‘I just think about how different their life was 24 hours ago’: Shawnee group rescues litter of puppies

After learning that a litter of puppies was in bad shape in rural Kansas, volunteers with Shawnee-based Melissa’s Second Chances rescued them one hot afternoon in July.

After learning that a litter of puppies was in bad shape in rural Kansas, volunteers with Shawnee-based Melissa’s Second Chances rescued them one hot afternoon last week.

A good Samaritan in Cherryvale notified the animal rescue shelter that he had found the mother dog — a boxer-hound mix — and nine puppies living near a cellar. The man was caring for the dogs, which were not his, and called the shelter hoping they could help.

Melissa’s Second Chances volunteer Merrilyn Shobe, an Overland Park resident, and her son Elijah Shobe volunteered to drive the two and a half hour trek south to Cherryvale on Tuesday. When they arrived, the Shobes found the dog and its puppies living under the foundation of a house. While the mother-son team managed to grab a few, most of the puppies scattered and hid under the house.

Elijah then crawled underneath the house and managed to find and catch nine puppies. In the chaos, the Shobes discovered a tenth puppy.

“I honestly cried when it was all said and done; I mean, it was over 100 degrees,” said Kaitlin Thompson, marketing and public relations manager for Melissa’s Second Chances. “They’re crawling on pipes, they’re very nervous trying to get away from them. So he very gently and patiently spends two hours getting these first nine puppies.”

After two hours, Merrilyn Shobe texted Thompson saying they couldn’t seem to rescue the tenth puppy. So they made plans to come back the next day.

“Elijah was not ready to give up, and so he spends another hour under there getting puppy #10,” Thompson said.

Despite the dirty and dangerous conditions in the crawl space, Elijah said it was worth making sure the last puppy was rescued safely.

“I didn’t want to leave the puppy alone; I’m sure it would have been fine, but I was a little nervous about that,” Elijah said. “And I felt like I could get it if I kept waiting.”

The puppies are about seven weeks old and recovering for the next few weeks in foster homes with Melissa’s Second Chances.

“They are in pretty rough shape; they have bad fleas, bad worms,” Thompson said. “They’re very emaciated and very hot. Living outside in those hot temperatures is dangerous. We definitely told Elijah, you saved their lives.”

Once they’re vaccinated and spayed/neutered, they’ll be ready for adoption. The shelter is accepting donations to help cover the costs.

“I just think about how different their life was 24 hours ago,” Julie said. “It’s so rewarding.”