Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

April 17, 2007

A place to rest their paws

Lowndes County in need of foster parents to save pets

VALDOSTA, Ga. — Ten months ago, Girl was a 1-year-old mixed breed stray who spent her nights shivering in a field across from the P&D; Food Mart on Griffin Avenue. Her skin was burned and she was severely underweight.

Capt. Audrey Orek, a T-38 instructor teaching introduction to fighter fundamentals at Moody Air Force Base, spotted Girl on her way home in June 2006. Orek had volunteered at the Lowndes County Animal Shelter and was the owner of five dogs. She left some treats for Girl, but didn’t see her in the field again until January 2007. Orek nicknamed her “Girl” because the dog was female.

“I was driving past the P&D; grocery store when Girl walked across the street. She almost got hit by a couple cars. You could see her ribs, she was so thin,” Orek said.

Girl had given birth to eight puppies and was nursing them in the field. Nearby residents said Girl belonged to an elderly gentleman who had died, and she had been left to fend for herself.

Orek wanted to help, but she needed support. She bought puppy formula from Pets Mart and enlisted the help of neighbors to care for the puppies. Girl was too frightened to approach humans.

“Days went by and Girl began to realize I would bring her food. She would lie in that empty field filled with broken glass, trying to stay warm. I could see her pink body … her skin looked like it was recovering from being burned,” she said.

Orek called the Humane Society and pleaded for help to catch Girl and find her a good home. She worried no one would want Girl because of her physical appearance and medical condition.

Melissa Alderman, program coordinator for the Humane Society’s Animal Cruelty Task Force, gave Orek tips on how to catch the dog and told her about Lowndes County’s foster parent program, where people foster pets until a permanent home is found. The Humane Society supplies all veterinary care, asking foster parents to provide food, water and a loving environment.

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