Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Rescue Failure

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Disco, A11398324.  In the beginning, that was all he was.  Disco, A11398324 was 1 of 34 dogs that came out on “the list”.   That list found me and countless others, tearing out our hair, calling in favors, pestering friends and family and spending hours at a time sobbing in despair.  Out of the 34 dogs, I was responsible for saving 3.  While it doesn’t seem like many, to me it was the world.  From that list, one of my best friends saved “Lu Lu” and my ex husband saved “Cabo”.  When the final hour of rescue remained, one dog was left standing and you guessed it, that dog was Disco, A11398324.  Disco was scheduled to be euthanized at 4:00 pm and as of 3:50, he was still sitting expectantly in his cage.  After all of the chaos of volunteers and people sharing their stories all over the US and even Disco’s own interview on local news, he still sat in his cage and waited for that perfect family that could change his life.

Minutes before Disco’s scheduled death, I stepped in and filled out the forms to save his life.  Out of 34 dogs, I wasn’t just going to sit idly by and let the last one die.  So, I lined up a foster home and thought that everything would change for this loving boy.  Often I find myself questioning this move and here’s why:

In the beginning, everything was great.  I picked Disco up and drove him to his foster home in Independence and I must say, it was the strangest transport ever.  Have you ever tried to drive down the highway with a large dog perched on your shoulder like a parrot?  I really pictured my life ending by a fiery car crash on the interstate while trying to save a dog.  When I got Disco to his new place, he immediately fit in with the family and their dogs and cats.  As the days passed, Disco started showing more and more signs of bad behavior and as the days passed into weeks and then months, Disco eventually had become a nuisance  dog and the family no longer could care for him.  Disco’s destruction had become horrendous and he was responsible for actually eating siding off of a house.  He couldn’t be contained, he would jump fences, chew off of tie-outs, break collars and dig holes to escape.  He would chase the cats if they ran and chase the horse.  It also wouldn’t be unusual to look up and see Disco standing in the middle of the kitchen table.

After many months of trying, health issues of the family forced them to make the decision to give Disco back to me.  Of course, I couldn’t bring him home so he found himself in boarding.  A few weeks later, Disco had another chance of finding a forever home.  Sadly, that one hasn’t worked out, either.  While some of Disco’s problems have been fixed, he seemed to find new one’s.  So yet again, Disco is finding himself homeless.  Even with the perfect family, he still struggles every day and has become too much of a problem.

I am constantly thinking of Disco and how badly I want his story to have a happy ending.  I think of how many people have touched his life and I wonder if there will ever be that one person who is “it”, who is his match.  I ask myself if saving him was only prolonging his pain because even after 1 1/2 years, he still has no family of his very own.  He still finds himself being “the foster dog”, the outsider looking in.

Surely, there is someone out there that has a heart that needs filled?  Surely, someone wants to have Disco fever?  Please, just tell me it’s true.

**This blog is dedicated to those 34 dogs and to those amazing and beautiful rescue workers and volunteers that saved them.**

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Kansas City Northland Family Needs a Helping Hand

You know, I’m not exactly sure how I find myself in these situations repeatedly.  Maybe people are put in my path for a reason.  As usual, I hear about a family in need and I am all over it.

Today, I was contacted by a fellow animal rescue volunteer and she thought I may be able to help with a situation that was eerily similar to that of  “John” and Sweet Pea.  Of course, I was ready to help.  Another volunteer had been contacted to help find a home for 2 dogs who were in a desperate situation.  When that volunteer asked for more information, she found out heartbreaking news.

The call was from a man who could no longer take care of his dogs.  He was finding the situation difficult because the 2 dogs are living in a car with him, his wife and 2 children.  The family had been trying desperately to get help out of their problem but every where they turned, they were refused.  The wife has a job but she barely makes any money.  Sadly, the small amount of money that she makes was considered too much for conventional assistance.  After having nowhere to turn, the family has been living in their car.  They’ve had money for food and gas but not enough to afford a place for them.  They had asked for someone to at least save the dogs for them until they could get on their feet.

The dad has a job that starts on March 1st.  I am just trying to keep them out of their car for a few weeks.  If you would be willing to donate towards their hotel stay or towards food or gas, please contact me at darathrene@gmail.com or you can donate funds via the ChipIn at http://darath.chipin.com/northland-family .

 

New Examiner.com Post!!

Please check out my newest article on Examiner.com.  You can find it at http://www.examiner.com/animal-rescue-in-kansas-city/child-with-brain-injury-needs-help-for-his-dogs.

What I Learned From the Dog That Wasn’t Supposed to Live

Sometimes, all of the odds are against you.  Sometimes, no matter how hard you fight for something, you still lose.  This story is about a feral mutt who beat the odds and stole my heart.

Heidi came in to my life back in the middle of January.  I heard about her from a post in my rescue Group on Facebook.  Someone had posted and said that Heidi and her 9 puppies would be put to sleep if they did not secure rescue by noon that day.  Heidi and her pups were not doing well in the shelter and they were showing signs of illness.  The other big problem (which I found out later) was the fact that Heidi was a wild dog.  The city had been trying to catch her for 2 years as she run “at large” through Kansas City.  When I heard the news, I jumped in with both feet and a very sentimental heart and I wanted to help.  I called my vets office and asked if they would take Heidi and her 9 puppies in and they agreed to help.  I posted back in my group that I had secured boarding if someone could pull her under their rescue.  That’s when things got really crazy.  The management of the shelter was very reluctant to let Heidi and the puppies go because of the possible danger of spreading illness and the fact that Heidi hadn’t done so well when it came to showing what type of dog she was.  Well, she showed people something and it wasn’t what I learned about her in the coming weeks.

