DERRY — A local family has spent decades taking in dogs and cats waiting for permanent homes.
Deborah Kodesh and her family plan to continue offering foster care for a very long time.
Kodesh has volunteered with the Greater Derry Humane Society for more than 20 years.
The Derry family is now the foster home for a quartet of 6-week-old puppies. The furry mixed-breed pups were orphaned shortly after their mother’s death.
“We took them the day they were born,” Kodesh said. “They still had their umbilical cords attached.”
Their mother, a 50-pound stray, had been found and brought to Derry’s pound. She was never claimed. She had her litter, but had to be euthanized due to serious health problems.
Animal Control Officer Marlene Bishop called Humane Society volunteers and Kodesh said she would take the four puppies.
“We weren’t able to save the mother, that’s the sad part,” Kodesh said. “The good part is we were able to save the babies.”
It was like bring four newborns home for the first time, she said, a lot of around-the-clock care, feeding and providing warmth. Since they were just born and had no mother, Kodesh used heating discs to warm their bodies. Family members would take turns holding and rubbing the skin of the tiny puppies.
Eyedroppers were used to feed the pups every few hours. Kodesh’s daughter, Tara, lives next door and takes over at night.
The two males and two females — named Willow, Sky, Ranger and Scout —are thriving and will be ready for adoption in another eight weeks.
“We will do vet checks, then they will be spayed and neutered and we’ll do home checks (before adoption),” Kodesh said.
More foster home volunteers are always needed for animals waiting to be adopted, she said. She adopted two Chihuahuas she previously cared for after they were found abandoned.
Foster families are part of a great network of help, Kodesh said. She is provided food and other supplies for the puppies through donations.
“We’ve done it before,” she said. “We love doing it.”
Only three of the puppies will eventually be up for adoption. Willow will remain with Kodesh’s family.
Anyone wanting to learn more about becoming an animal foster family can contact the Greater Derry Humane Society at 432-1512 or visit derryhumanesociety.com.