Tag Archives: Rescue

Guest Post: Presley

Today’s post comes from a dear friend and animal lover. Shelley is an Agape Animal Rescue foster parent and Animal Rescue Corps Volunteer. Her current foster dog, Presley, came from a horrible situation and is being overlooked for adoption, we think because of the ever dreaded Black Dog Syndrome. So, wonderful blog readers, I’d like to introduce you now to….PRESLEY! 

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Presley…what would I say about my little foster dog?  Hmm, well to explain how awesome she is, I need to first explain where she came from and how I met her. It was a terrible place.  (Please skip down to “HAPPY STUFF” if you do not want to learn the definition of “terrible place.”)

It was called Operation Unbridled Spirit. In September 2013, Animal Rescue Corps was able to go in and rescue 120+ dogs from hell. More than 120 dogs were removed from a property (aka PUPPY MILL), where females are bred with every heat, usually when they are still puppies themselves, to churn out babies for profit. The mothers usually suffer the most, as their bodies are exhausted from continual pregnancy, lack of medical care, good nutrition, healthy drinking water, human companionship, etc. In this particular case, there were about 4-6 dogs in each “box” with a male stud dog. This was their life. A box with a doggie door that allowed them outside to wire bottom footing to pee/poop. The babies are then stripped from (usually sick, unhealthy) moms and sold on the internet, to puppy stores, or on the side of the road. This is why we do not purchase puppies this way.

Once removed from the property, they were brought to an emergency shelter for emergent medical treatment, assessment and once legal, to get placed into rescue groups that were willing to continue their medical care and work with them socially to get them ready for lives inside with a family. Basically, to get them healthy and teach them how to be a family dog like you and I know. 

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I was fortunate enough to work at the emergency shelter, where our jobs were to medically treat and care for the dogs and also to hold/cuddle the dogs to get them used to more handling and human contact. (Sounds tough, huh?)
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Presley, in particular, previously known as FF113 (see mugshot, above), was found to have chronic ear infections. She was in so much pain. The vet believes she is approximately 5 years old. Assuming she’s lived in this Puppy mill/box for 5 years, that means she’s had pain for her entire life! I had to hold her while the vet tried to clean her ears, so we could get the medicine in to help cure her. Her ears were swollen closed and she has chronic scar tissue from years of scratching at them, desperately trying to signal her pain and comfort herself. Poor baby, it was so painful, we actually had to put her under to clean them well. Her ear has chronic scar tissue, indicative of years of chronic ear infections. The vet believes this is due to food allergies. Of course, this is what eventually sealed my fate as her “godmother” and foster mom!  Now moving on from the terrible place…and living in the “now”…

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HAPPY STUFF

Once the dogs were legally cleared for placement, Agape Animal Rescue stepped up and took 28 dogs (34 total after all the pregnant dogs delivered)!

 {Can we pause and clap for them stepping it up to take so many needy dogs? Can you imagine the medical bills??}

Presley was the last dog taken by Agape. When I found out that she had not been chosen by any of the rescues (short hair, black dogs are sometimes overlooked for the cuter spotted fuzzy dogs) and dogs were moving out of the shelter left and right…I had to speak up for my sweet little tolerant girl.

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The vet says that her chronic ear infections are due to a food allergy. Poor thing itches all over her body, all the time. We are still working to figure out exactly what she is allergic to. (She is currently on prescription dog food, but once we get the itching to stop, we can start adding things slowly to see if she reacts). I am looking forward to discovering what it is!!!

I brought Presley into my home. I took this picture the first day, don’t those eyes just melt your heart?

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She got her first bath

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and a good hearty meal….and went straight to find a comfy dog bed for a nap.

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It has been a pleasure to watch her grow and learn! See, she currently lives with 2 older dogs, and she has been a great student! They have been showing her how to have “house manners” and other good stuff such as…

how to choose the right comfy spots to sleep…

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how to walk nicely on a leash with a harness

how to get onto a bed

(now she has learned to use the doggy stairs)….  

how nice it is to snuggle up under the covers and sleep in a human armpit or behind your knees…..

how to potty outside {side note: On Presley’s first day, she followed my dogs right out the doggy door to potty…and she knows what to do. She attempted to pee, ONE TIME, on the mat by the door, once removed, there were no more mistakes }.

She has also learned quickly how to sit, lie down, and we are always working on “wait.”

