Thursday, December 18, 2008

Precarious Positions and Microchipping

*waves hi* This is Alicia speaking today :) Kat and I take turns writing up posts but this one, since it is more of a personal story is one that should be directed from me specifically.

For those of you who may not know, my occupation is as a property manager. That's a fancy schmancy word for a landlord but you all get that I'm sure :) I manage a handful of apartments in the area although that's neither here nor there.

I guess when you get involved in rescue, you tend to put off that rescue "vibe" to both people and animals. For instance, about a year ago I believe, I was walking up to my office very first thing in the morning and notice a plastic crate sitting outside my office door. I was excited for half a millisecond thinking maybe that it was empty and we'd be able to use it for the dogs. Now, you know it just ISN'T going to work out like that. I get to the crate and am greeted by the earthy smell of FOUR young adult kittens, maybe 4-5 months old. It was such a "wonderful" way to start off my morning. Now, at this point in time, I've got two dogs at home, one of which is NOT cat friendly. Nor am I even remotely equipped for four cats. I had to call animal control to come get them as it was the most realistic and safest option for them.

I've had to call animal control out for domestic rabbits running around the property. Sadly, no one was able to catch them and after about a month, the disappeared.

There was one week a few months ago that I had to call animal control out for an injured, wild bird, a ferret running a muck in one of my buildings, and a 9 year old labby girl. I remember with the lab, the vet clinic associated with her rabies tag was extremely put off by my calling them as I was about the 3rd person that day. They wouldn't give me any information about the owners which was fine, but...they didn't exactly make it easy to help her get back home. The animal control officer had much better results in getting the owner information and took her back.

Now, all this is leading up to yesterday. I've been watching this pretty little pit mix wander around the neighborhood at the apartments this week. She seemed to be hanging around one specific area so I figured there were some owners possibly near by. Well, yesterday she meandered up to my office to greet our HVAC guys. Naturally, I want to meet her and pet her and check her out and get her safe. I get the slip lead out of my trunk and bribe her with some treats and she's my new best friend :) Silly girl even decided it was a good idea to get IN the trunk of my car where I pulled the goodies out of lol! Now that I've got her contained and safe, I call animal control again. The HVAC guys were giving me h*ll because they know I do rescue and they didn't understand why I was calling animal control to come pick up this pretty, sweet little lady and they thought that I should just take her home.

As much as I would have LOVED to take her home, there are several reasons WHY I chose to contact animal control. One, my significant other would kick me out of our house for bringing ANOTHER dog home lol! Two, bringing another home would have created a much larger financial burden that could potentially hinder the care of everyone. And three, THE most IMPORTANT reason of all, her owners would be looking in SHELTERS for her, not my house.

When animal control showed up and walked in my office, she was greeted by a pleasant, quiet young lady who was happy to see her :) I told the officer how good she was and that she knew commands, etc. While putting her in the truck, I was talking more to the doggie than the officer when I said, "I hope you have a microchip." See, this girl was in fairly decent shape. She needed a good bath and you could see where she was previously wearing a collar. By the looks of it though, she could have easily slipped out of it. Her nails were in impeccable condition :) The animal control officer heard me and piped in, "Well, I have my scanner. We can go ahead and check." ABSOLUTELY. The officer scanned her whole body once and on the second go around, "Beep!" She had a chip!

It made me feel SO much better about letting her go, knowing they had the means to find her family and get her back home.

It's hard to get people to understand the importance of microchipping and even more so, the importance of checking for those microchips. There are also common misconceptions based on appearance alone that will keep people from checking for microchips or trying to find the original owners.

If you come across a stray animal, skin and bones and cut up and neglected looking, please do not automatically assume that the owners of the animal must be trash and that they don't deserve the animal back. We really need to step aside some days and look at the whole picture. Yes, sometimes the situation will be that crappy and will be that real. But other times, things may not be what they seem. It only takes a few weeks for these animals to start dropping significant weight. The reality of living on the streets and getting into fights over food is something big to place in the back of your mind as well.

