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Mama's Matter

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

I think one of the biggest criticisms we received when ARK Pet Rescue first opened was that we only rescued puppies. This is understandable, as the puppies are often deemed as the most desirable. The adults often get left behind. Some of you already know this, but before I opened the ARK, I worked at a local pet store that sold puppy's from back-yard breeders for thousands of dollars. It was an eye opening job, and it was also my first job. I was 19 and didn't think what they were doing was bad. At the end of the day, these puppies needed homes. As I worked there, red flags appeared. The adopters weren't provided with spay and neuter support. It became clear that the puppies were there to drive a profit. The well being, and the quality of home didn't matter. If they had the money then they could buy the puppy. No information was provided on the parents, and we often never saw photos of them.


I started ARK Pet Rescue as a small haven for guinea pigs and cats, but that grew into something more. I wanted to focus on puppies and mamas (both dog and cat) to provide adopters with an alternative to going to breeders. So the storefront was born. I loved taking on the mamas and getting them the nutrition they needed. Getting them the help they so deserved, and relieve them of a future of more babies by getting them fixed.


Let me introduce you to a couple different mamas we have had the privilege to save.


Meet Mama Honey!


Sweet Mama Honey is a Weimaraner who was rescued from Mexico. She was nursing 9 puppies and was severely emaciated. When she came in she was COVERED in ticks. I really haven't seen more ticks in my life on a dog. It was heartbreaking. She was quickly tested for multiple tick-borne illnesses, and did test positive for one. She became symptomatic and had blood pouring from her nose, it was terrifying. Thankfully we caught it immediately and we gave her antibiotics. She recovered quickly and enjoyed time in her foster home. Her puppies were all adopted and found homes, but we still have sweet Mama Honey. We know for a fact that Mama Honey has had at least two litters of puppies, as one of her older daughters came up with her. This is what back yard breeding looks like. This poor mama should have never have been forced to have babies to aid in the puppy mill trafficking we see today.


Check out this sweet video of Mama Honey now!


And a few cute photos of course.









Let me introduce you to two mamas who changed my life with their stories. While we were too late to save them, we know that the time we had with them, were some of the most meaningful and loving moments of their life.


Meet Amber.


Seeing this sweet girls face makes my heart hurt, because I knew we were too late to help her.



Amber came to us from Texas. Her condition wasn't horrible, but her butchered ears and scars pointed to a life in the dog fighting ring. It was hard to believe that someone could do that to her. But what was even more heartbreaking was the evidence of years of birthing and nursing puppies. She didn't come to us with puppies, but we didn't care. We knew she needed us. When she arrived from Texas her kind eyes stole my heart. She went to PCC where she was diagnosed with a mammary tumor. She was a star student at PCC, teaching vet techs how to handle dogs and how to preform x-rays. But after a couple weeks there it became evident that the tumor was most likely cancerous. We picked her up from PCC and got her to a local vet clinic. Our fears were confirmed. Her body was riddled with cancer. They gave us the option of helping her cross the rainbow bridge then, easing her pain. But I knew Amber had never had a family. She had never known the comforts of a dog bed. It was hard. I couldn't send her to heaven without showing her the good life. The vet felt Amber had a few good weeks left before we really needed to let her go, so I took her home. She became my dog. She got her own little bed, and she got a family. It was a magical few weeks. Then the day came to say goodbye. The vet techs, vets, and myself all weeped because we knew that if we had gotten her sooner she could have had a chance. But it was too late. I took this photo of her that day and remember sending it to my husband. "Amber's gone." Our hearts broke. I swore to Amber that I would continue to commit to helping mamas just like her. Which lead us to sweet Gaia.



Meet Gaia.



Oh sweet Gaia. Amber led us to you. It was a couple weeks after Amber had passed away and a fellow rescuer sent us this sweet girls video. For a second I thought I was looking at Amber. But no, it was another sweet mama who was wronged by the back-yard breeding industry.


Gaia's legs were mangled. Bent in unnatural ways from being confined in a crate too small for her. She was confined to that crate to give birth to babies. Over and Over again. When Gaia arrived it was heartbreaking. She had no will left. She wanted to lay on something soft and sleep. I fostered her at home for a few weeks and tried to show her the good life. We tried to help her legs. There was nothing we could do. Our vets agreed that sweet Gaia needed to be set free from her pain. I will always remember that appointment. The vet had laid down a blanket for her. Gaia went and laid down on it, curled into a little ball, and slept. She wanted her pain to be over. She wanted this nightmare to end. And it did. Little Gaia went peacefully, on the blanket, in her little ball.


Thinking of these two mamas reminds me why we are here. Why I remember the mamas. We do good work. We do hard work. And you guys help us do that. We haven't been able to take on any extreme medical cases recently because of our uncertain future. We are in survival mode. But we won't stop fighting, because to stop fighting means to stop fighting for these mamas.


If you have it in your heart to aid us in our efforts, and to keep the rescue open, please consider donating. We appreciate you guys.


Many Blessings,

Daria Veenstra

Executive Director


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