Presley did not know what toys were, or how to play with them. Nor did she play with the other dogs. It was about one month after she came to live with me, until the “light turned on.” I was sitting on the floor with her, trying to get her to show some interest in a toy. She picked it up, but didn’t really know what to do with it, so she just dropped it. Her foster sister, Rosie, walked by….Presley stopped, looked at Rosie and dropped into her first play bow! After that, she and Rosie played all day long! I teared up!!!! Even better, I got some of it on video! It was like watching her wake up and enjoy life for the first time!

She is such a sweet little girl, who’s nubby tail is constantly in motion. All you have to do is say her name…and that tail kicks into high gear!!!

She has a few nicknames…Pres Pres (my favorite, that she now actually answers to), Happy Tail, Happy, Little Ms Impatient, Cuddle Bug, Love Bug, and Blackie (affectionately given by my boyfriend).

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She makes me laugh daily…and there are so many more pictures to share….here’s a video…but you should only watch this if you like to see super cute dogs!!!

She has the biggest brown eyes, and she knows how to use them. She happily lets me brush her teeth, but she HATES getting her nails clipped….we are working on that 🙂   She has a cute little habit of “talking” too….since she’s black, it’s very hard to get a good video of her, but if you’re ready for some severe cuteness, this is a short clip of her “talking” when she gets excited…

**UPDATE 4/5/14** Presley has been adopted!! Congratulations to Presley, her new forever mom, and of course to foster mom Shelley and Agape Animal Rescue

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Operation Unbridled Spirit

A week ago, I got a phone call.

Animal Rescue Corps was on the move again, and were preparing for deployment to rescue another batch of abused animals, set them up in an emergency shelter near Nashville, and ultimately place them in foster homes where they could then recover and be adopted out to loving furever families.

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“So, do you have any time this week?” asked the voice on the other end of the line. Well, I thought, my work schedule has just gone from 50 to 60 hours for this week, my birthday is coming up on Friday, and I finally have next weekend off…

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“Of course. When and where?”

I spent last Tuesday with other ARC volunteers at their storage unit, loading up a U-Haul and setting up the emergency shelter in Lebanon, Tennessee – about 40 minutes east of Nashville. We created a makeshift hospital and isolation area, sorted supplies and set up over 100 crates, to prepare for the arrival of a then-unknown number of animals.

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On Thursday, ARC volunteers hit the ground running and pulled 122 dogs and two parrots of a property in Wayne County, Kentucky. ARC brought them back to Tennessee where they’re now settling in and receiving emergency vet care, clean food and water….

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…and where I’ll be spending my birthday weekend. I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be – I can’t wait to meet these guys!

For updates on Operation Unbridled Spirit, including more photos, follow Animal Rescue Corps on Facebook or check out their website. Donations can be made for the care of the OUS animals here.

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Your Very Own Oscar-Cooper Hybrid!

This is Victor!

Victor, just chillin'.

Victor, just chillin’.

You guys….I’m sorry, I just couldn’t NOT share this guy with you. How ridiculously adorable is he?  And is it any wonder why I had an “erhmegerd” gasp out loud moment when I saw his picture? He looks like the perfect mix of Oscar and Cooper! It’s no secret that I’m a sucker for the brindles, but Victor, oh Victor…you are a serious looker my friend. And he could be yours!

Yep, Victor is available for adoption. He’s currently taking up residence at Williamson County Animal Control (former home of both Cooper and Molly Tamale), where he’s lived since March 27th as an owner surrender.  Let’s learn a little more about him…

My name is Victor  and I am a good-looking 4-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier/Boxer Mix. I am a current resident of Williamson County Animal Control but I need a forever home. I have a happy-go-lucky personality that has made me a favorite at the shelter. I am very popular with the volunteers that love me and always one of the first to be walked. I have been told I am the total package: handsome: check, friendly: check, lots of personality: check, fun to play with: check, a perfect gentleman on the leash: half check…come on I’m a dog and I love to sniff. I love my time in the play yard chasing tennis balls and the love and attention I get from the volunteers…did I mention I am very social? I am a smart boy and I listen well. That means I would be easy to train and quick to learn. As a matter of fact I am already housebroken and crate trained. I have a lot of love to share – I just need a family to share it with! I am ready to go home all I need is you!
Sounds like the perfect package to me! If someone (ahem, Cooper) wasn’t taking up the foster-spot at our place, well…you know who would be! If you’d like to meet Victor or learn more about him, or if you know someone who wants their very own Coop-Oscar-ganger, they can contact WCAC at 615-790-5590, or e-mail animal@williamson-tn.org.
ADOPT VICTOR!
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Operation Broken Chain: Updates

There have been a lot of updates on the Operation Broken Chain pups popping up on my newsfeed lately. I thought I’d share a few of them today, because who couldn’t use a little happy on your hump day?

