GONE TO THE BRIDGE – 08-27-11 – CASEY & SANDY BONDED PAIR: It’s NEVER a good time for ANY dog to be at a shelter, but over the Christmas and New Year Holidays it’s even more heartbreaking a reality to accept. Given that truth, when our rescue got word that a 13 year old female Golden Retriever had been dumped at the Humane Society of South Mississippi (HSSM) one week before X-mas, how could we not respond by accepting them into our care? A prompt meeting was arranged to assess and evaluate the Golden Retriever at the shelter the next day because the thought of any geriatric dog in a shelter is disconcerting, and especially so when this breed is noted for its loyal devotion and ability to bond with its human family.
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It’s just never a good situation for any dog to encounter and worse for highly social Goldens and other breeds who don’t take well to kenneling. The foster placement manager at HSSM wasn’t exaggerating when he shared that this 13 year old Golden Retriever had no business at the shelter and needed rescue immediately. Responsible rescue demands collaboration, and so we obliged dutifully and more than willingly. It’s how we can help the dogs BEST — by helping one another confront the task of assisting these dogs in need. One day society will regard animals differently, especially if rescues and individual rescuers and shelters keep educating and advocating for them. We dream of a day when rescue is not needed, but until then join forces to help these dogs in need the best way we know how. .CLICK HERE AND READ SANDY’S STORY SANDY IS BONDED WITH CASEY
Sharing one’s life with two rescued Golden Retrievers results in a deep commitment to re-homing other deserving animals of this breed. Having collaborated with this wonderful group of folks on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi at the HSSM who have done AMAZING THINGS ON ANIMALS’ behalf in our region, it was natural we would work together again. Animal rescue is no easy task anywhere, but it’s especially hard when one considers that our area is still healing from Hurricane Katrina and the devastating BP oil spill on the Gulf Coast which has affected nearly all of us in one way or another. The failing economy and consequent recession have made animals and children even more vulnerable, and that why the rescue community has to coordinate efforts and help one another help the dogs, lest they suffer even more.SEE A MOVIE#1 OF SANDY AND CASEY http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmY3TP-HMBY
SANDY, the Golden Retriever, was skinny and matted, visibly shaking amidst the barking of all the needy dogs in the ADOPTABLE AREA at the shelter, but in her kennel we also noticed a little fox-like looking dog in even more distress, hiding beside his bonded mate, SANDY. It was then we learned that CASEY, the 12 year old life-long male Finnish-Spitz (mix) mate to SANDY, the GOLDEN RETRIEVER, had ALSO been DUMPED that same day at HSSM. We’d been ready to take one dog, but not two, especially with the holiday fast approaching. And yet, it never dawned on us to ever leave one without the other. These dogs had already been through too much, and at such senior ages, that it would have been a disgraceful effort if we split these two dogs who’d faithfully given their devotion to their former “FAMILY” only to find themselves at a shelter because they had become an inconvenience with an impending move. Thank heavens that the folks at HSSM work tirelessly to collaborate with rescue and get the dogs in their care into foster so that they can save and rehab as many more as possible. So, late on a Friday afternoon, two geriatric dogs who’d experienced life together for over a decade, were “freed” from the shelter and taken lovingly into our care. .SEE A MOVIE#2 OF SANDY http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OK91gJJZ0SA
SANDY, the 13 year old GOLDEN RETRIEVER, and her devoted pal, CASEY, the 12 year old FINNISH SPITZ, are so wonderfully sweet together and easily joined their temporary foster family which consists of two male Golden Retrievers (aged 9 and 7), a little feisty one year old playful Mop of a shih-tzu/Lhasa Apso mix weighing only 8 pounds, and a 21 year old rescued cat who has shared her home with over 150 interloping canines in her long life. Of course, and as expected, both dogs were quite anxious transitioning, most especially the little 20 pound CASEY, who hid under the coffee table for the first four days and didn’t allow anyone to pet him. And SANDY, about 50 pounds of love, never stopped wagging her tail, and true to her wonderful Golden disposition, wanted pet after pet and only to be near her human and to be part of a family, panted heavily as most dogs do when they experience altogether unfamiliar situations. This was nothing different, and already they’d gone from the lives they’d always known to the cold and empty life in a shelter with other dogs equally confused and stressed. Although HSSM is an awesome facility that is committed to great things, it’s not a desirable place for any dog to be, frankly. Not only is it hard to do an honest assessment of a dog in that situation, it’s not desirable to leave them there until they transition so one can get a better read on their temperament and needs. .SEE A MOVIE #3 OF SANDY AND CASEY http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MD1oDP6qNB0
Our experience informs us that we take them into our care, fully understanding that they need time, patience, understanding, consistency and loads of love, nurture and attention. The resident dogs translate to the newcomers so much more easily what we humans take so much longer to convey — and that makes sense. After all, they speak the same language — both verbally and non-verbally. The trust we enjoy with our foster dogs is facilitated in great measure by our own dogs. Both SANDY and CASEY needed only watch how confidently and lovingly the resident dogs engaged with humans to know that they, too, would be safe here. But even that took time to trust, and that process was expected and respected to unfold in its own time and way. As is always the case, very little was asked or expected of these two dogs the first few days in a new home, recognizing the intense anxiety and stress they were under would make their transition challenging. A lot of change is hard to begin with, and after abandonment and at such an old age, the process of trust is naturally going to take time. .SANDY AND CASEY ARE BEING LOVED AND FOSTERED IN OCEAN SPRINGS, MISSISSIPPI ON THE GULF COAST
CASEY now comes up to me directly and asks for pets and closes his eyes as his head is gently scratched. It’s almost as if he is enjoying the tenderness of petting and bonding for the first time in his life. It’s such an endearing process to be a part of, really — and one of the many things that makes animal rescue so special. Witnessing these animals unfold right before our eyes just fills our hearts with hope. We see all too often with our bonded pairs that their relationship is symbiotic and supported by the others presence and it’s why we aim to keep these dogs together when we can. Wherever SANDY wanders, little CASEY is right there beside her, trusting her to lead him along and feeling so much more confident and happy when she’s around. When CASEY saw that SANDY was savoring sleeping on the couch, it took two days, but in his own time, he, too, decided he’d perch himself beside her instead of underneath the closed confines of the coffee table. It’s been a terrific unfolding, and it gets better every day as they learn to trust and enjoy consistently being fed and loved and being part of a family. Because it’s relatively new, still, for CASEY, a cough or unexpected sneeze can send him retreating to a perceived safety, but it’s only moments later that he’s back out, eagerly looking for a reassuring pet and the softness of a hand on his head or behind his ears. CASEY will thrive in a home where his adopters have a gentle and loving touch that acknowledges his trepidation to trust, and at the same time savors his willing courage to engage despite his abandonment. .
