Friday, July 13, 2012

When the howls just pierce your soul ...

I used the photo to the left on my last blog post ... I feel compelled to use it one more time as the words ring even more true with the recent rescue of Ilke, a 2 year old male german shepherd from Leech Lake Reservation. Yesterday Jenny gets a call from the Animal Control Officer up at Leech Lake Reservation. He is heading off to pick up a dog who has been hit by a car. He wants to know if he can bring the dog into Animal Care Clinic in Bemidji. Jenny gives the okay for him to be evaluated and for x-rays to be done to see how bad his injuries are and to give him pain meds. When Jenny calls to tell me about Ilke my heart sinks .... How bad is injury? If his leg is broken will we be able to find a rescue or shelter willing to take him in? For the past few weeks it has been tougher to find places for the homeless animals. Shelters and rescues are overflowing ... the number of surrenders and animals coming in has increased and adoptions have slowed down. Some shelters are even giving cats away for free or at a 'Name your price' adoption fee.

My heart still aches for the loss of little Doug .. a 10 week old puppy we tried to rescue from Leech Lake Reservation. He was shot 3 times and one of the bullets entered his spinal cord leaving him paralyzed and with no control of any of his lower organs. To read his story check out a previous blog post.
Ilke arrives at the vet clinic in Bemidji and is given pain meds

So yesterday, Jenny and I frantically begin our plea to our network of shelters and rescues. After Jenny sends out her plea to her usual group she calls me ... "Didn't you mention the rescue Faerieland Rescue recently?" A few days ago as I was chatting with Jenny I ran through the list of shelters and rescues who have signed up for the upcoming MnPAW (Minnesota Partnership for Animal Welfare) conference on 7/29 ... Faerieland Rescue was one of many groups. With such a unique name it stood out, and when Jenny was searching for german shepherd rescues in Minnesota she stumbled across Faerieland Rescue. "Will you reach out to them?" I immediately begin crafting an email to the founder of the rescue. I introduce myself and let her know I got her contact info from her recent registration form. I put my plea in  for Ilke. I hit 'send'. My heart still heavy and I am thinking the chances are slim that a rescue will be able to incur the costs associated with surgery needed to repair his leg. Meanwhile, we hear back from the vet clinic in Bemidji. The x-rays confirm his front left leg is broken. He has a broken radius and ulna. He also has a puncture wound. We later learn that his broken bone has shifted and cut through his skin. I get a call and an email from Kathy, the founder of Faerieland Rescue. She would like to talk to me as she would like to help Ilke if she can. She agrees to take Ilke into her program!! The heaviness in my heart is lifted as gratitude fills my heart ... thank you dear God for sparing this boy and for at least giving him a chance.

Ilke arrives in the city this morning at 11:30 on an emergency transport from Bemidji. Many thanks to volunteer Nancy for making the drive to the city. Jenny and I meet Nancy and Ilke in Plymouth. He's laying on his side on layers on blankets in the back of Nancy's car. He's barely moving. Nancy tells me he howls a few times on her ride to the cities. They are howls of pain. I stroke his face and start talking to him. He tries to move a little and howls. The howls pierce my soul; they send chills through my body. Ilke was going to go home with Jenny for a few hours till Kathy from Faerieland Rescue could pick him up after work. I tell Jenny, "he has got to go to a vet. He's in too much pain." Jenny calls Douglas Animal Hospital in Osseo which is closeby and because she has a connection there. We take him there. He is too much pain to even be lifted out of Jenny's car. He howls again, and his howl just breaks my heart. I wrap my hands around his face. His sweet shepherd face reminds me of my Legacy. I press my face against his face and tell him how sorry I am he is in so much pain. The vet decides we need to sedate him. I sigh when I finally watch him rest his head .. free from pain, at least for now.
Ilke arrives in the cities

Many, many thanks to Dr. Douglas for contacting Veterinary Surgical Specialists and making it possible for Ilke to have surgery within 2 hours of his arrival at their clinic. It was fate that the surgeon was available and able to get to their clinic. Ilke had surgery this afternoon. The break was worse than it appeared and his bone had cut through his skin. But he's on the road to recovery now and is in the loving care of Kathy of Faerieland Rescue. He's on some strong pain meds now and I'm hoping sound asleep ... I can still hear his howls and his cries. Thank you Faerieland Rescue for giving this boy a chance ...

Faerieland Rescue has only been around since July, 2009. It's a lot for any rescue to take on a rescue dog with injuries and especially orthopedic surgeries which are very costly. The total cost for Ilke's surgery came to $1,900, including x-rays and some pre-surgery tests. We are also extremely grateful to Veterinary Surgical Specialists for their expertise and for giving substantial discounts to rescues.

Leech Lake Legacy would like to help raise some funds to help defray the costs for Ilke's surgery. If you are able, please consider making a donation:

Please make your checks out to:

Leech Lake Legacy, and in the memo field write 'For Ilke's surgery and care', and mail your check to:

Leech Lake Legacy
P.O. Box 385454
Bloomington, MN 55438

This sweet 65 pound german shepherd is no longer suffering and is no longer in excruciating pain thanks to the efforts and generosity of so many. I've heard this many times and it is so true ... it definitely takes a village. Some of us throw ourselves into volunteerism or working in the animal rescue/welfare world; others are touched deeply by the plight of homeless animals but are unable to volunteer or get involved ... I ask you to consider making a donation, any amount will help. And if Ilke could give you a thank you kiss he would :) Please share Ilke's story .. he's safe in Kathy's home right now but if you would be open to fostering this sweet boy and helping him heal through his recovery email Kathy at

Thank you Kathy for acting so quickly. As we work to help the animals up at Leech Lake Reservation we are often faced with difficult decisions that need to be made quickly. Thank you for walking with us in this journey and for giving Ilke his life back, and for freeing him from his pain. And give the sweet gentle boy a big kiss from me :)

Ilke update (7/16/2012) from foster mom Kathy:

"We made it through the weekend. He is starting to come to life. He walks on 3 legs. Wants to go out and do his business outside.   I am icing the leg 3 x a day at least. Over the weekend I did it 4 x, he is getting his meds crushed up in his food.  I don't feel like trying to shove a ton of pills down his throat so i crush them and mix in with wet dog food ...

.... When I am icing his leg-he lays on the love seat and rolls on his back with the sore leg straight in the air. I ice one side and then the other. He will close his eyes and act like he is falling asleep during this time. When the leg has had enough-he moves and I do the other side of it.  It sure gets hot in between the times I can ice it.  This morning he cried a little before I did the icing."

Ilke the first night after surgery ...

Ilke is getting around ... he looks like he's smiling!! :)


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