Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Rescued animals are "bursting with personality"

It’s been a long couple of days in Alabama for the UAN volunteers tending to 198 dogs and 31 cats rescued from Dirty Sally’s Pet Pals on Monday. Many of the dogs were found chained to trees around the property and the cats were living in a dirty pen exposed to the elements. Because very little food was available, some dogs were eating leaves, acorns and even rocks.

A dog with mange.
UAN Emergency Services Manager Janell Matthies gave us an update about the condition of the dogs yesterday. “We’re seeing a lot of symptoms typical of neglect -- severe mange, the worst I have ever seen, emaciation, eye issues and some neurological problems,” she said.

About 20 percent of the dogs have mange that has gone untreated for so long their feet are swollen and painful and their skin is scabby and itchy.

The picture of contentment.
To say they are in a better place now is an understatement.

UAN’s Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS) volunteers are now spoiling these once-neglected animals inside the warmth of a temporary shelter. They are giving the dogs blankets and making “hammocks” for the cats. Volunteers are cleaning kennels, keeping food and water bowls full, and helping veterinarians conduct full exams.

One of 31 rescued cats.
The dogs are responding with smiles and tail wags, the cats with grateful purrs and relaxed slumber.

“These are some of the friendliest, sweetest dogs I have ever met,” Janell said. “I have never seen such a content shelter. The dogs are so appreciative, so glad they are not living outside on a chain in the dirt anymore. Most of the cats were sleeping upside-down within minutes of getting their hammocks.”

Have blanket, will nap.
When volunteers made the rounds with blankets yesterday, the dogs didn’t need any prompting. They sprawled out on their new luxurious comforts and quickly fell asleep.

“The dogs are sitting in their kennels looking peaceful and content and are not phased by the activity around them,” Janell said. “The pictures we have of the dogs now are an extreme difference from the environment they came from.”

Most of the dogs are adults and large -- mixed breeds, pure-bred Labrador retrievers, pit bulls, bull dogs. You name it, they’ve got it at the temporary shelter. And, Janell said, “They have won us over already.”

This dog brought her toy "baby" to the
shelter from the rescue site.
One Lab was carrying a stuffed toy in her mouth at the rescue site. She was so reluctant to put it down that responders brought it to the temporary shelter. She can still be seen most hours with her “baby” in her mouth.  A litter of six pit bull puppies has also melted hearts.

“At this point all of them are our ‘favorites,’” Janell said. “These dogs are bursting with personality and charm.”

A litter of pit bull puppies.

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