Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Home at last!

Gentle Ben, a ten-year-old, blind Akita rescued from a puppy mill in Logan County, Arkansas on March 23, just completed a 1,200-mile road trip to a new foster home with an Akita rescuer in New Jersey. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) offered to transport Ben from Arkansas to New Jersey, and Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS) regional director Diann Wellman joined the ride as his "handler."

Joan Willoughby of HSUS reports that Ben met his foster family on Tuesday afternoon, April 14. Joann and Matt, Akita rescuers in New Jersey, promptly fell in love with this gentle giant! Ben is already getting settled into his foster home, and even has a kitty named Ziggy to pal around with.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Gentle Ben's great American road trip

Submitted by EARS Regional Director Diann Wellman of Hartford City, Indiana

As I write this, Ben is being transported to Delaware to meet up with his foster parents who will take him to New Jersey. I missed my big gentle roomie last night, and hoped that he was doing alright.

Yesterday (Monday), Ben got to go to HSUS headquarters and meet a lot of new friends there. He loved all of the attention, but was most interested in just laying in the grass out in the sun. I sure hope whoever adopts him has a big fenced yard where he can just enjoy the outdoors and have plenty of room to explore.

Ben also went to the vet yesterday to see if anything could be done to help him see better. Unfortunately for Ben, there is too much damage to his eyes and it's been that way too long. The vet was sure that Ben isn't in any pain, though, and they gave him some drops for his eyes. I'm sure that once he gets in a permanent place, he will quickly adapt and soon know the lay of the land.

It was truly an honor for me to be part of Ben's trip. I feel so lucky to have gotten a chance to know this majestic animal. These are the types of things that keep me motivated to do what we're doing and remind me that we're making a difference in the lives of these animals.

And now I must sign off so we can get on the road to Indiana ... where my own pug babies are waiting!!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Gentle Ben, road warrior

Submitted by EARS Regional Director Diann Wellman of Hartford City, Indiana

We drove from the Pet Expo and National Conference on Animals in Disaster in Las Vegas to pick up Ben from the Bella Vista Animal Shelter in Arkansas, where he has been staying since his liberation from the puppy mill a couple of weeks ago. Ben is a ten-year-old, blind, BIG Akita who is one of the most gentle souls I have ever met. Because he lived for ten years confined to a very small cage and is unable to see the world very clearly, he relishes in every new thing. It makes me very emotional to see how even the smallest things make him so very happy. His nose has been in overdrive since the time we picked him up!

The first night on the road, Ben was my roomie in the hotel. He quickly settled in, but was very fascinated by the television, especially if a woman was talking. I think he must like women more than men, because he really perks up when he hears a female voice. I was a little worried that we wouldn't get much sleep that night, but Ben slept pretty well and woke me up when he wanted to go outside. How smart is that for a dog who has never had that luxury before?? When I was taking a shower that morning, I was a little startled to see a big, furry head poke in the shower curtain!!!

Today we drove pretty hard all day to get to Maryland, so Ben can go see the folks at the HSUS headquarters in the morning before he heads the rest of the way to his new foster home. We are glad to be somewhere we can rest, and relax for a bit...

I have been trying to take photos as often as I can. Sometimes it's hard to do anything on the computer without a big wet nose trying to figure out what I'm doing!

Thanks to everyone for your support of this big gentle giant. I feel very honored to have been able to meet him, care for him, and be a part of his trip to a wonderful, new life.

More to come soon!!