A Manitoba woman who has fostered hundreds of dogs is on the road to helping even more after some kindness from a stranger.
Annette Black fosters litters of puppies with their moms at her home in Teulon, Man., for Manitoba Mutts.
"I love dogs. I love all animals, but I super love dogs,” said Black. “They need someone to help them so I have to do it."
But a few months ago, one of Black’s puppies came down with canine parvovirus, a deadly virus that is spread through feces.
The virus is especially dangerous for puppies and can live in flooring for up to six months.
That meant Black wouldn’t be able to foster for a long time.
So when Manitoba Mutts called earlier this week in urgent need of a home for a new litter, Black was stuck.
She even offered to cover her entire floor with shower curtains, knowing it wouldn’t work.
So the rescue organization decided to put a call out on Facebook to see if anyone could help.
“They don’t have a lot of fosters that will take litters. They’re a lot of work,” said Black.
“I went … ‘That’s not going to happen because that’s like winning the lottery!’” said Black. “The next day she said, ‘Well guess what?’”
Carpenter offers free labour, buys materials himself
Within 24 hours, Anchor Flooring carpenter Cory Giesbrecht stepped up.
The small business owner offered to do the work for free and even said he’d pick up the tab on the cost of the flooring.
When Giesbrecht came out to see her home, he saw the dogs had done major damage to Black’s home over the years.
Carpet had been scratched bare, stained and ripped up. Chunks of linoleum were even missing in some places.
So Giesbrecht offered to do her whole house.
“It just seemed like a nice thing to do,” said Giesbrecht. “I don’t know, just kind of a spur of the moment, ‘Yeah, sure I can help out.’ So I did!”
When the people at Windsor Plywood found out, they offered Giesbrecht a discount on the flooring.
Now, he’ll be making the two-hour round trip to Black’s home on the weekend to get the work started.
"I can hardly wait because the first thing I said was, ‘I could probably have another foster in two weeks!’” said Black, who added she started to cry when she heard the news. “Like, ‘Save the next litter for me when you know a mama is coming in.’ I'm beyond excited!"
Wear and tear part of the gig
Manitoba Mutts takes in between 500 to 800 dogs per year.
Their most dedicated foster parents see a significant amount of wear and tear on their homes.
“That’s just part of the deal,” said Black. “All my fellow fosters, when we get together it’s like battle wounds. We’re like, ‘So and so ate this window sill and this one dug through that.’”
Colleen Holloway with Manitoba Mutts said right now they have about three other homeowners whose carpets and flooring are in the same shape as Black’s.
“You know you just take that as part of what you’re doing. I don’t expect someone to come and fix my walls or my doors or replace my door or replace my carpeting,” said Black. “It’s just a miracle.”
Holloway said Manitoba Mutts urgent need of donations to help them repair their homes from years of caring for rescue dogs.
Donations can be made at Manitoba Mutt’s website.