Archive for the ‘Rescue Stories’ Category
I feel very lucky that Michelle shared this story with me.
The Little Puppy That Could
You probably have to be a dog person to understand how this could happen. One minute my husband and I were talking about getting a companion for Piglet, our five-year-old Golden Retriever, and the next we were in a shelter staring at the saddest little ball of pathos a cage has ever held. Her nose was running, her coat was filthy, and her eyes were wet, desperate and pleading. At the same time, her tail was thumping like a jackhammer. She was one sick puppy, but there was something indomitable about her. At times like this, rational people leave. We, however, formed an instant rescue committee. We paid our “donation” and took the little mess straight to Dr. K, the veterinarian who’d looked after my dogs since I was in high school.
Dr. K listened to the puppy’s lungs for a moment, removed his stethoscope and said she had one of the worst cases of distemper he’d ever seen. He didn’t know if he could save her, but he could try. It was up to us. But the decision had already been made. That panicked look on her face, that thumping tail. The puppy had picked us. We were her Obi-Wan Kenobi, her only hope. We had to try.
After almost a week with Dr. K she came home with piles of antibiotics. Several times a day we had to run the shower until the bathroom filled with steam and sit with her for ten or fifteen minutes while she wheezed. She was too sick to be vaccinated, so she had to stay indoors. The unintended consequence was, whenever we took Piglet for a walk, the puppy went into a frenzy. After a few days she started to whine and howl every time we left the house, with or without Piglet. She was so loud, the new neighbor across the hall reported us to the ASPCA for animal abuse. That’s when we figured out her name: Decibel, dB for short.
As Decibel’s health improved, boredom turned her into a one-dog wrecking crew. In a single day she chewed almost completely through the legs of a table that had belonged to my grandmother. We bought a puppy gate, but she climbed over it. We bought a second gate and stacked them. Did I mention we have high ceilings? The next day I came home to find she had scaled the two gates and eaten the couch. It was an 82-inch, Tuxedo-style sofa with lots of pillows and cushions, and she had chewed through all of them. The living room was knee-deep in mounds of white pillow stuffing. It was a little like that Rolling Stones video for “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll” where the boys are in sailor suits and at the end they’re nearly swallowed up by bubbles. Except it wasn’t bubbles, it was my couch. I bought a third gate. She climbed that, too, but she couldn’t get over it. It was too close to the top of the doorframe.
When Decibel finally was healthy enough to go outside, no one would ever have guessed she’d been sick. She ran and jumped and caught balls in the air like an all-star outfielder. She was also my little early warning system. Every once in a while the hair on her neck and shoulders would stand straight up and she’d start to bark. Sure enough, I’d see some dodgy character. Unfortunately, Decibel was a disaster in the dog run. Her muttly mix was full of Border Collie and the herding force was strong. She chased the other dogs around in circles, barking and nipping at their heels until they cowered together in a corner.
Gradually she grew up, calmed down, and became the dog that sits on your feet because sitting near your feet wouldn’t be close enough. The dog that looks guilty whether or not she did it. The dog that sidles up with a toy in her mouth and a look in her eyes that says “playtime” at 5 o’clock in the morning. The dog that makes you laugh really hard. Decibel was a great, crazy dog.
And then she was nine. Piglet, now 14, was developing the kidney problems that tell you an old dog’s time is getting short. It was winter when we took her to Dr. K and finally let her go. When spring came and the ground thawed and filled the air with aromas that make a dog’s heart sing, Decibel seemed to smell Piglet everywhere. She ran through the park wagging her tail, sniffing the ground and searching expectantly for her lost friend.
That summer, for the first time in her life, Decibel wasn’t interested in running. Her feet seemed a little swollen — not all the time, but sometimes. Her appetite wasn’t great either. Then, out of nowhere, she collapsed. We rushed her to the nearest emergency hospital, the Animal Medical Center. She spent two days there hooked to an IV while they tested her for everything from Lyme disease to exotic parasites. Every test was negative. Probably a virus, they thought. When she collapsed a few weeks later, we raced back. Another day on an IV, more tests, and still no diagnosis.
In September she started to go downhill again, and I took her to Dr. K. By the time we got to his clinic on Long Island, he had already reviewed her test records and figured out what was wrong: Decibel had Lupus. Lupus? He said there was reason to be hopeful. Canine Lupus can often be managed with steroids. It would all depend on how far the disease had progressed.
If this were a fairy tale we would all have lived happily ever after. But that’s not what happened. With daily doses of steroid pills, Decibel ran, jumped and bounced around like a puppy for 14 days. And then, on our morning walk, she collapsed. I carried her home and sat down on the floor. She lay across my lap struggling to breathe. I hugged her and told her it was okay to let go. The little puppy that could simply couldn’t anymore. Just like that, she died in my arms.
