Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Update on Smiley (now Ruby)

On June 6, 2011 I posted the following on my blog "A Reason to Smile Today" .... [and at the bottom of this post is an update on Ruby. She's heading into surgery tomorrow so please say a prayer for this sweet girl]

It never ceases to amaze me how we can help more animals if we can simply work together ....

Two days before I went to the hospital for my heart procedure I received the following email on my Pet Haven email account from some kind stranger who stopped to help a dog: "Hi Marilou, a couple folks suggested I contact you about a dog I found May 12.  This was during one of our big rainstorms.  My husband and I were heading up to Cambridge when we saw a dog laying in the dirt on the side of the road about 1/2 mile from my house.  I made my husband stop to see if she was OK.  She got to her feet but wasn't bearing weight on one of her hind feet.  She was soaked.  She wouldn't fit in our truck and my husband had an appt. to keep, so he continued on his way and left me standing there in the rain with the dog.  The poor thing followed me home in the pouring rain, on a sore foot, 1/2 mile with just encouragement - no leash, no collar.  Once I got her home I dried her off as well as possible with some towels, gave her a bowl of water and a piece of cheese.  Then I called my vet.

Because she may have been injured my vet (East Central Veterinary in Cambridge) said I could bring her in and they'd scan her for ID and hold her a little while.  I opened the door on my van and she calmly climbed in and settled right down on the back bench seat.  This girl is incredibly mellow and cooperative.  When I got to the vet's I just looped a leash around her neck and she quietly followed me into the clinic and laid down on their floor. 

The dog is large and very overweight.  A cute little face on a polish sausage shaped body.  Maybe 70 pounds or so.  She's mostly black with a white muzzle and some white socks.  She has a long tail and short drop ears.  Maybe a lab mix with border collie or springer spaniel?  Maybe some shepherd?  You know, your average country mixed dog.  She has sad soulful brown eyes and seems very trusting.  The whole long walk to my home she kept turning to watch every car that went by, as if looking for her owner.

East Central Veterinary Clinic kept her for a day, then turned her over to Marlene at Animal Control in Isanti.  The dog's legal holding period is up but Marlene is going to keep her 2 or 3 days longer as the phone number listed in the local newspaper's Found ad was incorrect. 

The same day I found the dog I put flyers about her in about 50 mailboxes within a 2 mile area where I found her.  I put ads for her online at Animal Humane Society's lost and found page,'s classifieds (lost and found) and's site.  The Isanti County News and Cambridge Star ran Found ads for her.  I notified all the veterinary clinics in the area.  We also put 4 signs up along the routes leading to were I found her.  If the owner is looking for this dog, I can't imagine how they would have missed all of my notices.  I have been checking lost dog ads and haven't seen anything close to her description listed.
I talked with Marlene at Animal Control yesterday.  Nobody has contacted her claiming to be this dog's owner.  Marlene said she is doing well and is very sweet.  She smiles and gives kisses.  Marlene also thought the dog was very sweet and named her 'Smiley' because she smiles and gives kisses. 
I put an email out regarding this dog's plight to some folks I know involved in various types of animal welfare/rescue and 2 of them referred me to you.

If this poor dog needs help, can you help her?  Can you take her in?  Thank you for your time and attention."

How could I not respond to this heartfelt email by a woman advocating for this sweet dog. I emailed "V" back. Unfortunately at Pet Haven (the rescue I am involved in) we had no open fosters. Fortunately Pet Haven is a part of an animal welfare coalition in Minnesota ( and I spoke with my contact at the Animal Humane Society (AHS) and we agreed to bring this dog into AHS through the MnPAW partnership ... essentially it means that if AHS is unable to place the dog up for adoption that the rescues/shelters within the coalition will be contacted to work on placing the dog.
I emailed "V" that I was heading into the hospital for a heart procedure and wasn't sure how reachable I would be. I found myself thinking about this sweet dog the day after my procedure while I was in my hospital room and communicating with "V" and the animal control officer. I couldn't bear the thought of such a sweet girl being euthanized.

So after multiple emails and phone conversations we made arrangements to meet at the Golden Valley Animal Humane Society over lunch today. When I walked into the AHS intake area lobby I was greeted by Smiley and a huge warm hug from "V". I remember the phone conversation I had with "V" where I told her that I would find a way to help Smiley through the network of rescues and shelters that are a part of the coalition. She cried ... tears of joy. Smiley was blessed to have crossed "V"s path that rainy day and to have a beautiful spirit advocate for her. Smiley truly has the most soulful eyes. I got down to the ground and hugged her. She immediately wanted to show me that she knows how to shake ... and yes, she can shake with both her right front paw and her left front paw. As we are discussing the logistics of a dog coming into AHS through the coalition (MnPAW - Minnesota Partnership for Animal Welfare) a woman in the lobby stops by ... she falls instantly in love with Smiley. She had just dropped a bird off that was injured to AHS. She's been thinking about adopting another dog and Smiley reminds her of a dog she once had. Five minutes later she's calling her husband who says it's up to her if she wants to adopt Smiley. She returns to the lobby and tells us she is adopting Smiley.
Twenty minutes after I arrive at AHS and being greeted by this dog who was once on death row at an Isanti animal control simply due to space issues (saved first by "V", then by a kind-hearted animal control officer who simply could not euthanize a sweet, loving girl and kept her beyond the legal holding period) .... I am now saying goodbye to Smiley, giving her a hug and watching her walk out the door with her new mom. She's off to live on 20 acres with two other siblings. 
"V" had left AHS before the adoption was final. I called her to let her know that the woman she met wanted to take Smiley home. She shared the following email with me ... I am reminded today of why I am so involved in animal rescue and in the power of working together ...

