UNSUNG HERO: Cairo couple rescues 12 dogs - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

UNSUNG HERO: Cairo couple rescues 12 dogs

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CAIRO -- Two women in Alexander County are taking a small bite out of the stray animal problem.

Lori Smith and Evelyn Rubanis are moms to four dogs and four cats, all rescues. They say it's the animals that rule their Cairo roost.

"Animals show up," laughed Lori. 

"We're animal magnets," added Evelyn.  

The day after Election Day, the number went from eight dogs to 20, thanks to Luna and her 11-puppies.

That Wednesday afternoon, Evelyn found Luna in the backyard and in desperate need of care.

"I've never seen anything like her. She was starved almost to death. She had a gigantic, we didn't know what on her neck, like a big swollen gland or something. She had a terrible respiratory infection," explained Lori.              

She was also covered in fleas and ticks, had worms, and ready to pop.

"We couldn't walk away and leave her out there," said Lori.

The couple found a crate, put her in the kitchen, and fed her every two hours.

"180 pounds of food in the 63 days she's been here," said Lori,

"We were feeding her eight times a day," added Evelyn.  

They also took her to the vet where she was given antibiotics and flea and tick medicine. Two days later, Luna gave birth to 12 puppies. One was stillborn.  

"We chose to just keep her and take care of her because we like animals and we like dogs. We're like, how hard can it be, they're puppies? Maybe she'll have six puppies, it will be cute. Okay, okay maybe she'll have 11,' said Lori.   

The ladies started a Go Fund Me Page, collecting $1,637, strictly for veterinary care until they could get them into a shelter. Now, Luna and her babies are doing well and getting ready to be adopted by families up North.

"The overflow is going to the rescue with them because they still have to be spayed and neutered and that will pay for that," said Evelyn.

Lori says, unfortunately, stray dogs are common. "We do not have animal control here. We've tried and tried and tried," said Lori. 

So, the pair and a group of community members do what they can to help the animals they see.

"If you're a dog person and you see a dog in distress like that, I can't even imagine turning your back," said Evelyn.

Evelyn and Lori have since taken the 11 puppies to Chicago. From there, they will be picked up by their adopted families. Luna also has a new family but she has to finish her heartworm treatments before she can leave.

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