Saturday, October 5, 2013

It takes a community

This past week, we’ve been reminded again and again that the power of human solidarity is what makes it possible for us to help dogs in need.

First up, Caroline.  This beautiful young dog has been at Clay Co. Animal Services for a while, and when she developed skin allergies, a volunteer started fostering her.  The foster wanted to make sure that she would be adopted to a home that would continue to treat her health problems, so she looked for a private rescue that would be able to vet adoption applications carefully.  Another Clay volunteer put her in touch with us, and when we explained that we were both full and broke, she made an offer we couldn’t refuse: she would cover vet costs and foster until adoption.  We get dozens of requests to help nice dogs every month – sometimes it seems like dozens every week.  This time, one persons’ absolute commitment to a dog – and the shelter volunteer’s ability to put her in touch with us – made the difference. 
Speaking of absolute commitment, no one embodies it like Beth Reeb.  She has fostered for us before and is 100% solid, so when she talks, we listen.  Beth met Belle at Putnam Co. Animal Services (like Clay, a rural shelter with few resources and few adopters) and fell in love.  We told Beth that we are broke and full, and she asked what it would take to save Belle.  What it took was donations, a commitment to foster, and collaboration with a rescue group in Putnam Co., Their Lives, Our Voices, who can help with local vetting and adoption events.  Beth put it together and got Belle the next day.  Again, it takes a combination of a committed and generous individual (or two) and collaboration between organizations.

Dogs like Caroline and Belle – at high-kill rural shelters – don’t often have happy endings, even when they are as beautiful, young, friendly, and well-behaved as these two.  Another dog we’ve just been able to help had even lower odds.   Arabelle is one of the first dogs released from the second largest dog fighting raid in U.S. history, in which hundreds of dogs were confiscated in several southern states. We are honored to be collaborating with the ASPCA in this incredible case. She is older and has some minor health issues but she is a happy dog and we are delighted to be able to offer her comfort and love for as long as we have her.  Again, networking – in this case with a national animal welfare organization – and a committed foster made the difference.

Then there's Goose.  This little guy -- who probably should be a big guy -- came to our attention because of those same incredible Clay volunteers who never, never give up on the dogs they love. Because we love to work with Clay volunteers and because our Clay dogs have been amazing, we decided to meet him, with the thought that maybe in a few weeks, when we had room, we could take him into our program.  We knew he was heartworm positive, which meant that he would not need to worry about adoption for a couple of months.  So our most intrepid volunteer headed to the Animal Expo at Clay to meet him  today, only to find that he had been taken to No More Homeless Pets in Jacksonville because he had started coughing blood.  When she got there, she was told that he had been taken to a vet office for further tests.  (That's why we call him Goose -- because it took a wild goose chase to track him down!)  It turns out that he is suffering not only from heartworm but also pneumonia.  In addition, he is 10-15 lbs. underweight, his teeth appear to have been filed down, and he has some other dental problems as well.  However, in true pit bull fashion, he just wants to climb into your lap.  And of course, he's coming home with Lacey and will be getting round-the-clock vet care.  We're not sure how it will go, but if we have anything to say about it, he'll make it.

Last up (for this week) is a little brown dog without a name.  We received an email from a woman who was worried about her neighbor’s dog, who was emaciated, nursing puppies, and confined to a small, dirty pen.  We were in contact with her and working on communicating with Animal Services to see what could be done when the neighbor told us the adult dog was gone.  Within hours, we saw a post on Gainesville Pet Finder about an emaciated brown pit bull who had been found by a very kind and generous woman.  The finder took the dog to the vet and then posted her picture to see if someone was looking for her.  We put two and two together – or rather, put the neighbor and the finder together, and it turned out to be the same dog.  The dog is safe now and we are consulting with Animal Services to find how to keep the dog (and her pups, if possible) safe permanently.