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03 August 2009

Daring Rescues

If you haven't any compassion in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.
~Bob Hope

I don't know what it is but I have always been involved in pet rescues - mostly with dogs. They seem to gravitate toward me and even as an adult these instances have continued. I don't know, maybe I have a dog spirit or maybe it's karma from another life and dog spirits are naturally drawn towards me. Whatever it is, when I am presented with a case, you can count on me to help. I guess my earliest memories are as a child when my sisters and I found a lost little black spaniel that we proudly brought home and promptly named Cassie. We assured our parents that we would just keep it until it found a home - which our parents made sure was right away. Then we found a yellow lab named Major that after a few days in our backyard, we found out came with a $25 reward! Needless to say, the owner came and got him right away.

I can never let a wandering dog with no human at it's side to pass me by and neither can my husband, Warren. I will always stop and coax the dog over to see if it has a collar. I will be late to work if it means that I can rescue a lost dog. Once I was driving and I found a dog meandering all by it's proud self down the street, crossing back and forth without looking. I pulled over and called to him, but he ignored me and turned around and went down another street. I followed him for a while, with my passenger door open, beckoning him with treats. Eventually he stopped and stared at me as if to say, look lady, I'm not interested! Finally a woman stepped out of the house we were in front of and gave me a look of horror - like I was a dog napper. Then she called her dog over and told me that this was her dog and that I should leave it alone. I of course let her know right away that I thought it was lost because it did not have a collar and was cruising around the neighborhood alone. She gave me the evil eye and took her dog inside. Well, fine. Since then, I see that dog all the time, wandering alone. I
can't help myself. I stop and tell it to GET HOME! Dumb dog-owner.

Another time, I was walking all three of our dogs when a little black labbie came bounding over to us, wagging her tail. Again, no human in sight. I was able to manage to get a look at her collar and found out her name was Poppy and that she lived 3 houses down. I grabbed her collar along with our three and walked her home. No one answered so I put her in the backyard and told her to stay.

Other rescues have been more humorous. This one happened about 2 years ago. We had just woken up on a Saturday morning and were standing out on our front porch, half awake with our coffees and cigarettes. I happened to glance across the street to our new neighbors house when something moving on the roof caught my eye. I blinked and looked again. Holy cow, it was the neighbors dog and it was on the roof. I yelled to Warren, 'Dog on the roof' and ran inside to get my shoes. He grabbed the 6 foot ladder and we race
d across the street. We banged on their door but no one was home. Warren set up the ladder while I coaxed her to stay still with treats. Every time Warren got near her, she'd move to the other side of the roof. We caused such a commotion that a few neighbors came out to help along with a guy who pulled over when he saw our dilemma. Between all of us, we got her to one side where Warren lifted her off the roof and passed her on to another person down the ladder. We thanked everyone for their help as everyone dispersed and grabbed the ladder and started across the street. Just as we did, our new neighbors rounded the corner towards their house. The look on their face was classic - here we were leaving their house with a 6-foot ladder and their dog. We immediately started explaining what had just transpired. The story lives on and has been told many times. It gets funnier with every telling.

Our most recent daring rescue was just this last weekend. Again, it was early morning on Sunday. I was in the kitchen and happened to glance out of the window. I saw a little Collie sniffing around in the house across the street. I said to Warren, "I didn't know the new renters had a dog". Warren said, "They don't". Then we looked at each other - yes, another rescue was at hand. This was such a regular occurrence now that we di
dn't even need to stop and think, we reacted with adept proficiency - we grabbed dog treats and a leash and ran out the front door. When we got nearer to the dog, we realized she was just a puppy so we showed her the treats and called her with enthusiasm. It worked immediately. She came leaping and romping towards us. We made her sit for her treat and as we gave it to her, we leashed her up. After spotting her pink collar with rhinestones we felt relieved - she'd have a phone number to call.

But it wasn't going to be that easy. Daring rescues never are. Her tags only had her microchip 800 number. After calling that, we found that the owner was not answering but the second contact was a hysterical sister of the owner, Leanne. Turns out, the owner was in Alaska for a few weeks - without cell service. His dogs were being dog-sat by his friend - BUT - she didn't know where or who these friends were. She raced out to get the puppy - who we now knew was Jezebel. We fed her because we weren't sure how long she had been wandering - it could have been days since she had eaten. Sadly, we found out that Jezebel had a brother but we hadn't seen another dog wandering around. Apparently, the last time Leanne's brother went out of town, the dog he had at the time had gotten out of the dog-sitters house and gotten run over. She was just in tears as it seemed as if this nightmare was happening again. We gave her our number and told her we would help in any way we could. We also talked about who this 'dog-sitter' could be. She said she thought it could be Bud, a tall native american with greying hair. Both Warren and I said, oh man, that's Toby and he lives just down the street - 4 houses down to be exact. But no, this guys name was Bud, not Toby. So she left and we promised to stay in touch. About an hour later, she called to say she had found her brother's dog sitter - and it WAS Toby - down the street - and the other dog, Taz, was fine and still there.

So the story goes like this: Toby, aka - Bud, fed the dogs and put them in the backyard with bones. Jezebel dug a hole under the fence and escaped. When we found her, she had only been missing about 5 minutes. Taz didn't get out. Toby didn't realize they were missing until he got the call from Leanne but was immediately assured that a nice couple down the street had rescued Jezebel, who by the way, now had the squirts from 2 breakfasts, a bone and the excitement of being a runaway, all within one hour. Leanne thanked us profusely and apologized for not having any money. I will tell you what I told her - We do not want any money. The only thing we hope is that if one of our dogs ever got out that someone would put forth the same effort to find it's home.

Daring rescues involve quick, decisive action, sometimes a little creativity, some waiting time and lots of explaining. But in the end, compassion and kindness win and the parties involved are pleased with the outcome and thank you's are abundant. But we don't attempt these rescues for the recognition. We do it for the love of animals and to protect the hearts of the humans who love them.

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