Thursday, May 28, 2009

Phoenix Update

Phoenix with Glenn and Seamus.

From Glenn, Phoenix's new guardian

I first met Phoenix at 1:30 in the morning in Winchester, VA, by that time she had already been in a crate for over 13 hours. I took her for a short walk and a small drink of water and Evan, the driver who had gotten her from Mississippi to Virginia, mentioned that she had been pretty badly abused. She was going to my last stop in Salem, NH, so she was one of the first loaded onto my van. She ended up behind my passenger seat on top of the other crates, so I could turn around just a little and see her and also stick my fingers in her crate. Whenever I used my cell phone or 2-way radio she would sit up and look at me. It wasn't long before I snapped a picture of her with my phone and sent it home. I was smitten. I called Megan, who was in charge of that trip and got some background on Phoenix. As soon as I could I got a hold of Lori, the director of the Salem Animal Rescue League, and asked if I could have her meet my male pitbull, Seamus, also a rescue, to see if they would be compatible. Lori said, no problem, that they would love her to go to someone that they would stay in touch with. The following Saturday, we drove the 2 hours up to New Hampshire from my home in Connecticut and let the dogs meet. She wasn't too keen on Seamus at first, but after a bit we took them into a large enclosure and let them go. They took off chasing each other around and around, and still do every day. Needless to say Phoenix went home with us that day.

Phoenix and Seamus playing in the Connecticut snow.

She has her issues - doesn't care for men or other dogs too much. We have taken her to obedience class where she's become more socialized, some weeks more than others. This helped her get started in doggie daycare, where they've very patient with her, as they had refused her at first. She now goes to two doggie daycares and gets along with (almost) all the dogs. She is a work in progress but brings so much joy to our family. She and Seamus are best buddies.

Sharing a bed.

Here's a typical day in the life of Phoenix. She wakes up on our bed, which she shares with her two humans, Seamus and a cat or two, teases Seamus until he finally gives in a gets up to play - he's not an early riser. Then it's breakfast and into the van to drive my son, Andrew, to school, which just happens to be close to about 80 wooded acres with some great trails, two ponds and a couple of streams. We normally walk for about an hour on and an hour or so off leash, with extra time for cooling off in the water. Both of the dogs never stop running, chasing, playing tug with sticks or jumping up on big rocks, it's a non stop show that we never tire of. Once we get home it's time for a snack followed by a good nap under the fan or on the deck. Lunchtime we go for a quick walk maybe half an hour, then run some errands - the bank, post office, places that give out cookies are their favorite. More napping in the afternoon followed by a drive to pick up Andrew and at around 5 or 6 we go to the city park and walk about 3 miles either on the walking path or through the trails in the woods. Then it's home to spend the evening with the family, either sleeping or wrestling on our bed. Around 10 or 11 it's time for another walk, just a quick 20 minutes or so before fighting for the best spot on the bed yet again. This is our daily routine for the most part, they normally go to daycare for one full day and one half day, different locations, so that they can play with their canine friends. We normally go out for dinner with friends on a Friday evening, so they both get a frozen bone, which they love. It also helps with Phoenix as she can be a little destructive but has come a long way. We don't crate either of them, so we just try and be responsible in putting things away.

Phoenix came into our lives the weekend of my birthday, which I spent driving a transport for Homeward Bound. What a birthday present she's been. We've had her now for almost 7 months, and we couldn't imagine life without her. She has been to hell and back (I've seen the pictures) and is still so sweet and loving.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Update for May 14, 2009

A very concerned Doll with a very sick Danielle.

We've been very concerned this week for our mare, Danielle, who foundered from the excess new growth of grass. On Friday both Doc and our farrier, Raymond, rushed to Danielle’s aid. I had called sobbing because Elizabeth discovered Danielle staggering when she went to feed them. Just the day before things were looking up for Danielle because she had begun recovering from thrush, also related to all the rain we’ve experienced.

Danielle was given medication for pain and confined in the double stall by the back entrance to the barn. Amy went to the feed store for shavings to cushion the stall and aid in keeping it dry and easy to clean. The other horses can visit with her while she’s kept safely away from the tempting grass. Hay left from last year has been used for bedding. This hay is low in protein and will keep Danielle full and happy, but not hungry. The other horses are being watched and we are expecting a full recovery from Danielle.

Yesterday the team from Mississippi State University (MSU) came to do spays/neuters. We were really rushed in getting prepared for their visit with Lauren being out sick. Fortunately, Lauren was back yesterday to help.

