Cincinnati, Akron and Toledo had arrived, when we let them out of their crates the transport driver and I were both surprised. We marveled at how round their little bellies were and remarked to each other that they sure didn't look like they were being starved. Cincinnati and Akron looked alike except Cincinnati was bigger. Toledo was the same size as Cincinnati but he looked nothing like the other two, he was his own little man.
CINCINNATI AKA CINCEE
AKRON AKA RONNIE
TOLEDO AKA LEO THE LION CUB
After the transport driver left, I started settling the kids in. They were given food and fresh water. Of course the first thing that they did was spill it. So I took CinCee and put him in the indoor kennel. Then I went in and got Ronnie. I thought the two little boys could play together while I cleaned their crates. I didn't even get back into the crate room before they were fighting. They both were screaming and yelping, and I couldn't tell who was getting the worst of it, only that they needed to be separated immediately! Quickly I grabbed CinCee up and after a quick inspection I returned him to his crate. Then I went back and inspected little Ronnie. Neither was injured. Ronnie was shaking and continued to whimper as I held him. After calming and comforting him I returned him to his crate. During the course of that evening I tried putting one puppy with another, and then another, and each time they would fight.
Sadly, puppy-mill puppies are born into tiny, dirty, cramped wire cages. As soon as they can eat solid food they are taken away from their mother and litter mates. They are separated so they are not accidentally trampled on, injured, or killed by their mother or litter mates. There is no room for the puppies to play with each other, and their mother never gets the opportunity to teach them how to play, or interact with other dogs.
Those puppies that are not sold to a puppy broker to be sold in pet stores and online, will spend the rest of their lives standing in a dirty 2'x3' wire crate. From that day on, for the rest of their lives they too, will stand like their mothers and fathers before them stood, in a dirty wire cage waiting to make more puppies to sell.
The next morning with their breakfast all of the OzKids were given a wormer. It is one of the first things done when they arrive at Oz. For the next few days I watched their little bellies slowly deflate like leaky balloons; they all had worms. Puppy mills and backyard breeders don't send money on the smallest of things, like worm medications. Slowly the puppies were starving.
After breakfast I once again tried putting the little boys together. Before I could even get all three together in the indoor exercise area the first two were fighting. These little boys needed to learn some serious socialization skills. They did not know how to play and worse yet how to read the signals that the other puppy had given up. If two puppies were fighting and one screamed or yelped the other puppy would run in. Not to help the one that needed help, but to help the winner. They really were trying to hurt each other.
Each morning and every afternoon the little boys went to puppy kindergarten. Each time that a fight would happen I would separate them; pulling them apart with both, and sometimes all three, kicking, scratching, and biting. Puppies have little sharp teeth and wicked toenails, so I started wearing a heavy coat to protect my arms. Finally after about four days, I felt that it was time to introduce them to toys, but it was a little too soon. They really started fighting over toys. Each one wanted, no, had to have the toy the other puppy had. The toys were taken away and put away, and it was back to puppy kindergarten.
The next time I offered toys they listened when I told them "No". It seemed that finally after a week of pulling them apart they were learning. Now it was time to see if they could play together without me standing over them. I left the indoor exercise area, and stood around a corner and listened. I heard puppies running, jumping and sliding on the floor. I heard happy barking with an occasional growl. By the time I felt I needed to stop whatever was going on, they had stopped on their own. I was so happy; these kids were on their way. Now, if I could just get little Ronnie to keep his crate clean! These little boys were five months old and little Ronnie was not as physically and emotionally mature as the other two boys. He still whimpered, and grunted like a little puppy. I have to admit that he sure was sweet to hold and cuddle. I had to save him from the other two so many times, but eventually he began to hold his own. When he couldn't, he would come running to me and tattle on them. I hate to think what his life would have been like in a puppy mill.
THE LITTLE BOYS PLAYING TOGETHER
LITTLE BOYS PLAYING OUTSIDE
Yes, there are a lot of dirty towels when you have three little boys that are just learning how to keep their crates clean. Even little Ronnie was finally crate trained when he left Oz for his foster home. Ronnie and CinCee were fostered together in the same home. I was so happy one day to read that their foster mommy hoped they would one day be adopted together. She said after all they were brothers, and they loved each other so much. I couldn't help but smile remembering how that was not always the way it was.
Meet Cleveland aka "Grover who is sweet all over"