A little over a week ago, I went fishing at a public access point on a local lake. While I was there I noticed five dogs hanging around. They were very skinny and were covered in ticks and sores, but I went up and introduced myself to them anyway. They seemed friendly enough, and it was obvious that they had been abandoned, so I couldn’t just pretend they didn’t need help.
But where to start? They were outside of the city limits, so animal welfare couldn’t help. The county’s humane society would not return messages left with them, and it was a holiday weekend to boot. I didn’t know what to do. I updated my Facebook status to send out a call to help, never expecting anyone to take me up on it.
I was wrong! Some members of my church body (David and Jennifer) are avid dog lovers too, and they stepped up in a big way. Within a day they met me at the lake to take a look at the dogs and they felt sorry for them too.
We are new to this animal rescue business, so we all started looking up various area rescue organizations trying to find help. There are a lot of animal welfare groups out there, but unfortunately they are nearly all overrun with animals and have no space in their foster homes for one dog, much less five dogs. It was a very frustrating experience. Jennifer, David, and I were all willing to pay for the cost of vet care for the five dogs if we could only find a place that would house them, but there would be no sense in getting them vet care if we had no other option than taking them back to the lake afterwards.
We spent the past week taking turns going to check on the dogs and feeding them. We talked to one lady at a rescue group who said she would try to coordinate vet care for us at a discounted rate. At this point, we had resolved to just pay for the discounted vet care ourselves and bring the dogs into our own homes temporarily if we had to (we REALLY didn’t want to bring them home with us, though!). We tried to get the lady to schedule vet care for us on Saturday so we would all be off work and could work together to gather up the dogs and take them in. As of Friday afternoon, though, we still hadn’t heard back from the lady. I tried to call another vet that has been known to help in situations like this and they could not work any of the dogs in.
In the meantime, we did get our first piece of good news! A lady from the Memphis Area Golden Retriever Rescue group came out and did a personality assessment on the Golden and determined that she was adoptable. She told us that she could take that dog, but she wouldn’t be able to get her until this Wednesday to transport her to Memphis. This was Friday. What would we do with her until the next Wednesday?
The wheels were falling off in a big way. We were heading into another weekend and we were no closer to a solution for the four other dogs. Late Friday afternoon, we started to discuss the option of getting them to a vet ourselves and having them checked out for heartworms. We faced the possibility that some might be so sick that we would have to put them down because they would be unlikely to get adopted—an option that none of us liked, but we were trying to be realistic. We decided to have a conference call on Friday night to regroup and figure out what to do next.
During Friday night’s call, some of the first words spoken were, “We have good news!”
(Stay tuned for Part 2!)