|Maggie and Hannah
Eye of the beholder
Last Monday I got a birthday present and at first I didn’t even know what it was. In fact I thought it was a chore.
What it was, you see…well, there were these two yellow labs that lived somewhere over around Douglas. I’m told that their masters had been compelled to "downsize" and the dogs had to go. So these dogs—three year-old sisters it turns out—had been placed up for adoption and it had failed. By the time I entered the picture they were pretty stressed out, to say the least.
The way I got involved was through a phone call from Cheryl Bressler, founder and director of an organization called Rescue Me Dog. She said that Carbon County Attorney Cindy DeLancey (not on County time mind you) had been good enough to go and rescue the dogs and bring them to the Saratoga shelter. What Cheryl wanted to know was would I be willing to help feed and walk the dogs on a twice-a-day schedule, taking turns with Mike McWain and any other volunteers we could rustle up, until she got back to Saratoga later this week. I said I would. Happy Birthday Charlie!
My first walk was Monday morning, a week ago. What an experience! I’ve never walked oxen before, but now I can imagine what it would be like. Boy were they strong. These two could help Heath Hayes fill out his Panthers football line this fall!
Anyway, out of the shelter we went, leashes a-twirling and entangling, me barely remaining on my feet, and talk about being pulled in all directions at once.
Mike took charge that Monday night, both feeding and walking them because I had a conflict, and when I was over there Tuesday morning, he’d already feed them and was cleaning the shelter, so I just did the walk (or pull) routine. Nothing had changed. They got their exercise…and so did I.
Tuesday night was the Town Council meeting. When I saw Mike there, he said the girls had been fed but not walked. So when the meeting went into executive session I hopped around to the police department and got the key to the shelter, and off we went again.
Mike had cleaned up the shelter earlier in the day as well as it could be done, but when I looked at the surroundings all I saw was a jail and two innocent labs going through what seemed to me to be nothing short of Hell.
"Come on girls," I said, "we’re going home."
Actually I wasn’t taking quite as much of a gamble as I’m making it sound. Cindy had taken the dogs home over the weekend and they had gotten along fine, not only with her own dogs, but also with her two small children. The stress I was seeing in them apparently was associated with the shelter and not their upbringing. This was soon to be verified beyond any doubt.
After loading up and dropping off the key at the police station, we headed home and Maggie and Hannah were introduced an astonished eight-and-a-half month old Dusky—my own black lab. It was love at first sight. We all went for an immediate walk and when we returned, after some brief sniffing and the other things dogs do to get acquainted, they each found a toy and I picked up a book. Before long we were not only in the master bedroom, but in the master bed; then fast asleep.
Wednesday morning I realized I had my birthday present, not a chore. Oh, and we solved the problem of the leashes, too. We got rid of them! No more pulling, no more entanglements. Just a pocketful of treats as a reward for coming when I called.
They say good things come in small packages and Maggie and Hannah are not small. But they also say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Now that’s more like it. These are truly beautiful dogs. And therein lies the rub, or as this other saying puts it, there’s good news and there’s bad. Actually, kidding aside it’s actually all good.
Cheryl and the good folks at Rescue Me Dog found a family from Greeley, Colo., who wanted to adopt the dogs and on Monday they drove to Saratoga to get them. They’re nice people; they really are, and they have a 15-acre park across from their house. And I recognize foster dogs aren’t for keeps anyway, so if they were a birthday present, I guess it was a little like flowers—something to be enjoyed only for a brief while. But gee, this was awfully quick! I sure hated to see them go.
Maggie and Hannah were good for Dusky, too. They taught her some manners and some adult dog behavior she clearly wasn’t learning fast enough from me. And perhaps best of all, I know it was a good time well spent for the foster dogs; they were able to meet their new masters in a stress-free environment spared of the ox-pulling stress-filled introduction that had greeted me. Hopefully in a day or two of arriving in Greely, they’ll have adjusted as fast as they did to living with me—maybe even right away. But if for any reason it doesn’t work out, a single phone call to Rescue Me Dog will bring them back to Saratoga with no questions asked. Maggie and Hannah are truly safe.
Update: Hannah and Maggie were returned to Rescue Me Dog. The girls have gone on to wonderful "forever homes", Hannah to San Diego, CA and Maggie to Fort Collins, CO.