Just for fun, this is Coco the hamster. Currently NOT in rescue with Big Fluffy Dog Rescue. This little guy got his cast for a broken leg courtesy of our friend and favorite vet Dr. Herd at Animal House Vet Clinic in Nashville. Awesome work Dr. Herd. Bring your tiny pen to sign his cast.
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.
The City of Savannah in Tennessee has a nice animal control facility. The people that work and volunteer there try very hard to help the dogs that come into their doors. Their facility has lots of room and can hold dogs while they work to find rescues or adoptive homes for the dogs. This is a very good thing and reflects well on the city.
We were recently contacted by a shelter volunteer who was very concerned about some recent policy changes being made by the City Manager, Garry Welch. Mr. Welch has apparently decided that even if the shelter has room to hold the dogs, the dogs will be euthanized after the required hold time because he doesn’t want to pay for the labor costs to keep the kennel clean!
Mr. Welch, we appreciate the budget issues you face and trust us, we get it. However, killing dogs is not particularly politically palatable and we would suggest you rethink what you are demanding. If your labor costs are high, consider doing what other counties are doing and use trustee labor from your jail. Killing dogs you have room to hold is not an acceptable course of action because you want to cut costs. Look elsewhere, or answer to your constituents and the world at large.
We would suggest that those reading this contact Mr. Welch, and politely suggest that he reconsider this policy. It's a black mark of shame that dogs will die because he does not want to pay for labor to keep the kennels clean. Be respectful and polite please, but let him know this is not OK.
Mr. Welch can be reached at email@example.com
Garry Welch, City Manager
City of Savannah
140 Main Street
Savannah, TN 38372
Phone: (731) 925-3300
Fax: (731) 925-5016
Rescue fans and friends:
Rescue in Connecticut is an endangered species. Special interests, including the people who support pet stores, dogs for sale and research, and groups promoting the breeding and sale of dogs continue their attempts to shut out rescue in Connecticut and all of New England. The law they quietly pushed through last year, based on misinformation and slander of legitimate rescue groups, is just the first step. Before it’s over, it’s very clear that those tied to the pet industry intend that rescue must be closed down so that only those who profit from the sale of dogs are left in existence. We MUST as a community support SB 253. We need ALL CT residents to POLITELY call, email, and write to Senator Meyer ASAP! This bill will die on Friday, March 23rd, without your calls and support.
Residents from: Branford, Durham, Guilford, Killingworth, Madison & North Branford will have the most clout but he wants to hear from ALL of us! So far, Sen. Meyer has the mistaken impression that CT residents are not interested in this revision. If you love your adopted dog, now is the time to act as time is extremely short. The Senator needs to hear that the law passed last year increases costs to the point where legitimate rescue is closing down and only breeders, pet stores and black market sellers will be left.
Please send a polite email and make a phone call to Senator Edward Meyer, Chair of the Environment Committee.
Email: Please email using this link: http://www.senatedems.ct.gov/Cap/php-bin/form.mail/Meyer-mailform.php
- You may tell him that you are a Connecticut voter, and it is very important to you that rescue organizations be enabled to continue their animal rescue work without feeling the burden of multiple veterinary visits to recertify the dog’s health every 15 days which adds excessive cost to the rescue and serves no health purpose. Tell him you support revisions that allow rescues to take their dogs on arrival to any vet of their choice to check on the health of the dog within 10 days of arrival, but not every 2 weeks. Ask him to please take action on SB 253, An Act Concerning Revisions to the Animal Importation Statutes and help it pass the Environment Committee.
- It is crucial that you include your address, or town of residence at a minimum, so that he understands you are CT voter.
- Be sure to thank him!
With your help, this bill can move ever closer to becoming law. Thank you!
You can read more about the details of the existing law here: http://federationofrescues.blogspot.com/2011/06/connecticut-launches-broadside-at.html
Big Fluffy Dog Rescue takes a lot of dogs from a lot of different places across the eastern half of the United States. Some of the shelters are obviously better than others which is directly related to the funds provided for the care of the animals. We are very sympathetic to the limitations placed on shelters by local governments strapped for cash and we do understand the hopeless task they have. That said, there are some things in this world that are absolutely unacceptable no matter what the circumstances. The shelter at Hawkins County, Tennessee, is completely and absolutely unacceptable and we are calling out the county to explain why they have allowed this situation to continue when it has been brought to their attention before.
This is the Hawkins County, Tennessee, shelter building:
It is a small shelter and we’ve seen much worse. However, this building has some serious and not so obvious flaws. First, the building has no ventilation and no windows for the dogs. In a shelter environment, a well-ventilated building is exceptionally important to keep disease at bay. Th lack of appropriate ventilation is bad, but the real problem is the massive sanitation issue. Hawkins County has drains at the back of each kennel run into which the animal feces and urine are washed. This waste from the kennels is flushed down drains running along the back of each kennel into an open pit on the side of the building. Puppies, in particular, who rest and play near the drainage system, are exposed to disease from all this fecal matter. Too many animals, pups and even adult dogs are dying at this shelter due to exposure to disease from poor basic sanitation and the backup of all that filth in the drainage system into the kennels. A shelter is supposed to provide care for the animals, not expose them to disease and leaving them to die miserable deaths in a concrete pen.
This is where all the dog excrement goes:
This little box on the outside of the building open up to reveal a disgusting and gag-inducing stew:
Unbelievably, there is a person whose job it is to use the little dustpan leaning against the building to slop all that dog waste into a trash bin. When volunteers contacted the Health Department who should know better, nothing was done to correct an obvious and serious public health threat. When this little chamber of animal excrement backs up, guess where all the feces and urine goes? Right back in to the runs where the animals are held. Unsurprisingly, the animals are dying in droves.
