I volunteer my time and photography with New Hope Pit Bull Rescue. There's a not so long story behind it. In my years of rescue, I had Sissy, a gorgeous black PB, when I found him he was covered in fleas and ticks. I lost count. Oh, the name was short for Sisco. :) We found him a great home where I'm sure he is probably still running around wiggling for attention.
Mostly though, I volunteer because of Devo; he was the dog next door that I constantly had to go over and untangle branches from his chain. He could barely reach the inadequate shed for what little shelter he could get from storms. I took a blanket over for him in the winter, and I took him food and made sure he had water. I also tried to get him released to me. When we left, it took everything I had not to steal him away on that pre-dawn morning. So for Devo and all of the other mistreated, maligned, and unloved pits, I offer time and a bit of effort to help out when I can. I also get to work with some fantastic people who love all animals.
Anyone who knows me knows I have a passion for GSD's. The Director and Assistant Director contacted me about a shelter with a very high kill rate that had 2 GSDs. One a young b&t pup, about 6 mo old that "may" have parvo and another app. 3 yr old white that would not walk on a leash and had to be carried everywhere.
My first response was "What do you mean it won't walk on a leash?"
It is amazing how many dogs have 'parvo' there, yet are in with all of the other dogs and not quarantined. Just another one to be pts to make room for the next one coming in. They have no value other than the intake fee. I won't go into it, but it's thoroughly disgusting and putrid to put it politely.
I said I wanted to temp test. We made arrangements to meet there, as we were also going to TT a PB that she'd asked them to hold. When we got there, the PB had already been pts due to the possibility of, you guessed it...parvo. He was "sick" overnight.
Just because a dog has a runny stool, does NOT mean it has parvo. I wanted to scream. The AD held herself together. Just meant another cell open for another dog to kill. If I had my way it would NOT be a GSD.
As soon as I walked into holding I saw her, a gorgeous white GSD. She was cowering in the back corner of the 3x5 concrete cell. Two cells down, there was a perfectly marked, yappy, black & tan puppy. According to the card, the little boy was about 5 mos old. Happy and bouncy, and trying to push off an equally attention hungry larger hound mix in the same cell. Both eager to see someone with compassion and a smile.
As soon as I saw the pup, I turned to my AD and said, "I'll take him."
"He's had the runs. They're going to say he might have parvo."
"I'll take that risk."
There was no indication whatsoever that this dog was sick. Stressed? You bet. Sick? No way. A convenient excuse to kill dogs. Again, if a dog has or may be considered to have parvo why aren't they being quarantined?
...back to my big white girl...I was told repeatedly, "she won't walk on a leash", "the guy that found her had to carry her in" "she stops dead and plants" "we have to pick her up" and I said very firmly, "she will walk on a leash." I looked to see what they had for leashes and saw the standard leads. I went back out to my truck and pulled out one of my slip leads and went back in. There was no sign of aggressiveness, just fear. I am quite familiar with how quick fear aggression can turn nasty. Her posture, everything about her said "please don't hurt me." I slowly backed into her cell. No contact, didn't look at her, I started with a few heavy sighs, licked my lips, and slowly held out the lead. She decided I was not a threat and leaned forward to investigate. Within 10 minutes we were bonding with calming signals. In another 5 I had the lead on her, and we were walking out the front door, across the parking lot, and into a small wooded area so she could "explore".
All to the 'awe' of people who just didn't have the patience and understanding of the animal. I'm no miracle worker. I'm no 'Dog Whisperer'. I love dogs. They are my passion. They always have been. It's instinct mixed with constantly educating myself.
As I was getting her back across the parking lot, a guy brought in a rather large hound. It slipped the lead and came after my big white girl. She shut down, scared to death and wriggling. I did not. I had to hold on to the lead, but couldn't get between her and the other dog. He got to her from behind a truck and it happened lightning fast. All I could do was firmly tell the guy without showing any panic "Get his back legs! Grab him by the legs!" Fortunately he was not attacking violently, he was scared and fearful (amazing how that happens around shelters.) Finally he got the dog off of my girl. I don't know if he said anything or not. I checked her, she was fine physically. It was at this point I looked at her and told her "I'm not going to let anything happen to you. You're going to be ok." We stood up, and just as before, walked proudly back into the building. I had to put her back into that horrid cell. As I took off the lead, I leaned down and told her "I'll be back, I promise."
Then I took out the little boy. No sweat. Somebody lost an almost perfect GSD. He had few faults physically. A beautiful gait, wonderful disposition, I could not imagine anyone not looking for him! He walked at a perfect heal. Had shown some intense interest in the cats in the front office. Oh great! At least that's something I'm used to, GSD's are herding dogs afterall. In the meantime, my white girl was in the back howling. The first indication of life in her at all I was told. As my AD and I talked, I told her I wanted to pull both of the dogs. I continued to the little grassy area with the pup to walk him around a bit.
That's when the kennel worker came out and said "You can't take them. They can't be released yet."
I stopped dead in my tracks. "What?"
"That white one can't go til Saturday, and this one can't go until next week because of the tags."
I knew very well if I left there would be no dogs for me to pick up. The rabies tag on the 5 mo old puppy was from 2005. Something didn't add up on THAT one, ya think?
I went and talked to the manager. "There seems to be an issue with me taking the dogs. If I take them, that frees up two more kennels for you to put your incoming, and you know with July 4th coming up, you'll no doubt get a large influx."
I think she figured out real quick I was not going to let up. I could give plenty of reasons for her to let me have the dogs. The best of which would be me not breathing down her neck. :)
Thanks to New Hope Pit Bull Rescue, there is new hope for two GSD's with my pack of Underdogs.
I know everyone is tight on the money, believe me we are too. The last thing I expected was to have two more mouths to feed, but Wolf and I have always managed and we always will. Assuming everything works the way it's supposed to, you should see a little "Chip In" widget over to the right. If every person that reads this just donates $1 it would help. Know that you're helping to save lives. If you have physical donations or you are a company that would like to donate, please contact me at the e-mail provided. Everything helps. You are helping every dog (and cat, yes cats!!!) that NHPBR assists in fostering, adopting out, getting to the vet, surgeries, shots, etc. everything that needs taken care of in one way or another.
With all that said, I am ecstatic to introduce the two new additions to the Underdog family, both GIRLS (yep, they didn't even have the pups sex right!)...
My big white girl, Fionn Gwen "Fifi" (look at how thin she is!)and my 5 mo old Bridhe Morrigan "Grace"