2007-10-31 / Columnists
Pets, Pets, Pets
Shelter rescue is all about making the right connections. Last week Southern Hope brought Jeb the Foxhound north to Last Hope. Pardon the mix of music- Jeb needed to come to Long Island as a rescue on the "midnight train from Georgia", because "he ain't nothin' but a Hound Dog", lyrics that show even Elvis knew that hunting hounds are second class citizens, regarded as less than pets- the canine "children of a lesser god".
A Babylon Shelter volunteer now living in Georgia left a message asking for English Foxhound Rescue numbers because time was up for this sweet yearling at Athens-Clarke Animal Control. Hmmm... My pal Linda Stuurman, president of Last Hope, Inc. had once mentioned that English Foxhounds were her favorites. She owned a great one, and wanted to be told if any surfaced in the pound. Hey, she never specified distance. Besides, the national English Foxhound Rescue had disbanded. There is a Mason-Dixon Line for impounded dogs. Stays are shorter and euthanasia rates of very adoptable dogs are much higher in Southern shelters because there is just no room for the constant flow of dogs. Many folks (like Southern Hope) are trying extremely hard but adoption rates cannot keep up with the dog influx. They work against literal deadlines like we used to have years ago. Relatively speaking, with more owners up North heeding spay/neuter advice, the dog situation has slowed...that is, except for our never ending glut of Pits. Jeb was scheduled to be put down Wednesday, the day the shelter closes for that reason. They had already kept him longer than others.
Colbert Veterinary Rescue (www.colbertvetrescue.org), the non-profit part of an animal hospital near Athens, saves many dogs and cats from the surrounding shelters, provides medical care, and helps to arrange transports north where homes are more readily available. Stephanie Maro, the wonderful Colbert vet tech pulled Jeb for Last Hope. We had just missed a run to North Shore Animal League, and there wasn't supposed to be another close to here 'til Thanksgiving. This posed a problem getting Jeb to the Last Hope Dog Center in Lindenhurst.
Jeb stayed in the clinic treatment room because he was too big for a cage. (I heard later that he noshed on the surgical packs.) Colbert neutered, heart worm tested, microchipped him...the works for a bargain price. I joked that we should send all our dogs south to save money. Stephanie could possibly squeeze him on an Oct. 19 transport to the SPCA of Connecticut with a shipment of small dogs and puppies from various Georgia shelters. We wouldn't know if there would be room until last minute after the other dogs were loaded.
A group called Southern Hope Humane Society (www.southernhope.org)) has a lovely van with air-conditioned cages. (Southern Hope also has a "Fix 'em Free" spay/neuter and an innovative "Don't Get a Dog" campaign to try to urge people not to obtain a dog unless they have financial resources and can care for the pup properly.) Volunteers- Marla and Mick Farrelldrive all night to get the dogs here. They've made the trip at least a dozen times. When Stephanie got word that there was a spot for Jeb, she rushed an hour on the freeway to deliver him. Jeb
became the 57th and largest pooch passenger on the van. We had the choice of going to the SPCA in Monroe, Connecticut or meeting at a rest stop on Rt. 84 near Pennsylvania where a Saratoga society picks up the
tiny puppies. The Farrells were on a tight schedule so we had to be on time (before 8AM). The SPCA was having an adoption day and there would no place to stash Jeb. Next morning at 5 AM Bonnie Bassey (my frequent distance dog chauffeur) and I, both
GPS illiterates, left for Monroe. We drove 70 miles off course but were still synchronized because of van delay in the Virginia fog.
Jeb, most likely a regional variety, derived from English Foxhounds, called a Treeing Walker Coonhound, is gorgeous but goofy. No one ever cared enough to teach him a thing. Not even "Sit". He's a discarded ("you ain't never caught a rabbit and you ain't no friend of mine") pack dog; same horror happens to hunting Beagles on the Pilgrim State property. Right now Jeb's body is bigger than his brain. That powerful nose adds distractibility to youthful exuberance. Hopefully with patience and training, he'll transform into a real Southern gentleman. Ultimately he will do best with someone experienced in raising a scent hound as a cherished pet. Might that be you? Call 205-5069 or 661-6164.
On the home front this week at Babylon Town Shelter (643-9270) Lamar St. W. Babylon other dogs, especially Cockers and Pekes, continue to wait for homescats too. "Dr. Seuss" in Cage 67, a young, happy parti-colored Cocker Spaniel with a tail, has the start of cherry eye- a common but easily fixable condition. See more photos on the shelter's Petfinder site.
More dogs: a white Mini-Poodle- just bathed last weekend Cage 51; "Santana"- gentle Shepherd mix Cage 59; "Matisse"- Chow mix Cage 13; Hound Cage 9; "Buster" choc. Lab mix Cage 21.