Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Is there a Sign on my door that says "Rescuer?"

Well, it finally happened. I have been dreaming, since I was a small child I have fantasized about finding puppies and taking care of them. Well today I was watching a TV show on haunting and it had the weirdest sound effect, a crying kitten. But it was too persistent for that... I muted the TV and the crying continued. Oh no...

I ran to the front door and there stood a tiny 8 week old grey kitten, wailing. He tried to come in the minute the door opened but I scooped him up the minute I saw him, partly so Leia wouldn't possibly eat him. I turned around, kitten in arms, and stared at Tom, "Holy crap, there is a kitten at our door." I was in a hurry to go to a coffee date so I cleaned a small crate, put him in, and we went to coffee because while Leia was curious about him, I didn't want to leave both of them with Tom (too much of a burden). On the way out I posted a "found kitten" flier and told the office I had him. They said someone had asked about him earlier so I left my number with them. We were off to coffee!

A lady stopped when she realized I was sitting at a table with a kitten in a crate and asked about it. I explained what happened and she basically begged me not to take him to a kill shelter. I told her not to worry, no chance I'd do that to him.

Becky humored me and we sat our side with a kitten in a crate as our third guest. He slept through coffee and was very good, but I was worried about what would happen if his owners didn't call today, or ever. I'd have to get cat food-- and what the heck do I know about litter training?! We came home and I sat him, in his crate on the floor and let Leia sniff and get the curiosity out of her system. She didn't bark or growl, just sniffed. He swatted at her through the bars and she looked at me like "Seriously? What did I do to him??"  Tom nicknamed him George. I called him Punk cause he was feisty. 

As I sat, trying to figure out what to do, my phone rang. The front office said his owner was there. I told them I'd be right over. A tall thin man stood before me. He spoke a little English but wasn't quiet fluent. He explained that the kitten bumped out of the door this morning and just disappeared. I explained how I found him and he laughed in surprise. It was good to see the two of them together again.

When I returned home I sat the empty crate on the floor and let Leia out. She ran to the crate, sniffed, realized it was empty, and cried a little. She missed her little... "friend." Really, this isn't a Transport Tale, but we joke in rescue all the time about things like "Do I have a sign in my lawn that says 'hey lost pets, come here' or something?" Apparently I have that sign on my door now, and even though it kinda threw a wrench in my day, I am glad he found his way here, and that I could help get him home, even if it was just across the street.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Helping Hugo - My First Pull?

It started with an email. My husband Tom plays table top games about once a week with 3 nice guys, two of which were very close friends and this week one sent him an email
Hugo when he was first found.
"Hey, you and your wife do dog rescue right? Some huge douchenozzel abandoned 3 dogs in our complex last night, 1 was a puppy and got picked up, 1 was a large dog that got hit and the third is a little dude that we took in and cleaned up. He is pretty worse for wear but he is friendly and affectionate and good with dogs and cats, if we cant find him a home I dont want to take him to the humane society just to get killed. Do you guys know anyone that could take him? Chris' sister might but just in case I want to make sure he doesn't get killed."
It took a day for Tom to be able to forward Jon's email to me but the minute I got it, asked a few more questions, and I was off to Facebook to post everything I knew about this little dog, who they called Francis:
Hey guys, more details coming but I am trying to help some friends find a home for a dog abandoned in an apartment complex. There were 3 dogs dumped. One was saved by a good Samaritan, one was hit by a car an killed, and the third is the one we are working with friends to help. My understanding thus far is that he is a maltipoo sort of mix, younger and a small breed. People have stepped up and got him medicated for some itchy scabs and someone has volunteered to pay for his neuter. Pictures coming soon but be thinking of if you know anyone looking for a doggy.
Within minutes I got a text from Gisele saying we had enough space for the little dog. I immediately emailed Jon and asked (since we were going to meet up anyway) if he could bring the pup with him and I could take him into our rescue. Right before we had to leave I got confirmation, I'd be picking up the little dog. I waited in the parking lot until Jon and Chris pulled up with a small cat carrier, and inside was a sweet cream colored pup.

