I was asked a few days ago if I could write a story about a dog that was rescued over the summer. Normally, I don’t get requests for stories from people who weren’t there in the beginning or the end. After speaking with the man who took a chance on Isis, I knew that I had to share it nonetheless.
During the summer of 2012, Jessica Jakobe and her then fiance’ Josh, offered to foster 6 puppies for a week. The puppies were being held at an animal shelter in Altus, Oklahoma which is notorious for its barbaric method of euthanasia. Unwanted dogs and cats are killed in a gassing chamber, a very inhumane way for an animal to die. I’ll spare you the details because you really don’t want to know. With the fear of puppies being killed for no reason more than the fact that a home hadn’t been found, Jessica offered to take them on. Mileage wasn’t a factor in her decision. A few days before the puppies were scheduled to arrive in Emporia on transport from Altus, Jessica got a call from an administrator at the shelter. Jessica was told of a mother dog who was recently impounded. While it was obvious that she was a nursing mother, no signs of puppies were found. With a heavy heart, Jessica agreed to foster the mother dog as long as she passed a behavior test. Confirmation that the dog would do fine, sealed the deal.
That following Saturday, Jessica set out for Emporia, Kansas to pick up the puppies and Isis. According to Jessica,
“What lay in store for me was nothing that I ever would have imagined.”
When Isis stepped out of the truck, she began spinning in circles and trying to attack a small dog that was on the same transport. Jessica scooped up the little dog and watched the transport driver put Isis back into the truck. Jessica said that she thought,
“Oh crap, this is not going to work! She doesn’t have a rescue lined up, I have no one else here in Kansas City to help me, and I can’t send her back to the shelter, as only death waits her there!”.
Refusing to give up, Jessica and Josh loaded up 4 of the puppies and someone followed her back to Kansas City with Isis and the other 2 puppies in tow.
When the couple got home with the dogs, they placed Isis in their bathroom so they could arrange their living space to accommodate a “hell-bent” Isis. As they moved around crates, they heard a crash in the bathroom and when they opened the door, they found that Isis had ripped the bathroom mirror off the wall, shattering it across the floor. Other fatalities included the mini-blinds and the shower curtain. After making a note to not lock Isis in the bathroom ever again, the Jakobe’s took Isis outside to let off some steam. When they came back in, she collapsed in exhaustion, easily falling asleep in her crate. When night came, Jessica realized that it would be the longest night of her life.
As the family settled in to rest, Isis let out a shrill and blood-curdling scream. The sound was so horrible, it was human-like. In a short amount of time, Isis chewed a hole in the side of the plastic crate and she attempted to escape. Jessica and Josh moved Isis to a wire kennel and they hoped for the best. Within moments, Isis had ripped the plastic tray at the bottom of the cage, completely in half and she was prying desperately at the wire that held her. The screams continued until 5 am.
After the longest night ever, Jessica and Josh woke up and they took Isis to a friend’s house with the hopes that she would do better there. After a few days and the death of another crate, Isis found herself in boarding. She remained there until the following weekend when she made the trek to Iowa to meet her new foster mom, Emily.
Isis’s new home lasted only a short time. After trying as hard as she could, Emily just couldn’t find a placement for Isis. The complete deal-breaker happened when Isis tried to kill (and almost succeeded) Emily’s own dog. Again, Isis found herself in boarding. The cycle of Isis’s foster home/boarding seemed endless. Again and again, Isis would be given a chance and she would blow it. Just when everyone had given up on her ever finding a home to call her own, a man showed up and took her home with him. When Isis tried to attack his dog, the man immediately took her to a shelter where she was labeled “vicious” and she was scheduled to die the next day. Before euthanizing Isis, the shelter scanned her for a micro-chip and when they did, they put in a courtesy call to Emily (who had registered the chip). Emily picked up Isis and transferred her to the home of a dog trainer. Isis made it a few weeks. Again, everyone wondered if Isis could be saved.
And then, Gene walked into the picture. Willing to give it a shot, Gene offered to take on Isis. She went to live with him and his 3 dogs in Mexico, Missouri. It was a “work in progress” that Gene and his dogs took on completely. As time passed, the loving man put in everything he had to see to it that the dog would have every chance possible at a new life. Gene created a Facebook page to track Isis’s progress and he aptly named it “Saving Isis”. Within two weeks, the name of the Facebook page changed to “Isis is Saved” and Gene made the decision to make Isis a permanent part of his pack. Isis, Gene, Cheddar, Axe and Chase were living the dream. No one could recognize Isis and the change that she made because of Gene. She blossomed.
