Meet Brandi, Peaches, Bamboo, Hunter, Chuckles, and Boomer.
There’s also Taffy, James, Bearhood, Chip and Spot. The fluffy cargo safely arrived at the Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport on Thursday and were promptly whisked away to the animal shelter.
The dogs are a long way from home. They are a part of a larger group rescued from a residence in Ketchikan last month, after their owner passed away leaving 40-plus animals. After being recovered by Alaska State Troopers, the dogs were taken to the crowded shelter there until Sitka Animal Control Officer and shelter director Ken Buxton went to get them. And he wanted to get them collared and taken care of as soon as he got on the ground.
Buxton mobilized Sitkans to raise money to relieve the Ketchikan shelter. As of Thursday, he gathered some $1,400 to help pay for a chartered Harris Air plane, but it didn’t quite cover the cost. Buxton says he hopes to raise some more funds now that he has the pups here.
“Pictures of cute dogs always help,” he said.
And they are adorable.
“The ugliest one is the cutest dog I’ve ever seen,” Buxton said.
He says the pooches are most likely terrier mixes. Some may have a touch of dachshund.
“They’re mutts,” he said. “So are we.”
Buxton says it’s hard to know their ages, but some may be around 1 year old.
“Can’t cut them open and count the rings,” he said, “but whatever life they have left is certainly meaningful.
The dogs are related but a few have shaggier hair. A couple short-haired, black ones have matching white tufts of diamond-shaped fur on their chests.
Some of them have skin, eye, ear and teeth problems but Buxton is treating them with medication.
“The people in Ketchikan started their recovery and we’ll finish these particular dogs recovery over here.”
Buxton says the dogs are surprisingly well-behaved considering the circumstances. They get along well and don’t fight over food. The dogs will be open for adoption on Tuesday and ready to take home after getting spayed and neutered.
“We don’t have a dog problem the way the other all the southeast communities do,” Buxton said. “And I’ve theorized on it and I’m a firm believer is that part of the reason is the vets around here performing that spay or neuter regardless of somebody’s financial standing.”
Trish and David Durham were part of a team of volunteers who picked up the dogs from the airport. The whole story is a comfort to animal lovers,” David Durham says.
“It’s nice to know that in a situation such as this communities can get together to provide homes for perfectly adoptable pets whose pet owner just happened to have a health issue,” he said.
Even better than that is the animals will be going to grateful homes in Sitka,” Trish Durham said.
“There will be lots of happy families pretty soon,” she said.
At this time, Buxton says he is not looking for foster homes for the dogs. He just needs to figure out a walking schedule.
The Sitka Animal Shelter already has a waitlist of people who want dogs. If you’re interested in adopting, call the shelter at 747-3567 to set up an appointment.