From the Fire …

UPDATE 1/20/12: All dogs have been posted to our Adoptable Dogs page.

Accepting What We Can’t Change

We can’t paint a pretty picture this time. This is the reality. On Jan. 3, the indoor kennel at Flashpoint Kennels in Rome, Ga., burned to the ground.

More than 30 Chihuahua and Boston Terrier puppies and their mothers perished. A few of these beautiful babies were able to escape to the outside runs, where they were scooped up and saved. We have visited the kennels twice and brought back a couple of females who were in heat to prevent any more pregnancies. They are being spayed. The Boston has a home; the Chi is looking for one. We will be posting her beautiful photo soon.

Although our priority is rescuing Jacks, we love all dogs and these visits were heartbreaking. We were all fighting back tears while we were there. The smell of smoke and carnage and the site of charred crates and bowls was almost too much to bear.

The remains of crates and bowls leave haunting reminders of what happened here.

You may have heard or read different stories in the news, so we’ll set the record straight: This was a licensed breeding facility with no violations from the Dept. of Agriculture. All dogs had food, shelter and daily care. In fact, many perished because they were trapped in their whelping pens with their heat lamps and toys.

Before we get bleary-eyed or angry over something we cannot change, let’s move on to something we can change and make sure none of these precious souls died in vain.

Changing What We Can

Jack Russells have not been bred at this kenel in years. We know this for a fact and have actually been working with the owner to re-home the retired breeders and non-adoptable puppies over the past several years. This has come with some backlash, of course, but we cannot stress this enough: We are not and never will promote large-scale breeding; we are making sure these dogs find the homes they deserve with warm beds, fresh grass and an endless supply of toys and treats, things most of them have never known. Our mission is and always has been about the dogs. Period.

Right now, that mission is more important and crucial than ever.

What Lies Ahead

The kennel will be closing. The rest of the Chis and Bostons will be spayed/neutered by a separate group and adopted out. We are helping with the Jacks and we have a huge task ahead.

There are 23 Jacks who survived the fire: 22 girls and one lone male. They are all retired breeding dogs with ages ranging from 5-10. Five have fear-aggression issues. All of them need foster/forever homes or other rescues immediately. We would take each and every one of them if we could, but we are already at capacity right now. We are working hard to make more space, but it takes time and we know these dogs do have shelter, food and water right now. They have all lived at the kennel their entire lives, so they only know their kennel mates. They have never been exposed to cats or other small animals. Some have met children; some have not.

We are talking with some other rescue groups/transports on ways to get these dogs out of there, but it’s not enough. We need individual help with adoptions, fosters, transport, etc. To assist with this, we will begin posting updated photos and bios on all of them to Petfinder and our Facebook page today. The five with fear-aggression issues (who are all gorgeous, by the way) will need to go a safe environment/rescue with someone who can work with them to overcome their fears.

"I still scared ... Can I go home with you?"

We are working closely with the owner to make sure any who aren’t spayed/neutered are fixed and are in good health. They all appeared to be healthy when we visited this weekend, but they are also suffering from post-traumatic stress. You may notice some boo-boos on their feet and legs and some worn-down claws in the photos; this is from stress-induced licking/pacing after the fire and will easily heal once they are removed from their current situation.

What You Can Do

If you are interested in helping with this monumental task in any way, please call us at 770-918-8582. No help is too small, especially given the fact that we are still trying to help our own 20+ Jacks find homes. And, of course, our own phones never stop ringing with surrenders and re-homing needs.

If you would like to donate to help with the preparation (spaying, neutering, etc) of these dogs or to provide food for them while they are still at the kennel, Regions Bank has set up a fund: 2101 Shorter Ave., Rome, GA 30165 and make the check to the Flashpoint Kennel Fund.

We have also established our online ChipIn dedicated to this effort.