This is an absolutely true rescue story from winter of last year. It is quintessential Hollywood Feed, and embellishment is not warranted.
Wrapping up a trip on which we had crisscrossed Alabama to check up on Zayda and visit Hollywood Feed stores in the state, Cheyenne, Hollywood Feed’s videographer/photographer, and I took a detour to find the Coon Dog Cemetery, where 185 coon dogs have been interred, starting with Troop in 1937. The side trip to the cemetery left us cold, and a couple of hours past lunchtime, but as we wound our way along the small country roads back towards the highway, conversation centered on finding a coon dog in the Hollywood Feed family. The coon dog torch had been lit, and we now unequivocally knew we needed to locate a hound whose current story and pictures we could share to let others know about this remarkable breed.
To shave a few miles off the trip, we chose a different path, more remote and deserted than the mapped route, back to the main highway. As we topped a small hill, there, in the road, on the side of the road, and darting back and forth across the road, was a litter of puppies and an emaciated mama dog who appeared confused and in no way in charge of her crew.
The little family had obviously been dumped. We, of course, pulled over, grabbed a leash and started snagging puppies. Catching the little nuggets was really not so difficult, and the drivers of the few cars that passed while the corralling was in process waved politely in encouragement (as they drove on).
After loading the entire group of nine dogs (mama plus eight 6-7-week-old puppies) into the car, we looked at the pack in my back seat and agreed that our husbands were going to kill us. We laughed as we pulled back onto the highway, no longer hangry for lunch, and continued on our way to Memphis. What choice did we have? It’s just what we do.
While all the feisty “Alabama Road Trip Puppies” appear to have an abundance of Labrador genetic influence, mama (now named Jolene) might very well have Redbone Coonhound heritage. Google it and decide for yourself. Was it coincidence that a trip to a coon dog cemetery in the remote hills of Alabama put us in the path of this scared mama and her babies? Probably. Or maybe, just maybe, the spirits of some of those fine hounds long gone were looking down on a little family that needed help and guided two travelers musing about “needing” to know a coon hound to them.
Back in Memphis, we pulled up to the corporate office strategically choosing a parking lot by the door just as folks were leaving for the day. We know our people, and it was no surprise that several were willing, without reservation, to add a stray puppy to their responsibilities and commitments for the evening.
For the next several days, members of the office and warehouse crew stepped up to temporarily foster while New Beginnings Animal Rescue, one of our amazing rescue partners, arranged official fosters for all the puppies.
From the time we found this precious family in February to October of last year, all the puppies have found their furever homes. One pup headed to his new home in Wisconsin in early October. Three of the pups were adopted in the Memphis area, three have new families in Connecticut, and one is living the dream in Pennsylvania. Sweet mama Jolene is still searching for her furever family. If you are interested in learning more about Jolene, please contact New Beginnings Animal Rescue here.
Finding the right homes for the litter of eight abandoned puppies from a back road in northern Alabama was made possible by a large network of caring folks giving of themselves to change the life of a rejected animal. It was an amazing experience that we at Hollywood Feed will never forget, and while it is one of our largest rescue tales, it certainly won’t be the last.