 that is returned once the puppy has been spayed or neutered. There are four males and three female pups.

Previously published July 21, 2011; Telegraph-Journal