Maggie came to us early this summer as a rescue from a broken home. She was not well-cared for and arrived nearly bald with a severe skin infection and absolutely miserable from scratching. Months of care later, she was a happy and well-loved dog, although health issues continued to plague her. Thursday evening, Maggie was found under her foster Mom’s dining table unable to walk and suffering from a seizure. Her foster sister Violet was anxiously keeping watch over her. She was rushed to a hospital where they attempted to save her. However, Maggie suffered another catastrophic seizure yesterday morning and lapsed into a coma. Last night, she continued to decline and she never regained consciousness. The decision was made to let her go as the prognosis was grim.
Maggie was only with us for five months of her six years of life. Those five months were filled with treats, petting and love and she was treated during that time as a part of a family which is all any dog wants. Maggie was a sweet and gentle soul whose passing will be mourned by those who knew and loved her. We thank Keri her foster Mom for providing such a wonderful home and Anna as well who had her for some time before she came to New England. The two of you made her time with us wonderful and she knew she was loved.
We’ll see you on the other side, Maggie.
Many people wonder how dogs make it to New England or from New England to other places. Transport is the answer. We use a commercially-licensed, USDA-licensed transport company to transport our dogs around. Here’s how it works.
1. The dog arrives from a shelter into a foster home. We vet the dog, we work with the dog, we take pictures of the dog and then we decide where it is going to go, either local or to parts far away. If the dog is going somewhere else, we make a reservation and we take the dog to the vet yet again for another check up and a health certificate to travel. Transport is paid and we very rarely do volunteer transports. Every dog on transport is already spayed and neutered, must have all of its shots and must be certified healthy to travel by a veterinarian. If a dog arrives and is not healthy to travel, the transporters will not allow the dog to travel.
2. Fridays are transport days. The dogs all meet in one place to get on the transport to go north.
The day of transport is generally madness on the Southern end of things. Each dog has to have a packet. The packet contains all the dog’s vet records, tags, information, and other things like Advantage Multi and collars. It takes a very long time to get 20 packets put together. Eli, pictured above, generally gets the dogs in the van to transport as it is very hard on a work day to get volunteers to be able to meet at 2 p.m. His day starts around 7 a.m. and goes until it is all done. Erin can be counted on to bring a couple of dogs, and other volunteers like Kelly, Ginger and Tom are frequent visitors.
We may send as many as 20 dogs to various places every week, so it is a complicated schedule. Dogs have to have records completed, vet appointments and grooming appointments made, and things get checked and double-checked. Did Lucy have a microchip done? Does Mason need a canine influenza booster? All these things have to be checked for every single dog. The spreadsheets that track who is going where and what is left to be done are mind-boggling. Plans have to be made to pick up dogs from fosters who work and we have a lot of help from people and some awesome kennels (Thank you Dogtopia and Robin’s Nest) who help us stash dogs in one place for transport. Traffic and weather are always a complication and we have to pay attention to weather events 1000 miles away. Who remembers the October blizzard last year? We certainly do.
The actual drop-off is a well-orchestrated dash. Other rescues are arriving with their dogs and everyone is busy loading dogs, walking dogs, giving dogs potty breaks, water for dogs, petting dogs and carrying dogs and trying not to forget toys, packets and last-minute instructions. All the while trying not to cry. We have had these dogs, cared for them and loved them and now they are leaving us to go to new homes in far-off places.
The actual transport is a converted thoroughbred horse trailer that is heated and cooled, clean and safe with appropriately-sized crates for all the dogs. Each dog gets watered immediately, and they are checked constantly on the road. Dogs get walked at various points along the route which is why a 1000 mile drive takes 22 hours. Each dog’s packet is marked with the crate number to prevent confusion later.
By Saturday morning, the first dogs are dropped off and volunteers and on some occasions, adopters, are there to see the dogs come off the transport truck. All of us on the Southern end live for the smiles on the other end. It makes what we do worth all the trouble. And you can trust us, it is trouble. Nothing worthwhile in life ever came without some headache attached to it. By Saturday evening, everyone is home. What the New England folks do is just as much work and involves finding foster homes, ensuring someone is there to meet every dog, and handling the inevitable travel disasters that occur.
All told, every week, to move just twenty dogs from one place to another requires the combined labor of 20 people and 200 hours. That’s a lot of love and labor from a lot of volunteers, all for dogs who need a home.
For our fans who have asked how our young three-legged wonder is doing, here is his report from his foster Mom Sheila, who is by the way, totally awesome. A huge thank you Sheila from all 20,000 of us!
August 8-12th, 2012
I met my foster mom and dad today. One of the first things foster mom told me was “It’s better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.” She said some of her friends had come up with that. And she called me a tripawd. I liked the way that sounded!
