When a litter of 6 puppies showed up at an Illinois shelter, the staff were heartbroken.
They clearly had been living in an abusive household and were terrified of everything.
The volunteers knew these pups deserved a second chance, but the situation was complicated.
Keep reading to find out what happened next!
Puppies In Need
The puppies had entered the shelter under peculiar circumstances.
After an unspecified incident in their home, their owner was forced to surrender them.
However, due to the nature of the incident, the dogs were required by law to be surrendered as “euthanasia requests”.
This did not necessarily mean that the puppies would have to be put down, but they were definitely at risk.
They were terrified of everything, and the staff had nothing but compassion for them considering their previous circumstances.
They were filthy, malnourished, and clearly were suffering the consequences of abuse.
The shelter wasn’t sure if the puppies would ever get over their fears, but they knew they deserved at least a chance!
Calling for Help
The shelter, however, was not able to keep them.
So, they called up Stephanie, the founder of Players for Pits, a rescue outside of Chicago that specializes in bully breed dogs and other pups that have unique needs.
“We went there the next day to check them out,” Stephanie said. “We only had 24 hours to make a decision.”
Because of irresponsible breeding and caretaking of dogs in the United States, there is a huge number of dogs without homes.
Rescues can only help so many dogs, and they are often forced to make the impossible choice of whether or not to help an animal in need.
Stephanie showed up to meet these puppies, hoping with all her heart that she’d be able to help them.
“They were just terrified dogs that had no social skills, no coping mechanisms,” Stephanie said. “We knew they deserved a chance to see the world for something better.”
It was settled: these puppies would get their second chance!
A New Lease on Life
Stephanie now needed to find fosters for each of the dogs, now named August, Cornelia, Ronan, Maroon, Dorthea, and Cardigan.
Because of their fearfulness of humans, Stephanie picked out 6 homes with friendly canine role models to keep the puppies grounded.
She wasn’t sure if they’d come out of their shells, but she knew they had to at least try and give these puppies a chance to see how wonderful the world can be.
It would be a tough road, but the fosters at Players for Pits were ready for it.
Learning to Trust
Each of the puppies reacted a little bit differently to their foster homes.
“Cardigan did wonderful from day one,” Stephanie said. “He was a little bit more outgoing than his siblings.”
The other puppies took a few weeks to come out of their shells.
“It’s always a gamble when you take a dog in, and all you have is a few minutes to an hour of evaluation in a shelter,” Stephanie said.
Poor Dorthea was so scared at first that she hardly left her crate for a week.
But, her fosters met her where she was at.
They didn’t rush her at all, and instead left her treats and toys outside of her crate so she could associate the house with happy things.
Little by little, even Dorthea was running around with a happy face just like her brother Cardigan!
Looking for Forever
Stephanie knew they were taking a chance on these puppies, but it paid off!
Within a month, all of the siblings realized that life can be great and they don’t need to be scared anymore.
Once Stephanie was certain these dogs would thrive in new homes, she started looking for adopters.
Cardigan had grown so much in his foster home, they actually adopted him!
August was the next to find his forever home.
Ronan and Cornelia have some people interested, but have yet to seal the deal.
Dorthea has come such a long way and is now ready for a forever home too!
Maroon is doing well, but Stephanie wants to see him gain a little more confidence before he takes his next step in life.
These pups truly deserved the second chance that Players for Pits gave them, and it’ll be nothing but the good life for them from here on out!
“Despite what dogs have been through, they are inherently good,” Stephanie said. “If you treat them kindly, dogs will be companions for life.”
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