A resident of Vineland, New Jersey, was driving along one day when all of a sudden they spotted the saddest sight — five bald, very sick-looking puppies, all huddled up together on the side of the road. It was immediately apparent that these poor babies had been abandoned, and the Good Samaritan driving by knew they couldn’t just leave them there.
The person quickly contacted South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter, which sent an animal control officer to pick the puppies up. They were in such bad shape that the officer decided to bring them straight to the vet before taking them to the shelter, as it was clear that they needed medical attention right away. Each of the five puppies was suffering from mange, eye infections, swollen feet and open sores all over their bodies. They were also incredibly emaciated, and it was painfully clear that they’d suffered terrible neglect wherever they’d come from.
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After getting checked over by the vet, the puppies were taken to the shelter, and the staffers and volunteers there could barely believe their eyes. The puppies had been through so much and treated so poorly, and yet despite all that, they were still the friendliest little puppies and greeted their rescuers with nothing but love and gratitude.
“They were all very sweet on intake, even with the condition that they were in,” Kathleen Leary, director of operations for the South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter, told The Dodo. “They were wagging their tails and licking our faces.”
The puppies are thought to be around 5 and a half months old and are possibly some sort of mastiff-cane corso mix, but it’s impossible to know for sure since they’re in such bad shape. They’re all still fairly bald with only tufts of fur here and there, and are receiving tons of treatment and attention to make sure that their recovery journeys go as smoothly as possible.
“They are on antibiotics, eye meds and medicated baths and will be rechecked weekly by our veterinarian,” Leary said.
All five puppies are now in foster care, and are doing so well considering the circumstances. The shelter decided to name them after Super Mario characters, and are calling them the Mushroom Kingdom 5: Mario, Luigi, Bowser, Daisy and Princess Peach.
“Their little personalities are [slowly] coming out, they all seem to be good with other dogs and love people,” Leary said.
The shelter is hoping that all five puppies will be ready for adoption in about a month, but it will depend on how they progress, as they want them all to be fully recovered and in a good place before sending them off to their forever homes. The Mushroom Kingdom 5 definitely had a rough start to life, but now they’re getting the love and care they’d been missing, and will never have to worry about being neglected again.
“We are also trying to find out who did this to them and of course we worry what condition the parents may be in, so if anyone has any leads, they can call the Vineland Police Department at 856-691-4111,” Leary said.