Dr. Bushby, our buddy and the MSU veterinarian in charge, wasn't able to make the trip yesterday for our spay/neuter day, but Dr. Cocker was able to fill in and get the job done. And what a job it was - the team spayed or neutered nearly 40 animals in yesterday. Many of these animals are in foster care and will either be on our next Homeward Bound transport or our next transport to Denver.

It was a very busy and challenging week, but we managed to make it through. Somehow we always do...

Lastly, we received a visit from Kirk Academy Senior Class representatives, who arrived with a pick-up truck bed full of feed that their class had raised money to buy. We are very, very grateful. Grenada Star reporter, Brittany Huggins, came with the students to cover the story.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Update for May 8, 2009

Hi Everyone,

This is a update I can’t wait to give. Project Hope has really good news. You probably know we took 43 dogs and 2 cats to Colorado two weeks ago. Every Creature Counts has reported that nearly all of the animals we delivered have been adopted and they are sharing the cost of another transport soon. Whoohoo!!!

This is awesome news for us at a time when we’re committed to aiding a number of at risk dogs. There are scores of dogs in the clutch of several local collectors and we have committed to aiding with change at the Winona Pound. More frequent transports will free up the space for us to better provide shelter for these animals.

Winona Pound

In recent days we received a call from our dear friends at the Two Sisters Restaurant in Winona, MS, a town eleven miles south of us. Charlie, the Animal Control Officer had asked the sisters to let us know there were pups at the Pound. I went straight over as soon as I heard. The pound is an outdoor kennel consisting of six partially covered runs. There’s a single dog house in each run made of a section of four foot culvert raised off the ground. Water faucets run 24-7 and rusted metal doors, waste deposits of rotting food surrounding the feeders, hair and feces trapped on fence bottoms and unsealed cement contribute to an environment ripe for disease.

Winona Pound waste removal and drainage.

There were four pups in one run and another one in with two medium adult dogs, one of which was limping, so I took them all. The four pups, Nancy, Jinnee, Kara, and Winfield are being treated for worms, but are otherwise healthy. The two adults are also in relatively good overall shape.

Nancy, Winfield and Kara - new arrivals from the Winona Pound.

A couple of days later I went back to the Pound to take some donated dog food to with Charlie. He told me there was a small dog with something wrong, but he wasn’t sure exactly what. I found a small, pitiful Boston Terrier-mix clearly in distress. She was cool to the touch, her breathing was shallow, and her lower eye-lids drooped. She was suffering from a double cherry-eye, but this was the least of her troubles. Acacia, as we know her now, was suffering from parvo. She was immediately put on drip. How she survived this long with no veterinary care is amazing. She was within hours of death and has taken several weeks to recover. The celebration of her recovery was joyous. She’s had surgery for her eyes and will be spayed this Wednesday. She is such a little darling. She curls up next to me each night and doesn’t move. Someone (in addition to me!) is going to fall absolutely in love with this sweetheart.


Sunday afternoon Amy and I had lunch at 2 Sisters. Since Amy hadn’t seen the Winona Pound, I asked if she she'd like to run by to see where the dogs we were helping were coming from. On the way we picked up a mother and her pup standing in the street in front of the vacant house where I assume their family had moved from. I remembered the mother from the many times I slowed for her in the past. She was always in the street. A neighbor confirmed she’d been abandoned and had aided several other orphaned pups with homes. We asked if he was going to keep the mom and he said he couldn’t, so we thanked him the help he’d provided and headed for the place mom would’ve eventually wound up had we not gotten to her first- the Pound.

When arrived at the pound Amy was horrified to see what the city considered to be a shelter and that the site was also the city dump and maintenance center. She immediately got on the phone and with a friend asking her to start looking for foster homes. The new plan was for us to get as many of our dogs, who were leaving in a couple of weeks on a Homeward Bound transport, into foster homes as possible so we could bring in these at risk dogs in. (Six of these new dogs have already been added to the next Homeward Bound trip.)

I’ve met with Amanda Saxton, the Winona Times editor, who is also the President of the newly formed Winona Humane Society. Amanda has experience with a “real” shelter in northern Mississippi. We’re formulating plans to raise funds to see that the dogs are wormed and inoculated at the Pound and when we have space for spay/neuter, we’ll also help. Amanda is thinking of ways to share the cost of transports if we can include dogs held at the Winona Pound on our trips.

While I’m walking the grounds here at the sanctuary, spending time with the grazers or doing my daily chores, it’s always on my mind what a responsibility we have for the animals that would have no life without us.


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