Bob, the Rescue Dog

Bob just died. He was about 11 years old. I heard that three dogs had been left for three weeks in an apartment in W. Virginia, and had been taken to the shelter. Two of them, small dogs, were adopted, but Bob, a homely hound around 40 pounds, was headed to the euthanasia room. I said I would take him. When it came time to load the truck to CT, there was no room for Bob. He might have ended up dead, except that the driver took a chance and put him on top of the crate right behind him so he could keep an eye on him.

For 13 hours, Bob didn’t move. He lay on top of that crate and looked out the front window, looked north all the way to CT. A foster had him for a few days, and I went down to get him, and he again looked north for the three hour trip. He ended up going to my friend’s farm, where he walked backwards into the house for the first few months. He was much loved, much cared for, and he lived another 7 years as her best buddy.

Rescue dogs aren’t always gorgeous, smart, spectacular – but they do seem to have some special qualities that those who haven’t suffered the same way just don’t have. I brought up about 3000 dogs and puppies in 10 years, and I spent every penny I made, and I wouldn’t give back one of them. I love rescue dogs.

#rescuedog #rescuedogs #dogrescue #labrescue #houndrescue #pitbullrescue #rescuepitties #pitbullsofig #pitbullsofinstagram #rescuedogsofig

It’s Time to Let Althea Go

althea

Ah, I’m so sad. Even someone who knows, knows that there is more out there after death struggles with the decision to put an animal down.

I rescued Althea from a kill pen in Louisiana, along with 2 other mares and I helped a bit with several other horses, mules and foals. The nightmare I’ve entered since then has been harrowing.

I wrote about her voyage from draft horse to kill-pen horse and then to me, and it’s been a long road in just about a month. The vet has come out at least a dozen times. We had her scoped at the vet hospital. She has had to be “cleaned out” of manure at least weekly. In spite of VERY expensive drugs, she is still urinating on her legs. She has no tone in her urethra and her anus and was cleaned out Monday and we had to bring the vet in to do it again today. It’s not fair to her. She had a good week – she was mostly comfortable, eating her hay and grain, but she just can’t pass manure, which I think is causing her to not be able to evacuate her urine, so she gets a horrible, terrible bladder infection. She still has urine dribbling out of her and burning her legs.

None of this is fair: it’s not fair that she gave many years to some Amish jerk who treated her as a machine and just turned her into an auction because of a health problem, rather than kill her humanely on his property. It’s not fair the she ended up on a kill lot. It’s not fair that the Stanley Brothers, owners of the kill lot, make over $200,000 a WEEK sending horses to Mexico to slaughter. It’s not fair that I paid them, and Renee Marie Paxton, to quarantine her and she came to me covered in sores from her urine and starved. None of this is fair. None of it. And this makes me rail at the Universe sometimes; makes me doubt my faith in the Spirits. Makes me feel completely powerless, because no matter how powerful my Spirits are, and I know they are enormously powerful, neither they, nor I, can really stop the suffering humans inflict on the world.

So tomorrow she crosses over. I’m going to sing to her, rub her, tell her I love her and will never, ever forget the huge heart she has to have survived all that she survived and remain a kind animal. Tell her I’ll see her, along with all of my other rescue dogs and the puppies who died in my care, from my first van full to my last, and to wait for me in the Land of the Dead. That I will be there shortly when measured by the Infinite. And that we will all meet again, healthy and vibrant, to plan when and where we will cycle again, together, and try to make this world a little better.

Seven Pups for Adoption

These hound mixes were pulled from a southern high kill shelter and will arrive at their foster home in NJ on August 24th. They will be 10 weeks old when they get here. I have to say, they are pretty big to be chi mixes. so let’s just say, they are hound mixes, and just adorable. There are 7 of them, different colors. They are going to be bigger than chihuahuas, probably medium sized. They will be up to date on their shots and a spay-neuter contract.

Here is the breakdown:

Four females:

black and white

brown and white

little cream pup

lanky tan pup

Three Males:

little tan with white feet – he had a broken jaw

2 lanky brown boys

People email Annette for an application at mysweetbelle@msn.com. Thank you!

Gaston, North Carolina – Gas Chamber and local Vet school

The woman who went around with the portable gas chamber was named King. I don’t know her first name, I knew it, but I can’t remember it. I can’t find it, either. I don’t even want to remember.