Jon and Chris had taken the time to cut some of the larger mats out of his fur and to give him medicine for the fleas which were tormenting him. They took him in off the streets and made a deal with their apartments to allow him to stay just until they could find him a place to go, other than the shelters.

I am still stunned how anyone could throw this little guy out like trash... one of the other dogs was lucky and found a home, but the oldest was hit by a car and died... I will never understand how people can leave their dogs to the cruelty of the streets.

This sweet pup let me pluck him from his crate and hug him. He wiggled happily and tried to figure out what was going on. I thanked Jon and Chris for being so kind to him. They couldn't understand how anyone could do this to him. He was good with other dogs, cats, and was house trained. As they said their goodbyes and wished him luck Chris paused, sad to see him go.

I carried him to his transport crate and snapped a few pictures of him to send to Gisele. 

He was precious and occasionally made soft little whines as we drove along, curious about where he was going. It took an hour but he relaxed to classical music the entire way.

Once we got there he was excited to get out of the car and see where he was at. Gisele was waiting for him with a big can Doc's Stew (holiday turkey flavored!) which this little guy promptly went face first into and I swear he didn't breathe until he had inhaled the entire can. I swear I would have eaten it if he hadn't. You could see meat, corn, noodles, green beans, and plenty of other good flavors.

Gisele had me stay for dinner so I got to walk him into the house to meet the other dogs and watch him socialize in the back yard while we grilled. He's brave and wasn't at all phased by playing with dogs 3 times his size.

We discussed names and threw around all sorts of cute ones. It finally came down to Hugo because he looked similar to Wiigo, a small dog we had just adopted out.

Our friend Brittney came over and we tried to figure out what breed he was. He wasn't a maltipoo. We finally guessed that he is likely part yorkie and part lhasa apso (a yorkie apso).

Hugo is so sweet and so good I don't know, I really cannot possibly fathom, how anyone could leave him. It was hard enough for me to leave when it was time to go home, knowing full well he was going to see a vet, a groomer, and be eating amazing food!

I am considering Hugo my first "pull" (a dog suggested for the rescue and got from their situation) even though really all the credit goes to Jon and Chris who took the time to scoop him up and take care of him on their own dime, simply because it was the right thing to do. I am so proud to call Hugo a TDL dog, his story is what it is all about, doing the right thing when the owners refuse to, caring for those and standing up for those, who can not defend themselves. I know  from here there is only happiness for Hugo, and that is a beautiful thing!

All Posts on Hugo

→ Helping Hugo - My First Pull?

→ Hugo's TDL Page 

Still waiting to go home. 

Mz Sweet Tea - 10/6/12

 I meet up with little Mz Sweet Tea at a 711 as she came off of another transport. She came in with quite a story as to why they were a bit late. Apparently the last transport had allowed some of the dogs to wander in the car and a little Scottie or a schnauzer had wandered to the front of the car while they were getting ready to get the dogs out of the car. The driver had left the car running to keep the pups (including Sweet Tea) cool and this little schnauzer stepped on the auto door lock and locked them all out. It took them almost a half hour and a game of peekaboo to get the dog to run back over and unlock the car.

When I met Sweet Tea she patiently waited for me to lift her from the SUV, she wasn't about to jump down, she was a southern belle who wished to be carried. I tried to give her a chance to go potty but she didn't seem interested. I then lifted her into her crate and we were off.  She rode like a princess and lay with her paws crossed.

