Stray Rescue of St. Louis has been one of the leading rescue organizations in Missouri for over two decades now.
They’ve been truly making a difference by rescuing dogs that others might have overlooked – those that are abandoned, injured, frightened, defeated, and feeling betrayed.
This organization steps up when no one else will, giving these pups the second chance they deserve.
Donna Lochmann, from Stray Rescue of St. Louis, has been rescuing dogs for 20+ years and giving them a chance for a better life.
Every day, she’s right there in the thick of rescues, but some just tug a little harder at the heartstrings – like this one.
A Furry Family Hiding In The Bush
Those experienced rescuers know too well that the streets may seem quiet at times, but everything can change in the blink of an eye.
While driving through the streets of St. Louis, Donna suddenly spotted a dirty female dog engorged with milk. It was evident that she had recently given birth to a litter of puppies.
She was wandering around, desperately searching for food. Donna decided to put out some food for her, with the hope that after she had a meal, she might lead them to her puppies.
“I was hoping that once she ate and had a full belly, she would head back to her puppies. There were so many places she could have them hidden. The streets in this area are lined with abandoned houses and thick brush. After she ate, I watched her cut through yards, across streets, and into a brushy area,” Donna said.
While following the mom through the bushes, Donna heard the shrill cry of one of the puppies.
The poor little puppy had fallen into a twenty-inch deep pipe in the ground and was terrified and screaming for help.
“There, at the bottom of the pipe, was a single black puppy, about six weeks old, whimpering and crying. She was terrified and screamed as I went to pick her up. But once safely in the jeep, her tail wouldn’t stop wagging,” Donna recalled.
The mama dog kept barking and moving further away as Donna made her way through the woods to see if there were more puppies.
Sure enough, there were a couple of small, black puppies moving around the area. They were around six weeks old and very mobile, making the task of capturing them quite challenging.
“I had to get one, take it to the jeep and return for the next one as they squirmed in my arms. Once all four puppies were safely in the jeep, I went to get mom,” Donna said.
Something Surprising Then Happened
As Donna returned to the abandoned area, she noticed something else was hiding next to the mama dog.
Much to her surprise, there was a second adult female present as well.
“This one had two black ears. I couldn’t tell if they were siblings, or maybe one was an adult pup from a previous litter. They stayed close to each other but made their way through weeds and abandoned yards,” Donna said.
Catching the two adult dogs turned out to be quite challenging. Unfortunately, the traps they set weren’t proving effective, and since it was pretty late at that point, Donna had to leave them and come back the next day.
After a restless night, Donna returned to the sight and thankfully managed to capture the other dog. The food did the trick.
“She was nervous, scared. We wanted to get her in the jeep before she made any distressed noises that could upset the mom. We loaded her up and as we pulled away we saw her friend sitting by herself in the field across the street. It was an absolutely heartbreaking moment,” she said.
They returned for her, but after several hours without success, they had to think of another plan and come back the next day.
Tears Of Joy
Unlike her friend, the mama dog was not interested in food and simply would not go into the trap. They needed to think of something else.
“Instead of food, we got a poopy blanket and pee pads from her puppies’ foster home. Once the trap was set, we even played the video of the first puppy crying in the pipe,” Donna said.
Finally, it seemed to work. When they came back early the next morning after yet another sleepless night, they were relieved to find the mama dog laying in the trap.
Although she was scared, she remained silent as they gently carried her to their vehicle and drove her to their facility.
After several days of relentless efforts to rescue the entire family, an overwhelming sense of relief swept over them, bringing tears to their eyes.
They were all finally in a safe place!
“They will all be given all the love in the world and will then become a part of a family,” Donna finally said.