When Terri Bondi, founder of the Florida-based rescue organization Save Underdogs, discovered that an older gentleman in Arkansas had an abundance of dogs he could no longer care for last month, she stepped into action to save them all.
With the help of a friend, her cousin and her husband, Bondi hit the road to save over 50 Dachshunds from the property. Bondi’s timing was essential, as the dogs, who were living in a hoarding situation, would have been taken to a kill shelter.
Unlike a lot of cases of hoarding, Bondi says this owner was aware of the problem and wanted to get help. She adds that the dogs, who range in age from seven months to four years, were in relatively good shape and health.
Still, it was not a proper environment for the dogs, and, as Bondi points out, it’s a problem anyone can find themselves in if they don’t get their pets spayed and neutered.
“This man started with just a few dogs that had a litter and then those puppies had puppies and—boom—huge problem,” she says. “Dogs can breed at six months of age, are only pregnant for 64 days and can have 10, 12, even 14 puppies per litter and can have several litters a year.”
Even though the owner was compliant with the removal of the dogs, Bondi says it’s always an emotional thing to have to do.
“Often the owners do love their animals, but know that this is the best thing and it has to happen,” she says. “He was sad, but very grateful. I have talked to him several times since the dogs arrived here to reassure him they’re all doing well and he appreciates that.”
Bondi and her crew safely transported the dogs to Florida for medical care and are working to place them in loving forever homes.
The story, which has garnered national attention, is one that Bondi hopes is a wake-up call to many.
“If you see a neighbor or hear of someone that may be in over their head and struggling: reach out and offer help,” she says.
She also urges that, if you are the person in a dire situation with pets, to find a reputable rescue that will ensure each and every animal is sterilized and new homes are properly screened. A dog should never just be given away or left in an unsafe situation, she adds.
While Bondi has seen a lot in her ten-plus years of rescue work, including these Dachshunds, she knows it’s worth the fight.
“Saving a life is just something that will never old. It’s exhausting and emotional, but worth every minute!”
Image via Save Underdogs
Aly Semigran is a lifestyle writer for the world, and roommate of Ruby, the cutest dog in the world.