Here's a little Christmas Story that Heather forwarded on to us this evening that really should make you think a little bit about the importance of looking for the whole picture and making attempts to find the owners of stray dogs. You never know if the dog was stolen, got lost after a move, escaped, etc. Let us read this story and realize that things like this DO happen and that we shouldn't be so quick to jump to conclusions. **Grab a Tissue!**

Martha's Christmas Miracle

Martha was sitting in her living room watching television this Christmas Eve, alone as she had been for the last five years. All of her children had married and moved to the four corners of the nation, her youngest, a surgery resident at the Vet School across the state had planned on coming home, but had been assigned to work the emergency clinic and couldn't find a replacement. Martha told herself that having Sally working to help the sick and injured animals this Christmas Eve was worth being alone, besides, Sally would be driving over for Christmas dinner the next afternoon.
All the animals had been fed and now were safely in either the kennel building or lazily laying around the house. Martha had to stop to think how many dogs she had at her house this Christmas, she sighed when she realized there were 16. She did rescue and the number of dogs was always changing with some dogs being adopted, and new abandoned dogs coming in. Feeling overwhelmed by the number of dogs she had and all the dogs still left in shelters to die because there was no room for them in rescue, Martha seriously wondered if she should stop working rescue. If she didn't have all these dogs, she could have flown to any of her other children's homes for the holidays to be with family. Besides, the heartbreak of seeing each dog in such need was beginning to really weigh on her.
Tonight she had a new dog, brought home that day. Martha didn't really plan on adding another dog but on her way home from the store she saw a dog lying on the side of the road. Certain the dog was dead, Martha stopped, to pick up the body and take it home for a burial. As she got closer, she recognized the shell of an Alaskan Malamute, the breed she rescued. Covered by cuts and festering wounds, what fur was left was matted and filthy, it was so skinny that laying there you could see each rib and it's hipbones were the widest part of his body.
With tears in her eyes, mourning for what once had been a majestic animal now reduced to almost a skeleton she reached down to give the poor dog one last pat on the head. "Oh, you poor boy, what a way to end your life. Well, at least I can name you and give you a decent farewell." As her tears fell on the dog's head, one eye slowly opened and the tail gave a single wag.

"You're alive! Everything will be OK now, I'll take you home and you will have a soft bed and food tonight." She said, tears streaming down her face, this time from happiness.
The rest of the afternoon was spent cleaning the dog's wounds and making sure he was able to eat and drink water. Martha set up the large run in the kennel building for him. A soft blanket and a thick foam pad was to be his bed, fresh water and food beside him. Papers for his 'necessary functions' were placed at the far end of the run. He lay there watching every move she made.
Martha left the dog resting on his bed, somewhat surprised at the reaction of the rest of the dogs in the kennel. Pandemonium usually broke out with all the other dogs wooing and barking when a new dog was brought in, tonight all the other dogs just stood and silently watched as Martha cared for the new dog. Thankful the other dogs were not disturbing the new boy, Martha went to the house to finish preparations for tomorrow's dinner.

