|HSGB's Operation Puppylift: Tip heads to Florida and sends a dog to Europe|
|Wednesday, 09 May 2012 11:28|
I always knew it took a lot of work in Florida to make our puppylifts work ... but after my recent trip I have a renewed appreciation for what our awesome Florida supporters and volunteers do.
We work pretty hard on this end organizing and getting dozens of dogs and pups ready to travel ... but we usually have at least several days in which to do so. When the dogs arrive in Florida, time is of the essence in many cases, to get them to their next destination while also giving them at least a quick walk, cuddle, drink of water, maybe a little food, clean their crate ... it is hectic to say the least!
In the first two days of my visit, I was up before dawn to walk, water/feed, and transport with the help of good friends Heike Dose and Jacqueline Scott. I made seven trips to the airport in two days ... during bad weather and with half a million extra people on the roads in Ft. Lauderdale for the Air and Sea Show! It was crazy but so rewarding.
Colorado Animal Welfare League (CAWL) had previously committed to three more adult dogs, and on Thursday, they added three more! Other opportunities also arose for transport from Freeport, for previously spoken for dogs and pups. We try to never miss a chance to get a dog out to rescue, so we went into full "scramble" mode.
We can't afford to charter bigger planes for fewer than 40 dogs and pups. So, via various planes and boats, by last Wednesday 21 more souls had made their way to the U.S. to begin their new lives. One special puppy went to Luvapet in Royal Palm Beach, and twelve puppies went to our good friends at Homeward Bound in northern Indiana.
Six more adults went to the great folks of CAWL in Denver, including two long time shelter residents and senior dogs Jigga and Virginia. (CAWL already has an adoption application for those two together!) One adorable adult Shih Tzu named Tutu went to her new home in West Palm Beach.
And one very special "pitcake" named Sheba began the long journey to her new home in Bologna, Italy!
Sheba has prominent scars on her neck from a partially embedded chain and bolt. She was surrendered to HSGB several months ago when her owner feared she had been impregnated by a potcake; he didn't want her future puppies and no longer wanted Sheba either. She had three puppies the day after she arrived at the shelter. From the first day it was apparent she was an exceptional dog. She was an excellent mother to her pups and she was extremely trusting of our staff; even with her puppies.
Last summer we were very fortunate to meet Dr. Myriam Muracchini, an Italian veterinarian. She was vacationing in Freeport and stopped in to visit the shelter and also to offer her assistance if needed by volunteering. She has since visited twice and volunteered some time to assist our medical staff with our shelter animals.
During her last visit in March, Sheba became very ill. Dr. Myriam helped nurse her back to health, and in the process fell in love with Sheba, and vice versa. Due to flight restrictions at the time, Dr. Myriam was not able to take Sheba on her return trip, but we promised to get her there as soon as we could.
Sheba stayed with me at good friend Anne Goff's house while we arranged for the necessary permits and made the travel arrangements. She quickly endeared herself to everyone she met with her gentle manner and big heart. After several visits to the kind and helpful folks at Bayview Animal Clinic in Ft. Lauderdale, and three trips to the USDA in Miami, we finally got the necessary paperwork done; approved, stamped and sealed!
Trying to make the journey as easy as possible for Sheba, we found a non stop flight from Atlanta, which is only available twice a week. Airlines will not fly dogs internationally on weekends. Our good friends at Royal Potcake Rescue in Atlanta agreed to take her in for two nights so on Sunday Sheba arrived in Atlanta.
On Tuesday evening she left for Milan and Wednesday morning she arrived safely and was reunited with her new mom, who was very happy to see her!
On Saturday night April 28th, Heike and Ken Dose hosted a "Potcake Party" at their house, for all the folks who had helped with our latest puppylifts. I already knew some of them personally, but there were so many I hadn't met and it was such a fun and heartwarming evening getting to meet and talk to all these wonderful people who work so hard and are so devoted to our beloved potcakes.
They take such good care of them from the moment they come off the plane. Sometimes they can only spend a few minutes with them, but each dog and pup gets specialized care and attention. We did a count that night - between everyone there, not counting me with my 4 potcakes, there are 20 potcakes owned and loved by the various attendees! It was truly gratifying and humbling to be amongst so many rescue heroes in one place.
Our job here and what we see on a daily basis is often sad and heartbreaking. Seeing so many of our potcakes so happy and loved was simply wonderful. When we get updates and pictures of former shelter dogs, our entire staff is excited, happy and energized. We can see the work we do is meaningful and appreciated.
So many people and rescues abroad are impressed with not only the good health of our dogs, but their good temperaments and behavior, too. Our Animal Care Providers deserve much credit for this. They do not come to work simply to clean and feed. They come to work to do those things; plus interact with, love, play with, and work with the animals in their care. Those critical intangibles are as, or more, important to the animals as the basic care they receive.
Photo 1: Tip with Virginia and Jigga at the harbour
More pictures can be seen HERE.
Don't forget Quiz night Saturday at Redbeard's! See poster below.
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