Puppy love: Surrendered and looking for forever homes

Lance Shearer

Maybe Harry Truman said it, or maybe he didn’t. But the sentiment rings true. The 33rd president is supposed to have said after some bruising political strife that in Washington, “if you want a friend, get a dog.”

Even on serene Marco Island, with presumably less strife and more potential human friends, there is nothing like a canine companion to ignore your faults, bring out the best in you, and shower you with a (dog’s) lifetime of unconditional love.

Puppies are the epitome of "cute." These five long-haired Chihuahua puppies are nearly ready to go to a new home.

And now, available in a condo-size package.

Ann Sepe is no stranger to adopting dogs. She founded and is president of Help 4 Animals, a 501 (c)3 animal welfare group in her summer home of Rhode Island, and when she is in her Marco Island home on Piedmont Circle, she volunteers with the Humane Society Naples, as a “feline ambassador, canine coach, and driver.” That’s how she met Allie.

Allie is a nine-lb. mother dog, a long-haired Chihuahua, who was surrendered to the Humane Society shelter in Naples along with dad and five puppies. She is 7 years old, so in dog years that’s like having quintuplets at age 50.

Sepe and her husband Al Marchand are currently fostering mother and babies. They will keep Allie, to the consternation of their two cats, and are looking for good homes for five adorable young dogs.

“Allie will join our family, and retire to Marco,” said Sepe, obviously following in a grand tradition. The family’s two cats really are used to dogs, as Marchand and Sepe lost their beloved blue tick hound, Misty Blue, a year ago, she said. But neither felines nor humans are ready to take on six new canines on a permanent basis.

Right now, the puppies, in the two-lb. range each, resemble little retrievers, with soft coats and long, floppy ears. The two blondes, including the only female in the litter, resemble miniature golden retrievers.

But unlike retrievers, which quickly grow to 60 or 80 lbs. or more, these dogs are expected to remain petite. They are long-haired Chihuahuas, “as close to a pedigreed dog as you get from the Humane Society,” said Sepe, which is easier to ascertain when both sire and dam are also in residence at the shelter. So the babies would make an ideal companion for someone who is interested in canine companionship, but not considering a Great Dane or Irish wolfhound as a housemate.

When they got them, said Sepe, “the puppies were so young their eyes were barely open. But through her turmoil, and the hard way the pups entered the world, all are thriving.” Allie nursed them until recently, said Sepe, when the puppies developed sharp little teeth, prompting a move to commercial puppy food.

Now they have had their first round of vaccinations, and are micro-chipped and flea-protected. They are due to be spayed/neutered, and soon after the end of the month will be ready for permanent homes.

With Easter on April 1, not to mention Passover, this could be the perfect time to begin a new tradition. Who says it has to be about baby chicks and bunnies? These Easter puppies could fit in your Easter basket now, and fill your home with love for years.

There is a $275 fee to adopt the puppies through the Humane Society, which covers all the medical treatment and county fees. For more information, call Ann Sepe at 401-632-6099 or email Help4Animals.ann@gmail.com.