Reading this, you might wonder if it was worth it. If all the worry and ruined furniture and veterinary bills were worth the nine short years we had with Decibel. The answer is yes. It was a bargain.
— Michele Hush
Here is the sweet and astonishingly photogenic Olive, loyal companion to Bridget Pilloud.
Olive was found on January 4th 2009 by the Los Angeles County Animal Control. She had a broken pelvis and a big gash on her face that went down to the bone. They thought that she had been hit by a car. In Los Angeles, no dog that can be made well is euthanized. They make dogs well and then, because of a lack of space, they euthanize them. It’s weird.
Anyway, Olive spent 2 months in the Los Angeles County Harbor Hospital. And then she was released to the shelter where they put her on a list to be euthanized in 6 days.
Nicky LeGore is the volunteer coordinator there and she decided that Olive needed a home. So she did everything she could think of to get Olive out. She emailed everybody she knew. Through twitter, and 5 degrees of separation, I found out about Olive. I work as a pet psychic, and I’m on twitter a lot, so I thought I’d just call down and see if I could talk with Olive and find her a home. I was NOT LOOKING FOR A DOG.
Nicky said, “Would you consider being her foster home?”
And I said, “Listen, I live up in Portland. Surely someone in LA will want to foster this dog. But if you need a last-ditch place, let me know.”
That Thursday, she called me and said, “We’re driving her up to you.” Nicky and her husband put Olive in their car and drove her to my house in Portland. That’s 967 miles away. They used their own money to get her to me. They wouldn’t take a dime from me.
I didn’t want another dog. My sweetheart really didn’t want another dog. We had two already. We were fine.
Olive made the case that she was indeed our dog. She was perfectly house-trained except when we took her to potential new homes and then she’d find the expensive rug to take a dump upon. “See,” she’d say, “I can’t be trusted.” She did this in seven potential homes!
To us, she was an expert at marketing herself. She is very good at catching tennis balls and snuggling and being cute. When she shakes hands, she looks like Winston Churchill. She likes cats and teenage boys. So, it only took about 2 months for her to wear us down.
We love our Olive. She’s awesome.
This little sweetface comes our way via Erica Callahan. I, personally, see many good kissing spots.
Our girl Sydney is a happy, healthy 4 year old hound. But, when we got her, she was 9 months old and severely malnourished. She was found walking the streets of Newark and brought to a local shelter. She was nameless, with a broken tail and all skin and bones–she looked exactly like Santa’s Little Helper. As soon as we saw her big velvety ears and dopey brown eyes we knew we had to take her home. She is the sweetest, happiest, most lovable pup and she completely changed our lives.
Thanks to Vick Mickunas for this wonderful story! About 5 years ago we were pulling out of our driveway to go to Sunday brunch. We live on a country road in rural Ohio. We were astonished to see a black lab appear just to the right of our driveway alongside the road. She was soaking wet. There's a creek nearby. We took her into our home. We advertised in the local newspapers to see if we could return her to her family. There was no response. It became apparent that someone had just dumped this sweet girl along our lane. We took her to the vet. She had a lot of health issues and she was old. We named her Maisie. We have taken care of her ever since. She is the sweetest dog. She has the most soulful eyes. She has some trouble climbing the stairs but we help her out when she needs it. Maisie still likes going for a swim (see photo) and her appetite remains consistent with her breed; she lives for her meals and her treats. We assume that whoever discarded her had used her as a hunting dog. She gets really excited about gunfire in the distance. She derives tremendous pleasure from her sense of smell. And she has a soft mouth. I have recovered unharmed field mice from inside her mouth. They scampered away without any clue as to how lucky they were to have been unearthed by our wonderful, gentle Maisie. We rescued her that day that she crossed our path. We love this old girl so much.
This is the first rescue story I’m posting. It’s from Erica Mueller and I cried ten times. Thank you, Erica.
This is my late greyhound, Puma. When you have greyhounds, strangers always ask if you rescued them. I explain that virtually all pet greyhounds come from dog tracks because although there are AKC-registered greyhounds, they are few and far between, while many thousands of greyhounds are excessed by the racing industry every year. In fact, I didn’t rescue any of the 7 former racers I have adopted in the last 15 years. They were already safe in adoption kennels. I did save 7 greyhounds, but I’ll never know their names. When I adopted my dogs, it created kennel space so those unknown 7 could reach safe havens, no longer at risk for the needle, bullet, or crowbar because they were injured, or just not fast enough.
One of the loveliest parts of writing YOU HAD ME AT WOOF has been hearing from all the wonderful rescue people
Starting immediately I am inviting YOU to submit stories and photos of your rescued dogs. Each week a team of four legged judges will be selecting a story which will be displayed on the blog (clap, clap, clap).
We’re starting with dogs, but we will add other animals later.
Your submissions can be sent to JK@JulieKlam.com with RESCUE STORY in the subject line.
I’m really looking forward to reading your stories! xox