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When ‘safe’ doesn’t always mean what you think

URGENT DOGS! WILL DIE TONIGHT! FOSTERS NEEDED! You all know the drill. That is the usual plight of open intake shelters, too many animals, too little room and hard decisions have to be made (aka who will have to die to make room for this new stray).

That is when well-meaning individuals will step up to the plate and agree to foster that animal to save its life – usually.  Usually those people can’t stand to see an animal lose their life, at all, but especially due to no space in the shelter and so they want to help.  Usually they are amazing, bleeding hearts who do in fact help and save a life.  But sometimes, they are like the person you will read about below.   Sometimes, we are forced to believe that the shelter actually IS the best place for these animals, even if it means they will be euthanized.  This is Dewey’s story.

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Dewey at the shelter

Dewey was a kind, gentle soul.  He was an older gentleman that mostly wanted to snuggle up in some blankets with his favorite person.   Dewey was found as a stray on 08/01/2017.  How and why would a senior dog not have an owner looking for him? We don’t know.  What we do know, is that Dewey was a pretty cool guy.  He was thought to be 8-10 years old, well past that annoying puppy phase, but still enjoyed play time as much as any dog.  He was smart, affectionate, sweet, knew commands-all the things you would want in a dog.

 

 

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Bed time 

Dewey drew the small end of the stick and he had to leave the shelter by 09/08/2017 or he would be euthanized.  While everyone knew how great he was and wanted to help, there was little to no room in the rescues to take him unless they could find a foster for him.  The urgent plea was put out and someone agreed to take him and be his foster in rescue, therefore saving his life!  We were ecstatic – He would finally have the life he deserved! Or so we thought.  Hind sight is always 20/20.

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Dewey’s foster parent sent photos and told us how amazing he was, how sweet he was…for a few days.   That was the last communication we would have from Dewey’s foster.  Fast forward to 10/14/2017.  Dewey died on this day.  I’m not able to go into details due to current legalities, but Dewey’s foster parent ultimately became his killer due to neglect.  He passed away peacefully with people who actually DID want to save his life.

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What’s the moral of the story?  The moral of Dewey’s story is that when a dog’s urgent status is changed to”SAFE”, that it’s not always the case.  It’s a cruel world we are living in when a dog LEAVING the shelter is actually the worst thing that can happen to him.

What happened to Dewey is in no way related to how reputable the rescue is – it can happen to any rescue and we are lucky to have so many rescues willing to save our shelter animals.  But, with what happened here, it serves as a reminder that maybe we, as rescue, can’t break our own rules just one time to save a life.  There’s that hind sight again.

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If you are truly interested in saving a dog’s life and want to help us help them, find a rescue you like (see my previous post for a list) and fill out their foster application.  Do it PRIOR to acting on an urgent animal’s plea and not a last-minute foster, to give rescues the time needed to do a more diligent check before being approved to bring an animal home.   Yes, animals get time-stamped at the shelter and the urgency is severe – but please take a step back and think – what is in the dog’s best interest?

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Rest peacefully, Dewey 

I will end with this:

Lots of people blaming themselves for the death of my Pen Pal, Dewey- myself, the rescue that only wanted to help him, the volunteers who helped with his foster meet. You know who doesn’t feel any blame? The piece of human waste who actually is responsible for his death. What happened to Dewey should finally put to rest the “Anywhere But ACCT” mentality. There are far worse fates for these animals than ACCT. And when those fates become a reality, it’s always the people that cared that are left with broken hearts and lives forever altered. 

Written by Dewey’s best friend, his Pen Pal Sherilynn.

See him in action below.

 

 

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Summer is the season for fun! It’s also the season for animal shelter overflow!

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Summer is upon us and at your local shelter that means the kennels are over-flowing with stray and surrendered animals.   Shelter staff and volunteers do all they can to save as many animals as they can but when they keep coming in, hard decisions need to be made.  You can help stop the problem before it starts – by opening your home to a foster dog/cat.  When a rescue takes an animal from the shelter, TWO lives are saved: The one they are taking, and the one taking it’s place in the kennel.   Below is a list of just a few rescues that are approved to pull from Acct Philly.  Pick a rescue, fill out their foster application and be on your way to saving a life.  If you want to foster directly through the shelter, you can e-mail foster@acctphilly.org.

