Saturday, April 18, 2015

How many is too many?? By Nancy M Bell


How many is too many, now that is a question. I work with an animal rescue in Calgary, Alberta. Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society is a no kill organization who take amazing care of the animals that come through their doors. Not only do they take in dogs and cats, but rabbits, ferrets, lizards and turtles. I am proud to be a Cat Caregiver, a foster mom, and volunteer on the Medical Team as well. My husband is very forgiving, I think he is just happy that the latest creature I've brought home isn't a horse. Or there was a sheep once. Sheep stayed with us for a year until his people found a place they could have him with them.

Sheep didn't come through AARCS, neither did the horses that have found homes after staying with us for a bit. So really, what's a few dogs and cats, I ask you? When I started volunteering at AARCS I promised I would NOT foster, oh no. I would be good and just be a caregiver at the shelter. That lasted about two shifts as a Dog Caregiver. A very young, very pregnant dog came in and all the whelping foster homes were full. So I packed her up in the car at the end of the shift and settled her in to our converted chicken house where she could get used to being a people dog rather than a feral one and have her babies in privacy. Missy was so sweet, very happy to be clean and have food and water. When she came to us her hind end was so full of burrs her tail was stuck to her hind legs. She was given a shave to take care of that, but it took forever for her tail to get hair again. A week after I brought her home she delivered eleven puppies. None of which resembled her in the least. So now, instead of one extra dog, my poor husband had twelve of them. The weather turned cold at the end of October, so the puppies came into the house until they could go to their own foster homes to learn house training and manners. It was sad to see them go, but much less work. After eight weeks of catering to the little devils, it was time. Missy stayed with us until she found her forever home in January 2015.

This is Missy in her forever home (she's the one in the back) with her brother Patrick.

So, just after Missy went to her forever home, AARCS, working with the Alberta SPCA took in 104 dogs from a hoarding situation. On Christmas Eve, the first batch of the 201 dogs came to us. Since I had Missy at the time, I didn't push my luck and bring home another. But when the last batch came through I was doing a Cat Caregiver shift and ended up bringing home three Irish Wolf Hound puppies who were 5 weeks old. I kept them for their 10 day puppy quarantine, and then two of them went to regular foster. I kept the little one, known as MR94. They were seized from outside the town of Milk River and he was the 94th dog in that batch. I called him Luke and watched over him. Something wasn't right but no one could pin point what was wrong. Finally, an abscess showed up on his right hip. It was lanced and drained and he was put on antibiotics for 10 days. All seemed fine. Then it came back, showed up on the day he was to be neutered. So instead, he got it lanced and a drain put in. More antibiotics. All seemed well. He got neutered. Then another pocket developed. This time though it was a seratoma, no bacteria causing it, just a fluid buildup because the skin moves so much over the hip that the pocket didn't adhere as it should. So, another lancing and a drain. Now all seems to be okay, and he will have a meet and greet with potential adopters tomorrow. April 12, 2015. We'll miss the little guy when he goes, but if I kept them all , I couldn't help any others.

This is Luke. He is much bigger now, but still cute

This is Luke today. The dog beside him is Duffy. He also came from the same place as Luke. Duffy is 3 years old. This is how big little Luke will be. Holy small horse!

Sad and horrific as some of the stories of the rescue animals are, these are the lucky ones. They have it made. Food, shelter, whatever medical care they need, and love. When each foster leaves and takes a bit of my heart with them, I have to remind myself of the ones still out there fending for themselves. Some of them sick and injured. Some of them just hungry. I don't think it can ever be too many. Just not all at the same time. If there is an animal rescue near you please consider donating to them. No rescue can survive without the help of the community. It doesn't have to be time, or fostering. Any little donation goes a long way for a non-profit no kill shelter. We take animals that are on death row in local pounds and give them a second chance. For feral cats, AARCS has a Barn Buddy program. For farmers, or people who need an outside cat to take care of mice, this is the option. It gives the feral cats a stress free safe place to live with a heated area and food and water and provides the adopter with a very low maintenance cat who has no intention of living in a house with people.

My romance Storm's Rescue, is dedicated to all the people who rescue animals and all those who need rescuing. It is a subject near and dear to my heart. The dog in the story is called Storm and she does need rescuing. She is a mix of the many dogs I've had go through my house, and in particular, she is dedicated to the black momma dog with no name who didn't make it off in time.

This is the momma dog who Storm is named for. I also rescued another black dog, a lab cross who still lives with me and named her Storm as well. Sorry, I can't get the photo to turn the right way.

So now, you all know I'm a crazy lady who opens her home to all sorts of weirdness. If you'd like to read Storm's Refuge just click on the cover at the top of this blog.  Thanks for visiting with me. Until next month... Stay safe and enjoy the spring weather.