Groucho has left his old life and name behind in Tennessee, and is now living the good life as Maverick in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Maverick is available for adoption through Sioux Empire Pit Rescue.

Norton has improved leaps and bounds, living with his new “Best Friends” in Kenab, Utah. Check out this beautifully written post about his improvement.

Photo by Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

Photo by Molly Wald/Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

And finally, Spirit…oh, my dear, sweet wonderful loving Spirit….Spirit is (drumroll please) currently in his foster-to-adopt home!

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He’ll be living with his new potential family for 30 days while they have time to bond and get to know each other, sending daily updates to Big Bully Rescue in Phoenix, Arizona. Should everything go well, Spirit will have his Furever Home by the end of August!

And all that happy doesn’t even include those pups who are lucky enough to have already been adopted!  To name just a few…

Dorothy (now Tia) was a foster failure success, and is now living in her Furever Home with her mom and standard poodle brother, Sam – who she adores!

Princess Tia (formally Dorothy) with her big brother, Sam. Photo by Tia's furever family.

Princess Tia (formally Dorothy) with her big brother, Sam. Photo by Tia’s furever family.

Tia recently completed her STAR Puppy Class, and hopes to eventually be a Delta Pet Partners therapy dog like her big brother.

Dorothy (now Tia) was a foster fail, and is now living in her Furever Home with her mom and standard poodle brother, Sam.

Princess Tia (formally known as Dorothy). Photo by Amiee Stubbs Photography.

Winnie is becoming an ambassadog and Nashville PITTIE poster child, living with her dad and personal hero (and Animal Rescue Corps volunteer).

Winnie with her Dad

Winnie with her Dad

Jane, who is now “Pumpkin,” is loving life in her forever home.

Pumpkin (formally known as Jane). Photos by her Furever Family.

Pumpkin (formally known as Jane). Photos by her Furever Family.

“Her mom owns Minnesota Twisters trampoline and tumbling gym and Pumpkin is their team mascot! She goes to work (the gym) with her mom every day and is surrounded by love and affection. She is an amazing dog and will know only happiness for the rest of her days. From the bottom of my heart THANK YOU ARC AND THANK YOU SNIFFING SNOUTS PITBULL RESCUE!”

It’s been ten months since these dogs were pulled out of the only life they ever knew, and started on their journey towards the rest of their lives. The time I spent volunteering with these precious babies in the emergency shelter last year was one of the most amazing experiences of my life – I fell in love with each one of them and I am so thrilled for them now! Huge thanks go out to Animal Rescue Corps and all of the wonderful volunteers and placement partners who’ve played a part in saving these dogs’ lives.

Fred - now Pork Chop - also adopted. :-)

Fred – now Pork Chop – also adopted. 🙂

In related news, a trial date has been set for the **bleepity bleep bleeps** responsible for the pain and suffering these dogs endured. They have been charged with animal cruelty and dog fighting.

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Many other OBC dogs have also found their happy ever after. If you have updates you’d like to share, please leave them in the comments below!

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Christmas Spirit

Last week, I helped load up one of my very favorite dogs from Operation Broken Chain onto a transport to start his new life. This is Spirit:

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Spirit is such a special guy. He was a shelter favorite from day one, and he was one of “my dogs,” in the enrichment pen I was assigned to. I played fetch with him, discovered his love of peanut butter Kongs, figured out he knows “sit” and of course had the honor of cleaning up his business.

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Everyone who has the pleasure of meeting Spirit falls in love with his sweet nature, his big goofy smile and that hilarious horse/velociraptor sounding growl/howl/bark/squeal. (Seriously, what IS that noise??)

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The volunteers at the shelter all talk about how far many of the dogs have come since they were rescued over Thanksgiving weekend. But we never said that about Spirit – he seemed “perfect” from the beginning.  He was named for the wonderful spirit he exhibited from day one – he loves everyone he meets, and even though he came from hell on earth, he wants nothing more than to be in your lap or curl up in the corner with a favorite toy.