Noah’s Ark Rescue – Click here

Harley’s Haven Dog Rescue – Click here

Peace Love & Doggie Paws – Click here

Pawsitively Purrfect Rescue – Click here

Peaceable Kingdom – Click here

Home At Last Dog Rescue – Click here

New Life Animal Rescue – Click here

Tiny Paws Rescue – Click here

Paw It 4ward – Click here

Outcast Rescue – Click here

Diamonds In The Ruff Rescue – Click here

Jax’s Labrador Retriever Rescue – Click here (Breed Specific)

Balanced Buddies ResQ – Click here

Salfid Rescue – Click here

J & Co Dog Rescue – Click here

Don’t Bully Us Rescue – Click here

Tiny Miracles Rescue – Click here

Sammi’s Voice Pit Bull Rescue – Click here

Bella-Reed Pit Bull Rescue – Click here

CHAR WILLS German Shepherd Rescue – Click here (Breed Specific)

Good Karma Rescue – Click here

Forever Home Rescue – Click here

Kodi’s Club Rescue – Click here (Breed Specific)

Rescue Dogs Rock Animal Rescue – Click here

These are just a handful of rescues – if you own a rescue and are approved to pull from Acct Philly and want to be added, let me know!

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Another option I would like to post is Emeka’s Fund, a Registered 501(c)(3) Non Profit Organization set up to provide financial assistance to families who cannot afford to privately euthanize their terminally ill pet. Many times families are faced with having to surrender their terminally ill pet to the shelter for euthanasia due to the costs of private euthanasia. Emeka’s fund helps families keep their dying pet out of the shelter and allows them the right of having them go in peace, surrounded by loved ones. You can learn more about them HERE.

If you know someone that needs to rehome their pet, please have them reconsider or, consider other options to keep them from surrendering to the shelter. There are a number of resources out there to hep families in need including Citizens for a No Kill Philadelphia which has resources from pet food pantry to behavior assistance, and also Get Your Pet, which is an on-line site designed to help you rehome your pet while keeping them oout of the shelter!

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I would like to thank all of the rescues joining our plight and all of the public that are open to helping us as well – the homeless pets of Philly depend on us!

Emeka’s Fund -Finding Peace at the Rainbow Bridge

In July of 2015, a beautiful German Shepherd was surrendered to Acct Philly (Animal Care & Control Team of Philadelphia), his name was Emeka.  Emeka had recently gotten very ill and was taken to the vet for diagnostic testing.  Sadly, it was discovered that this loyal companion was terminally ill.  With no way to pay for a private and formal euthanasia, his owner said his goodbyes and brought him to the shelter with the knowledge that he would be humanely euthanized.

Emeka at the shelter

Emeka at the shelter

Volunteers had seen this boy, lying in his kennel with a packet full of veterinary notes, documenting all that has been done for him, and words of love expressing how loved he was and couldn’t let him die alone.  They gathered together a rescue to save him from the shelter and funds to take him to their private vet to confirm the diagnosis so they would be positive that euthanasia was the best option.  When it was sadly discovered that it was, Emeka was able to cross the rainbow bridge in a room filled with heavy, loving hearts and warm, comforting hands.

The animal shelter is not meant to be a place for final goodbyes like this but all to often owners are left with no other option.  This is where a team of shelter volunteers (Cheryl, Anna Marie, Bridget and Lisa) was formed, to try to help families say goodbye to their pets together through a private euthanasia, not alone in a shelter.

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Cheryl, Bridge, Lisa & Anna Marie

When someone comes to the shelter with their terminally ill pet, it is Emeka’s Fund who steps in and will direct the owner to one of their vet partners and, if needed, will cover the cost of a private euthansia.  If the illness can be cured and the outlook is positive, Emeka’s Fund will pay for the vet visit and the owner can purchase the medicine needed at that time and the dog will be back home with his/her family to live out the rest of their lives!

