Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hope in our hearts

Submitted by EARS volunteer Debbie Ferguson of Kildeer, Illinois

Well, things are winding down considerably here in Nashville. Today 65 more of the rescued puppy mill dogs were picked up and transported to three different shelters, and another 20 have been spoken for to be picked up on Tuesday. Tomorrow, all the remaining dogs will be taken to The Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago. Many of these dogs have behavioral or physical problems and this organization has the personnel and expertise to handle and rehabilitate them. So today has been a “down day,” comparatively speaking, and it gave me the time to talk to a few of UAN’s Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS) volunteers and hear about their favorite dogs.

Jennifer Sanford of Douglasville, Georgia fell in love with a sweet and gentle white Labrador retriever called Buster, one of the few large dogs found at the seizure site. Buster was one of the most relaxed and friendly dogs we encountered and I know he will find a great, loving home very quickly.

Melissa Richards, President of New Leash on Life, a Tennessee shelter, fell in love with so many dogs that she ended up taking 37 of them to her shelter, many of them special needs dogs. We are grateful for her dedication to caring for these animals beyond her UAN deployment.

Amanda Newsom of Athens, Georgia was taken with a very shy and tiny mixed breed with a terrible tooth and mouth infection. Despite the pain caused by his infections, his demeanor was nothing but sweet the entire time. With proper medication and some TLC he should end up in a great home and be pain-free soon.

Reagan Fairbairn of Nashville was so drawn to a blind poodle that she talked Melissa into taking him to her shelter so she could continue to work with him. The little guy was easily spooked since he was unaware of people coming toward him until he was touched, but soon he knew Reagan's voice and would come to the edge of the cage to be held by her.

Like many of us, Deloris Parker, of Olive Branch, Mississippi, fell for a little yellow Lab puppy who, with his little black sibling, loved to give kisses to everyone. They both left today, heading for a shelter and soon a new forever home.
So with almost 100 dogs now gone, our volunteers have even had time to take a break now and then and soak up some of the sun that finally came our way. It seems so quiet, even with the large number of dogs remaining, and we are actually starting to be able to hear the individual voices of the dogs and to experience their individual personalities.
There were so many amazing dogs that captured our hearts. The tiny puppy, smaller than a soda can, and the nine-year-old dog whose front legs were so deformed she was unable to use them at all and basically bounced to get from place to place. A painfully shy Pekingese mix, also with leg deformities, broke my heart after his lifetime kennel mate was taken to a shelter that was unable to take him.
Even the crazy Tasmanian devil dogs calmed down and allowed themselves to be held once they were finally captured and held by The HSUS animal handler extraordinaire, Rowdy Shaw. You can see the fear leaving them more and more every hour, and you can see them responding to our voices and coming closer and closer to the edge of their cages to get some love. Though it has only been three days, we have all bonded, humans and dogs, and our lives will be forever changed by this experience.
The UAN volunteers are all exhausted and ready to get home to our existing families. But we leave with hope in our hearts that more people will see and hear about the plight of these and other puppy mill dogs like them, and that they will get involved and help create change. (To find out how you can help, read more about puppy mills on the UAN Web site.)
This is my last post, as a previous commitment forces me to return to Chicago today, so I thank UAN and all of the UAN volunteers for allowing me to share these stories, photos and videos. I am grateful for the time I was able to spend with a great group of dogs. Until next time…


  1. Thanks, Debbie, for keeping the rest of us informed with such well-written blogs, and such fine photos! And thanks and congratulations, Red Shirts, for the terrific work you all did on this rescue. Another home run for the animals, thanks to UAN -- and HSUS!

  2. Great blogs Debbie- you did a great job covering the action! Nice working with you! :)


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