All of these puppies died from disease at the Hawkins County, Tennessee, shelter:
All of these puppies and so many others are dead because of the conditions in the shelter. This is not acceptable and it must end. Complaining endlessly and forwarding this post with shocked notes attached is not enough. We ask that everyone who sees this post contact the Mayor of Hawkins County, Tennessee, and politely tell him that this is not acceptable and that changes must be made. We would ask that the Mayor meet with local volunteers to discuss ways to improve the facility which the county relies on to care for unwanted animals. Simply closing it down is not an option as there will still be animals in need and the way we care for animals and children reflects directly on us as a society. Does the Mayor want to explain to the young children of the school where he used to be a teacher why all the puppies have died? Hawkins County, Tennessee, has been made aware of the serious problems with the lack of sanitation at this facility and has ducked the issue. The time for action is now. The Mayor of Hawkins County, Tennessee, does not have a listed email address, so faxes and phone calls and letters it must be with the following contact information provided:
Mayor Melville Bailey
Hawkins Count Mayor’s Office
150 East Washington Street, Suite 2
Rogersville, TN 37857
Phone: (423) 272-7359
Fax: (423) 272-1867
We are hopeful that some positive change can come from this and we hope that Hawkins County, Tennessee, will listen to its shelter volunteers and make changes to prevent future outbreaks of disease.
If you are an owner of a Great Pyrenees and are willing to provide a cheek swab for science, please click the TGen Research link here. Osteosarcoma is a terrible killer of these wonderful dogs and they are researching a genetic link for this disease. It’s free so help if you can. Thanks.
Butterscotch is a three-year-old female lab mix who went missing in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, on Tuesday, August 9. She was lost from Coach Road in South Chelmsford, MA and was last seen near 4H Old Lowell Road in Westford. Butterscotch is a spayed, gold and white medium-haired lab mix with brown eyes. She slipped her collar so is not wearing identification, but she is microchipped. Butterscotch is scared and likely will run if directly approached. If someone sits and waits, she will approach very submissively. Butterscotch is good with kids, cats and people and she is an excellent dog. She is not very tall and weighs in the 40 pound range. If you see her, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Be on the lookout and spread the word.
Darth was lost on July 29, 2011, from his home in West Halifax, VT. He is a young, 1 year old male pug mix weighing in around 35 pounds. He slipped his collar and is not wearing identification or rabies tags, but he is microchipped. He is timid and will run if directly approached. There is a $500 reward for the safe return of Darth. If you have seen him, please email email@example.com. Thanks to all our fans – pass the word to everyone in the area to be on the lookout. We are worried about Darth and want him to find his way home.
Last week, in the midst of record heat, the largest dog we have had in rescue landed himself in the hospital. The cause? Heat stroke. Toby wasn’t left outside unattended, he wasn’t engaged in serious exercise and he wasn’t in the sun. How did this happen? The answer is that giant dogs with lots of fur plus high heat = recipe for heat stroke, even just lying around in the shade.
Your first clue that a dog is suffering the effects of the heat is extreme panting. As his body temperature rises, he will exhibit other symptoms which get progressively worse: pale gums and a red swollen tongue, disorientation, vomiting, rapid heart rate, breathing difficulties, collapse, coma and finally death. Once your dog is in the rapid panting stage, you need to get him cool immediately. Cool wet towels are a great start. If you cannot get him cool enough, get him to the vet ASAP. Do not wait. Once the body temperature gets to 105, organ damage starts. It takes very little time for the damage to begin.
Toby is lucky. He spent a week on IV fluids getting his electrolytes back and the damage to his liver is not permanent. His bill for his vet care is a not insubstantial $1800.
If you would like to help BFDR defray their expenses with this poor boy, you can donate by clicking here (you can use credit cards or scroll down the page for Paypal). We can use all the help we can get as this was one expense we weren’t counting on. Toby is on the mend and will make a full recovery so we can all breathe a sigh of relief. As the summer goes on, please keep an eye on your pets and make sure your big fluffies stay nice and cool.
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.
Meet Crosby who was adopted from us as an honorary big fluffy dog. This video is the heart of why we do rescue.
For an unwanted boy from rural Tennessee, you did well for yourself Crosby. This makes us smile.
A new Olympic sport just for dogs – synchronized staring.
Being in sync with your staring partner is critical:
Definitely a gold medal.
Meet David. David is an 11 month old Great Pyrenees in rescue with us. He is obviously a good-sized dog, but appearances can be deceiving.
This counter is 4 plus feet high. David easily reaches over. No sandwich on the counter is safe. When David realizes that it’s going to be a bath, he’s checking out the way out.
Keep in mind, he’s at an angle to the door and not at full extension. David is indeed a big, fluffy dog.
PS He is also adoptable this week.
It’s been a nasty year weather-wise in the South. Weeks of storms have leveled entire communities. One of the coordinators for Big Fluffy Dog Rescue had her home damaged by the storm. Tina suffered damage to her home and has not yet gotten back to where she was.
This morning, the Big Fluffy Dog van that has transported countless dogs burned to a crisp after an electrical fire started:
Tina needs our help. If you would like to donate, you can donate at our site here: http://www.bigfluffydogs.com/pay-online.php (for those that prefer to use credit cards directly). You can also donate here at paypal if you would like to help: http://bigfluffydogs.chipin.com/tina-tornado-and-fire-relief-fund. Please be sure to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know you have donated for Tina if you use credit cards so we can send appropriate thanks.