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Comet and his Daddy – 12 years of love before he crossed the Rainbow Bridge

 

Emeka’s Fund is funded by donations and are always seeking new ways to spread the word about their mission and gather donations.  This year, Emeka’s Fund will be holding a raffle for $500!  Tickets are $20 each and the drawing will be held on 03/20/2017.  To purchase a ticket you can:

1-Use PayPal and select the “friends & family” option. Enter the email address: EmekasFund1@comcast.net ( Include your contact information in the comment section so we can contact you if you win!)

2-Mail a check made out to “Emeka’s Fund” to: PO Box 21143 Phila, PA. 19114.

3-Message their Facebook Page for other payment options.

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If you wish to donate to Emeka’s Fund, you can do so at any of the above ways as well!  If you or someone you know need this type of assistance, send an e-mail to emekasfund1@comcast.net or visit their Website.

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Emeka

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“Home Improvement Adoption Campaign”

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“Home Improvement” Adoption Campaign Kicks-Off at Acct Philly!
 A follow-up to our last post “S.O.S. – SAVE OUR SHELTER (Animals)
From Acct Philly:
The “Home Improvement” Adoption Campaign kicked-off this week, featuring fee-waived adult large dog adoptions through Sunday, February 5th.
More “Home Improvement” promotions and pop-up events will be scheduled throughout the two month HVAC renovation, so be sure to follow along and help spread the message to potential adopters!
Come today to meet some amazing dogs, like Fetty – Acct Philly’s longest term resident! 32451962206_d7badff5ba_k

S.O.S. – SAVE OUR SHELTER (ANIMALS)

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Beginning on February 6th, MUCH needed renovations are to start on the shelter’s HVAC system. As told to us by ACCT : “The renovation includes a new heating/cooling system, new kennel ceiling and lighting, and cleaning of all vents. This system will provide better climate control and a higher air exchange rate, ensuring pets housed at ACCT Philly – both cats and dogs – will have a more comfortable and healthy environment.”

This will have such a great impact on the health & well being of our animals and we can not wait to get started! Of course though, with such a big job, there will be some hurdles to overcome. The main hurdle will be to help the dogs and cats find adopters, fosters and rescues FAST and to limit the amount of animals coming into the shelter. We will only be able to utilize half of the kennels while they work on the other half, thus cutting our space in half during this time.

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That’s where YOU come in. Rescues can’t help if they don’t have enough open foster homes. I am posting below a list of approved Acct Philly Rescue/Transfer Partners (with their permission) that are open to obtaining new foster parents to help us save more animals during this time (and of course, in the future). Each rescue will need new foster homes to complete their foster application process which you can find on their websites. They are based all over the Tri-State area, so find one that you are interested in and in your area and fill out a foster app or two! Help us help them – We thank you all in advance! Any questions, please comment below and I will be happy to help!

Harley’s Haven Dog Rescue – Click here

Peace Love & Doggie Paws – Click here

Pawsitively Purrfect Rescue – Click here

Peaceable Kingdom – Click here

Home At Last Dog Rescue – Click here

New Life Animal Rescue – Click here

Tiny Paws Rescue – Click here

Paw It 4ward – Click here

Outcast Rescue – Click here

Diamonds In The Ruff Rescue – Click here

Jax’s Labrador Retriever Rescue – Click here (Breed Specific)

Balanced Buddies ResQ – Click here

Salfid Rescue – Click here

J & Co Dog Rescue – Click here

Don’t Bully Us Rescue – Click here

Tiny Miracles Rescue – Click here

Sammi’s Voice Pit Bull Rescue – Click here

Bella-Reed Pit Bull Rescue – Click here

CHAR WILLS German Shepherd Rescue – Click here (Breed Specific)

Good Karma Rescue – Click here

Forever Home Rescue – Click here

Kodi’s Club Rescue – Click here (Breed Specific)

Rescue Dogs Rock Animal Rescue – Click here

These are just a handful of rescues – if you own a rescue and are approved to pull from Acct Philly and want to be added, let me know!

