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I’m SO frustrated!!

January 26, 2011

Yes, I’m going to share another tragic story. I deliberated over not sharing this one but in the spirit of sharing what it’s really like to live the life of rescue, this is some of the really ugly part of it all.

On Sunday morning when I was driving west on Hwy 26 to pick up our rescued puppies, I spotted what I thought was a dead cat at the bottom of the on ramp to eastbound Hwy 26 at Brookwood. I always call in dead animals to the county right away, because I think they need to be picked up as soon as possible so the county has an opportunity to try to identify the animal and notify the owners. I also think it’s disrespectful to the memory of an animal to be laying on the  highway while traffic drives by.

I knew the county’s animal services was closed on Sunday, but I left them a message anyway, giving them the particulars for their officers to do a pick-up on Monday morning. On my way back the second time that day, I looked over again and realized it was actually a dog. I was also concerned that if the dog remained on the highway until Monday, it might be harder to identify.

So I called the sheriff’s office. They told me they wouldn’t be able to pick up a dead animal but they would send an officer to “check it out”. I’m not sure what that meant, or why…

A little while later when I was driving back east bound, I saw an officer pulled over on Hwy 26 about 1/4 mile past the dog. I pulled over behind him and asked him if he was there for the dog. He said he was but had not seen it. I told him where the dog was and he told me he would not be able to pick it up. I was still unsure why they had dispatched him there if he could not pick the dog up, so I asked  him whether he could block the highway so I could pick the dog up without being killed. He agreed to do that, so we drove to the next exit, and went back to where the dog was. He turned his lights on and got out to help me.

The dog was actually a black and tan female Dachshund. She had been wearing a rhinestone collar that had broken when she was hit, and there was no tag.  She had obviously been bred. The poor girl looked like she had very few injuries, and I was sad wondering how she ended up on the freeway, and whether she died from shock or her injuries. I loaded her in my car and took her home, hoping it would turn out she had a microchip. Even though it would be sad news for her family, I felt good about my part in being able to help provide respect and closure for them…or so I thought.

I brought the dog to the shelter the next day (Monday). Sadly, she did not have a microchip and no one had called in looking for a missing Doxie. I checked Craigslist in case someone had posted her as lost. Nothing. That whole day passed, and no one called in looking for their missing Doxie.

Tuesday passed. Nothing.

This morning I drove past the area again on my way out to our ranch. I was looking for the closest homes the little dog may have wandered away from. There are very few, maybe five. The area is surrounded by industry and businesses. I contacted the owner of the dog kennel on the other side of Brookwood, and she had not heard anything about a missing Doxie. She did not know of any of the neighbors having a Doxie, either.

This is when I got really frustrated. How did that dog get on to the on ramp of the freeway??!! That poor little girl had not carried herself on those short little legs from very far. That much of the mystery is clear.

It is now Wednesday night. I have continued to check Craigslist daily. The shelter has still not received a single call. The little Doxie was killed on Saturday night. She has been missing from her home since at least then, for five full days, and no one appears to be looking for her!

I am SO sad for her. I’m not just sad for the fact that she was killed in such a horrible manner and was probably scared and disoriented when it happened, but I’m so sad for the fact that no one seems to care that she’s gone. I wonder if she was a dog who had no value to her people other than breeding puppies. I wonder if she lived her whole life in someone’s backyard. My mind wanders to even more tragic possibilities for how she may have ended up on the highway, but I just can’t go there. I’m angry enough…

So, please send that little girl good thoughts. Wherever she is, she surely deserves lots of love.

Houdini is finally stepping out.

January 25, 2011

I just had to share some pics of Houdini, who decided he wanted to be friends with Peter so he ventured out of the bedroom and into the living room. As soon as he knew I was watching he ran back to the bedroom, but he didn’t run under the bed like usual, he just sat at the doorway. Baby steps. I’m so proud of him!

Houdini even sits in his bedroom without running under the bed now.

The sad news is that Houdini appears to be losing his vision. He can still see so it seems like it’s just the beginning of visual impairment, but he definitely doesn’t look directly at me, he kind of looks just next to me. Hopefully, his vision will last.

Phoenix is up to 42lbs!!


If you remember, our feral dog, Phoenix, weighed 27lbs when he was rescued.  He was super emaciated and terrified of everything. Well, he weighed in yesterday at 42lbs! Dr Mark bathed him again yesterday (twice, actually), and his super coarse coat is starting to feel soft, and the dirty white areas actually look white now!

The hardest part for Phoenix has been the feral behavior. He’s a really sweet dog and he gets excited when he sees me, but in my yard, he panics and races frantically back and forth like something terrible is going to happen if he doesn’t get back in fast! I have been working on getting him to walk on a leash. He’ll take one or two steps, but then he throws on the brakes and lays down, so you have to drag him.

Here he is getting bold enough to venture into my kitchen (after a few weeks of coaxing).

Here’s what happens when the dogs come in muddy…

January 12, 2011

This pic is from a while ago, taken in my kitchen after the dogs came in from outside and ran through my kitchen. I just still find it entertaining. Note: the light colored smudges are actually hand painted on the wall. The rest is mud. It looks like a perfect painting!

