Four deserted puppies left to starve and die were found last week. After receiving the immediate care they need, they are making the slow journey of recovery.

Manitoba Underdogs Rescue was contacted on March 22 by the Pembina Veterinary Hospital indicating that someone had brought in four puppies that were left in a box on the side of the road near La Salle. They were emaciated, malnourished, frozen and covered in fleas.

The organization was asked to take care of the puppies after they were discharged from the hospital and place them in foster homes until they are healthy enough to be put up for adoption.

The puppies, now named Artichoke, Fennel, Parsnip and Turnip, have been put in loving foster homes where they can be monitored. One puppy in particular, Parsnip, who is the runt of the litter, had to be hospitalized for a while due to health complications. It was noted that she has a heart murmur, which can be seen as normal in a puppy and the Underdogs Rescue team is hoping it's nothing more serious.

"They're all in loving foster homes now, they're all doing well," says Lindsay Gillanders, a volunteer at Underdogs Rescue. "They're all putting weight on and we hope that they have a really bright future."

Manitoba Underdogs Rescue is a not-for-profit dog rescue that is 100 per cent foster home-based, volunteer-run and donation-based. They work towards finding homes for Manitoba's unwanted animals and provide spay/neuter clinics to help control the province's overpopulation problem.

Gillanders says she's seen firsthand the benefits of providing foster homes for animals rather than a shelter. The dogs are given the space to play and get used to other dogs and children in a natural, safe and warm environment.

"My family adopted a dog years ago from the Humane Society and he's the sweetest guy, but we were told that he didn't like to cuddle and he didn't like to be picked up. Oh my, that dog is the biggest cuddle bug in the entire world."

She suggests that there must be something about a kennel that induces anxiety in a dog and makes them shy away from its playful personality.

While the abandoned puppies are healing, they are currently not up for adoption. However, if someone is interested in adoption, please contact Manitoba Underdogs Rescue through their website.

Gillanders also says that people should consider opening up their homes as a foster. All costs for the dogs are covered by Underdogs Rescue, those who offer their homes as temporary place simply provide a warm, welcoming and temporary space for the dogs until they are healthy and are adopted.