She’s a Fabulous Foster; He’s a Fantastic ‘Mr. Fix It’

By Judy Layne

Danielle and Brian Peddle are truly a dynamic duo when it comes to helping homeless animals. In addition to being regular donors, Danielle has volunteered as a dog walker at the Kings SPCA since moving to Nova Scotia in 2019. Becoming a foster parent was something that she always wanted to do. But the couple’s three dogs are reactive to cats, so when the call went out in May for a foster family to care for mama dog Aphodite and her nine newborn puppies – yep, NINE! – Danielle stepped up.

The puppies were just two days old when Danielle brought them home, along with their mom. She was asked to name them. Danielle said “I chose names based on their personalities. There were six girls: Addie, the smallest of the litter, Roxy, Maggie, Molly, Sadie and Shelby. The three boys were: Buster, Tucker and Cooper, the largest fellow.”

The motto of the Nova Scotia SPCA’s foster program is ‘You supply the home and the love; we supply everything else.’ “This model worked great,” exclaimed Danielle. “The SPCA provided crates, blankets, puppy food, adult food and required medications – everything we needed to help the dogs have a comfortable stay in our home. They were always just a phone call away for advice and were very supportive. They asked for updates and any photos I could send to show the puppies’ progress.”

Danielle related that after four weeks, the puppies’ mom – a beautiful St. Bernard/Great Pyrenees girl – grew reluctant to nurse them. “I brought her to the Kings Shelter and she was sent to Dartmouth to be examined. We learned that her belly was becoming quite raw from the puppies scratching her with their nails while they nursed. The SPCA showed me how to help mom by holding her sides, wearing leather gloves, so the puppies could continue nursing. They also provided me with some lanolin cream to apply and a powdered milk supplement to add to the puppies’ water. I began giving them moistened kibble, then canned food. Mom gradually weaned them.”

The foster fur-babies brought loads of smiles and laughter to the couple’s home. Danielle shared “When the puppies arrived at my house, I put a kiddie pool filled with blankets in a safe room and that worked fine for four weeks. I slept in the room with them. Around the four-week mark, they started jumping out of the pool and wandering in the bedroom at night. There were many mornings that I inadvertently stepped in warm puppy pee and poop as they tended to wake up around 4:00 a.m.!” Mom Aphodite (lovingly called Aphie for short) was not to be outdone when it came to laughter. “I learned that Aphie apparently only knew Gaelic commands for ‘sit’, ‘down’ and ‘stay’ so I had to research this on Google. I was never able to master the ‘sit’ or’ down’ in Gaelic, but Aphie did respond to “fan” for stay – a command which I used a lot. She was truly bilingual!” chuckled Danielle.

The couple fostered the dogs for 8 weeks. Danielle explained “It was very hard to say goodbye to them. I took them back to the Kings SPCA on July 6th. Of course, I cried all the way home and the house felt very empty for a few days. Imagine going from three dogs to thirteen, then back down to three! I went to the shelter every day to spend time with the pups and Mom, taking her for walks and the puppies outside in the runs at the back. They were spayed/neutered on July 18th and went up for adoption on the 19th. Four went home that day and the other five on July 20th. I was happy to see Aphie get adopted quickly too. I’ve had news from her new family and she is much loved. I got to meet some of the puppies’ new families and received news and photos from the people who adopted Sadie and Cooper (now named Bear). I also understand that Bulwark Cider will be putting pictures of SPCA animals on their products and Shelby’s face will appear on some cans.”

Danielle found fostering to be a hugely rewarding experience and she encourages everyone to consider becoming a foster family. “While it was hard to say goodbye, I was glad to give the puppies a good start in life and Aphie a second chance for happiness. I knew they’d be adopted into wonderful homes,” she said. “The SPCA does an excellent job of matching the foster animals you take home to what works best for your lifestyle and schedule.”

Brian shares Danielle’s commitment to the SPCA. He stated “All three of our own dogs are rescues and are a big part of our lives. We have a strong belief in the organization and its mission.” Brian has become the Kings Shelter ‘handyman extraordinaire’ and we are so lucky to have him volunteer his time and talent. Most recently, the shelter’s doggie doors were in rough shape. Brian came in and fixed them all. He replaced all the old equipment with heavy-duty new equipment that will last the shelter for years to come. He did this at no cost to the shelter and bought all of the upgraded materials out of his own pocket!

When Brian learned that the volunteer who used to cut the shelter’s lawn was unable to do so anymore, he stepped up to do this. He also whipper-snips the grass in the outdoor runs and picks up any litter around. He is always happy to do whatever is needed, whatever can help.

Danielle and Brian are definitely heroes to the animals. You can be a hero too. The SPCA is always looking for more foster families. Please don’t wait for ‘some day.’ You can make a difference today by signing up. To learn more about fostering opportunities, click here.

The SPCA always need volunteers to join the team too. Are you ready to put your paw up to help, but not sure how to start or what opportunities are available? The perfect opportunity is waiting for you. Click here.

Judy Layne

Judy is a dedicated volunteer with the Nova Scotia SPCA and proud adoptive fur-mama to Linc. She is committed to speaking for animals who cannot speak for themselves.