JustOneMorePet

Every Pet Deserves A Good Home…

Why We Foster…

adopted-ar-2Soleil – Recently, my wife and I drove out of state for a brief gathering of extended family. Our plan was to leave home Friday morning and to be back by Saturday afternoon. Our latest shelter rescue ‘foster dog’, Soleil, stayed at our house and two of our neighbors, who love Soleil and have helped us before, were looking after her.

We took our own dog, Abby, who was a shelter rescue a little over one year ago, to a nearby kennel where she has stayed before, both overnight and a couple of times for daycare while we were having the roof of our home replaced. Abby has come a long way in the past year, but she is still, and may always be, a very fearful dog. Obedience and desensitization training have done wonders, but the best thing that we have been able to do for Abby, and probably for ourselves also, is to welcome foster dogs into our home. In a short time, the fosters have really helped Abby to come out of her shell and we think that she enjoys being a “big sis.” We love being able to watch Abby playing with other dogs and just having the opportunity to be carefree. While in the company of dogs, we know that Abby is no longer thinking about everything else in the world that frightens her. While she is highly intelligent, because of her fear issues we do consider Abby to be a “special needs” dog and it has been too much to ask of a dog-sitter to manage with her at home, especially with periodic fosters to care for as well. We were resistant of taking Abby to a kennel for the first several months after we brought her home from the shelter. We did not want Abby to think that she was back in a shelter. At first if we had to go out of town, we either limited ourselves to day trips in good weather when Abby could stay in our backyard; or we took Abby with us if we could find dog-friendly accommodations; or we just did not go at all. But once we began taking Abby to the kennel (which was at first done by making short visits, then staying for a few hours, eventually for a whole day, and then overnight), Abby seemed fine with the concept. We are fortunate to have a kennel in our neighborhood, which is normally very convenient. The kennel owner is familiar with Abby’s history and makes sure that she gets careful attention and also does not encounter any “bully” dogs.

On the day of our planned trip, we dropped Abby off at the kennel around 9:00 AM and hit the road. We arrived at our destination around 1:30 PM. At 3:00 PM, the owner of the kennel called my cell phone (our emergency contact number). We instantly knew that something was wrong. I pictured in my mind an attack by another dog at the kennel. We did not expect that what had actually happened could have been even worse. Without much detail, the kennel owner told us that Abby had gotten away from them. At that time, we assumed that Abby had slipped her collar (which we had checked before dropping her off). The kennel owner went on to tell us that he did find Abby, and at our house! My wife and I were both surprised and proud of our girl. But the kennel owner could not get close enough to Abby and she ran from him. The kennel owner asked if we could think of any tricks or lures that would help him to calm Abby so that he could get a leash on her. At that moment, Abby had disappeared and was running scared through the neighborhood–through speeding traffic is what we were picturing in our minds. We were totally helpless and 250 miles away! As calmly as I could, I told him that I had just one idea. I called our neighbors and asked them take our foster, Soleil, out on a leash and walk her near our house. I also asked them leave the doors to our house and gate to our backyard open, hoping that Abby might just come in on her own and possibly even get into her crate, which is her “safe place.” We called on other neighbors to join in the search. We were doing our best to coordinate remotely by cell phone (with less than ideal service on rural highways). We started getting reports of Abby sightings further and further from our house. By this time, my wife and I were already heading for home, but we were still four hours away! We called some of our co-workers and friends who know Abby and asked for their help (of course our co-workers would not have left work early on a Friday afternoon, definitely not). Our hope was that the assembled “posse” could move Abby back towards the house, without driving her further away. We tried to direct some of the searchers to the routes that we typically walk with Abby. Within a few hours, things were looking grim. No one had seen Abby in quite a while. My wife and I were still helpless and hours from home. The search party began to tire and dissolve. Many had plans for the evening and some had to return to work (not that anyone had left work of course). A few friends were already making plans to rearrange their schedules for Saturday to help search and hang posters. One friend even filed a report for us with our city’s animal services. This person, who happens to be an expert in canine behavior, also told us that she really felt that Abby would find her way home again. We were grateful and knew that everyone had done all that they could. Soleil probably had the longest walk of her young life. Our neighbors told us that she was very energetic and helped to keep them energized. They eventually brought Soleil home for water and food and to let her rest in her crate. We told them to leave our front door and gate open. Another neighbor stood in her yard and watched for Abby until my wife and I finally made it home at 7:00 PM.

