Last week at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma, Washington, park-goers were treated to a horrifying sight.
It’s unclear what drew good Samaritans’ attention to a bathroom at the park, but whether it was puppies crying or the call of nature, at some point someone discovered that there were dogs shut up in the bathroom.
Not just one dog, but 12 dogs — and as the Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County pointed out, that wasn’t the worst part: It was a momma and her puppies that had been abandoned.
“Inside the bathroom, the sweet girl had been tied to a suitcase,” the humane society posted on May 11.
“And inside the suitcase were her small, frail, one-week-old puppies. Their tiny cries echoed in the bathroom as they huddled together for warmth.”
The mom, who has since been named Oolong, was incredibly hungry and emaciated when they got to the rescue. She’s now on a special diet to make sure she can get back to health, according to KCPQ-TV.
The puppies, who were just one week old, have their own issues to contend with and were diagnosed with juvenile cellulitis, also known as “puppy strangles,” a rare condition in puppies that can be hereditary. The condition can cause facial swelling and skin lesions.
The rescue got them medical care, but the costs associated with treatment are steep, and they’ve reached out for help. So far, their Facebook fundraiser has raised over $1500.
“These 12 dogs are lucky to be alive and today they are safe,” the rescue wrote. “Your donation right now provides everything they will need to recover — medical care, rehabilitation, a foster home, and love.
“With your help, these dogs will never again feel alone and frightened. And once they have healed, they’ll have the chance to find the loving homes they deserve. Please give now to ensure all 12 dogs receive a second chance and a bright future.”
Samantha and Trevor LaFontaine have taken the family in and are fostering all 12 of them. The puppies have all been given tea- and coffee-themed names.
Trevor was also one of the people who originally discovered the dogs in the bathroom at the park, bringing their rescue full circle.
“I really just wanted to do something for this poor mom who had been left in a bathroom with all of her babies in a suitcase,” Samantha LaFontaine told KCPQ.
The dogs have made marked improvements and even though the puppies are still quite young, LaFontaine is already looking forward to when they can start their lives in new, caring homes — especially since she and Trevor already have three “foster fails” of their own.
“When they’re going to their forever home,” she said, “it’s not necessarily sadness; it’s really a lot of happiness that they’re going to get more love and more attention and training and just get to start the rest of their lives.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.