Thursday, December 04, 2008

Santa comes early to a shelter dog

With realities as they are, deciding which dogs to put to sleep - which pit bulls especially - is a daily chore that no one looks forward to in any open admission shelter. In Oakland, the decisions are usually made in the evening so the dogs can go to peace in the morning, altho' sometimes it can take days of exploring options. We've joined the staff with some of this burden and it's a responsibility that weighs heavy. Some of the questions that need to be answered: How many pit bulls are in the kennels right now? (OAS keeps room for 13 adoptable pit bulls + five kennels for BR) How many new pit bulls are about to become city property once their stray holds end? How many do we think we can place this week? Can this dog's health or behavior issues be resolved in a shelter setting? Do we have a foster home?...a spot for a compassion hold?

It's easiest when decisions are cut and dry; harder when the dogs are what we call 'grey area dogs' ... meaning, they're not the strongest ambassadors due to minor behavior or health issues or both. The gray area dogs keep me awake at night rolling over every possible possibility we can invent....And in the meantime, more and more dogs & pups keep coming in the door.

This little girl was a very gray dog for more reasons than her coat color: A bad knee. She's probably going to blow one (crap. or both), and need an expensive surgery. That's an easy one - She needs to make room for the healthier dogs that are coming in. But, I can't do it. I mean, lookit her. Sometimes you just need to wait a day or three, and let Fate have a say....



...So, an email comes in yesterday marked "URGENT!"... A fan of the breed all the way in NYC wants to help a needy shelter dog immediately, for a Christmas gift that's being presented today. Do we have any needy dogs that need a special sponsor?

Do we? and how.

Yes Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus. Meet Lolo, a wonderful girl with a wonky knee and a good friend who believes in the spirit of helping pit bulls, even those she's never met.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh, Donna, thank goodness! I'm so happy for you - AND that steady, sweet-faced girl. - Jean in Seaside

Doc Sinister said...

Thank you for sharing, Donna. I needed a reason to smile today. Give Lolo kisses and hugs from all of us out here in internet land.

Leila said...

Wow! What a sweet face.

I'm convinced that when miracles like this happen, something special is instore for this girl.

the slackmistress said...

Merry Christmas Lolo. And bless you guys for all the work you do. I wear my BadRap shirts proudly.

Anonymous said...

That is so wonderful. Thank you for the fabulous news!

JamminJosie said...

I thought you were gonna say you put her to sleep and tears were already coming to my eyes! But then you said she was saved by the Santa. What a GREAT story. If you have dogs with good temperament but wonky knees (or other health issues that can be fixed) you should post on the blog. I think many people would be willing to send money ... myself included.

home2k9 Alpha said...

Oh, this gave me chills! Hurray for that sweet girl and thank goodness for such a thoughtful Christmas gift. I would love for someone to give a gift like that in my honor...

Donna said...

Don't cry Josie! all is well.

The gift, btw, is from a friend of Rachael Ray's and it was donated in honor of Isaboo! Those new yawkers sure have them some heart.

ShelBel said...

What an awesome story- like Josie, I was preparing for a cry.

Bless the benefactors, each and every one of them, and give Lolo a cuddle because she looks like an absolute DOLL.

Truly in the spirit of the holidays!

Heathercoo said...

I'm so happy to hear that! My pit bull is a rescue and she had been with the foundation for a year because no one wanted to adopt her with a bad knee. We didn't care, we loved her anyway and took her home. This post makes me so happy.

Rinalia said...

Yay for Lolo and for kindness spanning thousands of miles! :)

On a semi-related note, I didn't know if you had read about the Kay County, KS confiscation of 107 neglected dogs.

Here's the article: http://winfieldcourier.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1&ArticleID=27619

I usually hate reading about any confiscation of pit bulls b/c it tends to end poorly for the dogs. Kay County sounds like they're trying to help these dogs and they need donations and volunteer help. I hope it isn't inappropriate to pass on the info in the article:

The sheriff's department is seeking donations of money, dog food and buckets for water. Donations may be sent to the Kay County Sheriff's Office, 110 S. Maple, Newkirk, OK 74647.

They are also looking for volunteers to take care of the dogs.

Kelley may be reached at the sheriff's office. (580) 362-2517.

pamipoo said...

Yes virginia there is a Santa..woop woop! Now how do we brainwash more big-money types into the cult of the pitty?

Anonymous said...

I just knew that he was real!!! Yay Santa! Thank you for saving the day for a beautiful girl. I have a whole bunch of stuff for you that I will bring on Saturday, and maybe we can pick out something special for Lolo...

Just when I thought that the Christmas spirit was dying....

Natalie and Osa

Kelly said...