Last Sunday, Isis, Jax and Ace were outside on Gene’s farm when they heard a noise in the woods. Before Gene could react, the dogs took off into the woods. After four hours of frantically calling for his dogs, Gene and Cheddar stumbled upon the lifeless bodies of Isis, Jax and Ace. 100 yards from their bodies lay a mangled and injured bobcat. Cheddar got to the bobcat before Gene could and killed it immediately. Out of frustration and deep sadness, Gene began to beat the dead bobcat with a stick.
Isis now lays in a grave on Gene’s farm, right alongside Jax and Ace. After a season of difficulty, sadness and triumph, her story ultimately ends in tragedy. Or does it? While it’s easy to only see Isis’s death, what is missed is the actual living that she got to do. Isis received a chance, hope and a promise. Isis had a family. After everything that she went through, after every blown chance, in the end, Isis got the greatest gift of all. Love.
R.I.P. beautiful girl. May you roam free and wait at the Rainbow Bridge for your beloved Gene and Cheddar. My thoughts and prayers are with Gene during this very difficult time.
June 7th is a pretty important day for me because it’s the day that I gave birth to my little animal rescue copycat, my middle son, Paris. To think that day would mean more to me than just the significance of it being Paris’s birthday is just plain odd. It’s funny how fate intervenes and weaves its way into the tangled web of our lives. June 7 was the beginning of a miracle. This is the story of Chumley.
While I sat working away at my desk and celebrating the day of one special little boy, 25 minutes away from me, a short and stocky little bulldog lie against a fence along the Kansas Turnpike. The dog was found as a roadside maintenance worker was mowing. Bonner Springs Animal Control was called and they went out to pick him up. Immediately, they noticed that the dog was limping and appeared to have “road rash”, likely from a fall out of a vehicle on to the pavement. How he got there was a mystery. Was he thrown from a car? Did he fall out of a car? What happened?
The sweet fella sat at Bonner Animal Control patiently waiting for something to happen and he didn’t quite understand why he was there. Each night, he would lay in his cage wondering why he wasn’t curled up in a nice, warm bed and why he was utterly alone. The days passed slowly and time was running out but the dog never gave up hope and he never lost his smile.
Fast forward to June 12th, when I received an email from a fellow rescue volunteer who happens to be one of my personal heroes. Since I was on “hiatus” from rescue for awhile and was attempting to take a much needed “breather”, I was selecting emails and deleting them without opening. The world of rescue has been too much for me to bare lately and my life has become a mess since I’ve remained solely focused on dogs and “kill lists”. The important things in life started passing me by and I had to take a minute to clear my mind. Before I deleted that email, something told me to open it, so I did. Immediately, I was compelled to help and I was in 100%. The email talked of a dog that was at a local shelter and it was microchipped but all of the information was outdated. If the owners weren’t found and claimed the dog by the next day, he would be put to sleep. My friend was asking me for help in locating the owner before time was out. I set aside everything I had going on and I started to search. I had a name, address and 2 disconnected phone numbers, all from Mississippi.
I investigate people for a living, so things like this come fairly easy to me. I spent much of the morning/afternoon searching and eventually, I found a phone number for someone with a matching name located in a nearby city. After all of the numbers and dead ends, I finally found something!! When I got the voicemail it said “Hey, it’s Ricky” which confirmed that I had the right person (or at least I thought so). I began calling the number, over and over again, sometimes only waiting 15 minutes before trying again. I left message after message. While I was waiting for a call back, I searched Facebook and found them on there, too. Sadly, it didn’t appear that the owners had used it in quite some time, so I sent messages on Facebook to them and their children and a few friends. Yes, I probably went too far but how could I not!
Later that day, I finally received a call back from Ricky. When I said, “Do you know a dog named Chumley and is he lost?” the man replied, “This is a really cruel joke”. I tried to make him understand that it wasn’t a joke and I explained that a dog with a microchip was located in Bonner Springs, Kansas and that I believe it was their dog. Ricky told me there was no way it was his dad’s dog because he went missing in February from Colorado. I asked for him to describe the dog and everything except for the collar matched. Astonished, the man explained Chumley’s story and how he was a dog adopted from a shelter in Mississippi by his parents and how they had relocated from Mississippi to Colorado. Many phone calls later, we had reached Ricky’s dad and arrangements were made to get Chumley sprung from the shelter while he waited for his ride home. Chumley was transferred to Bonner Animal Rescue who then transferred him to Midwest Animal ResQ who would hold him until we could secure transport back to Colorado.
