I started this blog with the idea that if I could chronicle my adventures fostering dogs, I might be able to convince more people to do the same. As you may or may not know, I have had my current foster dog for about 6 months now. Despite the fact that I think she is cute as pie, and has a hilarious personality, apparently not many other people see that because she never has any interest in her. She has a home with me until someone better comes along, so I’m not worried about anything, but since I have had her for so long and we are so settled into our routines, it leaves me with little to talk about in regard to fostering. While I consider myself a weak writer at best, I don’t want to stop blogging because I want to change minds and hopefully encourage more people to get involved. Because of these things, I tend to talk a lot about some of the other things I do, which include volunteering at a tiny Animal Control in an even smaller county here in Florida. If I can shed some light on all the wonderful homeless pets that are out there and in need, then I have done a good job.
So, why did I just give you that lengthy explanation? Because I wanted to talk about some amazing things that have been happening lately at this little Animal Control. I have talked a couple of times about the Facebook page that I helped to start and what a difference it has made in such a short amount of time (here and here and here) but what I haven’t talked much about is the support that we have started getting from literally all over the country and the wonderful people that have stepped up to help us save these lives. Let me give you some examples:
This handsome guy is Ace. Being a large black dog, we didn’t think he was going to make it out of the shelter alive. If you have ever been involved in rescue, you have probably heard of the “black dog curse”. Basically, for whatever reason, black dogs are the most frequently euthanized dogs of all. Well, that all changed when Ace caught the eye of a man in Kansas–yes, Kansas! He got in touch with us and went on and on about how much he wanted Ace. We all loved this guy, and knew he would make a wonderful owner for Ace, but man, Kansas is far!
Our plan was to drive and meet half way so that we could Ace to his home. Half way was still over a 9 hour drive, so we really weren’t excited about that or the amount of gas money we would spend, so I decided to reach out and ask a person that I know arranges transport if she could help us. Lo and behold, she could! She got the ball rolling and, after a major personal emergency, got me in touch with the lady in charge of the whole transport. We were trying to add Ace onto a transport that had already been arranged for another dog so she had to get in touch with ALL of the drivers (I think about 30 total) plus the places where they would stay over night, and get everyone to agree to adding a second dog. I thought there was no way it was going to happen in just a couple of days, but sure enough, she did it! I was on cloud nine. Then we found out the other dog didn’t do well with some dogs. We had no choice but to drive Ace 3 hours to meet the dog and see if they got along. If they didn’t, the whole thing was off, and we were back to square one. Sure enough, they were instantly best buddies and as I type this Ace is approximately half way home. How amazing is that? Roughly 35 complete strangers worked together to help us get a dog home for the holidays. Pretty amazing, huh?
And then there is the story of Molly. At roughly the same time as we were starting to figure things out for Ace, and learning how much goes into arranging transport, we were contacted by a woman in upstate New York that wanted to bring this scared little girl into their rescue! She has been extremely kind, gotten another person started on arranging transport, and already paid to have Molly completely vetted! Assuming everything continues on as planned, Molly will be going all the way to New York next week!
As if that weren’t special enough, somehow in the (long!) chain of emails that I’ve had going with this woman, someone else saw that we don’t have any beds for our dogs. Like most shelters, ours is just concrete floors and cinder block walls. A woman saw this and ordered SEVEN Kurunda beds for us. This came to over $400! I’ve never even spoken to this woman and she did this without being asked, simply because she saw our need and wanted to help. She also emailed us saying that she was going to try and get us some cats beds as well. And the woman that is taking Molly asked us what size beds we could use. Seriously, is this not amazing?
And here’s another cool story: One of the other volunteers at this shelter got in touch with a person she worked for years ago and told her all about what she is doing down in Florida and how under-funded this Animal Control is. The woman decided she was going to auction a saddle of hers and donate the proceeds to us! She raised $400 for us, again, without ever being asked. Is that not generosity at it’s finest?
Oh! And how could I forget about the girl that arranged for a private pilot to fly SIX kittens to a rescue in Boston?
I guess my point with this post is, all we had to do was start getting the word out there. I tend to forget, because things are pretty rough down in Wakulla, that that is not the case for the rest of the country. There are places in the United States where kill shelters are unheard of. And there are people willing to dedicate their own time and money to help places where kill shelters are the norm.
Until we can get to the root of the problem, educate people on responsible pet ownership, create ways to help low-income people spay and neuter their pets, and somehow get funding for places Wakulla, the problem will still exist, but we are starting to make a difference! So many people never even knew this tiny place existed and now we are getting support from literally all over the country. And these are just a couple of our stories. There are so many other people that have started fostering, sponsoring dogs, and more. Feels like a Christmas Miracle to me!