A man who had collected all these unfortunates was being evicted from his house. All the animals were being left behind.
Rich went out with me to try to find the place and assess the situation. It wasn’t hard to identify the house. There were dogs all over chained to trees, a shed, and locked in several small pens.
There were six young puppies, plus bedraggled looking kittens and cats roaming. Their miserable faces haunted me as we returned to town.
I sent out an SOS. The leader of a “sister” rescue out of Springfield responded and started networking with her wide range of contacts to find places for the animals to go, knowing none of us could take all twenty-one.
We had to have a plan. All the shelters and rescues around us are bulging at the seams (including ours), but when an emergency like this comes up, the rescuers’ heart and passion kick in to make places where there were no places.
A hot, muggy Sunday morning I loaded our FFAA van with kennels, picked up Luciana and met the Springfield rescue volunteers at the property. This remote place was at the end of one of those Missouri bumpity-bump roads with four-foot potholes, wash-outs and bolder size rocks.
We pulled malnourished dogs out of nasty pens and unchained them from trees. Cats and sick kittens, dying from flea anemia and poor nutrition. One kitten was nearly dead lying in a plastic bowl of water. Julie administered fluids and gave it some Dr. Pepper Luci had in the car, hoping that would spike the poor little thing’s blood sugar. Luci cradled it in a towel and tried to convince it to hang on.
Enduring heat, flies, ticks, snakes, fleas and terrified dogs, we were able to get them all into crates in the Rescue One van and the FFAA van.
Stephanie, Julie, Luciana and I, with vans loaded, headed to Joplin Humane Society first. Lysa said they could take the 6 puppies and three adults. They administered fluids to our tiny kitten but couldn’t take her in. They took three of the young dogs and then Stephanie, Julie, Luci and I sorted out who would each take where.
Another organization in Springfield said they would take two. (Neither rescue could take anything resembling a “Pit”.) Rescue One does not rescue cats normally, but Stephanie found someone to take the poor kittens since Faithful Friends already has twenty-seven kittens in foster care.
Luciana and I took our three back to the adoption center for baths, nail trims, vaccines, worming, flea and tick treatments, collars and tags. Just as we left the center to take our new rescues to foster homes, the storms hit, so we got soaked and had a “close encounter of a very uncomfortable kind” with lightning!
Our new inductees are Stetson (who was chained to a shed), a darling, very friendly, happy young black lab (about 8 months). Danny Boy (who was chained to a tree), is a cute, sweet 1-2 year old Pit/Boxer mix boy who has been mistreated and still has wounds to prove it.
He cowers when you approach him with not a mean bone in his body. I think he will heal (heart and body) with a good dose of love and re-assurance. He warmed up to his new foster dad right away and was embraced in a great doggie/man hug before we left.
Glory is a female 6 month old terrier mix girl that is very shy. She was pretty traumatized by the events of the day, being taken from her mother and siblings. She was in a dirt pen behind the house. Lee will work her loving magic with this girl, and she will blossom.
Tonight they are all safe, fed and cared for with a new chance at life.
It was a great experience to work in cooperation with other rescuers, locking arms to save all those innocent lives; even our tiny little kitten at death’s door is recovering.
It was truly a joint effort with a great outcome!
By Leanne Williams
(Leanne Williams is president of Faithful Friends Animal Advocates, Inc., in Newton and McDonald counties. She can be reached by phone at (417) 592-2512 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.)