Donna,

Loving animals can be so hard sometimes. I am so happy for Lolo, but at the same time I am in tears over a mushy guy in a Georgia shelter who is going to be euthanized tomorrow. He's apparently nowhere near that gray area, and I just watched a video of him playing with a toy, so happy to be out of his kennel, and to be with people.

The reason I bring him up is because I find myself asking the question, how do you help this breed without falling to pieces?

I have two myself that I love with all of my heart and another mixed breed dog, and my tiny house can hold no more. We don't make huge amounts of money. My husband isn't working due to the wonderful economy, and we are just getting by.

I want to help where I can, but I know that I could not handle volunteering at a kill shelter. All pitbulls in my county are put to sleep without chance for adoption if they aren't claimed. There's a part of me that says stay away from Petfinder. There are so many pitbulls in gassing shelters here, especially in the areas near military bases. But I still find myself looking, feeling my heart breaking a little each time.

Are there other things you can suggest to help? On nights like these, I am feeling pretty helpless.

Donna said...

Hey now Kelly - chin up. The bully spirit is tenacious and no matter how many are dying, the world is starting to recognize them as individual dogs thru the rescue stories especially. I've always seen rescue as an act of defiance against the status quo, and every dog well-placed as a victory for the breed.

No one can do this alone though - it is hard on the heart. Can you work with a group so some of the hard stuff is handled by the folks with thicker skins? I've met and enjoyed Patricia Siems of GA, and I know that she's always in need of support. Check her out.

http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/GA323.html

Pam said...

You guys keep astounding me with your courage and fortitude in the face of such harsh realities. I think I should stop being amazed and just accept that you're both made of something pretty special. A big thank you to your Berkeley pittie, Sally for getting you involved in all of this in the first place. A bit mushy today, I know, but it's been an emotional week of highs and lows in the pit bull world. May you try to sleep more peacefully, despite the "grey" dogs, with the reminder that you always do THE BEST YOU CAN.

Anonymous said...

yay for Lolo. got love that pic. you can see her heart pounding with joy with that moving tail

Anonymous said...

I can relate to Kelly's message...I volunteered to walk the pits at my local shelter and did fine, until I found one guy in the restricted area of the shelter who was on the "E" list....he was a big, sweet mush-ball. He pressed his big body up against the chain-link gate to his kennel just wanting to be close to me....I stuck my hands in to pet and hold him. I got "in trouble" for breaking the rules, but I knew he wouldn't bite me. He's a pit -- he loves people. I left that day very, very sad knowing his time was short, but at least I did one thing to show him he was loved.

I cry for the ones we lose, but celebrate the ones that get a second chance, like Lolo. It's an uphill battle, but we can't give up or all is lost. One step forward, two steps back....but we do make progress over time.

The economy is tough and there's never enough money to go around...but somehow we make it work out. There's enough for me and my pittie girl, and we find a little to share every month.

With strength and numbers, we can make a difference.

Donna said...

Thanks for the kind words Pam. Our dogs are so much tougher than we are when it comes to adversity, aren't they? They're the best role models.

Anon 9:28, thanks for "getting in trouble" and showing that big mush ball your friendship. You're right, you gave him exactly what he needed at that moment. Not easy to put your heart on the line and few are willing to do it, but you did. Thank you.

Kelly said...

Donna,

Thank you for giving me a little bit of positivity. So many strides are being made, but there are just some days that it hits you hard, you know?

I am actually in NC, but I see a lot of crosspostings from SC and GA. I try to help out the pit bull rescue here in town financially when I can, and have emergency fostered for them short-term before, but it just doesn't seem like enough.

All of my dogs are rescues or strays, and hands down, if anything ever happened to one of them, I'm going to be looking for another pit bull. There's no other breed of dog for me.

A little bit of good news - I was told secondhand that the dog I was agonizing over went into rescue at the last minute. I'm trying to confirm, but I can't tell you how it made my weekend.

Wishing Lolo a successful surgery and quick recovery, and happy holidays to all of you that work so hard to save these dogs,

Kelly

Rachel said...

WOW! I'm so glad in today's world there are happy stories in with the rest. I'm thrilled for Lolo and that she didn't meet the end everybody thought was coming to her. she's beautiful! and Donna thank you for being a stronger person than me. I cry for the dogs in the articles that aren't given a chance and for the ones on chains that aren't loved. I cry for the ones I will never meet. I couldn't do it if I had to meet them too. thank you for being strong for them.

Rachel

Donna said...

Hi Rachel - Thanks for the kind words. None of this is easy, but I'm betting that you're stronger than you know!

Lauren said...

What a wonderful, heart-warming story. Thank goodness for those, to make it through the rest of the time! Lolo is a nickname of mine... and that makes it all the more touching for me. I am so glad that all the pieces came together for her! Thanks, Santa! ;)