They killed every day – I pulled a beautiful lab/shepherd boy on a Friday afternoon. He had been sent to Gaston College, a local school that has a vet tech program, for the week, where they poked and prodded him all week, and then sent him back on Friday morning to die on Friday afternoon if he didn’t find rescue in two hours. I grabbed him. How many did I miss? How could these vet tech students do this week after week and not say something? Go rescue the dogs? What was wrong with them? And when I think about all those dogs and puppies I missed, I feel like I’m going to swirl down a black hole of pain, rage and despair. I try to stay out of that hole. So I try to not think of these experiences, but it’s time. I need to get them out.

The head of the “shelter” was called Reggie. I called him numerous times, cursing him out, raining hell down on his shoulders. If I could have locked these people up and done to them what they did to these innocent animals, I would have. Gladly. Dog rescue festered my soul, made me drink, made me want to die rather than deal with the anxiety and pain of trying to save dogs and puppies and being thwarted at every step. By the lack of resources in even wealthy southern communities. By the lack of foster homes, or kennels, or vets who would board dogs the few days I needed them to be held until a transport could get them the hell out of there. It’s better now, thank God, due to the internet and Facebook. But then, around 2009 when I pulled from Gaston and Robeson, it was still hell.

I got two labs from Gaston, both females. They were horrible skinny, deathly so. I got a kennel to hold them, and they had to get spayed before the shelter allowed them to come here. It almost killed them. One of them, Nancy, crawled off the truck at my friend June’s New York kennel. After being spayed, she was sent back to the paid NC kennel for a week where I swear they didn’t even feed her, and when she got here, she almost died at June’s feet. June cooked her chicken and rice for weeks. Slowly, slowly, she gained strength and health. Even after all she had been through, she still loved and trusted people unconditionally. The lessons our four legged buddies teach us. To love. To trust. Even after being kicked, starved and abused. I think they are a lot better beings than I am.

 

Chipper, Rags and Gabe

 I mean, some parts are funny, like when the gates to the outside kennels were all frozen shut so to clean them, I had to crawl through the kennel doors. I got my fat ass stuck: my hands were lower than the rest of me, my ass was stuck, my hands were in shit and piss, and I started crying and then laughing so hard because the dog in the kennel was jumping on my head and licking me.
And the group of pups I will never forget – they came from a shelter that I caught heartsticking the dogs without anesthesia. Roberson, North Carolina. The monster who ran it, Jeff Bass, was also eventually caught selling dogs for experiments and keeping the money for himself. They would kill the dog as soon as someone said they were coming to get it for rescue and pour bleach right over the dogs to clean the cages.
Anyway, Chipper, the ugliest pup I have ever seen, like an ugly greyhound, Rags, a sweet little doll girl, and an ugly brown pit pup, Gabe, somehow got out because of me. They were the sweetest pups ever, all about 5 months, an age that usually gets killed. Not cute fuzzies anymore. And they would play and run in my kennel, and I would go down there and sit on the couch we had in there, and hug them and laugh and cry as they jumped all over me. Even now, I wonder, Why? Why were they the lucky ones to get out when tens of thousands were killed there in horror? I cry as I sit here and write this, so so grateful that they got out and so heartbroken for those who didn’t, and those who still don’t. So confused about the mysteries of life like why I live here and why others are born under a bridge in India? And praying that there is a reason, because if there isn’t, I don’t know that I can live in such a cruel world.
The only things that bring me peace are being in nature, being with my kids and creating. Between my family and dog rescue, I have some pretty deep scars.
This is why I don’t write about it. It’s locked in there. I don’t think I’m strong enough to take it all out yet. The ones who died in my hands. The ones I missed. So damn painful; it still is, which is why I still donate my time and money to dog rescue. I can’t do active rescue much anymore. The pain is too much for me. But I try to help others who can.

Some dog rescue ideas and stories

When I started in dog rescue, the lovely town of Greenville, SC had a 87% kill rate of the 21,000 dogs and puppies that came in every year. I got my Carolina and my first rescue dogs and pups there. I pulled 21 of them after they killed a little black hot-dog kind of dog I had my eye on. Carolina was my third pull – the local boarding kennel had been helping me but bailed when some dog got sick. I had to send Carolina and about ten other dogs to a vet for kenneling until the transport was coming. Carolina got a respiratory infection and almost died – the vet called me and yelled at me for sending them a sick dog. That’s when I realized that even to most vets in the south, shelter dogs were trash to be put in black garbage bags and taken to the landfill. This was the start of my nightmare.

More to come…