As we drove I saw first one pillar of rainbow, and then a second. Rainbows are always somewhat ominous in rescue. We see them as a sign of the dogs who have gone before looking back down on us. I snapped the picture just bellow this paragraph. You can see each pillar of rainbow just right of each power-line pole. When I later talked to G I found out that that day was the Reckless, G's border collie who's loss prompted the founding of the rescue, and passed. Perhaps it was Reckless watching over Sweet Tea's transport

We arrived at G's and again she was lifted from the car. She walked well on the leash, leaving slack and came to the porch where we sat and relaxed with G for a while. We chitchatted about how refined Sweat Tea acted, like a southern Belle, and as we sat on the porch it occurred to us, the only thing missing was some Sweet Tea... and then we realized she was right there with us, that would be her name.

Shortly after we arrived we walked her right inside and she made herself right at home. She sat with us during dinner and didn't beg. She followed the younger children around and watched over them. She is such a gentle spirit and  so sweet, just like her name suggests. Later on she disappeared and we found her on the bed, watching over G's daughter. She was so proud of herself for doing a good job. I swear this is one dog that is lucky to have gotten to her destination, she is so sweet I'd of kept her.
"Hi Mrs. G! I've been watching over your daughter like a good girl!"

All Posts on Sweet Tea

→ Mz Sweet Tea

→ Sweet Tea's TDL Page

Sweet Tea went home: 10/10/12!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

All Posts on Jalo

Jalo's Jaunt - 9/15/12

Jalo's TDL Page

Went Home 9/18/12

Jalo's Jaunt - 9/15/12

 On Friday I got an email asking me if I could run a transport the next morning. It was late when I got it so I called G in the morning to get details, then called Jackie, who was driving from Miami about where we should meet up. We decided we would decide on a meeting place once she got closer to Orlando.

The part of the story I have failed to tell was that I already had plans. In fact, not only did we have plans, I had company. Borrelli had come down to visit from Virginia and he and I were supposed to go to a game store flea market in the morning and then meet my husband there.

We still went to the flea market, a bit earlier than planned and about 10 minutes after I arrived I got a call from Jackie to let me know they were getting close and we decided we would meet up at a gas station near UCF (they were going to see the game). Borrelli decided he would join me on transport instead of waiting for Tom at the game store (his mind was made up when he heard I was picking up a sheltie) and we were off.

I found a gas station and while we were at the light and had Borrelli text Jackie the name of the streets. As we pulled in I immediately regretted my choice of gas stations.. The signs were gone despite it still being open, there was a phone booth but the phone was ripped out, and there was trash (broken bottles, broken chargers, a windshield wiper, etc) everywhere. Great!

When Jackie arrived I could see Jalo in the car, enjoying the ride. I chatted with Jackie as we walked Jalo to get her to go potty. We talked about her paperwork and her meds. As you may notice in the pictures, Jalo was shaved. This was due to a skin infection she had in the shelter.

As the time came to get in the car I thanked Jackie and helped Jalo into her crate. Jackie teared up and tried not to cry. I gave her a hug and she apologized for crying. I told her not to, it was a sign that Jalo had definitely been very loved in her foster home. I can only imagine how hard it had to be for her to let go after caring for Jalo as she came out of the shelter, had to be shaved down and then had to have baths very frequently to help her skin heal.

Borrelli and I took Jalo to Gisele's house and she then went to her new "foster" (which was sort of a planned foster failure, the foster had recently lost her dog and wasn't sure if she was ready for another. So we agreed to have her just watch Jalo for a bit. Jalo walked into their lives and is not leaving. She is already home and it's a beautiful thing.

I think Borrelli had a good time getting to ride along with Ms. Jalo. It may have not been in the original plans, but hey, when it comes to helping one of our buddies getting home, we make time.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

50/50 Chances - Bart and Hopscotch play the odds.

Well, the good news is that Bart has not only overcome his Parvo, but his pneumonia too! What a little survivor! He will be coming up for adoption soon!

I got to see him when I picked up Chaz (Shane) and he was so happy/excited he peed himself. He is now the bouncy energy packed puppy I had expected to see when I first picked him up. He and little Red are becoming fast friends and he is even helping her come out of her shell (she is a formerly feral dog.)

