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.

All Posts on Bartholomew

→ The Lucky Unlucky Transport 21 

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

 → Bart's TDL Page

Went Home 9/8/12!

All Posts on Rocco

→ The Lucky Unlucky Transport 21 

→ Rocco's TDL Page

Went Home 7/24/12!

Kai on the fly

Kai is a dog we're holding for the time being and needed to move to a long-term foster. So I picked her up from her current location (along with the massive crate right of her travel crate) and we would be on the road, headed to meet her foster mama.

When I picked Kai up she was nervous. She came from a larger pack and wasn't sure what to do without their comfort. In the car she was quiet and just panted and panted, unsure what was happening. We drove for over an hour and met her foster mama at a field behind a restaurant off the highway.

We were very careful when getting her out of the car, mainly because a scared dog can be a major flight risk, and she doesn't know where she is. She'd probably try to run "home" but we don't know which location that would be. That being said, we doubled protection so she was never without a leash on.

Kai stunned me when she got out of the car. She transformed from being a scared and shaking dog, to a dog wagging from tip to tail. Her foster mom took her out into the field to try to go potty but Kai was too busy giving kisses to even care about having to go potty.

We all exchanged hugs and thank you's but as Kai's foster began to walk her away, Kai turned and dragged her back to me.

I knelt and petted her head. Kai kissed me smack in the face and then sat down an wagged. I've seen this before and I knew the message she was sending me, "Hey, thanks for the ride!" I patted her on the head, gave her a kiss and quietly replied (while holding back tears from the sweet gesture) "You're welcome honey."

Kai then stood and followed her foster back to the truck and hopped in. We headed out, the cars following each other up until the interstate where one went east and the other west. Kai had every reason to try to bolt, or to tuck her tail and cower, but she was brave and kind. She said her thank you and seemed to understand that we didn't want to have to split up the pack, or transport her so often, but we did it because we want the best in the long run for her. I think she knows that.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Thursday, July 12, 2012

All Posts on Hopscotch

→ Hopscotch Hops in!

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

→ Hopscotch's TDL Page

Went Home 8/20/12!

Hopscotch Hops in!

Nadia and Hopscotch

Well on 7/6/12 I was on the road again. This was another relatively short transport (under 3 hours total). I met the first leg of the transport (which came from the shelter to a Petsmart) and had a chance to meet Nadia, an amazing volunteer who goes above and beyond the call on a regular basis.

Little Hopscotch sat, waiting for me (I was almost 10 minutes late even though I left home with almost 15 minutes extra. Thanks City Traffic!). This precious little pup isn't even a year old. He's already faced down demodex mange (not contagious) and is ready for a second chance. He still has some puppy tendencies like being a little mouthy but doesn't bite, just wants to hold your hand in his mouth, gently.

It is clear to me that he would love to bond to someone. When I took control of the leash he looked to Nadia and tried to return to her (and later when I dropped him off at his new foster home he wanted to stick with me). He had just been neutered that morning so I gently lifted him into the car, making sure to not put any pressure on or near his stitches. You'd never know he'd just had surgery, it didn't phase him a bit!

Our trip was less than 40 minutes and he was so quiet you'd think he was sleeping in a nice feather bed and not on a towel. When I arrived at his foster, Maria's house he carefully hopped down and cheerfully followed us to the back yard where he met Maria's dogs and his new buddies.

The dogs got along pretty well. Hopscotch still needs to learn some dog world manners because he still tries to play like a puppy and will jump up on other dogs or put a paw over them. One of his new buddies quickly informed him it wasn't ok but it wasn't a big tiff. Just some noise and jumping, no teeth. Hopefully it will be enough for this little guy to learn the rule.

He is young and has a good bit of energy. He already knows some commands and loves to run and play. It was a pleasure to transport this little fellow and I can't wait to see which lucky family will give him his forever home!

 This picture (right) looks super ferocious but that isn't the case, just for the record. This was more of a playful situation.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Back in the Saddle!

Sorry for the long Hiatus. There were a few things in my life I had to work out and it took a while but finally, after 6 months I'm back and ready to transport!

I admit that I kinda had one transport recently. On June 15th 2012 I had a rescue named Okelani hope in the back seat of my car, but this dog wasn't going to a vet or a foster, she was coming home, with me.

Her new name is Leia and my husband and I are very excited with the newest member of our family. Right now she still needs some socialization but maybe in the future she'll be able to ride along with me. If you are interested in reading about what we're up to (shameless plug) check out our blog about her; Life with Leia

As far as the rescue goes, there have been a few changes as well. It seems like the beginning of 2012 was a mini-apocalypse for everyone. The rescue is bouncing back and is in full force again but as always we could always use more volunteers such as fosters or transporters. Check this post if you're interested!

I also added a few more links to Rescue Resources which can be very educational.

Very excited to have a transport coming up soon! Stay tuned!

Heath the Heartthrob

I first met heath on Sunday January 8th. I met my friend Kevin at a little dinner on the side of the road and the tradeoff began. He told me how sweet Heath was and sure enough, out of the car hopped this stunning little gentleman.

I wasn't having a great day, or a great week or even a good month for that matter (which is part of the reason this blog post is 6 months late) but Heath's sweet smile made the trip worth it.

I was bringing him to see Gisele who'd be looking after him. He hopped in the car like a champ and after a short chat with Kevin we were on our way!

He road like a dream and when we arrived hopped out of the car like an absolute gentleman. We took him to the side-yard (which is like the quarantine yard for new rescues) and met Gisele and her daughter.

Heath said hello to everyone and then came back over and stood, with his paws in my lap, eye to eye with me and stared me down for a moment.  I'm not sure what he was trying to tell me... Maybe it was "everything will be alright" or "I'm sorry for what you're going through" or maybe just a very sincere "thanks for the ride" but It made my whole day just a little bit better...

I apologize to Heath that it took so long to write about him, but he is certainly NOT forgotten.  Thank you Heath. 6 months later and things are getting better. I'm about to go back out there to pick up another friends, and I just had to remember the one who gave me comfort on a hard day.
Heath, telling me something.

All Posts on Heath

→ Heath the Heartthrob

→ Heath's TDL Page

Went Home 1/18/12

All Posts on the S Pups


 → I do more than Transports: Photo Shoot!

 → Their TDL Page

Went Home:
Snickers - 10/7/11
Samson - 10/13/11
Sunbeam - 10/8/11