"OMG!!!!!!!  This really went through?!  My little Smiley has a home already!  I am so happy and so excited and so relieved.  You might remember I told you it just gets me how the life and future of these animals hangs by little threads of fate they have no control over.  Well, today those threads of fate worked to Smiley's advantage.  Who would have thought the person that really wanted her would walk through AHS doors while we were all there?  What a great story.
I really liked "B".  She seems like a person that takes pet ownership seriously and forever.
My sister and I both felt she could offer Smiley a terrific home.  Thank you so much Marilou for making this happen.  And thank you so much for letting me be a part of the happy ending.

I am touched by the animals we rescue (who in turn rescue us) ... and I am also touched by the incredible  human beings like "V" who cross my path and who advocate on behalf of these beloved beings.
Thank you Smiley for giving me a reason to smile today.

Update from Smiley's new mom: "She is doing really good. She follows me everywhere. The other dogs are fine with her. She is so sweet. I even brought her in the shower and bathed her. I feel very lucky to have her."

Well today, September 21st, I got the following update on Smiley (who is now Ruby) ... Vicki who originally rescued Ruby has been keeping in contact with Barb (Ruby's new mom). A couple weeks ago Ruby's mom Barb took her to see the vet for limp that was getting worse ... turns out that Ruby has a torn ACL. This is a pricey surgery but Ruby lucked out that warm summer day in June when she spent 20 minutes in the intake area of the Animal Humane Society ... in those 20 minutes, fate made it possible for her to meet up with her new adoptive mom Barb who was there to drop off a couple orphaned birds. Ruby is having surgery tomorrow and healing and recovery will take about 2 months ... please say a prayer for Ruby. Ruby looks so great ... she also looks like she's lost a lot of that excess weight ... thank you Barb, Vicki, MnPAW and AHS for helping connect loving caring people so that the Smileys (now Ruby) can have the second chance they so deserve for a life filled with love, joy and pampering.

Ruby (formerly Smiley)
September, 2011 ... what a pretty girl :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Thoughtfully rehoming the most unwanted and neglected animals ...

Yoda ... arriving from Red Lake reservation
on July 31, 2011.
A severe case of mange, dehydration,
coccidia, giardia and an eye infection
A couple weeks ago I started fostering with Act V Rescue, an organization dedicated to taking in and re-homing the most unwanted and neglected animals. Act V is unique in that they specifically take in the animals with serious injuries and/or illnesses.

Karen Good of Red Lake Rosie's Rescue says "In 2010 Act V took in 36 dogs and 2 cats from Red Lake Rosie's Rescue of which all had severe orthopedic and other major medical needs including broken legs, heartworm, parvo, intestinal blockage, neonatal pups, puppy strangles, and others suffering advanced malnutrition and digestive problems. 

We relied on Act V and contacted them whenever sick and injured animals arrive at the shelter. They always responded ad never turned us down."

I transported Yoda (photo above) on July 31st when he first arrived into the cities to Dr. Vicki's clinic. My heart broke to see this fragile puppy ... his skin warm to the touch. I had never seen a dog with such a severe case of mange yet I could feel the life and spirit inside of him. I was grateful he was going to Act V Rescue and would be under the care of Dr. Vicki and placed into a loving foster home.

Yoda giving Smiley a kiss ...
Smiley was taken into Pet Haven's foster program
and has since been adopted.