The bad news I got today was that poor Hopscotch was bitten by a Pygmy rattlesnake... apparently his chances are much like Parvo... 50/50... so he is fighting for his life and we don't know what the outcome will be...

Please pray for this little guy... He was a total sweetie on transport and I truly hope he will make it...

Update: Both survived and been adopted!

All Posts on Chaz (Shane)


→ Chaz (Shane): Coffee as My Copilot 



→ Chaz's TDL Page

→ TDL: Homeward Bound


Went Home: 7/28/12 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Chaz (Shane): Coffee as My Copilot

It was 3:30 in the morning and my cellphone gave a dull echoing sonar ping. I pried my eyes open and sat up, silencing the cell phone so I wouldn't wake my husband. I tip-toed out to the kitchen and began brewing a cup of coffee. My dog Leia opened one eye and then dozed off again. By 4 AM I was on the road, coffee as my copilot.

It was an hour drive to G's house where I would pick up the dog we knew as Chaz. We weren't entirely sure how this transport would go, but we were hoping for the best. It just so happened that this transport worked out perfectly, and I do mean perfectly. You see, I was driving about 12 hours up to a beach in North Carolina for a family vacation, and would be driving straight past Gisele's and Chaz's final destination. So even though it was going to be hard enough to drive 12 hours straight, alone, I figured hey, what would it hurt to carry some precious cargo.

You see, Chaz was not always "Chaz." Chaz came to us after being in a shelter and needing an escape to safety. He was cute and we decided heck, he could be a TDL dog. So we brought him in and began prepping to get him adopted. There was only one problem: Chaz didn't want to be adopted. Instead he sat by the fence, and looked left and right, waiting. Waiting for what? Well... for all we knew, just waiting.

The we got a call. A girl called telling us that Chaz was their dog. He'd escaped through a hole in a fence and just disappeared. They'd been trying to find him but to no avail. At first we were hesitant... how could we be sure? But she described distinctive features that only Chaz could have, a scar, a mark, little details you couldn't see in his TDL pics. After several long talks and a lot of hard thinking, it was decided: Chaz, whose real name was Shane, would be reunited with his family.

His family had moved since he escaped and were now almost an hour further away. It wouldn't be his "home" but it would be his family. We hoped Shane would be happy, his family would be happy, and that this was the right choice. I picked up Shane at about 5 AM. I also managed to wake up the entire household because I made the rookie mistake of quietly knocking on the door instead of calling G's cell.
Note to self: no matter how quiet you knock, if you think a person might hear it, a dog will hear it.

So the whole house was up and barking (Sorry G!) and we got the papers, I got to see Bart again (update post coming soon) loaded Shane in the car, and we were off. Shane cried occasionally in the car, unsure why he was in the car ("Are we going to the v.e.t. ...again?") but was very good.

As we pulled into the neighborhood I had a little trouble finding the house. I pulled one U-turn and was in the process of pulling a second when I noticed a man, standing in the driveway, tears streaming down his face. I'd found the house. He waved me over and I could see him quietly mouthing "Shane... oh Shane." He put his hand on the car as I slowly pulled into the driveway. 

It was 7 in the morning, most people were just hitting snooze on the alarm clock, and we in the rescue world? 
We were changing lives.

I knew the moment Shane saw his dad because he began whimpering like an 8 week old pup, super excited, and in his whimpers you could hear it "Daddy, oh Daddy!!!!" I hopped out and opened the trunk. His dad put his hand to the crate as I carefully opened the door, checked his leash, and then let Shane fly to his Daddy.

Tears were everywhere, sniffles, whimpers, wagging and dancing paws. I made sure to give Shane's papers to his Dad and as I did it was all he could do to repeat over and over "God bless you, God bless you." He hugged me and kissed me on the cheek, overwhelmed with joy, "He is our boy, and he is his Daddy." He pointed to the fence where a young dog who resembled Hooch from Turner and Hooch stood howling, bouncing, and raising all sorts of joyous hell.

