By Brian Messenger
---- — METHUEN — They were likely born in a van during a cross-country roadtrip. Now, eight pint-sized puppies and their mother are in need of a foster home.
The mixed breed pups and four adult dogs were surrendered after their owner drove from California to the northeast. Unable to find housing, the man had been living out of his van and staying at highway rest stops in southern New Hampshire.
“The puppies must have been born along the way,” said Mike Keiley, director of the MSPCA at Nevins Farm in Methuen. “He decided that wasn’t the right thing to do and surrendered them to us. ... It’s an odd situation.”
The puppies are just over three weeks old and weigh about 2 lbs. each. The litter is made up of four males and four females. Their mother, Sally Sue, is a 2-year-old medium-size mixed breed. The father is a German shepherd.
Because they’re still too young to be adopted, Keiley said the MSPCA is looking for a foster family to take care of Sally Sue and her litter for the next four to six weeks. The MSPCA will cover all the expenses, including food and vaccines.
“It’s a big litter, so it presents some challenges — just having space for them and the mom,” said Keiley. “It will be a lot of work. But it’s a pretty awesome experience.”
Keiley said an ideal foster home will be quiet and spacious. If there are other household pets, Sally Sue and her puppies will need their own independent area. The puppies will also require plenty of human interaction.
Keiley said the puppies will be fixed and put up for permanent adoption at Nevins Farm once they are between eight and ten weeks old. Foster families will also have the chance to offer one of the puppies a permanent home, he said.
Keiley said Sally Sue’s owner cared about her and the puppies and did his best to take care of them under the circumstances. When they arrived at the MSPCA in Methuen, the dogs were skittish and on the thin side, he said.
The other three adult dogs surrendered by the owner have already been adopted. Keiley said Sally Sue is “on the shy side” and in need of a quiet and stable environment after her cross-country trip.
“She needs some rest and relaxation and definitely some TLC,” Keiley said.