Yoda ... six weeks later!!
A very handsome boy!!
And then today, I had the opportunity to experience first hand again how incredible Act V Rescue is and how dedicated and committed they are to truly helping the most unwanted and neglected animals. An older dog, Orson, was scheduled to arrive on transport today from up north. In our efforts to help the dogs up at Leech Lake Reservation we have also been helping dogs from the Bemidji impound. Volunteer extraordinaire Nancy O has been, and continues to be, an advocate for the dogs that land in the Bemidji impound and pulls them out before they are euthanized. She reached out to Jenny Fitzer to see if Orson could be taken in by MnPAW and into the Animal Humane Society. Jenny arranges for Orson to be taken in by AHS. Meanwhile, she forwards to me an email sent by Nancy O:
Orson arrives at the clinic
"Hope you received the photo of Orson that Tom sent from his phone. Orson is a cutie, an older dog, and he needs a lot of work. He is loaded with mats and needs a good grooming and bath. But it looks like he needs a lot of dental care as well and am hoping that this is something MnPAW/AHS offers. He really does have a nice sweet personality, but is plenty stinky and a lot of that is coming from his mouth. Poor guy ... I am betting he cannot eat hard morsels of food and am betting that is all that was served in the impound. Perhaps he will need some tooth extractions and then soft foods the remainder of his days. For all the goodness his former family did not offer him, I hope he find it at AHS and can get the medical attention he needs. Even the officer at the impound is pulling for Orson. I held him when we picked him up as he was shaking so much, and now he is riding with Nancy B on her front seat. Please keep me posted on the assessment results from AHS. And thank you for accepting him into the program too."
Orson ... filled with mats and maggots
After receiving this email from my friend Jenny I forwarded it to the founders of Act V Rescue. At the end of the day Dr. Vicki sends me an email and tells me to have Jenny swing by her clinic so she can take a look at Orson so she can check him out. I meet Jenny and Orson at Dr. Vicki's clinic. The horrible condition of this sweet boy is beyond words. He was shaking and shivering. His teeth were all rotted and packed with tartar. Most of them will probably have to be extracted. His body was filled with mats and as Dr. Vicki started to shave him we discovered his poor, weak body was infested with maggots. As he was shaved down we saw a swarm of maggots nesting in Orson's body. Maggots were wiggling out of his fur and dropping onto the table. There was an odor and stench from maggots and other critters that had found a home in his poor body that was beyond anything I had ever experienced. All the while Orson is being so patient and gentle and quietly crying. As Dr. Vicki and her staff work to make Orson better and to remove the mats and the maggots, I am rubbing his head and trying to comfort him. Jenny is holding the trash bag to collect the squirming maggots. 
Just some of what is shaved off of poor Orson
It was Orson's lucky day today! He ended up at Dr. Vicki's clinic and into the arms of Act V Rescue ... over and over I have heard stories and witnessed how they take in the most beaten down animal, both physically and emotionally. They did it when they took in the 3 puppies i'm fostering (Legacy, Lenny and Lazarus) .... they did it again today with Orson. There wasn't even a question in Dr. Vicki's mind of whether or not she was going to help Orson ... this was one of the worse cases she has seen and in the true spirit of Act V Rescue & Rehabilitation, they took this poor boy into their foster program. Dr. Vicki doesn't have a foster lined up for the sweet boy right now so after his bath he got to ride in style next to Dr. Vicki and will spend some time at her home till a foster home opens up. 
Orson after his bath ...
Thank you Act V Rescue for your selfless acts and for all you truly do for the most unwanted and neglected animals. 

Because Act V works with animals in the most desperate situations, they are always in need of money to provide medication, surgery, medical care and/or rehabilitation. All of their funding comes from donations and 100% of each dollar goes to caring for animals. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to Act V Rescue please click on 'Donate to caring for animals' on their website,

For more photos of Orson click here.

Friday, September 9, 2011

13 Puppies Rescued ...

The tiniest of the 13 puppies that arrived:
Lenny, Lazarus, Lancelot, Lulu and Loretta
On Saturday August 27th I went up to Leech Lake reservation (3 hours north of the Twin Cities) to help with a transport ... a group of volunteers are working with the Minnesota Partnership for Animal Welfare coalition (MnPAW, to help rescue dogs from the reservation. On this particular transport 13 tiny, vulnerable puppies came down with us. Because they had just been vaccinated the prior Thursday they needed to be observed and monitored for a week prior to being taken into the Animal Humane Society where they would be checked out, vetted, and placed up for adoption. All 13 landed in my home. Yes, 13 adorable puppies. Quite a few were sick and extremely weak. A few were so young they were still trying to nurse ... they were aching for their mama. The 6 days they spent at my house was an experience I wasn't quite prepared for ... but it's amazing how we find it in ourselves to step up to the occasion. With my friend Jenny we did what needed to be done to care for these puppies. A couple we had to bottle feed. Then.... there was the poop, the diarrhea, the precautions taken in case they have parvo ... the lovely de-worming experience :) Legacy was one who caught my eye early on. He was shaky and wobbly. On a couple occasions he would shake and fall over. I feared he had some neurological issues. Lenny, Lancelot and Lazarus (3 from the smallest litter of black and white puppies) were extremely tiny, young and weak (1.6 lbs upon arrival). There were mornings where Lazarus and/or Lenny would simply stand over the food bowl, motionless and hang their heads.
Legacy - thriving!!
No more shaking or wobbling!

I feared we couldn't save them all. But we kept on going day and after day while balancing all of life's other responsibilities the best that we could ... Thursday morning 10 were transported to the Animal Humane Society where they were then placed into foster homes where they will stay until they are old enough and healthy enough to be spay/neutered and placed up for adoption. I kept 3 back (Legacy, Lenny and Lazarus) because they were the ones I worried most about. I took a bunch of photos and threw them into a video .... all are thriving now and on the road to recovery. For a few days we thought we would lose Lazarus. He had to be tube fed and given fluids. Thanks to Dr. Vicki of ActV Rescue for nursing this little guy back to health.

If you would like to meet Lenny, Lazarus and Legacy they will be at the Eden Prairie PetsMart tomorrow, Saturday, 9/10 from 11 am till around 5 pm. We are accepting applications for them but they will not be placed into an adoptive home till early October.

and here's a video of them playing in their 'bin' :)