The owner of the kennel met us at our house and told us more about what had happened. He was clearly distraught and felt that we needed to hear everything from him personally. Abby was in an outside run at the kennel. She scaled a 6-foot block wall and chain link fence, walked across the roof of the building to a part fairly low to the ground, and jumped down into a service alley. She then started running full-out. One of the kennel workers, who did not know Abby, said “that dog is headed home.” Sure enough, the kennel owner found Abby on our front porch minutes later. When he approached Abby, she ran up our street, around the corner and the kennel owner found her at the house directly behind ours. He tried to corner her again and she ran back following the same path to our house. This time when he approached Abby, she ran up our street and back in the direction of the kennel. This is the point when others had reported seeing her. The kennel owner confirmed for us that Abby was in fact wearing her collar and tags, which was reaffirmed by a neighbor who had spotted Abby earlier in the day. This was somewhat of a relief, as well as the fact that Abby does have a microchip. The kennel owner told us that he had already placed an ad in the local weekend newspaper and was having reward posters printed to post in the neighborhood.

My wife and I were anxious to start our own search and we were quickly losing daylight. We knew that my wife would have a good chance of approaching Abby if we could find her, but Soleil was going to be my best lure. We left one of the doors of my car open in the driveway, having heard that might encourage a loose dog to jump in thinking that she could “go for a ride.” Our neighbor continued to stand watch from her yard. Finally on foot ourselves, and armed with leashes and dog treats, my wife went in one direction and Soleil and I headed off in another. We asked every person that we encountered if they had seen a dog of Abby’s description. Several people told us that they had not seen her, but that someone else had asked them earlier in the day. We were very proud of and thankful for the initial search party. They did a wonderful job, and on only a moment’s notice. My wife, Soleil and I canvassed a grid of several streets and alleyways. Soleil and I also worked our way into a nearby, large wooded park in our neighborhood where we have taken the dogs before. As all daylight was lost, so were our hopes. Then, my wife found some people who thought that they had seen Abby deeper in the wooded park than Soleil and I had gone earlier. Soleil and I joined my wife back at the park and began searching the trails with flashlights and calling for Abby. An expedition which would definitely have been terrifying to Abby if she were to have seen or heard it. Soleil’s part-beagle nose was working overtime. I wish that we could know if she ever actually hit on Abby’s scent. After a few more hours, we were losing hope of finding Abby in the night. If she was in the park, we prayed for her to stay there, where it would be relatively safe from traffic. Of course we could not be certain that Abby was ever even in the park at all.

We returned home and carefully searched the house and the yard to see if Abby had made her way back. Unfortunately, she had not. We began making reward posters, sending emails and pictures of Abby to everyone that we could think of and posting notices on local rescue and shelter websites, as well as submitting a lost pet classified at Petfinder.com. We also placed our own ad in the local newspaper, but not in time for the next day’s printing. Finally, we contacted Abby’s microchip registry. It is amazing how many resources are available 24/7 over the Internet. Of course, realistically we knew that we would be extremely lucky if any of this brought us even one lead, and if so it would probably not be for days. We put one of Abby’s beds outside, on the front porch and dimmed the porch light. Emotionally and physically exhausted, my wife went to bed. We fully expected to get up before dawn and start all over again. Soleil and I stayed up on the couch in case we heard anything in the night. Eventually we both put our heads down, but neither one of us could sleep.

Then, at 1:06 AM, Soleil sat straight up, looking at the front door. Four or five seconds later, Abby came up our front steps onto the porch, sniffed her bed and pressed her nose against the outside glass of our front door (a first from that side of the door). Even before Abby appeared, Soleil had sensed that Abby was coming home. I slowly got up and opened the door. Abby, rather casually for her, walked into the house. Thankfully, she was perfectly fine! Soleil, who is only about one-third of Abby’s size, immediately jumped on Abby as if to say “Where in the hell have you been…Do you have any idea of what you have just put me through!?!”

We are extremely proud of Abby for finding her way home, no less than three times, and at least twice while being pursued by strangers. Soleil was a trooper and searched tirelessly for Abby. We would like to think that Abby came home to my wife and I, but we both know that there is a very strong possibility that Abby was looking for Soleil the entire time and that may have even be why Abby broke out of the kennel in the first place. Because to Abby, Soleil was the one who was “lost.”

Soleil is a devoted friend to all of us and we will always be grateful to her for bringing Abby home.

If the circumstances were any different, there is no way that we could ever give up this little dog. She means too much to us, especially to Abby. But we know that it would be selfish for us to keep her. Soleil has more joy to bring to others. We also know that we can do more to honor Soleil by helping other dogs, hopefully many other dogs. But let it be known to all that Soleil is, and will forever be, our hero.

Humbly,

Jennifer and James Huskins, Little Rock, Arkansas

adopted-ar2Abby was adopted from The City of Sherwood Humane Animal Services Department, Sherwood, Arkansas

Soleil was adopted from Little Rock Animal Services, Little Rock, Arkansas by Last Chance Arkansas, Little Rock, Arkansas in partnership with Mosaic Rescue, Saturna Island, British Columbia (with “forever home” adoption pending)

Source:  Petfinder.com

Abby

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April 18, 2009 - Posted by | Animal Abandonement, Animal Rescues, animals, Just One More Pet, Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop Euthenization, Success Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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