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Another option I would like to post is Emeka’s Fund, a Registered 501(c)(3) Non Profit Organization set up to provide financial assistance to families who cannot afford to privately euthanize their terminally ill pet. Many times families are faced with having to surrender their terminally ill pet to the shelter for euthanasia due to the costs of private euthanasia. Emeka’s fund helps families keep their dying pet out of the shelter and allows them the right of having them go in peace, surrounded by loved ones. You can learn more about them HERE.

If you know someone that needs to rehome their pet, please have them reconsider or, consider other options to keep them from surrendering to the shelter. There are a number of resources out there to hep families in need including Citizens for a No Kill Philadelphia which has resources from pet food pantry to behavior assistance, and also Get Your Pet, which is an on-line site designed to help you rehome your pet while keeping them oout of the shelter!

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I would like to thank all of the rescues joining our plight and all of the public that are open to helping us as well – the homeless pets of Philly depend on us!

Thoughts on Montreal’s Pit Bull ban from an ‘aggressive’ Pit Bull parent

Like most other rational-minded people in the world, hearing about the passing of the law to ban Pit Bull type dogs in Montreal has me disgusted.  I am sick thinking of the owners that have to muzzle their best friends out in public, because the government doesn’t get it.  I am even sicker thinking of the Pit Bull type dogs that are currently in the shelters there – who will be killed (not humanely euthanized, they are being outright murdered).  You see, I am the parent of an aggressive Pit Bull and I volunteer at a high-kill shelter filled to the brim with Pit Bulls.  I could never imagine a life without them.

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My Caesar

So, with an aggressive dog in my home, how can I not support the ban? Easy. I know every single dog is different, just as every single human in this world, is different. I know that  I didn’t train my dog to be aggressive, nor can I train it out of him.  He came to me, broken and afraid, and I vowed I would never, ever judge him on that based on his breed.   I did not know his past (I adopted him at 4 years old) but I knew his future – his future would be with me , in my home with nothing but love and positivity.

Rewind a few years and I was a single mother that was diagnosed with Depression and Anxiety.  Being a single mom is hard all by itself, but add Depression & Anxiety into the mix and it was a party in my head every day – the kind of party at 4am when everyone is passed out, can’t move and isn’t having fun any longer.  I went to counseling, I took anti-depressants, but I still couldn’t move besides going to work and couldn’t stop crying and I sure as hell couldn’t be a good mother.  One day while browsing Facebook, I came across a page called Philly Urgents, which highlights all of the adoptable dogs & cats in the ONLY intake shelter in the entire city, and there he was, the one that saved me from myself, Caesar.

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My Caesar then in his shelter photo

Caesar was a 4 year old black Pit Bull, surrendered by his owner with another dog (that dog was in a bad emaciated state).  If you didn’t know, black dogs are one of the least adopted dogs in the shelters, which made me want one, and I adopted him the same day that I went there “just to look”.  He was exhuberent, they said.  He was fun, they said.  He was dog friendly, they said.  All of this was true.  What they didn’t know, was that Caesar had a fearful, broken brain that showed itself in the form of fear aggression.  He feared everything  – the person walking behind us, the dog in the yard down the block, the plastic bag flying in the wind on a blustery day, his own shadow, being left alone, being around people and most of all, he feared me being harmed.  I was the biggest culprit in his fear, and I couldn’t do anything about it.  Caesar came to love me so much that the thought of someone or something hurting me was/is too much to handle in his broken brain.   His reaction to a person he is afraid of is to bite.  He bites out of fear.