I’m Lionel from Big Fluffy Dog Rescue. They saved my life and took care of me for a few weeks. I came to stay with my foster family on Wednesday, August 8th after having amputation surgery on August 7th. My left leg & hip were shattered when I was hit by a car and my rescue group and vet decided it would be in my best interest to spare me possible repeated surgeries attempting to repair the hip by amputating the leg. Amputation is a major surgery, but I feel so much better now— the pain of a shattered hip is gone, and I’m able to balance better with the leg out of my way. Dogs don’t worry about 4 or 3 legs like humans do. We’re just happy to be alive and loved.
My foster mom was so happy when I arrived bright-eyed, alert and very mobile for 24 hours post-surgery. I have no problem with the 3 steps off of her porch, but I do not like the hardwood floors inside. They are scary. But I figured it out—I can jump from rug to rug to avoid the slick floor. A friend of my foster mom’s who has a tripawd has said that her pyr eventually learned how to safely navigate slick surfaces. Until that happens area rugs or pet-specific gripper socks can be used to prevent falls and further injuries.
My foster family is cool. They treat me just like a dog. They do not pity me, nor do they allow anyone else to. They understand that yes, a bad thing happened to me, but I will be just fine. They are being careful that I do not fall or over do it, but the only “babying” that is going on is me getting petted all the time!
It’s important that my forever family be confident in my ability to live life as a “normal” dog.
I spent the first day and evening quietly in my crate, which I enjoy, or resting on the living room rug. I kept my walks to just the front yard for potty breaks, which were normal. I did whine just a little off and on, but I settled down quickly each time. Foster mom said it was important to take it easy, rest and she made sure I had my medicine when I needed it. I slept through the night like I usually do. The first night was so much fun—foster dad “camped” in the living room with me. He & foster mom did not want me to be alone. That was fun! He still sleeps with me in the living room just in case I need him at night.
Foster mom says I’m being a very good boy. I love my crate and after we go for walkies, I always lie down to rest in my crate. I’m housebroken, too.
I am on 100mg of Tramadol every 8 hours for pain for the next 7 days. Foster mom keeps the dosage very consistent, but I do not appear to be in any pain and the whining from the first day has stopped. Foster mom has not seen any signs of phantom pain or symptoms.
Foster mom & dad are feeding me well. She says I should gain about 10 pounds and gain some muscle. I am eating 2 cups of Purina One Salmon Kibble twice a day and she is giving me 1 can of tuna fish with my kibble for breakfast. She is concerned that the Tramadol is affecting my appetite. She is also starting me on 1500mg of glucosamine and 1000mg of salmon oil every night at dinner. It’s to help my joints, especially now that they have a bigger job to do. The salmon oil is for my skin and coat. It will help my incision heal quicker and all the Omega 3/6 are so good for me.
I do seem to have a possible grass or seasonal allergy. While on walks I love to sniff the grass maybe too much and I begin to reverse sneeze, sneeze and shake my head. Benadryl may be enough to manage the allergy, but foster mom wants to start slowly so we don’t impact the pain medication. Once I’m off of it I can take a larger dose.
I went to work with my foster dad on my second day post surgery. It gives my foster brothers time to spend with foster mom. I was able to maintain my balance in the back of the Envoy with ease—it’s a lot like surfing! And I can jump into my foster dad’s truck easily. On my second day I was able to walk around a small block and then later that evening I walked/jogged about ¼ mile with foster dad. I have great balance and mobility for a recent tripawd. My gait is very natural and strong, even when running.
I enjoy several short walks daily. I’m up to about ¾ of a mile daily (5 days post surgery)! I do have a little bit of a pull on walks. I walk on both sides of the leash holder. Foster mom is starting to work with me teaching me to walk on the left side & not pull (although I think she is secretly pleased that I am that strong!). With a proper exercise plan and core strengthening with balance ball work, I will have no trouble with endurance.
I am very quiet. So far no barking, but I am a pyr so that behavior may present itself once I feel better. I have seen my 2 foster cats through the baby gate and they seem cool – 1 is even a tripawd like me! Foster mom says that I can meet them this week, but I have to wear my leash. I’m going to go for a walk with my foster brother, Zeus, too. He seems nice and friendly. Foster mom says I have to wear my leash then, too.
Foster mom knows that I may decide that I don’t like cats and other dogs, but she wants me to try to be friendly. She says friends can be fun. I may decide that I want to live in a “one dog” family, but I can learn to be polite when I see other dogs in public.
I’m learning what a clicker is. I get hot dogs if I do what foster mom asks me to do. She says she insists that my forever family continue positive reinforcement training. I agree. I listen very well and I understand well, too. If someone was mean or forceful, I would not like that much and I would be afraid. I’m smart and eager to please!
