Bosley’s Place cares for newborn orphaned puppies

The Smyrna rescue is the only U.S.-based rescue focused exclusively on newborn orphaned dogs

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Bosley’s Place
Bosley’s Place is the only U.S. rescue solely focused on newborn orphan puppies.

Photograph by Jennifer Kramer

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning in Smyrna, and volunteers at the neonatal puppy rescue Bosley’s Place are prepping for the busiest day of the week. They check off the tasks that keep the puppy park clean and safe: leaf litter cleared away, bowls filled with bottled water, clean toys scattered in the play yards. “Please sanitize your hands and shoes before you come in,” a volunteer reminds all comers, indicating a boot tray lined with sterilizing solution.

It’s details like these that make clear how fragile life can be for the puppies at Bosley’s Place. “They come from a variety of different places,” says founder and director Jennifer Siegel. “County shelters, other rescues, surrenders from all over the Southeast.” Some arrive straight from C-section delivery, and all are too little for the immunizations that protect them from life-threatening disease.

Wherever they come from, these are dumpster puppies. They might be injured or riddled with internal parasites. Some are breeder errors; others have lost their mothers, or were born with conditions like cleft palate that leave them unable to feed. Atlanta’s overburdened animal shelters generally lack the resources to save newborns, and most of them would likely die without Siegel, who bottle- or even tube-feeds the smallest among them.

Bosley’s Place

Photograph by Jennifer Kramer

“I take on the most fragile of our orphaned neonatal cases, which results in an endless string of sleep-deprived nights,” says Siegel. “This work is certainly not for the faint at heart . . . but it is so worth it.”

Siegel’s work started a decade ago, with a three-week-old pit bull found in a Grant Park trash can. She was filling out a volunteer form at Fulton County Animal Services when a man walked in with the one-pound puppy, and she watched as shelter staff scrambled to find the resources to save him. When it became clear that the puppy, whom staff had named Bosley, would likely have to be euthanized, Siegel couldn’t stop herself from intervening. The intensive care required to save Bosley put her on a mission to help others like him: In the years since, Siegel and her volunteers have rescued upwards of 1,800 neonates. She’s done it all with Bosley, now nearing 10 years old, by her side. Bosley’s Place is the only U.S.-based rescue focused exclusively on newborn orphaned dogs and has won several animal rescue service awards.

After Siegel has stabilized and weaned them, most puppies go to trained foster families until they’re old enough to be adopted. But on Sundays, all pups return to Bosley’s Place for adoption events. While there, they receive veterinary care, star in puppy-themed fundraising events, and enjoy some good old-fashioned puppy-park chaos. Supervised by human “puppy lifeguards,” the young dogs learn to interact with the world. Between tiny yips and playful barks, the sounds that peal through the yard are of pure joy. Volunteers laugh as puppies of all breeds and sizes trip over their paws and run pell-mell into their play groups. They coo as a pair of blue heeler–husky mixes fall asleep in a pile, while a boxer tugs at their ears, not ready to stop the fun. Every so often, the timeless exclamation of puppyhood can be heard: “Don’t eat that!”

This article appears in our May 2024 issue.

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