Later that evening Martha went down to the kennel to check on the new boy and feed the other dogs. As she walked in the door the new boy shakily stood to greet her. As she was straightening up the kennel after feeding and exercising the dogs, she saw her microchip reader. "Well, this will be a waste of time" she thought as she ran the reader over the dog's body.
BEEP! The reader had located a chip! Writing the number down, she hurried to the house to call the chip registry and report the found dog. As she suspected on Christmas Eve, all she got was a machine.
Very late that night, the phone rang. Martha answered and a strange voice was on the other end. "Did you find a dog with a microchip?" "Yes, are you the registry needing more information? " Martha asked. "No, the registry called us and told us you found our dog!" and then the man broke down crying. After composing himself, he continued..
"The dog you found is BISS AM/CAN/INT CH Wasilla's Ice Sculpture, WPD, WTD, WLD, TT, CGC but to us he is our heart, the love of our life, Icy. Three years ago Icy was stolen from his exercise area in our back yard. We did everything we could think of to find him, but lately we had almost given up hope of ever seeing him again. This is a miracle. We are leaving now to come pick him up. We are about 14 hours from you so we will see you and Icy in the morning."
Martha was crying, indeed it was a miracle! And the new dog now had a name, his own name and his people were coming for him. What a wonderful Christmas gift.
Martha hurried down to the kennel to let Icy know that his humans had been found and they were on their way to take him home. As Martha walked up to Icy's kennel he stood to greet her, "Icy, yes, I know your name and I have spoken to your people. They're coming to take you home." As she was talking to Icy, she heard the old clock in the building strike midnight.
Much to her amazement, Icy said "Thank you."
Martha thought, now I am sure I have been around dogs too long, I could swear I heard Icy speak.
Icy continued "Martha, yes I am talking to you in human language, you see, at the stroke of midnight on Christmas Day, all animals can speak. Let me tell you what happened to me today."
"I have been kept in a dark barn for a long time by some very mean people who beat me and often forgot to feed me. Two days ago I found a loose board on the barn and was able to escape. I walked as fast as I could, looking for my people, or at least for some kind person to feed me and give me a warm place to sleep before I died. I was in the middle of a big field when I couldn't walk or even crawl any more, I laid down, knowing I was about to cross to the Rainbow Bridge . As I stepped onto the Bridge, an Angel came towards me."
"Icy," the Angel said "If you agree, He has a job for you before you cross the Bridge. There is a very kind human who needs you today to restore her spirit."
"Of course I agreed to help a human -- that is what Malamutes do. The Angel picked up my body and carried it to the side of a road and laid it down. The next thing I remember is you were scratching my ear and talking to me and your tears were falling on my face. You have cared for me this day."
Martha heard a chorus of voices all about her. To her amazement she was surrounded not only by her dogs, but dogs she had rescued and sent on to forever homes, all voicing stories how Martha had cared for them and restored them to health and loved them, thanking her for her love.
The first Malamute Martha had rescued many years ago stepped to the front of the gathering and said, "Martha, you took us in to your home, cared for us, healed us both in body and spirit then, even though it broke your heart, sent us on to our new forever families. This gave us a life we would never have had without you. Others of us here, never were adopted and lived out our lives with you, loved and cared for as if we were your own dogs. In our hearts we are your dogs. Thank you."
Then one small mixed breed puppy stepped forward from the back and said, "Miss Martha, you never held me nor fed me, you see I am speaking for all the shelter dogs and cats gathered here for which you did all you could. We understand that you can't save us all, but you read our shelter stories, knowing we would cross the Bridge without knowing a home of our own, and you cried for us. We thank you for that. You see, we knew you cared and loved us, too. And that love helped us as we crossed. We thank you and all the other Rescuers for that small act of love."

Icy looked at Martha and told her, "It is getting late and you will have many people here tomorrow to celebrate Christmas. And you have your rescue work to continue. Our time to be able to talk to you is growing short, but always remember what happened tonight. What you do for the animals is a gift to us and to Him, the Father of us all.

Each of us, animals of every species, needs people like you. Please keep on helping. You are doing the work of Angels."
At that point all of the dogs in unison said "Thank You," and their voices blended into a joyous howl which echoed from the heavens to the ends of the earth.

Humbly offered as a Christmas Gift to all who love animals.
Christmas 2007
(c)Bilinda Marshall 2007
La Vernia, Texas

5 comments:

Our Pack, Inc. said...

Sniffin' over here!! Great story. Thanks for posting about the importance of chipping our dogs. It really is crucial in getting the dogs back home.
Good post.

New Hope Pit Bull Rescue said...

Thanks so much Marthina!

It really is very important for people to get their dogs chipped. So many can easily lose collars. Or, people take them off. Tags just AREN'T enough!

Mary said...

What a wonderful story, all of it. I have goosebumps because as odd as it sounds sometimes it does seem like the dogs talk to me too. I wish I knew more of their stories, oh, how I wish that they really could talk at the stroke of midnight, I know I'd be there to listen. Thank you for all that you do, and to the Martha's of the world may all of your days be the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve!
Mary

Amanda said...

I love Martha's story. I volunteer with Blue Ridge Boxer Rescue, would you mind if I forwarded onto our group?

New Hope Pit Bull Rescue said...

Amanda, go right ahead :)

And Mary, I think these dogs talk to us in their own way. They remind us daily I think, just how much they appreciate us :)