Now, Shane isn't this dog's biological father or anything, but he has been in that dogs life since he was a pup. I never learned the dog's name, but I will just call him Hooch. Hooch is a tripod, missing one of his front legs. He was flying off the ground  and dancing int he backyard, celebrating the return of Shane. I said my goodbyes to Shane and it was like I was seeing him for the first time.

I'd met him at least 3 times before, when I visited G, and I'd always thought he was probably about 2 and aside from barking at the "stranger" was rather chill. Now, in front of me, stood the real Shane... a greying muzzle, 8 years old, and wagging from tip to tail. The lost dog finally home.

When he was waiting at the fence... he was waiting for them, his family... not some new family. He'd waited and it was almost like he knew I was supposed to take him. He'd known every time I visited him... I just didn't know where.

And now here we were, eye to eye in his new house with his family, his Daddy, and his  doggy brother. I saw Shane, the 8 year old boy, finally content, and his family, surrounding him, crying with joy and thanking me for bringing him. I thanked them for loving him.

I heard that after I left his Dad took him on a little field trip to get a nice bath and to be groomed so he could be nice and comfortable as he settled in to his home.  His wife called Gisele and thanked her again for bringing Shane home. And as for me, I cried for the next half hour as I continued my 12 hour trip, celebrating for Shane, who is finally home, and so happy to be there.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Lucky Unlucky Transport 21

Friday the 13th. My second day of transports in a row and this transport was my 21st. Today I was picking up two dogs, each from a separate transport. I was about a half hour out from arriving to pick up the dogs when I got a call from G, she warned me the puppy had had diarrhea on the first leg of transport, which isn't entirely uncommon. Often pups are given shots and meds before transport, surgeries, and in addition, the stress of being transported can set little tummies off their normal routine.

I thanked her and told her I'd keep an eye on him. We both knew there was one other reason he could be having trouble, but didn't want to think it. As I arrived so did the first transport run by Lennard. I picked up my first transportee, Rocco, a young adult border collie boy who probably had some spaniel in him.

Rocco was SO happy to be out of the van that he couldn't even focus on going potty. Instead he got down on his belly and did, what our family calls "the paralyzed puppy" which is where they let their entire hind end go limp and use their front legs to drag themselves across the ground. I couldn't help but giggle. He wasn't super excited about getting in his crate so soon after getting out of one, but he had to because only minutes after picking him up, the second transport arrived. (How lucky were we that we were able to have 2 completely separate transports both meet up in the same location at the same time? That never happens.)

So I left all the windows open as well as the trunk and put Rocco in his crate. Gwen had about 5 dogs just lying on a pile of sheets and pillows. They were riding in style! As we approached the car all the dogs got bouncy and happy, except one... the one I was there for. The collie puppy lay on a pillow looking sleepy. He followed me with his eyes but didn't lift his head. Gwen picked him up and handed him to me. I set him down on the ground where he stood for a moment, then sniffed for a half second, peed, and looked back at me. Please note, this puppy is only 3 months old (12 weeks), he should have been bouncing off the windows and dragging me around the grass. I was worried about dehydration, it doesn't take much to dehydrate such a young pup. Could the Diarrhea be the reason?

Gwen asked if I was taking him to a vet or foster. I told her that the plan was for both of them to go to foster and then see a vet in the next few days. We were off! Both dogs were doing well on transport, no pawing or crying. About 20 minutes in I saw collie baby stand up. I baby talked him but he barely looked at me. Then I saw the hunch. Crap... he was gonna throw up. Sure enough he did.  I didn't pull over, instead I pulled out the cell phone and praised God that he and Rocco hadn't had any contact. I called G and filled her in. This transport was quickly changing from lucky number 21 to a Friday the 13th horror story...

