By Kellie Benz, PAWS Staff
Her eyes draw you in. The expressions she has; hopeful but weary, happy but nervous. It’s mostly the hopeful and happy part of her that makes you instantly like her. Once she knows you've seen her, her tail begins to wag. Not a small wag, a wide sweeping side-to-side wag that makes all of her little body sway back and forth almost knocking her over.
This is Betty Blue. She’s 6 years old—we estimate—and, despite every scar that marks her coat, she keeps putting her faith in humans.
It’s the scar that surrounds her muzzle that you notice first. That one is a deep scar that crosses her snout, then divides down both of her cheeks. That’s the puzzling one, the one that breaks your heart when you imagine how it could be that no one noticed her pain.
Once you step up to Betty Blue—and how can you not with that clumsy wag of hers—that’s when you see the real damage of human unkindness.
On her back, starting between her shoulder blades and slicing right down her spine, is a scar so thick and wide that you have to believe someone, anyone with a heart, saw that she was in need.
Surprisingly, no one did. Because that’s not what saved her.
You see, Betty Blue is who saved Betty Blue. To be specific she saved her puppies but, in doing so, she saved herself too.
Betty Blue is from northern California and, after giving birth to a litter of pups in a field alongside a canal, she reached out to strangers for help. When a group of workers gathered nearby, she bounded towards them, urging them to help her with the babies she had lovingly kept safe.
The workers surmised that the birth had recently occurred, yet who knows how many days she waited for help?
Inspired by her motherly instinct to save her little ones, the workers scooped up the vulnerable pups and Betty Blue and got the whole family to a local shelter. Heroes for heroes as they say. Problem was, the shelter didn’t have room for a grown mom dog and her litter of pups.
They did, however, have a partner in the shelter world and that partner was PAWS.
“As soon as we knew she was on her way, we started reaching out to our community to help,” explained Kay Joubert, Director of Companion Animal Services. “Our shelter staff prepared for her arrival and our Foster Care team contacted their emergency foster homes in anticipation of the puppies’ needs.”
For their car ride north, Betty Blue and her puppies were wrapped up and safely crated with warm blankets, and given lots of food and water.
That’s when new troubles began. Busted tires, engine problems, inclement weather, and road closures plagued their trip. Through it all, Betty Blue kept nursing her defenseless little ones every leg of the tumultuous journey.
“We knew they were having some problems along the way, but we were ready for Betty Blue and her family,” Kay added.
After 18 grueling hours, Betty Blue and her puppies met the PAWS volunteer transport team in Washington State. Her babies—by then weaned—were received in PAWS Foster Care and sent to homes where they could grow stronger, able and ready for lives with new families.
Betty Blue herself was hurried into PAWS' veterinary clinic for a check over.
“With everything she had been through, she was remarkably healthy.” Kay explained. “The scars on her body had healed and left marks only she knows the source of and, with any luck, will soon forget.”
While her healthy puppies thrive in the safe homes of loving foster parents, Betty Blue rests up and recovers. Her sad, scary days are now behind her.
She doesn't have to go it alone any more, now she has a team of friends looking out for her just like she looked out for her pups.
At PAWS, little Betty Blue wins over every animal caretaker she meets. That wiggly-waggle of a tail, those expressive eyes and that hope she has is contagious.
She reminds you that, despite what you’ve been through, it’s the future that matters the most.
For Betty Blue, we can’t wait to see who will come along and make her future as bright as her hopeful eyes.
Are you just the person to give Betty Blue her forever home? Find out more about her and all the other companion animals we champion here.
Would you like to join the ranks of our PAWS Foster Program? It's for anyone who has the home and an open heart for animals in need. Find out about our next orientation class here.