Heidi was transferred to my vets office and the plan was for her to be boarded for a few days and then her and the puppies would be transferred to a foster home.  Destiny had other plans.  Within a day, Heidi’s health took a turn for the worst and we were losing her.  In an effort to save her, the vet’s office took the puppies away and placed them in cages above Heidi.  We worked very hard to save her and while we were doing that, the puppies started becoming sick.  One by one, the pups would start coughing and sneezing.  The staff at the veterinarian’s office stepped up and split the puppies in to pairs and took them home so they had 24 hour care.  Instantly, the ladies became full-time mothers, with everything that comes with it.  If they decide to have children now, we’ll see!

In the coming days, one by one, the babies left this earth to go and romp at the Rainbow Bridge.  I’ve heard it’s an amazing place but really, I wish they hadn’t of left.  Each day after work, I would drive to the vet’s office and sit next to Heidi’s cage and encourage her with love and boiled chicken.  She wasn’t big on being touched in the beginning but I guess I grew on her like a fungus.  As time passed, she became more and more willing to interact with me.

After 2 1/2 weeks, Heidi recovered and was ready to leave the vet’s office.  When her tests results came back, it was overwhelming what this dog fought to stay alive.  Heidi had tested positive for Mycoplasma, Adenovirus, Canine Herpes and Parainfluenza.  Alone, they are terrible diseases but to combine all of them together, it’s a miracle that she survived.

I decided to take Heidi home with me because I thought she would have the best chance of learning with someone she already knew.  I felt like she trusted me and I knew that would be a big hurdle in teaching her how to live among people.  That first day, we carried her to my car and she shook so bad I thought she was having a seizure.  She was so scared that when we got home, Heidi actually commando crawled from my garage, though the downstairs living room and into my teenager’s room.  Once she spotted his bed, she jumped on it and that is where she stayed for a few days.  Gradually, I introduced new things to her and ever since I have seen her personality shine.

That dog that was never supposed to be alive, learned how to really “live” and she taught me how I am supposed to live, too.

There are those quiet moments when I am standing outside and begging and pleading with her to make a poop.  I look to the heavens in an attempt to seek out those 9 babies at the Rainbow Bridge so I can ask them for a little help.  While they typically ignore my pleas, I did get to notice how amazing the stars are on a cool, clear night.

I’ve learned patience… or at least how to fake it.  Crating Heidi has been like trying to get an old man’s balls to not pop out of his shorts.  Every time you push one back in, one falls out the other side.  Every single time I try to fix her crating/kenneling issue, she finds one more way out.  After getting a plastic carrier, I am hopeful that it will be the equivalent of a pair of sweat pants for an old guy.

I’ve learned that “shit happens”… eventually.  Just sometimes eventually is after hours of walking, praying and pleading.  Sometimes, “eventually” comes at midnight, after you have been roaming around the neighborhood in an Ambien induced haze.  The plus about the Ambien is that you really don’t realize that you’ve been outside for 2 hours.  The down-side is that you tend to stumble over leashes easily and fall face first into mounds of poo.

I have built a tolerance of cold… sorta.  I like to bitch and moan about going outside but once I am out there, I tend to do okay.  Now when I return, that’s a whole other story.  I shake like I have Parkinson’s.  The plus side: I can give one hell of a hand job.

I learned that it is possible to take a dookie INSIDE of a humidifier.  Yeah, I was puzzled at first.  Imagine my shock when I got home and found that the dog had climbed up on the humidifier and took a giant poop, right on top of it.  How she managed it, is beyond me.  I know I couldn’t crap with hot steam blowing up my bum.  So, watch out for humidifiers!  Apparently, they are doggie bidets.

I was taught to pay a little more attention when I am putting together a wire crate.  There is a latch to hold the bottom tray in for a reason.  Neglecting to catch that caused me to come home to a poop masterpiece.  Heidi had pushed the bottom tray out, took a crap and then proceeded to slide the tray back and forth over it.  When I went home for lunch I found that mess and brown paw prints on the wall.  Not a good start to the afternoon.  Plus side:  I know what to use to stamp cute paw prints on letters for my bill collectors.

I learned that I should be more careful when walking on spots where carpet once was.  It seems that there are nice wooden strips covered in nails which hold your carpet and pad into place.  I guess when something eats the carpet and pad, all that is left is those nice strips.  The down-side: it hurts like a mo’ fo’ to step on them.  The plus side: my foot is really well exfoliated.

I learned that it’s best to avoid a flying dog that is trying to play with you, even if you think they are just a big, harmless pooch.  With what I equate to the skills of a ninja assassin, Heidi lunged at me and sliced my leg open.  Plus side: I hated those pants anyway.

Most of all, I’ve learned that those things in life that we think we can’t overcome can actually be beaten.  Even if the odds are stacked against you, with a little encouragement, you can beat anything.

I know I will be adding more to this… but for right now, this is surely enough to get you to thinking!