All 44 dogs in Gladstone rescue find new homes

Alyssa McCloskey/Daily Press photo BROOKE SARASIN HOLDS her dog, Link, as her mother looks on at the Delta County Animal Shelter. Link was among the scores of dogs rescued from a Gladstone home in March. All have since been adopted. A reunion of the dogs, along with their new owners, took place Wednesday at the shelter.

ESCANABA — The 44 dogs removed from a Gladstone home in March all have been adopted into new homes, according to the Delta County Animal Shelter.

The number of dogs involved in the rescue actually rose to 54 because 10 puppies later were born at the shelter. The dogs are a Chihuahua and dachshund mix commonly referred to as “Chiweenies.”

The last dog, Ivy, was placed last week. To celebrate, the shelter Wednesday evening hosted a reunion of the adopted dogs, along with their new owners.

“It was a great team effort, between staff and all the volunteers and community rallying behind helping us,” Shelter Manager Sue Gartland said. “Without the support of volunteers — and we are mostly a volunteer organization — without the financial support of the community, we would not have been able to do that.”

It was a long road getting to that point. The amount of care the dogs required to become adoptable became apparent shortly after they arrived at the shelter. Many needed vaccinations, flea control and deworming, plus spaying and neutering.

The females that were pregnant or caring for pups had to wait until the babies were old enough to be weaned before they could be spayed.

After all medical concerns were taken care of, the dogs had to be socialized with humans, Gartland explained.

“We had many community members who would just sit and talk to the dogs; they couldn’t even touch the dogs,” Gartland said.

They also needed to be house-trained to do their business outside before being put up for adoption.

It amounted to a huge job for volunteers and staff.

“The financial strain on us was a little bit overwhelming at first, but we gave those dogs everything that they needed and that was important to us,” Gartland said.

Gartland also praised the people who adopted the dogs and gave them new homes.

“What a wonderful group of people, to look at a very broken dog, undersocialized, and say, ‘I am going to help that dog and I am going to adopt that dog and continue on the process that the shelter started,'” she said. “Because it wasn’t easy — they were not perfect, wonderful, social dogs. They were getting dogs that came from horrific conditions and needed a lot more help once they left the shelter environment.”

But most importantly, the initial owner of the 44 dogs voluntarily reached out for assistance in time, Gartland said. Because of that, authorities did not press charges and the owner was not punished. That hopefully will encourage anyone else in a similar situation to come forward as well.

Despite this success story, the Delta County Animal Shelter still is at capacity, so staff would invite anyone looking for a pet to come meet some of the animals. The facility also always needs supplies and donations, including its “Cans for Critters” program that encourages people to drop off returnable cans as a donation.

For information on adoption or about the Delta County Animal Shelter, call 906-789-0230 or go online to

Alyssa McCloskey can be reached at