We changed RESCUE dog Kermit's name to George. George has been with RESCUE for a long time and we are hoping to spark new interest in him by changing his name. George is the
name that his foster parents have been calling him so we thought it was the best choice. George is a sweet, quirky dog. He adores his foster mom and likes to follow her everywhere although he probably would not miss his foster dad! :0 George is not really partial to other dogs or cats so he needs to be an only dog. He has a lot to offer but sometimes it just takes longer for some dogs or cats. Rest assured, just like every RESCUE dog and cat, we will continue to care for him until we do find him a permanent loving home.
On Tuesday, February 10th we were back at Animal Control to save more lives. We took in two new dogs. Both have disheartening stories.
Willie is a little red dog. He has short legs, a long body, thick velvet fur, a slender face and a HUGE heart. We are not sure what he is mixed with... maybe some Corgi butit's really just a guess. Willie was "kicked out of his house by his owner" and brought down to Animal Control by a neighbor. After nearly a week of sitting and waiting for someone to adopt him, no one came. But RESCUE did and we are so happy to be apart of his little guy's life! He is so full of life, joy and energy! Willie quickly moved into foster with long time RESCUE volunteers Teri and Pat who have three other dogs. Within a couple of days the dogs were already playing with each other. Willie will be neutered next week and then will be placed up for adoption.
The second dog we saved was Piper, an adult Bloodhound. While much of Piper's story is unknown, this is what we do know: Piper was dropped off at Animal Control on February 2nd, by a man that said he was not her owner. Half of Piper's tail had been cut off, about 3 inches of bone was protruding from the remainder of her tail and she had
another open wound above that area. The man put some cream on the bone and wrapped her tail in purple gauze. It is unknown how Piper received this horrible injury to her tail. For eight long days beautiful Piper sat at Animal Control with her injured tail. RESCUE was at Animal Control twice during this time but we did not see Piper on either visit. (With over 500 outside kennels and dozens of interior areas, it's not uncommon to "miss" a particular dog or cat. Additionally, the staff move the dogs and cats around based on various factors). We heard about her late on Monday, February 9th and began making the necessary calls to secure her rescue. My first call was to Animal Control to make sure that she would not be put down before we arrived. My next call was to a foster home. With Piper's injuries I did not think it was in her best interest to spend more time in a kennel environment recovering. So I called RESCUE's Volunteer of the Year, Khrisann and told her about the the Bloodhound the terrible tail injury and that while I hadn't personally met or evaluated her I wanted to be able to help her if we could. Khrisann graciously agreed to open her home and her heart as she so often does with the dogs of RESCUE. My last call was to our vet. Since I wanted to make sure that Piper received immediate medical attention I needed to make sure that out vet was available and prepared for our girl. I anticipated that Piper's tail would need to be removed due to the severity of her injury but the vet would be able to make a better determination after her exam. So we had all our ducks in a row, now we just needed to save Piper. Sadly Animal Control was closed so we would have to wait until the next day. Needless to say I couldn't sleep all night. I felt so bad for Piper and what she had already gone through in her life and hoped that she could bear the pain one more night until we arrived.
I was so eager to meet Piper and when I arrived at her kennel I was chest fallen that she was not in her kennel. As I mentioned, the staff does move around the dogs a lot but this is also a kill shelter and you never know what that empty kennel means. I quickly went to our contact at Animal Control. She had been off for four days so she was not familiar with Piper nor her whereabouts but she would look into it and see if she couldn't figure out where she had gone. After nearly an hour of searching, she was finally located. Thankfully! I was so relieved. Now we could finally met Piper. Piper is a sweet, gentle soul, what I would call an "old soul." I gave her a big hug and a kiss and told her I was so very sorry for her pain. We spent some time getting to know each other. Piper appeared to have had multiple litters of puppies due to her mammary development, so she would need to be spayed and her teeth did not appear to have every been cleaned or cared for either. It just broke my heart to see her wag her tail and hear the bone of her tail hit the wall. Thankfully, it did not appear that she was in pain, most likely all the nerve endings were dead now. As is common with all the dogs we save from Animal Control, Piper reeked of urine. Her fur was dull and very coarse. Yet Piper's spirit was not broken from all this. She wagged her tail, she sought you out for pets and leaned into you when you did so.
Soon our girl became Piper, was given a proper collar with a rabies tag and RESCUE ID tag. Photos and videos were taken and off we went to the vet. I of course called Khrisann on the way to let her know about our new addition and that I thought Piper would need more medical care than her tail - she would need to be spayed and have her teeth cleaned. We made arrangements for Khrisann to pick her up after her surgery and I continued on my way to the vet.
The vet was able to save about 4 inches of Piper's tail, but she did need to have two teeth removed during her dental cleaning. She had stitches from her spay, and in her tail and would be on some hefty medication to help with the pain. Khrisann picked up our patient and was instantly in love with her! Piper was pretty out of it so she wasn't able to spend too much
time with her before Piper was fast asleep. Unfortunately Piper had some diarrhea and was whimpering and pacing in the morning. Khrisann did the best should could to help her and comfort her. After another day or so Piper was feeling a world better but was having some incontinence issues. We put her on a herbal remedy and hopefully this will help. Time will tell. Aside from Piper's health issues she is recovering very well. She is an excellent patient and a wonderful dog. She has perfect leash manners and is a perfect houseguest. As time goes on we will learn lots more about Piper and what kind of home she will need. For now we will continue to care for her tail and enjoy spending time with this precious girl.
