by Joyce Brandon
Joyce is a part of Animal Compassion Team, an animal rescue in Fresno.
Reedley Homeless Pets just turned a year old. In March of 2012, I began partnering with the Reedley Police Department’s Animal Control. It has been a wonderful, but difficult year. I have experienced a side of rescue I hadn’t ventured into before.
Reedley still does not offer adoptions to the public from its shelter so it is still 100% rescue oriented. We are focusing on building relationships and have met some wonderful rescuers willing to step in and help.
The quote at the top of the Reedley Homeless Pets Facebook page is “Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.” – Karen Davison. This couldn’t be more true! We have saved close to 200 dogs and cats in our first year and have met some wonderful animals (and rescuers) along the way. I thought it would be fun and fitting to go back in time and take a look at a few of those animals.Why not start with the subject of last month’s story about parvo…Spotty. Spotty recovered wonderfully from her illness. She developed into such a wonderful and smart puppy! Spotty became a foster family favorite (my family) and has a way of worming her way into everyone’s heart. I am happy to report that last weekend Spotty found the most amazing home! She is so loved and I get updates frequently from her new mom, who loves her so much. She was definitely worth saving! Rescue groups such as Animal Compassion Team that are willing to take a chance on a sick puppy are worth their weight in gold.
Looking back through a year’s worth of photos, it’s tough to choose which dogs to talk about. Sephora caught my eye. The reason she caught my eye is that we aren’t always successful the first time out. Sephora was adopted through Animal Compassion Team but was she was a dog adopted directly from the shelter so we didn’t really get a chance to know her. She went straight from the shelter to HOPE for spay and vaccines, then directly into her new home. Because of her microchip, we were notified by a shelter in Visalia many months later that Sephora had been impounded yet again. Her family no longer wanted her, which is the case with almost all shelter dogs. Animal Compassion Team fetched her from the shelter and found her a new home. There is so much help available to families with dogs that aren’t perhaps a perfect fit right away. Dogs are eager to learn and eager to please. Why do we feel they are disposable?Looking back in April of 2012, Emma catches my eye. Honestly, many of the Reedley pit bulls do not ever make it out of the shelter; but we have Fresno Bully Rescue to thank for saving many of them. Emma was simply amazing from the start! She had a wiggle and a wag about her that was infectious. Fresno Bully Rescue was wonderful enough to invite her to their place where she quickly found a home. Emma will always be one of my favorite Reedley bullies!
Mama Cass has to be the star of May 2012! The picture we posted of this little blind dog laying in her food dish was one of our most commented on posts. She was the most wonderful, little girl…plain and tan…but with a survivor’s spirit that is simply irresistible. Because of that photo, Mama Cass had an immediate foster who then decided she couldn’t let her go and adopted her! Happy endings certainly keep us going.
A little black elf looking puppy in August of 2012 jumped off the Facebook page at me. Who can resist that face? Animal Compassion Team pulled her and named her Dobby after someone mentioned she looked like the character from Harry Potter. Dobby was one of those larger than life puppies. She was full of personality and so smart! Dobby was transferred to Marin Humane Society and she soon became a staff favorite there. We are happy to say she was adopted and is living the good life by the sea.
December was a great month for the Reedley shelter. Four new kennels were added so the shelter went from three to seven kennels. This enables them to hold the dogs longer if need be while we arrange for rescue. The Reedley Police Department have been outstanding, and their willingness to work with us has meant the difference between life and death for the vast majority of animals in the shelter. A donor sent a wonderful Christmas gift of new Koranda beds so that the dogs will be more comfortable while being held there. We got in the Christmas spirit and on Christmas Eve, we dressed up several puppies that needed help in little Santa hats and scarves. After seeing these little cuties Pawsitive Connections, a rescue in Kingsburg, gave us the best Christmas present ever and pulled all the available dogs/puppies from the shelter!
2013 ushered in a rash of free and low cost spay and neuter opportunities. The only way we will ever stop the flow of animals into our shelters is to persuade people to spay and neuter. As long as puppies and kittens continue to be born indiscriminately the killing will not stop. It also ushered in a new batch of Chihuahuas and pit bulls into the shelter. Again, we thank Fresno Bully Rescue for saving wonderful Bubba, another Reedley bully. Two of our Chihuahuas found themselves in a whirlwind of adventure! Strays on the streets one day and within a week rescued, flown to Wisconsin, and in new homes.
My challenge today is two large dogs in the shelter, one wearing a tag with a disconnected number, the other no tag at all. Beautiful sporting dogs, the male is a purebred German Short Haired Pointer and the female we suspect is an English Pointer, and they are running out of time. I have been contacting rescues and so far everyone is very full. These are beautiful dogs, as are most that are dying in Valley shelters. It is unfair and unjust that these animals are so easily discarded by the families they gave their hearts to.
Recently there was a three-day period where the shelter sat empty, the first time in the year I’ve been involved. That was a wonderful three days. A little break from the feeling that I’m holding the fate of these dogs in my hands, short lived, but wonderful. As I said in the opening, this is a side of rescue I hadn’t experienced. Feeling responsible for the lives of the dogs in the Reedley shelter is much different then pulling a few and walking away. When successfully placing them with a rescue group, I feel like I’m on the top of the world; when unsuccessful, well, you can imagine how that feels.
Tough as it is, I wouldn’t change a thing, we are the sum of our experiences and this one has taught me many wonderful lessons: most importantly, when we work together miracles are possible and anything can happen!
Check out more animal rescue stories, including those referenced above, in our Pet Perspective section. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to ACT.