As we were talking about what we should do he stood up again and threw up. I told G it almost smelled metalic and I could almost hear her heart sink... It was likely what we'd both feared... Parvo. That was why he was having diarrhea, was lethargic and vomiting. With the 3 symptoms combined we knew that this transport could not go to foster. Instead it had just become a medical emergency and I was headed to the Vet.

I slammed the directions into the GPS and hurried as fast as I could, trying to reassure him, and myself, that it would be ok. It had to be ok.... With Parvo there are plenty of things that vets can try to do to save a dogs life, but only 4 really make a difference: catching it early, giving fluids, anti-nausea shots, and prayers...

When we arrived at the vet I cranked down every window, grabbed a cheap shower sheet I had in my car, and scooped up the vomit drenched puppy. I was lucky, G called ahead so all I had to do was sprint inside and say "this is G's dog." They took us right back into an exam room and because I had Rocco in the car, I left him, standing on the shower curtain on the floor. I felt awful to just leave him there, but it was all I could do, and Rocco needed me now. When we arrived at G's she took Rocco and we sanitized me from head to toe. I sat with her while we waited for the vet to call with the pup's test results... It only took a few minutes, and then the phone rang. I could tell by the look on her face what the test said... It was Parvo... this adorable little dog was now fighting for his life... and had a 50/50 shot.
Day 1

I stayed for dinner, and then G and I talked... She fought with whether she should see him that night, or wait til morning. It was hard because this was just like Goldie Hawn.... who also came into the rescue with her mother, Lady Di (who is now G's dog), suffered from parvo, and died from complications...

We decided we couldn't wait. No one knew if he'd even survive the night.... We took a bunch of beautiful photos of him, even though he could barely lift his little head.... I helped G by taking pictures while she knelt beside him, trying to stay strong and whispering about how he had to get stronger so he could come home with her real soon. The Vets stated that they weren't sure if he'd make it through the night, they'd seen pups who looked worse than him get better, and pups who looked better than him die.

Day 2
When we left we sanitized again, then sanitized the car and crates. We sat down and talked. He needed a name, something that might put God on his side... or somehow curry some divine favor. We picked Bartholomew, Bart for short, after St. Bartholomew (patron saint of the afflicted {normally by skin disorders}). We hoped that little Bart would live to grow into his name and become the Regal Collie, Lord Bartholomew (all of our collies are Lords and Ladies).

I headed home, G settled in, and we prayed... and prayed, and asked others for prayers. The next morning G called. He'd not only lived through the night but stood up and ate, twice. Over the weekend I came back up to see G and the fam a few times. On Sunday, on the 3 year anniversary of TDL, I brought a pawprint cake with black and white candles in the shape of the number 3.

The surprise for us, was that we got to bring little Bart home! It is quite possible that because we took him straight to the vet, it was an early enough intervention to really help Bart fight. Either way, we joyously went to get him and bring him to G's for quarantine and healing.

As we carried him out of the office, we looked up at the sky and it almost brought us both to tears... Just above a storm cloud there was a beautiful little strip of rainbow... maybe a glimpse of the rainbow bridge... We both knew it was little Goldie Hawn looking down on Bart.

Can you hear us, Goldie Hawn?

We got in the car and drove home to take more pictures and post the good news. Bart ate well, slept well, and continued to gain strength through the week.

You may have noticed by now that I have intentionally waited to write this post... honestly, it's is because I didn't know what to post... would he be the transport that was Lucky and lived, or the poor pup who was unlucky and died... I wish I had a straight answer. Today I decided to write this post and 5 minutes into writing I heard that today we found out that Bart has pneumonia... This is what Goldie Hawn died of... in conjunction with parvo.

So we keep praying, and hoping that little Bart will be the success story and redemption story... a true survivor who fought it all and won-- but we have no guarantee...  not yet.

Please, pray for little Bart... He is so young and has so much of his life ahead of him.. Pray for G as she wrestles with the painful echos of the past which resonate all too closely now... Hang in there Bart... Fight hard.

The only picture of Bart and I... So far.