Monday, January 23, 2012

Mother Nature's Role in Rescue

Callie, a one year old lab/greyhound mix, was found as a stray by a family. She was extremely thin and had some skin issues so they took her to the vet and found that she had a chip. The family and the vet's office made several attempts to call the owners, but the phone had been disconnected. Callie had been taught basic commands and was housebroken, got along with the two dogs already present, and she started creeping into their hearts right off. The vet's office suggested that they send a letter to the address and give the original owners 10 days to claim her. While this was transpiring, one of their employees got hold of me and asked if I would take her in if the original owners didn't claim her. The new family had two dogs and had decided that three was just too many.

I immediately started making arrangements to work with a local rescue that has been absolutely wonderful about helping out. Since Callie was now 2 hours away, transporting her would have to wait for the ten days to go by, and then till the weekend to make the trip. Meanwhile, I asked her new family to find out as much about her and her veterinary records as possible. We found that she was spayed, vaccinated but due for rabies and distemper shots. The new family had their vet treat her skin issues, test her for heartworms, got her flea preventive, and put her on heartworm preventive. When the 10 days were up, no one had responded, and I got an email stating that they needed to bring her to me as the longer they had her, the harder it was going to be to part with her. I suggested that they find a rescue closer to them and ask to have them post her on Petfinder, so that they could participate in her adoption. After all, they obviously loved her and were taking excellent care of her. They could foster her for the rescue till she was adopted. The family said they needed to move her on as they were getting extremely attached to her and arrangements were made to transport her to me over the weekend. Silently I prayed that they would change their minds and decide to keep her, as they were obviously a great match.

Good old Mother Nature helped with some divine intervention --- we had our first big snowstorm of the winter with snow, subzero temperatures, blowing snow. Main highways were reported as snow and ice packed and driving was discouraged. We told them to wait, and we would make other arrangements.

This morning I got an email stating that the new family had had the weekend to talk things over, and since they love Callie so much and she has been with them for three weeks and it's been working out just fine --- they are going to keep her!

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Chow's Story

She brought me a red chow with the explanation that she had to move out of the house and couldn't find a place that would allow the dog. It's an often given reason to surrender a dog. However, she loved him, called him "angel baby doll", and wanted him back. My boss told me to take the dog but she had to come out to the kennel every day to exercise and clean and feed him. It was obvious the dog had some aggression issues, but nothing was said or offered. The owner had been sobbing, was obviously depressed.

As time went on, the dog did well for me when she wasn't there, but when she was, he would be wary. I would walk along with her, pieces of hot dog in my pocket, working on socializing him. I have had many chows of my own in the past and I like the breed and wanted to do what I could to help him in case she couldn't take him back. In the process she told me she had had an excellent job, good pay, good benefits, but when the auto industry fell apart, she got laid off and couldn't find anything that paid as well. She had lost her home, was in danger of losing her vehicle, and was so depressed. Her eyes were always puffy and her hair was always a mess - very unkept. I would walk along and one day told her about how my husband, kids, and I had lived around race tracks without a decent income, and many times we were down to our last few dollars. I told her that she had to have faith, but she also needed to get up and find something that would give her a pay check, even if it wasn't what she was used to, until something better came along.

About six weeks after "angel baby doll" came to me, we were exercising him and sat down on a step to talk. She had gotten a call from someone who wanted her to work at a convenience store. Not a great wage, but a job. She was worried that she wouldn't be able to come take care of "ABD" if she was working days. "ABD" was improving, still better when she wasn't there, and as if he knew, came over to me and wanted a back rub. He did this twice. However, the second time, the owner was overcome with emotion because the dog was accepting me, and reached over me to pet him. He immediately tore into me in nothing short of a vicious attack. When she reached to grab him, he started to turn on her, and when I blocked it, he got my other arm. Fortunately, he didn't try to grab my face or throat. She told me she didn't know what to do, and I told her to grab his collar and pull him away, then put him away, and come to the house to help me dress my arms and talk.

While she helped me with a sanitary pad pressure dressing (I have since learned to keep first aid supplies on hand at all times), she told me that she had lived with at least two men who were abusive, and "ABD" had protected her. As a matter of fact, the last one had been attacked the day before she came to me, and that's why she had to move out. I wish she had told me up front about that! She said she was taking the job, would be working days, and she wanted the dog euthanized so he wouldn't hurt anyone else.

I saw her again at the convenience store, and she was doing better, and understood that the lesser job was the right thing to do. A year later I met her in Walmart. She looked radiant, hair shiny and beautiful, no puffy eyes, smile on her face, makeup, dressed nicely. She told me that she had stayed at the convenience store till "something better came along". She had her own apartment, a good job, managed to keep her vehicle, and was very happy. She apologized for what had happened, but said she was grateful that we met when we did.

So. "Angel Baby Doll" in his own way saved a human.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cody and Bear

Cody, a purebred chocolate lab female, and Bear, a purebred black lab male, were found by a neighbor over the long holiday weekend. Since the neighbor is known for rescuing dumped dogs and cats, she automatically assumed that they were dumped. She called several rescues which were closed for the holiday weekend, and as soon as she could took both dogs to the local veterinarian to see if they were microchipped. Since it's a small town, there is always the possibility that the staff at the vet's office would recognize the dogs and be able to contact the owners. They weren't chipped. The neighbor couldn't keep them at her house as she is getting ready to leave town for several days, so she asked if the vet's office could take them in as they are the unofficial pound for the area. No room at the inn. The vet's staff called me to see if I had room to keep them and find the owners, a rescue, or rehome them.

Cody and Bear were brought to me, and I immediately started contacting a rescue that has helped us out before. A couple of hours later, thanks to the sheriff's department, the owners made contact and said they would pick them up. It seems they have "electronic fencing" and in the bad weather over the long weekend, the fencing failed and the dogs took off on a hunt.

I made sure that the owners knew how close they came to losing these two great dogs forever. If the rescues that were contacted in the larger cities had taken them in, they would have been considered "owner surrenders" and might have been euthanized for space. If the vet's office hadn't known that I have extra kennel space available, they might have been forced to do the same. Not to mention the fact that if some of the other rescues had had space or been open, Cody and Bear might have ended up so far from home that they wouldn't have been found. I strongly encouraged the owners to microchip their wonderful dogs. I had two people that I already know interested in Cody - she would have had a new home within 48 hours.

In the process, we might have found a home for one of my rescues that was once considered "very difficult to adopt". Ms. Ellie, the border collie, would flat foot a 6 ft. fence, get bored and chew stuff up, and has a fear of thunder and gunshots. She no longer jumps the fence, doesn't chew stuff up, and her fear of thunder is much less. She helps us herd the alpacas, but it isn't the perfect situation, as the llamas and alpacas aren't real fond of dogs. The neighbor's father has a farm and a herd of cattle, not to mention a six year old border collie male. He's looking for a younger dog to help him herd cattle and learn from the older dog. We are going to give her a chance at a life that will fulfill her better than we can. Bottom line is that if it doesn't work, they bring her back to us. Thanks Cody and Bear for helping us find what just might be the perfect home for our sweet Ellie!