Houston Dog Eescue Shields Vulnerable Puppies

It’s been said that there is nothing stronger than a mother’s love. Even in the dog world, this truth holds fast. And yet, even a mother’s love can’t always save her puppies from a tragic end on the cruel streets or in dangerous circumstances.

By | Posted: June 7, 2013, 8 a.m. EDT


Kathy Deffebach and her 200 volunteers safeguard puppies.

Enter Pup Squad Animal Rescue.

Based in Houston, Pup Squad rescues orphaned puppies and nursing litters from the streets, shelters, and other life-threatening situations. Since its inception in 2008, Pup Squad has rescued and adopted out more than 3,500 dogs. Many of those were too young, too sick, or too overlooked to have survived a stint in a city shelter or out on their own.

The group’s president, Kathy Deffebach spent years volunteering with the Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care, which is the Houston animal-control facility. Week after week, she would see puppies and newborns dying from the multitude of diseases they were not yet immune to or vaccinated against. She watched as nursing mothers, now without their pups, were euthanized. She saw adopted families heartbroken when the young dog they just adopted out of the shelter died of an infectious disease.

"We often say dropping a puppy off at a shelter is like sending an unvaccinated child to a Third World country,” Deffebach says. Many shelters simply are not equipped to deal with the special needs of vulnerable puppies.

Deffebach knew there had to be a way to safeguard these tiny lives. By keeping puppies and their mothers out of shelters — which can be  exposure sites for  often lethal diseases such as  distemper and parvo — they keep these canines healthy and happy -- and adoptable.
Pup Squad does its best to rescue litters off the streets, pull them from shelters, and accept unwanted animals. The volume of calls seeking help can be overwhelming, Deffebach says.

"The hardest part is that there are always more requests than we can take in,” she says. "We try to give priority to litters in immediate danger and to intercept as many litters as we can before they ever get into the shelter.”

Rescued puppies receive immediate medical care, and when sufficiently healthy, are handed over to loving foster homes as they await adoption. The group utilizes more than 200 volunteers throughout the Houston area.

"The key to our success has been an amazing volunteer core that really believes in our mission,” Deffebach says. "Our volunteers and fosters are so dedicated.”

Despite the name Pup Squad, the group never turns a blind eye toward grown-up mother dogs.

"We made a pledge (when we started) that we would never leave a mama behind,” Deffebach says. "So if there is a mother dog, we always take her as well.”

In fact, some of the most touching situations faced by Pup Squad involve mama dogs. Take Bonnie the pit bull-type, for instance. Not long after she had puppies out on the street, Bonnie was beaten and shot by an unknown assailant. Pup Squad stepped in, raised money for her veterinary care, and helped Bonnie and her pups find loving, safe, forever homes.

"The efforts of rescue groups prove that individuals can make a big difference, and I’m proud to be a part of it,” Deffebach says.

For more information, check out Pup Squad Animal Rescue on Facebook or on its website, PupSquad.org

The efforts of Pup Squad Animal Rescue to aid and rescue dogs inspired FreeKibble.com, a website dedicated to providing nutritious food to shelter animals, to donate 5,000 meals of Halo Spot’s Stew to Pup Squad.

More dog rescue and adoption stories >>


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