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So where is Spirit now? This lucky guy is hanging out with the awesome folks at Big Bully Rescue in Phoenix, Arizona. Big Bully Rescue is “dedicated to rescuing and rehoming bully-type breeds.” They specialize in American Bulldogs, Olde English Bulldogs, Presa Canarios, Pit Bulls, Bullmastiffs, Cane Corsos, Dogo Argentinos and Dogue de Bordeauxs “French Mastiffs.” They, like so many rescue organizations across the country, are a small organization who rely on foster families, and the need in their area is far larger than their capacity. Even so, they just couldn’t turn their back on Spirit when they heard his story.

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I may or may not have cried like a baby when Spirit’s transport pulled away from the shelter – ok, I did. (Seriously, like a little girl.) I am going to miss him so much, but of course I am beyond thrilled for him that he’ll get to spend Christmas in a loving foster home. Lucky foster family!

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To find out how you can add Spirit to your family, check out Big Bully Rescue or visit their Facebook page to get lots of updates on Spirit. You can help donate to Spirit’s care here.

There are still 25 dogs at the emergency shelter in need of rescue organizations to take them in. If you’re a pit bull rescue organization in the United States or Canada and would like to help these dogs by becoming a placement partner with Animal Rescue Corps, please e-mail placement@animalrescuecorps.org.

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My New Friends

I had the honor and pleasure of visiting the Operation Broken Chain dogs this morning at the emergency shelter.  A handful of the pit bulls and all the non-pit bull type dogs have been placed with rescue organizations and will soon be up for adoption – including Ellie Mae, placed with Agape Animal Rescue who just gave birth to her 7 puppies over the weekend. Congratulations, momma – your breeding days are over!

Ellie May and Pups

Five boys, two girls. Adorbs, much?
Photo courtesy of Ellie Mae’s foster dad.

Today was an awesome day for me to head back out to the shelter. Up until now, the volunteers focus has been attending to medical needs, providing food and water, and keeping the cages clean.  Now that a good number of the dogs have been placed, with a little extra time and manpower Animal Rescue Corps added “enrichment” time to  the dogs’ schedules.  “Enrichment” is a 10 – 20 minute period of time in which the dogs are let of out their crates in a confined area for supervised interaction with toys, treats, and play. This time is used to evaluate the dogs and take notes on their mental state, so ARC can determine the best situation for them to be placed in, once they leave the emergency shelter.

So guess what I got to do today? That’s right, I was lucky enough to be assigned to one of the enrichment areas. Now, technically, I was still on poop-scoop and cage-cleaning duty, but still – I had the absolute best morning. I can’t wait to introduce you to my new friends…

Fred

Fred

Fred is a love-and-a-half. He is so happy, and just loves being a dog! He ran around the enclosure for his entire time period, chasing after and playing with a rubber Kong bone. He loved being loved on, and had the most wonderful “plop-down” when he got tired – he just threw his body to the ground. Such a character!

Elsie

Elsie

Wow, Elsie…this girl has some energy!  She was so much fun to watch run around. Whoever is lucky enough to be Elsie’s foster family is going to have a blast watching her learn and grow. And this one has some serious webbed paws going on, she’s gonna be a swimmer, for sure!

Shay

Shay

Poor little cautious Shay, with sores on her behind.  After Fred and Elsie spend their “recess” bounding around the enclosure and romping in the hay, Shay was a reminder that every dog is different, and recovers from trauma differently. Even though she’s now had nine days of eating regularly, Shay is still very underweight.  She padded around the room cautiously, exploring the play tunnel and sniffing the toys. She wasn’t too enthusiastic about being touched, but after what she’s been through, who could blame her?

Bosco

Bosco

My little precious Bosco was the one that just broke my heart today. Even though we’re brindle lovers at Foster House, I am a huge sucker for the black and white pitties.  Poor little Bosco just didn’t feel like venturing out from the safety of his crate today. He’d take a few tentative steps but never ventured more than a few inches from the door before he would dart back inside. In all fairness to Bosco, there’s a lot of noise and activity at the shelter, so again – who can blame him for being cautious?

Geiger

Geiger

After Bosco came a complete 180 with the arrival of Hurricane Geiger! Oh my lord, I fell in love with this little sweetie instantly. Geiger is a classic case of a dog who realizes that the worst is behind her, and she’s not going to waste any time wallowing in her past, no sir. What a ball of fun! Tearing around the room, slipping and sliding in the hay, and discovering the Most Wonderful Thing Ever: a squeak toy!

Winnie

Winnie

Darling Winnie, oh I just love her! Alert and curious, tentative yet trusting. I’m no professional, but I just have a feeling that Winnie will absolutely flourish in a loving foster home. Just like I’m sure all of these dogs will!