On June 13th, the day Chumley could have been euthanized, he was picked up by my friend Kris and he was driven from Bonner Springs to my family’s diesel shop in North Kansas City. I arrived there just in time to meet Chumley for the very first time. The moment my eyes saw that little English Bulldog, I fell in love. Chumley had the biggest smile on his face and he radiated love and joy and it was impossible to not be excited and happy in his presence. Chums spent the next few hours running the shop right alongside a 215 pound English Mastiff and an over-sized Pug. He loved all of the extra attention he got from all of the workers and my family but I think they loved it even more than him. He stole everyone’s hearts and offers to drive him straight to Colorado appeared from everywhere.
When I got off from work that day, I headed back down to the shop to pick up Chumley and then him and I were off for our interview with Fox 4 news. You can read all about that nonsense on one of my previous blog posts. If you haven’t read it, I know it will make your day. Anyway, after the interview we headed to Lake Lotawana and Midwest Animal ResQ, which is run by my pal Erin Morse. Erin had agreed to foster Chums while we waited for transport to Colorado.
On Wednesday, June 20th, more exciting things happened for Chumley. We were reunited bright and early that morning in anticipation of what I hoped would be Chumley’s best day ever. Chum’s foster mom delivered him to Grandview, Missouri’s “Winding River Pet Village” where the days events included a nice LONG car ride back to Colorado for the little guy. It was great to see his wagging tail and happy smile. Still, after all of the change, you wouldn’t know it. Chumley was still the beaming boy he was before. We spent our last 30 minutes together, waiting for PetEx Rescue N Transport to get everything coordinated for him to head out of Kansas City and back home. I knew this short reunion would be so very hard but also one of my most rewarding things in rescue. Anxiously, I counted down the seconds until he was loaded up. I took every opportunity I could to snap pictures of Chums and I, Chums and the kids and just him.
When the time came, I leaned down with a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat and I gently took his face in my hands and gave him a kiss and told him that I loved him. I pointed to the SUV and the kennel in the back and said, “Come on Chums, get in.”. He looked up at me and then over to the SUV and jumped in and right into his cage, without hesitation. I reached in and took his face in my hands again, still whispering undying love to the beautiful boy. After slipping off his lead and closing the door, I could feel the waterworks about to begin BIG time. I stood there at the back of the SUV, watching that little English Bulldog and the tears began to fall. Somewhere, I heard someone say, “Can we shut the door now?” and I realized that I was just standing there, right in the way. I nodded my head and stepped back as they closed the door. I did the best I could to hide the tears as they slid silently down my cheeks and past the protection that was my sunglasses. The bitter taste entered my mouth and I started to gasp, with sobs beginning to wrack my body. I lowered my head and began to walk away, my 2 boys at my side, consoling me.
I did my best to make it through the rest of the day but wondering what was happening really was getting to me. I wondered if his journey was safe, if he had made it home and if his owner’s showed up to greet C.A.R.E. transport when they arrived. So many questions…
The following day, I got all of my answers. At 6:30 pm, the previous day, Chumley was reunited with a tearful family who missed him. All I had of the reunion was photos that the Huffington Post had taken when he arrived. I held myself together until I saw the one photo that made my heart soar, a photo of Chumley’s dad kneeled down, with Chumley in between his legs. Chumley’s head was turned up and he was planting a big wet kiss on his dad’s chin. Immediately, I broke down all over again.
When you think that you can’t make an impact and you question what you’re supposed to do in life, it’s nice when you get those reminders of your purpose. Tonight a family that was broken is now back together. A little Bulldog will sit on his owner’s lap and fall asleep, filled with love and excitement for the next day. I know in my heart that this special dog that brought people together will be even more cherished by his family now.
I still cry when I think of them together and I am so honored to have played a small part in his reunion. This story is in honor of Chumley and his dad, Rick. It’s also dedicated to all of the people who helped make this all possible.
- Jenna Hammond
- Bonner Animal Rescue
- Katie Knapp
- Kris Woodard
- Larry’s Northtown Garage
- Erin Morse
- Midwest Animal ResQ
- PetEx Rescue N Transport
- Stacy Reeves
- C.A.R.E. transport
- Linda with C.A.R.E.
- Huffington Post (this link will lead you to Chumley’s reunion story on Huffington Post)
- Fox 4 news (this link will lead you to Chumley’s interview)
This blog post contains “active” links to key members in Chumley’s story. Follow the links and take a peek at the great people and organizations involved in Chumley’s story. Donations to any of the organizations are not only encouraged but also greatly needed so we can continue to make these stories possible.
Please microchip your pets and make sure the information is always current. Make sure your dog is always wearing a collar with identification and licenses. On the ID, provide your pet’s name on the front and on the back, your address, 2 phone numbers and an email address. You can get a tag made with all of this information at PetSmart for about $8.