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

Head-on crash kills three

David Basque never got to see his second child.

Basque, 45, was one of three people killed in a three-vehicle crash in Inkerman Ferry on the Acadian Peninsula late Friday night. He left behind a young daughter and his pregnant wife, Renée.

Police are expected to release the names of the other two crash victims today.

Jean-Albert Chiasson remembers Basque as a hardworking, much-beloved member of the Lamèque community.

He owned blueberry fields and a machine shop, Chiasson said, and would clear people’s snow in the winter with his tractor.

Chiasson owns Garage Central Lamèque, which is where the crumpled vehicles now sit.

“The trucks are gone, the car is gone, everything is gone,” he said. “That’s the worst accident I’ve ever seen.”

In the days since the accident, hundreds of people from all over the surrounding area have gathered at Chiasson’s garage to see the wreckage.

Standing solemnly in the rain, members of the community have tried to piece together what happened.

The investigation is ongoing, said Const. Jean-Francois Dulac. Official details should be available in about a week.

But from what Chiasson’s gathered, Basque was driving along Route 113 in his 4×4 Dodge Ram that night, following a dark car towing a trailer. The trailer held a box of bees and a forklift.

At around 10:30 p.m., they came to a curve and became involved in an accident with an oncoming vehicle, also a Dodge Ram, carrying a man from British Columbia who was working at a wind farm in Lamèque.

Basque and the driver of the other Dodge Ram died, as did a man in the vehicle towing a trailer. A women in that vehicle was taken to hospital with injuries.

When Dulac got there, he said the air was filled with buzzing bees, with a thousand more dead on the road.

Dulac said about 30 people, including firemen, police, paramedics, a gas station attendant and other community members, gathered on the road to help and watch.

In Lamèque, which has a population of about 1,500, people are really feeling the pain of losing a member of their community, said Dulac. Everyone knew Basque, he said.

“It’s very tough for the community.”

Previously published June 20, 2011; Telegraph-Journal