I love attention! I do not mind strangers and children meeting me and petting me. I do prefer to be petted instead of not when people are with me. I do not exhibit the famous “paw pat” of most pyrs, but I will nudge your hand or arm, at times quiet determinedly, for attention! Don’t tell anyone, but I also enjoy a good ear rub!
I have a short coat without the thick undercoat that pyrs are famous for, but I do shed just as much as my furrier friends. A furminator and sturdy vacuum will be required for my forever home! I had a lot of fleas at some point (foster mom put Frontline on me Thursday) because foster mom says I have flea dirt on me. She is doing her best to brush it all off. Since I can’t have a bath until my incision heals completely. I even got furminated yesterday—that felt good!
My incision is healing right on schedule too and once my fur grows back I’ll be even more handsome!
I think I would do best in a home with older children who can handle my size and understand what being a tripawd pet means. I am happy lounging while you watch TV, but with proper training I could enjoy hikes and maybe even runs. I am a sweet boy with lots of love to give.
I should have no problems navigating life as a tripawd. Since I am a pyr mix and pyrs bark, I would not like an apartment. I will also need a securely fenced yard. I will love my forever family with all my heart. I will protect them, snuggle with them and play with them, well, forever. I can’t wait to meet them!
For more information on tripawd health, nutrition and gear visit the awesome site Tripawds.com.
Woofs & Licks!
As anyone who knows us has already figured out, we’re suckers for dogs in general. This explains why we have brown mutts and tiny scruffies mixed in with all the big fluffies that we are supposed to rescue. This brings us to Humphrey, a springer spaniel rescue who is in the care of one of our coordinators in Connecticut. Many of you may know Elizabeth and this is her dog. Humphrey was jealous of his other brother (Darwin the Pyr mix) who went in for elbow dysplasia surgery so he apparently decided to make himself a patient. Humphrey jumped up on a counter and ate an entire bottle of Rimadyl and a handful of other things. He has been in ICU for 36 hours now and he has made it through the first crucial day, but he has a long way to go. We will know more tomorrow when the bloodwork is run again, but the risk it kidney and liver damage. He is also racking up a big vet bill and we are fundraising to help save his life.
We have started a chip in for his care. If you would like to donate to Humphrey’s care via chip in, you can do it here: http://bigfluffydogs.chipin.com/help-save-humphrey. If you would like to don ate via regular credit card, you can do so here: http://bigfluffydogs.com/pay-online.php (just use the donate button and be sure to put the word “Humphrey” in the company name line so we know who it goes to). We are hopeful that Humphrey will pull through and be back to hang with his pyr brothers soon.
Please say a prayer for Humphrey and we will keep everyone posted.
Hi Everyone. Meet Siarra.
She and her family have been fostering with Big Fluffy Dog Rescue for about 2 years now. They are a wonderful family who have taken in many dogs in need.
Recently Siarra had decided to help us raise money for some of our dogs who needed some extra care. Siarra started collecting cans (which we can say is NOT at all glamorous) so she could put the money towards Ellas ACL surgery. She would sift through the sticky mess after people had parties and spend her Saturdays cashing then in. She had quite a bit of money saved up, when she discovered someone had STOLEN her donation money.
This did not deter Miss Siarra!! She kept up with her can collections and when people heard of what happened, they donated as well.
Siarra, you have a heart of gold!! You have been able to make a huge difference in Ella’s life. You remind us that there are amazing people out there. Let’s all take a minute to recognize Siarra Harrington!!
To those of you that foster for Big Fluffy Dog Rescue (or for any rescue, really), we wanted to simply say thank you for all you do. The past few weeks have been particularly trying and all of you have stepped up hugely on short notice and under grim circumstances to help the dogs, even in the face of adversity. Sick dogs, scared dogs, dirty and smelly dogs, lost dogs - no matter the challenge, you all have risen to it. For that, we are grateful, but we are really just happy to have you all as our friends and fans. As Thanksgiving approaches, we are reminded just how blessed we have been and how wonderful our fosters and fans are. Again, thank you for all you do and from the big fluffies of the world, the very biggest of puppy kisses. We simply could not do what we do without you.
Meet Dana, who is an actual person, and not a stick figure. Dana is a foster for Big Fluffy Dog Rescue. She has opened her home to many dogs and helped them find their forever homes. Dana is not easily fazed and she has done an awesome job with every dog she’s had. We think we should all take time to give Dana a shout out for her work. Thanks Dana!
Hershey, Maggie and Gordon
PS Big Fluffy Dog Rescue thinks your awesome, too.