The happy conclusion of our experience fostering puppies

When I last talked to you, our family of 4 rescued puppies and their mom had only been with us for a couple of days, and we were all trying to understand how it would all work. We got it figured out, but then 3 more puppies arrived and had us really scrambling. It all worked out in the best way it could have, though – as of last night, all 7 puppies and their mom have loving homes. As I start writing this, we still have 3 puppies and mom with us, but that number will be dropping by at least 2 this afternoon, and the other 2 will move on in the next couple of days.

My Facebook friends have gotten used to seeing a LOT of puppy pictures lately. There are over 30 in this post, with more of the story of this wonderful experience.

The rescues that the Yukon Animal Rescue Network (YARN) is using “berry” names for arrived on December 2nd, and on the 5th, I felt confident enough in Elderberry to let her explore our fenced acre by herself.

Rescued Yukon husky Elderberry
That was a breakthrough day for Elderberry, and she very quickly understood her role as a house dog. Our little Tucker looks like he could be one of her puppies!

Rescued dogs Tucker and Elderberry
The loan of a friend’s kennel got the puppies moved inside during part of the day starting on December 7th.

Rescued puppies
Strawberry. OMG what a character! Always laughing and boinging up and down to get out of the kennel 🙂

Rescued puppy
Cathy getting a better introduction of our Bella and Tucker to the puppies – in this case Strawberry. Neither Bella nor Tucker were quite sure what to make of them. That didn’t surprise us with Tucker, but it did surprise us that Bella didn’t go maternal as she did when Tucker arrived.

Rescued puppy meeting our dogs
Blackberry was the best snuggler right from the start. She was so timid and underweight when we got her, it’s unlikely she would have survived once the deep cold hit.

Rescued puppy
On December 8th, I started bathing puppies. I actually enjoyed it, and neither Blueberry nor Strawberry objected to it a lot 🙂

Bathing a rescued puppy
They smelled so much better after their baths!

A freshly-bathed rescue-puppy
Good-night snuggles with the boys, Strawberry and Raspberry.

Rescued puppies
Raspberry soon became the puppy that we would have kept if we were going to keep any. His combination of affection and adventure really attracted both Cathy and I, and we were very surprised that he was one of the last to be adopted.

Rescued puppy
Tucker, Bella, and Strawberry. I’ve just noticed that the boys are getting more than their share of photos here. I’m not really sure why – maybe their higher levels of activity just put them in front of the camera more often.

Rescued puppy with my dogs
Oh Strawberry!! He very quickly became the escape artist, and it’s only in the past couple of days that I’ve managed to contain him in the house. In the garage enclosure, any barrier that stopped him also stopped Elderberry, and I wanted her to have some freedom.

Rescued puppy escaping
A tired puppy is a happy puppy. And a happy foster-daddy 🙂

Tired rescue-puppies
The more socialization the better, and I was more than pleased when Karla asked if she could bring her daughter over to help with that.

Rescued puppies
Until this morning, all of our feeding was done in the garage.

Rescued puppies
With temperatures now nearing -40°C, outside wasn’t an option for anything for the puppies. A couple of experiments with having outside time were very short. The garage wasn’t suitable except with very close supervision, and a lot of changes will be made before we foster another litter.

-40 degrees
Yes, the boys again!

Rescued puppies
In the early days, my anxiety level was very high at times. One of those was the first time I let Elderberry out to play with Bella and Tucker. After a few minutes of play, though, Elderberry came back in laughing and very excited. I didn’t worry about her after that. The 3 of them quickly learned to play very well together, though sometimes various pairs would break off.

Rescued husky playing with my dogs
Tucker sometimes got left out, but his insistence that he be part of the play usually got results fairly quickly.

Rescued husky playing with my dogs
Elderberry had a couple of good role models for learning how this house-dog gig should work!