And as always, HUGE thank you to Amiee Stubbs Photography for such beautiful photographs of these darling pups! Can she capture an animal’s spirit or what?

While these dogs will eventually be available for adoption, I should note that Animal Rescue Corps does not adopt out the dogs they rescue directly. They rely on a network of placement partners to take custody of the dogs, and place them in loving foster homes until they can be adopted.  Animal Rescue Corps is still in need of placement partners for many of these wonderful dogs. If you are a pit bull rescue group in the U.S. or Canada and you are interested in partnering with Animal Rescue Corps to help our bully breed friends from Operation Broken Chain, or future operations, this is a great time to begin that relationship. Please email placement@animalrescuecorps.org to start that process.

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Operation Broken Chain

I could not believe it when I heard – Animal Rescue Corps was on the ground in Middle Tennessee once again, called to a property in Cheatham County on the evening of Thanksgiving.  When they arrived, they discovered 65 dogs living on chains, in what is suspected to be the largest dog fighting operation ever discovered in Tennessee. Operation Broken Chain was officially underway, and my heart was officially broken.

I watched the news in horror as I saw these poor precious dogs – most of them pit bull mixes – with heavy logging chains around their necks, tied to spikes in the ground.

Some of them were so malnourished, with skin stretched so tightly over their bones, that they had open sores just from sitting on the ground.

Others had scars on their faces and chests that told a gruesome story of abuse.

Along with the pit bull type dogs, there were a handful of Beagles and Hounds. One of the Hounds was pregnant, perhaps a side breeding business? Do I even want to know?

If their water dish was frozen over, how were they supposed to drink it??

*Sigh* and puppies….

Animal Rescue Corps has been in Tennessee seven times in the last several years, most recently with Operation Freedom this past summer, and Operation Sweethearts last year.  Does this mean that there’s a worse culture of abuse here than in other parts of the country? ARC president Scotlund Haisley says not necessarily. A lot of times, rural Animal Control offices simply don’t have the resources to handle such situations, and need the help. Thankfully, ARC is there to respond.

Just another day in the life of Agape Animal Rescue Director, Tanya Willis – kicking a$$ and saving lives.

Foster Dad and I spent this past Sunday out at the emergency shelter, set up in half of a warehouse in Lebanon, Tennessee.  It was cold and loud, but for these dogs it was the first place they’ve ever been “safe” in their lives.

This was such a different experience than the last couple rescues operations we’ve volunteered with. In Sweethearts and Freedom, most of the dogs were terrified of everything – especially us. But you guys, these dogs…in true pit bull fashion, these dogs wanted nothing more than human affection. As we distributed food and water, they were pushing against the doors of their cages trying to climb into our laps. As we passed by them, they would press their whole sides against their crates and wag their tails fiercely, in the hopes they might get a little scratch through the bars. And when we took them into the “potty area” to stretch their legs so we could clean their crates, most of them prefered to be in our laps covering our faces with sweet kisses, or chasing a rubber Kong around the room – experiencing “play” for the very first time. Every single one of them stole my heart.

Every single one of these dogs embodies the word “resilience” – no amount of abuse or neglect could break their spirits.

That day was the first full day the dogs were at the shelter, which was focused on getting all the dogs initial veterinary exams and documenting their conditions. The dogs didn’t even have names yet – but one of them sticks in my mind. A sweet brown and white girl with severe crate anxiety – the way she gnawed at that thing, she bloodied her nose trying to escape. But when she got out and into the potty area, even though her bones were visible under her skin and she walked as though she was in constant pain, after some cautious sniffing…she started to prance. Actually prance around the enclosure, chasing after a Kong. It’s like she suddenly realized, “Oh yeah! I’m a dog and it’s awesome!” It was absolutely amazing to see.

Even though we’ve not been able to go back since Sunday, these dogs have been in my mind non-stop since then. As much as these cases break my heart, I try so hard to think of it as the happiest time in theses dogs’ lives so far. After all, their suffering is over.

Operation Broken Chain in the news:

(Nov. 24) Dog Fighting Operation Busted
(Nov. 25) Rescued Dogs are being Nursed Back to Health
(Nov. 26) Federal Agents Investigate Dog Fighting Operation
(Nov. 26) 65 Dogs Removed from Suspected Dog Fighting Operation
(Nov. 28) Interview with Scotlund Haisley on Morning Line
(Nov. 28) Suspected Dog Fighting Operation Uncovered in Cheatham County

How you can help.

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