An incredible story of a very brave cat

January 11, 2011

This is Houdini.

Our vet estimates Houdini as being about 14 years old. Houdini was found as a stray cat about five years ago by our late volunteer Sandi when she lived in Gales Creek. He was very fearful and acted feral, so it took Sandi a long time to lure him close enough to get him into her home. Once he was in her home, he hid under her bed for months.

Eventually, Sandi told her friends that Houdini was sleeping up on the bed with her other cats. She was so pleased. She felt that he finally trusted her, but not enough to allow her to capture him to take him to the vet. Houdini had a deformity on his mouth, and Sandi believed it was from being hit by a car.

Sadly, Sandi passed away without ever knowing the truth about what had happened to Houdini. I took Houdini, and had him examined by our vet (along with Sandi’s other cats). I held him during his exam and my heart warmed because he purred the entire time, showing that he was actually not feral, but had been someone’s pet at some time in his life. Dr Mark noticed right away that where the deformity on his mouth was, he had a luxating (disconnected) jaw, that moved from side to side.

Since we knew he needed a dental, we had x-rays done. What they revealed was shocking, and traumatic to see. Houdini had been shot in the face. The bullet fragments were still embedded in his skull, and had disintegrated much of his lower jaw and blown out many of his teeth. A piece of the metal had abscessed in one of Houdini’s canine teeth.

We did the dental surgery on Houdini and had the abscessed tooth and others removed. Luckily, he came through the surgery fine. We also discovered that he was FIV positive, probably from living on his own for so long before Sandi helped him. In spending time with him, I had also discovered that he was deaf and we realized that was also an affect from having been shot.

So now, we knew this poor guy had been dumped in rural Gales Creek and lived on his own, during which time he had contracted FIV and been shot in the face, leaving him deaf, with a partial jaw and in a lot of pain. Somehow, he figured out how to eat again, and how to survive on his own without being able to hear. Already, he was like a miracle survivor.

On the day that he had his surgery, I brought Houdini home and was sitting in my car petting him through his top loading crate. He was relaxed and I noticed he started kneading his front paws. While he was kneading, a thought came to me. His toes looked unusually short. NO!!!

I was beyond traumatized by the realization of what that meant. I reached down and squeezed his paw and confirmed it. HE HAS NO CLAWS! This miracle survivor had been declawed, then dumped in the woods in rural Gales Creek. Without claws, he couldn’t have defended himself against any predators. Then he was shot in the face, probably while trying to find food on some farmer’s property. He was left deaf, without part of his jaw, with metal embedded in his head and in his teeth. This brave, amazing cat, still managed to figure out how to survive until Sandi found him. No wonder he didn’t trust people!

My promise to Houdini is this. You will never, for as long as you may live, have a bad day again. Houdini sleeps on a soft blanket on a human bed in a room with a window facing the trees so he can watch what’s going on in the world without being unsafe. He eats yummy wet food because I’m no longer trying to save his teeth (most are already gone). He has catnip toys, and a scratching post. I think he’s happy and I know he’s safe. I take comfort in being able to offer him that. He definitely deserves it.

Our first rescue of the New Year…


Okay, he wasn’t actually our first rescue, but definitely our worst. In the worst condition.

I had gone in to the shelter to pick up a new little Pit pup (teenager) we were rescuing (Mary Jo is fostering her). While I was there, they asked me if I could come back to the back and look at a dog they were going to be emailing me about. I could tell from the way Sheila was acting that it was a tragic situation, but I didn’t have any idea what else to expect. This is what I saw…

This dog was cowering in the back of a kennel. His coat looked terrible, and his tail was matted to the skin with huge mattes. Even with his long hair, you could see his ribs and hip bones. They told me he was found running scared in Gaston. His frame is long and he looks like a dog that should weigh about 55+lbs, instead he weighed 27lbs. On a veterinary rating of 1-5 for emaciation (1 being worst, 5 being best), he was rated a 1. The shelter vet estimated his age at about one year old, probably a Border Collie/Australian Shepherd mix. He had clearly been on his own for quite awhile.

I took one look at him and knew he had to leave the shelter, so I brought him home. That night, Susan and Mary Jo and I bathed him, cut his matte’s out, brushed him and blow dried him (after he got used to the whole experience). It took about two hours but he looked and felt much better! Susan named him Phoenix.

I feed Phoenix four times per day so it’s easier for him to metabolize his food and benefit from it. He eats every morsel. Yesterday, I brought him up to our vet clinic and weighed him and he is already 35lbs! I’m so excited!

Phoenix is still very, very fearful. He runs back and forth in my backyard like a dog who is panicky and feral. Luckily, he knows and trusts me so he comes to me pretty easily. I can tell he is really relieved to be indoors, because he runs as fast as he can to get inside after he does his business. Been there, done that, don’t want to do it anymore!

I will keep you posted of his progress and take pics as he gains weight. I also think his coat color will change because it looks bleached and coarse from being outdoors and malnourished.

Think about how cold it is outside right now. It’s been 20 degrees. Phoenix would have been out there in that cold, weighing roughly half his normal body weight. He’s a lucky, lucky boy.