I found myself in the middle of a rescue last week when I found a post from Renee Laposa at Big Dogs Huge Paws in my Facebook page. It was a Saint Bernard scheduled to be euthanized at the Animal Services shelter.
According to the rescue representative who saw the Saint Bernard in question on Tuesday, he had been deemed “dog aggressive” in his evaluation by the Kansas Humane Society and would not be transferred for adoption on his review date. Animal Control doesn’t handle the dogs once they are in a kennel except to move them from one side to the other for cleaning, so they weren’t able to tell the rescue person much more. They have no information about the unidentified dogs when they come in and can’t take risks that a frightened dog may bite out of natural instincts to protect itself from the unknown.
First, Candi Bright who has Gentle Giants in New Jersey said her rescue would take him, but a home would be needed until he could be transported. BDHP foster homes already had fosters.
I have wanted to foster for some time, though my husband was resisting it, saying I would never give up a foster dog, I managed to get him to say yes to us volunteering to foster the Saint if he could be pulled since there was only a day to find a home and tag him for rescue.
I lost count of the Facebook messages and emails that were flying around, but bottom line was, there needed to be someone from a rescue to pull him as this is what WAS requires, there had to be a foster home arranged, and there had to be a rescue willing to take responsibility for him. At the last count, at least five people were working on getting the details arranged.
In the course of this, I had sent a photo of a Mastiff Mix at WAS that Renee proceeded to post as things came together for the Saint Bernard, and the next call for rescue went out.
I tendered the offer to foster with some trepidation as our alpha dog is not good with new adult dogs. We have our yard set up so we can split the front and back so we knew the Saint Bernard would be able to be introduced gradually to our dogs.
Once the details to get the Saint out were in place, the last piece was to contact a veterinarian so he could have his shots and be tested for worms and heartworms before he even arrived at our home. Meadowbrook Veterinary Clinic has provided much of the veterinary care for rescues in the area, and with the clinic not available while Dr. Brooks recovers, I contacted two other veterinarians I knew. One was closed on Thursday afternoons and recommended I contact El Paso Veterinary Clinic in Derby. They were happy to help and said to bring the Saint Bernard in anytime.
It was not easy walking back in to Animal Services on Thursday. It was all I could do to hold together until we had the Saint Bernard in hand. I wanted to get another couple of pictures of the Mastiff Mix in case he had not been claimed. As it turned out, he was marked for PTS for March 5. That meant he had to be tagged on Friday.
Holly Sanders, a Wichita Big Dogs Huge Paws representative met me at Animal Services late Thursday morning (it doesn’t open until 11 a.m.). I had purchased a collar on the way having seen that the Saint didn’t have one on Wednesday, had our sturdy leather leash with me, and we went back to “spring” the big dog. It was a bittersweet feeling of elation that we had him in hand on the day he was originally scheduled to be euthanized.
We were pleasantly surprised that the Saint had good leash manners, and he seemed genuinely happy to be leaving the kennel which isn’t really sized for the giant breeds. Holly loaned me her crate, which we managed to get in the trunk of my Saturn with the back seat down. And then, we had to figure out how to get the Saint in the car. As it turned out, he really did not like getting in a car. Luckily, I had also purchased treats on the way, but while these helped, the Saint didn’t seem to be near as interested in them as we had hoped. We finally coaxed him in behind the front seat, and we could both be on our way.
With a final high five, knowing he was now safe, Holly headed for home, and I headed for Derby to the vet with our first foster dog.