Laura Burke and I had just finished walking in the Mardi Gras Parade in Deland and manning our booth to let others know about The Dog Liberator, but as 2 o-clock grew near we apologized for having to leave and explained It's transport time" and off we went.
After making it through the back-roads, the security gate, and across the landing strip (yep, i stopped at a stop sign that said "Please watch for landing planes!") we finally were directed to "the big tree" where other transporters were waiting. A short while later the first of probably close to 10 planes (some making multiple trips I believe) landed and chaos ensued.
|"Yes, Gisele? What did the pups look like? It is Crazy here!"|
The community had come out to help, and for this we were very, very thankful..... however, some people listened to instructions better than others.
|"G, there is a tangle of puppies beside me, |
I'm gonna have to call you back!"
We warned everyone, "Remember which plane you took the dog from so you can return it there! Please do not swap dogs!" but... that didn't happen. Most were too excited about playing with puppies and cute dogs and immediately took dogs from each plane, got them water, let them pee, swapped, traded, forgot where the pups came from, etc etc...
|The whole Community came out. Here are their golf-carts and some of the planes that had arrived.|
Our big boys, Pharrell and Fred arrived early in the flights. Two couples volunteered to walk them and I explained that these dogs would be traveling with me, they were not to hand them off, and if they needed to leave to bring the boys to me. They agreed and I must say I was incredibly impressed with them. Even when Pharrell and Fred bounced around, drug them around, and generally were overly energetic due to being cooped up in a plane and/or crate all morning, these volunteers were awesome and kept to their word.
|Safe & Sound at the Vet|
As I helped lift a crate of small puppies from the plane, I smelled copper... and that means one thing. Parvo. I have yet to confirm if any of the dogs/puppies were ever confirmed to have it, but I knew what I smelled and warned the ground crew.
They freaked a little, and called over a retired veterinarian who happened to be there. I explained what I smelled and he agreed it was possible. We kept all dogs from that flight contained and kept checking others, after lots of sanitizing. All it takes is one sick pup, and then every pup is at risk.
I wish I could tell you more about what Parrell, Fred, Laura, and the pups did during this time, but I was too busy unloading planes and looking for the remainder of our pups while coaching the volunteers. Most were very helpful, but some I had to teach how to walk "leash-shy" pups, and others I had to ask to coach their own, small children who were "helping" in not so helpful ways...
Luckily no dogs ran and only one was "lost" when a family "adopted it (took it) from the tarmac... the dog was later found and the situation was handled. Amazingly, we only found the dog because I took a few group shots (held up the camera and snapped a picture of everything going on around me) and just happened to catch a shot of a man walking away with the dog. Talk about luck! The neighbors helped identify him and the very shy dog was recovered.
The very last flight arrived around 6pm and there were the rest of our pups. We loaded up all the dogs (after separating pups that did and did not have mange; ouch!) and I loaded Pharrell in a crate in my back seat (he loaded up well) and then shoved Fred in the trunk (don't worry it's a wagon!). Fred was not excited about another transport, but both were awesome in the car.
It was a short ride to Gisele's and she was excited to see them both. This was my last transport while in Florida: I was sunburned from standing on the tarmac, dehydrated, and exhausted, but we were part of a massive transport and all of our pups got home safe a healthy.