Florence resident Natasha Craig loves animals of all types. She and her family have several cats, horses, and a German Sheppard, Mercedes, to call their own, but recently seven more four-legged friends have called her house, home.
The story of Annie, the stray little black dog began a week ago outside Cedar Point when an elderly man and his wife found the puppy running wild outside their home.
“People go out near them and dump dogs all the time,” Craig said.
The week before the man found two dogs running loose on his property, and one stayed.
“He didn’t have the heart to shoot the dog, but because of his age, he was unable to care for it and didn’t want it running out into the street to be hit by a car,” Craig said.
He contacted Judy Dannenfelser of Marion and she took in the dog to find it a new home.
After finding Annie a week later, he contacted Craig and her mom looking for advice and someone to take care of her.
“He mentioned on the phone that she looked fat,” Craig said. “She wouldn’t come inside but he was able after awhile to get her inside a barn.”
The next morning the man entered the barn to find Annie had given birth to seven puppies.
Craig took mom and the puppies home to live until the puppies were old enough to be adopted.
One puppy passed, but six healthy puppies remain. They are currently a week old and Craig anticipates that next week they will begin opening their eyes.
One is light brown, while the others are a mix of black and chocolate colored with white spots. There are five females and one male. Because their mom is so small, only weighing about 25 lbs., Craig does not expect the puppies to grow into big dogs.
“They’re so sweet,” Craig said. “Annie is such a good mom; she really takes good care of them.”
Craig said one puppy, for whatever reason, whines constantly.
“The only time she’s quiet is when she’s eating,” she said. “I’m not sure why she just cries, even when she’s sleeping she cries.”
The crying has been keeping her daughter up at night so Craig moved mom and puppies into an outdoor kennel with a heated doghouse now that the weather is warmer.
While Annie was timid when she first came to live with the Craigs, she is warming up to them, everyday getting more and more comfortable.
“At first she would just cower when we were around,” Craig said, “but she never bit or growled or anything. Now she’ll walk up to us and want petted. The only downside is that she chews on everything because she wants out and loves to run. Several times we’ve had to chase after her because she’s gotten loose.”
While she loves having mom and puppies around, they are a big financial burden, Craig said.
“My family wants to keep one, but financially we just can’t,” Craig said. “We’re getting Annie fixed in April after she’s done feeding the puppies, and when the puppies are weaned they have to go because we can’t afford shots and fixing all of them.”
Craig is looking for homes for five of the puppies — the brown female is spoken for — and Annie.
“All that I ask is the person donate the cost of their care to help me out, and promise to have them fixed,” Craig said.
Craig has no idea what breed the puppies are, but expect because of their coloring and Annie’s makeup that they have some border collie in them.
“If someone wants to pick one out they are available on a first come first serve basis,” Craig said. “So far they and Annie are all very sweet and certainly cute. I want them to all have good homes where they won’t end up on the road like their mom.”