When their loving owner died on Thanksgiving Day this year, 12 dogs and a litter of puppies in Rockford were left without a home or full time caretaker.

The dogs, a mix of different breeds and believed to be part wolf, belonged to a couple, Jan and Loretta Denlinger, who lived outside of Blackfoot. Jan’s brother Jarred Denlinger is urgently looking for a home for all of the dogs.

Jan and Loretta mostly kept the dogs outside on their property on Liberty Road in Rockford, but they considered the dogs family, according to Denlinger.

“They were part of my brother’s family. My brother loved those dogs,” he said. “They’re very good dogs. They’re good around people. They even protected (Jan) and (Loretta) if someone would come around.”

Jan died in April 2021 and Loretta died on Thanksgiving. The couple’s neighbors have been taking care of the dogs since they were left alone, but the neighbors can’t care for them long term.

Jan found two of the dogs several years ago and cared for them regularly, leading the dogs to sort of accept him as part of the pack. The dogs dug a den and Jan discovered puppies in it one day. Over time the pack grew to 12.

Denlinger said the dogs are at risk of being put down if no one takes them in, though he didn’t give a timeframe for when that might happen. He said he wants to avoid that if he can and is working hard to find them a home.

The dogs range in age, but some of them are as old as 10. Denlinger said he doesn’t know how many puppies there are because they’re in a den outside.

While the dogs were raised outside, Denlinger believes they could adapt to live indoors. Anyone who is interested in adopting one or more should call Denlinger at 208-680-4755 or Loretta’s cousin at 208-206-1567.