Halloween got spookier for rescuers of East Tennessee Alliance for Animals when they received a call to assist in the rescue of sixteen puppies.
Keep reading to hear about the rescue of the Frightful Sixteen and how three little puppies, with the help of rescuers, turned their horror story into a fairytale.
A Hoarding Nightmare
East Tennessee of Alliance for Animals, located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, received a call to help puppies at a property in Grundy County, Tennessee.
Unfortunately, they were all too familiar with the property in question.The property had over 200 puppies.
Rescuers were led to believe that the puppies were being dumped near the property, and the property owner was working hard to help them all.
“We thought she was trying her hardest to neuter the males, but it turned out she was trying to make a profit from the puppies,” said Erin Burke, board member and foster at East Tennessee Alliance for Animals.
Rescuers were shocked at what they saw. Sixteen puppies, of different ages and litters, were crammed into one large crate.
The puppies would later be referred to as the ‘Frightful Sixteen’, for their rescue near Halloween night.
Rescuer’s hearts broke at the sight, and they jumped into action.
Rushing to the Rescue
Three puppies in particular needed extra help. They were the smallest of the Frightful Sixteen and had clearly suffered the most from their living situation.
Often caring for special need rescues, Erin was the go-to foster to take in the three 6-to-8-week-old puppies.
The puppies would be named in the Halloween spirit: Blair (The Blair Witch Project), Gizmo (Gremlins), and Gage (Pet Semetery).
“Gizmo was the most healthy of the three. Gage was limping, and Blair had an injured eye,” explained Erin.
Because of their tight living situation, it was thought that Gage was sat on and Blair was poked by another dog in the eye. All of the puppies also had ringworm, a fungus on the skin.
Erin knew there was no time to waste – she was quick to jump into action and help these puppies.
The Road to Recovery
All three puppies needed a sulfur dip every five days to rid them of ringworm.
“So, my house smelled like rotten eggs every five days,” laughed Erin.
The puppies and Erin both hated the sulfur dips. The baths were cold and smelly. But, the puppies were getting healthier, and it was all worth it.
With a little stretching and some normal puppy activity, Gage’s leg was heeling.
Blair was being treated with ointments for her eye injury, but no medication seemed to help. Sadly, Blair would need to have her eye removed.
“I had to keep her tiny little head wrapped,” recalled Erin. “She really didn’t mind her cone, she would kind of just whack it into things on accident.”
Even while recovering, the puppies were all beginning to show their goofy little personalities.
The Sweetest Trio
Blair was confident that she was the boss lady of the house.
“Her little legs were so short and she was kind of pigeon toed in the back, so she just would bounce around the place like it was hers,” said Erin. “She had a real spunky personality.”
“Gizmo was a goof ball,” said Erin. “He would slide off the couch on accident. He’s just an all-around goofy little dog which fit his fuzzy looks.”
Gage was the most reserved of the three puppies. He loved to play with his siblings but also enjoyed cuddles with Erin.
The puppies seemed to bounce back quickly, despite their fearful beginning. It was time for the puppies to continue their fairytale story.
A Fairytale Ending – Happily Ever After
Gizmo, Gage, and Blair were ready for adoption. So, East Tennessee Alliance for Animals partner rescue, Great Dogs Rescue of New England, took all sixteen puppies into their care to pair them with perfect homes.
“All three of them are living super happy lives in new England and definitely much better than where they came from,” said Erin.
Gizmo, now Dax, Gage, and Blair, will forever be cared for the way they’ve always deserved.
“I’m just thankful that we were able to get them off that property,” said Erin.
Dax, Gage, Blair, and the rest of the Frightful Sixteen are also thankful.
Follow Erin on Instagram to see her latest foster adventures!