WINNIPEG – While most of us spent hours watching movies or on virtual calls with our loved ones this Easter weekend, a group of Manitobans did not soak in the relaxation or celebration.
Instead, they spent their hours digging through dirt with their bare hands to rescue a group of puppies.
“The sun was setting when we got there, so we knew the darker it got, the harder it was going to be. So, we just got to work,” said Meg MacDonald, foster coordinator with Manitoba Underdogs Rescue.
The agency had just completed a 13-hour day of dog rescue activities in northern Manitoba when it was alerted about a group of puppies living in a garbage dump.
WATCH: Manitoba Underdogs Rescue saves 10 puppies from dirt den in garbage dump
“These puppies have never had human contact before.”
The stray pups—wedged in a dirt den—were understandably afraid of the strangers trying to save them.
“You’re kind of just working, not being able to look and grab at them at the same time. So, you’re kind of feeling around in there for a little bum or a tail or a foot.”
After they got each pup out, there seemed to be more. After two hours of work, they got all 10.
“There would probably be some that would not survive [had we not intervened],” said MacDonald.
“There would have been some that would have had more puppies. There would have been dog fights. And then just that adding to the feral dog population.”
For the entire rescue effort, another pooch, later named Barron, accompanied the volunteers digging for dogs.
“He stayed with us all night,” said MacDonald.
“We’d have to go get more kennels because we realized there were more puppies, so we would be walking back and forth in this forest, he would walk with that person. And he laid with us as we were pulling puppies out. You could hear coyotes and stuff in the distance and he would get up and walk a couple of metres away and give out low growls and then he’d come back and sit with us. It seemed like it was a movie. He was our protector.”
All 10 pups and protector Barron are now doing well in foster care.
“It feels really great. It does. It’s obviously why we all kind of go out every weekend that we do and do the work.”
But the group’s work doesn’t stop here.
Its fundraisers have been postponed or cancelled during the pandemic, while travel restrictions and lockdowns hampered their ability to spay and neuter dogs in remote communities.
“We have never been busier. We are scrambling every day to answer questions and support the communities the best that we can.”