Jodi Harding of the Toledo Area Humane Society plays with one of the pups as the rest of the gang play games of their own. Maddie, the mother, takes it all in stride. Only five will be available for adoption.
A puppy gnawed on the metal gate.
Two puppies tumbled with each other, roughhousing on the lobby floor. Maddie, their patient, although slightly clumsy, bulldog-mix mother, stepped on one. Another puppy even had a bathroom accident on a television news reporter.
All in all, it truly was a scene of dog chaos -- chaos their foster mother, a 39-year-old Holland woman, will miss.
"I've already cried," the woman said when she thought about giving up her very high-profile pups later this month. The foster mother has asked to remain anonymous because of the high-profile nature of the case. "The bigger they get, the more a handful they are. … They're all adorable, though."
Last month, the six puppies were discovered zipped up in a suitcase and abandoned along with their mother in an alley. Dubbed the "Suitcase 6," the animals' story was picked up by the media and the Toledo Area Humane Society has fielded about a thousand calls from people interested in adopting them.
A puppy plays with a toy. Several hundred applications for the dogs are anticipated.
On Monday, the humane society invited the media to see the wiggling puppies, now nearly three times bigger and weighing between nine and 10 pounds each, as the organization prepares to find homes for them.
Beginning at 11 a.m. Friday, the humane society will begin accepting specific applications for five of the puppies and their mother from potential owners -- the sixth will stay with the foster mother. The deadline to turn in an application is 7 p.m. May 16. Applications are available at ToledoAreaHumaneSociety.org or at the office at 1920 Indian Wood Circle, Maumee.
The potential owners, chosen at random from a lottery pool, will be notified May 18. Each person chosen who successfully completes the screening process and pays the $200 adoption fee will be able to take a dog home May 22.
Applications turned in before Friday will not count in the lottery, said Cyndi Condit, the society's marketing and special events manager.
The humane society is anticipating several hundred applications, she said.
The public's interest in the case blossomed because of the combination of adorable puppies, the circumstances surrounding the arrest of the suspect, and a happy ending, Ms. Condit said.
"We've heard from every state in the country," she said of the overwhelming response. "We started keeping a list."
The dogs' owner, Howard Davis, who authorities say left his name tag on the suitcase, has pleaded no contest in Toledo Municipal Court to two charges. The counts were animal abandonment and cruelty to companion animals, defined as a custodian depriving or confining an animal without sustenance or shelter.
He was ordered to pay $466 for the animals' care and is scheduled to be sentenced June 22.
Standing in the humane society office Monday, the foster mom said she was excited the dogs will finally get new homes soon.
But it wouldn't be good-bye to the entire rambunctious bunch.
The foster mom is keeping the pup she named Jimmy Hart -- the whiney one with the dark spot on his head. "He just stuck out to me," she said.
Contact Gabrielle Russon at: email@example.com or 419-724-6026.