On February 11th, RESCUE dog Buster was returned. He hadbeen adopted a month before to a family with another dog, two kids, a teacher and a cop with rotating schedules. The adopter's were beside themselves over Buster's behavior. They explained that he had chewed on two of their sofas. For the wife, this was a deal breaker for her and she wanted to return him to us. However her husband wanted to try and work through it. I learned that Buster, a young, active dog was being walked for about 15 minutes a day. When I brought this up as a possible cause for the damage to the sofa, it was quickly dismissed. I tried to provide them with other suggestions and while she said they would work on, I didn't have high hopes. A couple of days later she called back, even more upset then before because "they had done everything" and it wasn't working. They felt "there was something wrong" with Buster and wanted to return him as soon as possible. When I tried to figure out what had occurred from the last time we talked the woman became very agitated and so we moved on and made arrangements to have Buster returned shortly thereafter.
Buster is back in our care and doesn't seem to be any worse for the wear. He recognizes all the volunteers that took care of him and while we are sad that it didn't work out we know we will make sure we do a better job of finding him a home where he will get enough mental and physical exercise.
This seems like a perfect place to mention an excellent book called "The Loved Dog" by Tamar Gellar. I HIGHLY recommend this book to all dog owners, new and old. Tamar's philosophy for dog training is by far the BEST advice available. The book is easy to read (although it's available as an audiobook via iTunes if you prefer) and gives numerous examples to help you understand the principles. Tamar is regularly featured on the Today Show and is the trainer that Oprah used with her three Golden Retriever puppies. The one thing that I would note about this book is that Tamar discusses giving your dog bones, however she mentions cooking them. This is a definite NO-NO. Cooking bones makes them brittle and when the dog chews on them they can easily splinter either in their mouth or if they ingest the bone it can splinter in their intestine. I do recommend bones that your dog cannot swallow (such as marrow bones) but they need to be raw. You need not worry that your dog will become ill from chewing on a raw bone. Dogs have been eating and chewing on bones for thousands of years and while the pet food industry has been around since the 1950's, dogs have not evolved since that time. :)
On February 12th, RESCUE cat Lacy moved into foster care with fellow
RESCUE volunteer Valerie. While Valerie volunteers her time on the "dog side" of RESCUE she felt she had the space to share with a kitty and that the cat could keep her company while we searched for a home for her. Unfortunately, cats are not like dogs when it comes to adopters. While this is not true of all people, many adopters are interested in cats of a particular color, whereas dog adopters are looking for a companion that compliments their lifestyle, i.e. likes to go hiking, likes other dogs, etc. When you couple this information with the fact that there are literally cats available for adoption on every corner, cat adoptions take place far less often than our dog adoptions. As such we can have cats for much longer periods of time than our dogs. Lacy is one such cat. She also is a kitty that prefers to be an only cat, which limits the number of possible homes for her as well.
We of course will care for all of our cats and dogs for as long as it takes to find them a loving, permanent home and Lacy is no different. I'm happy to report that Lacy is quite content in foster care already. We are looking forward to learning more about her while she is in foster care.
It seems there is so much uncertainty in the air with the economy in disarray, massive job losses and a seemingly never ending losses to housing prices. I have seen several animal groups close their doors due to the lack of funding. Just last week a major group closed five of their locations due to a 25% decrease in their donations. I also just read a disheartening statistic. While I know that animal groups are at the "bottom of the barrel" when it comes to charitable giving, I had no idea just how large the discrepancy was. Last year 1.5 million grants were given to non-profit organizations in the United States. That's an unbelievable number! These grants were given by corporations big and small, foundations and charitable trusts. Animal groups were awarded the least amount of grants at 967. The next closest non-profit received nearly 5,000 grants. The Phoenix area has over one hundred animal rescue groups in the valley alone. While I am uncertain of the exact number of animal non-profits, it's fair to say that their are several thousand groups nationwide. It doesn't take too much math to figure out that there is an enormous amount of competition for a small amount of grants.
You can see why RESCUE counts on our donors so much and why every dollar is greatly appreciated. We do everything we can to keep our cost to a bare minimum and to stretch every dollar as far as we can. Since we have only been around for 14 years we do not have the luxury of endowments like some of the larger organizations. Most of our adopters are still very much alive. :) We have a couple of fundraisers a year to help cover our costs. Our next event is on March 1st. Please visit this link to learn more about the event and how you can make a donation (of any amount) to help us care for dogs like Piper, Willie and Buster or cats like Lacy and all the other RESCUE dogs and cats that we have the honor of sharing in their lives until a loving, permanent home is found.
Thank you for your time in reading about our journey! Here's to an great week!