And food? Both of them love to eat and gently take treats from my hand. All five dogs in the house wait patiently for their name to be called to take their home-made peanut butter treat from my hand, and there’s no food aggression whatsoever. However, I also give all the dogs in my care enough room and space to not worry about whether they will have to fend for their kibble. Not knowing these dogs’ pasts, it behooves any and all of us in rescue to set these dogs up to succeed and not fail. So, all the situations that we present them with must be structured and well-thought, and because all too often rescued dogs are malnourished, it’s important to their overall success that they are allowed to enjoy meal times safely and without any need to resource guard. .
These are two spectacular geriatric dogs who should NEVER have found themselves in a shelter. Fortunately, I’ve taken all of the matts off of SANDY, the Golden Retriever, and she allows me to brush her and groom her gently. I had never seen a matt as big as the one on the underside of her beautiful tail. It extended the length of my forearm, and she let me remove it and seemed so grateful when she had one less thing to contend with that likely caused her great discomfort. And similarly, I’ve begun to remove several matts from little CASEY, too. With patience and trust, this little angel has already made such a huge transformation. My little MOP, who is also a rescued dog and 8 pounds of enthusiasm, constantly entices CASEY and SANDY to play with her. They simply look at one another and then her again, and have yet to engage in play. That said, they do gleefully walk around the yard, happy to smell new things and wander around happily gazing for squirrels and watching the Goldens play and frolic together. Both of these dogs tolerate being in this house with the other animals and visitors quite well. .
At night, all the dogs sleep together in my room, and in essence, wherever I venture I’m sure to have three Goldens, a Mop, CASEY and my old cat follow me into that room or outside. These animals clearly know they are safe and loved here, and yet, they deserve a forever home where they can be savored and cherished for who they are for the rest of their precious lives. How anyone can leave senior dogs like that is beyond comprehension, especially after a life of devotion. But we see this all too often in rescue, sadly. So many people make others take responsibility for their inability to honor their commitments, and because it’s the animals that suffer, we get involved. Because CASEY & SANDY find themselves in need of re-homing, our task it to find them an ideal home with a family or individual who is looking to share love, patience, understanding and have that joy returned tenfold. These are very easy and totally loving dogs, that will take a short time to transition given all they’ve been through. Patience is very important as is honoring their past and story. All they want is love and to be wanted and cherished as the loving family members we know they are already. .
CASEY and SANDY are totally vetted, up to date on their vaccines, altered respectively and fortunately tested HW negative. Their coats are starting to look better and every day they show their gratitude with a loving lick on the hand and a grateful glance. The appreciation from these foster dogs, those animals that need us most and have experienced way too much upset and trauma, has the ability to penetrate one’s heart in such a profoundly amazing way. Truly, it’s always a gift to be part of these dogs rehab and re-homing. They teach us the true meaning of resilience, give us the courage to trust and are a testament to fortitude and perseverance. Both CASEY and SANDY know how to receive love and give love despite their unfortunate history. .
The fact that these dogs find themselves in need of a forever home in 2011 is just a reminder of what is important in this lifetime, and allows us to question what gives our own lives meaning. For me, it’s always been about relationship — to one’s self and others. Being loved and giving love are indeed the GREATEST BLESSINGS one can be afforded. Loving these dogs for their own sake gives us hope, acceptance and joy all at the same time. After all, it’s what we truly want for ourselves and all those we love — whether they have two-legs or four. Rescue showcases the best of humanity and the worst of humanity, frankly. And the awesome adopters of these special dogs will fortify that belief deep in our souls.
CASEY and SANDY communicate their gratitude in non-verbal ways that allow one to genuinely KNOW what love is all about. Their ideal home is one in which the family/individual has a fenced in yard and more time than not to spend with these eager, sweet and tender dogs who connect with whomever they come into contact with quite easily. Every interaction has the potential to heal or hurt, to wound or inspire — and with these two dogs around, I’m reminded of that fact ever more. If you’re motivated to truly make a difference in the lives of two deserving dogs, you might consider adopting CASEY and SANDY. They need little and give so much back in return. Being loved by one dog makes life truly satisfying, but being loved by TWO GREAT DOGS magnifies that tremendous feeling! The relationship that CASEY and SANDY share is proof of the interconnectedness in life: that relationships do matter, and in our rescue we wanted to honor that relationship and both of these dogs independently as well. They will make the right family intensely happy. If you’re interested in adopting this precious pair, please submit an on-line application and the foster family will be more than happy to speak directly to you after a vet check and phone interview have been promptly scheduled.
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