By Christie Pool
Hunter and Gunter left last Thursday. Miracle followed the next day. Emotionally, it was a rough couple of days for me.
For a month my family and I had fostered Hunter and Gunter, two brothers aptly named “The Twins" by rescue volunteers. The inseparable duo, all puppy energy and fun at around nine months old, were some sort of cattle dog type with maybe some Redbone hound mixed in. Whatever exact bloodline, they were 50 pounds of cuteness and raw energy. After the two wound up pitifully at the county animal shelter, a group of volunteers led by Kelly Ingram and Julie Raming worked diligently to find them homes.
Kelly, a master networker among rescue groups all around the United States, secured their "ticket to freedom" with a group in Massachusetts. Yes, Massachusetts. Hunter and Gunter may have Patriots or Red Sox collars around their necks right now.
The only catch in their big move up north was the group there wouldn't accept them unless they were out of the shelter and in a foster home for at least two weeks. Enter me (and, to no small extent, my family). It was a wonderful experience, especially if you overlook their chewing through the door of the new kennel the first night there.
The twins wound up taking to their new home, excited for their daily walks in the neighborhood and they got along well with our other dogs.
Just as those two were settling in, the volunteer group sent out a request: Could anyone foster a 22-pound shepherd-mix pup that had been hit by a car? Sure, I said. I don't see what one more could hurt.
Miracle, as she came to be known, had suffered a broken leg and multiple breaks and fractures in both sides of her pelvis. When county animal control officers found her, she was in terrible shape, with severe road rash and maggots covering the back side of her body.
Pitiful doesn't even begin to describe it. We wondered if she would even survive.
Despite all the pain she had to have been in, even with the prescription medicines, Miracle was as sweet as they come. Had it not been for a pop-up thunderstorm that sent her right through my screened porch in terror, she was a wonderful, but time-consuming, guest. Those first few nights she got up as often as an infant and was a lot of work, initially not being able to stand when she needed to go. But it was incredibly fulfilling to take care of one of God's animals -- especially one who seemed so grateful.
And then they left. In just two days, all three pups were off to other rescue groups. For the twins, they left a week later than expected after their initial transport van broke down.
This setback left my husband skeptical if the whole network of dog rescuers was for real - but it is and master-networker Kelly scrambled and got another transport in place. Local volunteers Suzanne and Ray Champitto stepped up and drove the twins quite a distance Thursday to meet a new transport north.
And I drove Miracle to Tennessee Friday to meet her new foster mom who lives in Huntsville, Alabama, and works with the Florida rescue group, “Aussie and Me.” Our local volunteers were thrilled to have Miracle accepted into this group as they would get her to an orthopaedic surgeon to look at the extensive damage in her hips and pelvis. When I heard from the new foster mom Tuesday morning she said, “Man, her x-rays are scary. I have no clue how she moves around at all.”
Thanks to a fundraising push on the Be-Paws We Care facebook page, Miracle's initial vet bills were paid but anyone who would like to donate for her extended care and recovery would be nothing short of angels.
(Donate at Entegra Bank to the Be-Paws We Care account or Go to their website…www.be-pawswecareinc.com/donate).
It's hard to care for an animal - or three - for a few weeks or a month only to see them go. There was more than one tear shed on the days Hunter, Gunter, and Miracle left. But the feeling you get by helping shelter dogs find a home is truly amazing. To the folks who work at the shelter and care for the animals every day, kudos to you all. To the volunteers who coordinate Doggy Day Out to take dogs from the shelter out to the park for walks, a very special thank you.