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Caesar saved my life, quite literally, and so my love for him is blind.  I am not blind though to what he is capable of – what ANY dog is capable of.  I try to walk him when I know there are less people outside but in a big city, it’s nearly impossible.  I see his reaction to the people outside coming too close to us in his mind (in reality they’re a block away)- the ears back, the hair raised, the frozen state he gets in.  I see the people approaching, already leary of this Pit Bull from their stigma and so I cross the street.  I take my boy and I move out of the direction of the ‘scary people’ and I change the scene.   Caesar forgets about the people because he can no longer see them.  All I had to do was change the scene! Caesar wears a collar that says “I Need Space” to alert passerbys that he’s not a dog you can stop and pet.  Do I wish he was?  Of ourse, but he just isn’t, and I’m okay with that. Because he’s MY dog, and I can pet him and love him and hold him. He’s mine.

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I am a responsible dog owner and an even more responsible Pit Bull parent.  I know my boy has his limits and his faults but you know what else he has?  Unsurmounting love for me and my daughter.  No human has ever loved us as much as this dog does.  I am, quite literally, never alone – he’s in the bathroom with me, on the sofa with me, looking in the fridge with me, sitting behind me while I do the dishes and sleeps in my bed with me.  The happiness he has when he sees me – whether it is after a long day of work or the first opening of our eyes in the morning or the opening of the bathroom door on those limited occasions I would like to pee by myself and kicked him out – he wiggles his butt and drowns me in kisses – EVERY SINGLE TIME.  If I get up, he gets up.  If I eat a snack, he eats a snack (usually mine).  If he isn’t asked onto the sofa, he barks at me until I invite him up (on the odd occasion when he is not already on there with me). If I am not paying attention to him, he stares at me.   I am his person.  He is my best friend.

When my daughter leaves for school in the morning, he cries.  He watches her from the window and cries.  When she goes upstairs to bed, he follows her.  When she comes home after a weekend away, he jumps and wiggles and kisses like there’s no tomorrow.  When she is home alone with him, SHE is his person.  He follows her, he snuggles her, he watches over her.  He loves her.  We sleep at night face to face on the pillow or we spoon, and when he does his little huff, I know he’s out for the night – it’s the favorite part of my day.  His little huff shows me he is content, feels safe and can rest easy.  He’s happy.

Caesar doesn’t care for other people or dogs any more.  They scare him & he thinks they’re going to harm him, myself or my daughter.  I know what he can and can not handle and I don’t put him in situations that he can’t handle.  I do everything I can to keep him and the public protected.   Caesar believes his job is to protect us and he does.  I can not fault him for that.  You protect the ones you love no matter what.  And I have a responsibility to protect him.  Should he be banned because of this?  I certainly don’t think so.

In Montreal, I am sure there are other broken-brained Caesars out there that have loving and responsible owners.  Owners that shouldn’t have to hide their dogs or muzzle their dogs outside because the government is afraid of what they know nothing about.  We wouldn’t ban people with red hair because a red-head killed someone else, would we?  No – because every red-head is different just how every dog is different, no matter the breed.  My mom has a Pit-mix and a Chihuahua.  Guess who the one is that will try to bite you if you touch mom?  The Chihuahua.  Should we ban them next? I didn’t think so.  The people and the dogs deserve better.  May all of the killed dogs in the shelters in Montreal find peace and know they are loved.

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END BSL

 

Yes, I AM a “kill-shelter” volunteer

Yes, Yes and Yes.

Little Green Inn for Wayward Dogs

Originally published as Facebook note on May 16, 2011

http://www.tailsinc.com/tag/compassion-project

http://www.examiner.com/dogs-in-national/volunteers-provide-the-gift-of-compassion-to-dogs-about-to-die

I read and posted these links earlier today, and started getting a few such negative comments that I took down the posts. So I’m trying again and asking you to read, then think before you start criticizing the kind of volunteerism the people featured in these stories have chosen to undertake.

Think offering a death row dog some enrichment before she’s killed, knowing you can’t take her home yourself and save her life, is “weird”? “sick”? “a waste of time”? Unsettling, yes; gut-wrenching, yes; provocative of a whole lot of soul-searching about what it means to be human, yes—and it should be. A lot of people I know won’t set foot in a pound or shelter, government, private or otherwise. But if you haven’t got the stomach for it, please don’t criticize those who have found a way…

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