Rescued husky learning to be a house dog
Last Wednesday (December 14th), I got a call that 2 more of the puppies had been captured, and we agreed to take them. That quickly turned into 3 puppies, and at 4:00 pm they arrived from Atlin with another volunteer driver. One of my first jobs was to get photos of them to YARN, and within an hour of me posting photos of Cranberry on my Facebook page, she had been adopted! YARN wondered how the adopting family even knew about her 🙂


Alpine Veterinary Medical Centre once again stepped up and got the new additions – all females – in for their checkups and shots the next day. This is such a huge part of making for a successful story.

As with all of the other puppies, Cranberry got a gold star for this part of her training.

Snuggling a rescue-puppy
Moving the puppies between the house and garage enclosures became much more difficult once there were 7. A storage container became the method of choice – 4 in the first load, then 3 more. Buckets of Berries 🙂  All the stuff on top of the kennel was a partially-successful attempt to contain Strawberry. Raspberry and Cranberry were both quickly learning from him.

Moving rescued puppies
In the centre, Gooseberry chilling in the house kennel. We barely got to know her, as she went to her new home in the Whitehorse area last night.

Relaxing rescue-puppies
The whole pack sleeping after a hard spell of play.

Relaxing rescue-puppies
Mornings are pretty exciting! Here, all 7 of them greet me at the garage enclosure yesterday morning. I very quickly got a soft spot for Huckleberry, the second from the left. Within hours of arriving, she had learned to be a first-class snuggler.

Excited rescue-puppies
It’s hard to capture the reality of puppy activity without a video 🙂

Another loaner kennel, this one with 36-inch walls, solved our escape problem. The puppies all like the sleeping-kennel that I attached to it. This used to be our breakfast area – my office is directly to the right.

Rescue-puppies in their kennel
Huckleberry is still with us as I write this, but has been adopted and will be leaving soon. She is so incredibly sweet with that little teddy-bear face!

One of our foster puppies
Getting Blueberry and Cranberry ready for the big trip to their new homes in Nanaimo. Elderberry (we learned that her actual name is Blue) knew that something was up, and wanted into the kennel. She was all over them, licking and nuzzling them. Poor Blue – she did such an incredible job of keeping them safe 🙁

Two of our foster puppies geting ready to go to their new homes
Blueberry and Cranberry were on last night’s Air North flight to Vancouver, the first stop on their journey. I may have dropped the girls at Air North “Cargo” but all 4 agents on duty sure made it clear that they knew that it was Precious Cargo. Air North, Yukon’s Airline, rocks!

Air North, waiting to transport 2 of our rescued puppies

Last night, things got crazy within minutes of Cathy getting home from work. Among the visitors were 2 families who wanted to adopt and had been approved by YARN. Once they met Gooseberry and Strawberry they concluded the adoptions in our kitchen, and took the puppies home with them!

It was a very quiet morning today. Here, Mom is curled up with 2 of her remaining babies in the kennel beside my desk. Cathy took the 3rd puppy (Huckleberry) to bed with her when we got up for them at 04:30.

Our greatly-reduced foster puppy family

We still have mom and 2 puppies to be picked up, but our adventure is pretty much over. It’s been a very, very special experience that we’ll definitely be repeating.


The happy conclusion of our experience fostering puppies — 10 Comments

  1. This has been the best Christmas story ever thanks to your’s & Cathy’s huge hearts we all experienced something so precious . Thank you for being kind people and sharing this with us I’m so grateful to be connected.
    One question , will you consider fostering again in the futur ? ❤

  2. I wondered what happened to these puppies. I only knew of the first 3 that were found. You all are a blessing, beautiful people to take this on and I was so happy to read that they are all with loving homes now. Thank you!

  3. Wonderful photos Murray and loved the video. Thanks so much for sharing this experience in so much detail, both here and on FB. Just wish I was closer so I could have helped with the socialization! 🙂

  4. What a great story, we already knew what good hearted people you are, but this rescue was/is so needed and timely. As expected, good outcomes, great funny pictures of all involved.

    I almost don’t miss your outdoor adventures (LOL).

    Happy New Years to the family, may your good work continue in 2017 and beyond!