Cary Grant! Ah, he was a movie star to many several generations ago but to Eileen Andrade, Ch. Joyce's Notorious Cary Grant, known lovingly as Grant, became what her family described as her $40,000 dog. Grant was Eileen's first Kerry, the first of several who were shown to Championships, and bred. As an active member of the Kerry Blue Terrier Club of Northern California, Eileen began rescue work long before the Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation had been conceived.
In 1994, the Kerry Blue Terrier Club of Northern California rescued a Kerry girl. An extreme case, Molly was unsocialized, very dog aggressive and out of control. The Club had dogs benched at the Golden Gate Kennel Club Show and Eileen, among many other club members, spent the weekend talking to people about Kerries and canvassing for the perfect and committed home for Molly. She found it with Judith Bruno (Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation Publication, spring 2009). Molly was the first of many that Eileen placed in her 16 years of rescue work. It was during these years that Eileen, as rescue coordinator of the Kerry Blue Terrier Club of Northern California worked closely with Janet Joers, the rescue coordinator of the Kerry Blue Terrier Club of Southern California. When the Foundation was organized, Eileen was a natural to help with rescue. Her responsibilities grew from Northern California to include work in Washington and Oregon. Enlisting Candi Marzano in Seattle meant Eileen could concentrate on California, but her responsibilities soon blossomed to include California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah... even sometimes Texas!
The work of a rescue coordinator involves coordinating with shelter scouts to identify/ screen possible Kerries in need, assist in the placement of dogs with foster families and adoptive families, as well as evaluate the dogs themselves. Eileen's myriad of experiences have been tapped on numerous occasions to evaluate and prescribe, advise and support a course of action to insure the safety and well-being of the Kerries about whom she has come in contact and been consulted. Eileen has done all of this and more for many years.
There is little doubt that rescue work is rewarding, but before the reward often comes the heartbreak and tears. Earlier this year Eileen was asked to evaluate a people-aggressive dog in a home with a small child and elderly woman, both of whom the dog had bitten. The family had gone to great extremes working with trainers, but to no avail. During the hours spent in evaluation, the dog had eaten from Eileen's hand, accepted caresses and stared into her eyes. Then as Eileen got up to leave, the dog attacked lunging for Eileen's throat and literally knocking her to her knees. Fortunately, the dog was leashed and the owner was able to pull him off.The decision was heartbreaking and the question always remains, "Why do some dogs residing in loving homes become uncontrollably aggressive?"
There was plenty of heartbreak when Eileen picked up Karly from a shelter where she had been surrendered. According to vet records, this little girl had lost one-third of her body weight in only a year and had to have an eye removed the result of her last dog fight. Despite her condition, Karly was anxious to please and happy to see Eileen.
And so began the best part of rescue, the rehabilitation process. Karly was placed in a foster home that would give her love and security, evaluate her needs and provide her not only with the food she desperately needed, but the promise of love, companionship.
As a rescue coordinator, that was all part of Eileen's job. Worry just naturally follows the awesome responsibility of assessing health and behavior and then finding homes, foster and forever.
Those involved in rescue have the daunting responsibility to speak for those with no voice, to provide love for those who have been devoid of the emotion, and to give comfort to those who have known distress for a short time or their entire lives.
Sometimes, with a little bit of Irish luck, situations fall into place for a rescue coordinator. Such was the case following The Shelbina Express, one of the largest rescues accomplished by the Kerry Blue Foundation, 34 Kerries removed from their squalid conditions.
However, when all the dogs were either shipped or had a place to go, there was one last little boy without a place. It was Eileen who got the call. The network of rescue coordinators was out of foster homes, but this boy could not be left behind so Eileen's response was to have the boy sent to her.
From there she made a call to a couple who could not say no to a little boy in trouble. A foster home was found, and in a short time, that foster home became a forever home.
Eileen always said that when Janet called for the Kerry Club or the Foundation, she could never say no. The truth is, Eileen couldn't say no to dogs.
Sadly Eileen had to resign from her position in February because of ill health. Marian Moses has assumed the responsibility for northern California and Danielle Monroy has taken on southern California. Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah each need someone to step up and say, "Yes, I can help."
Won't you consider helping? Eileen did so many years ago, and has never regretted the decision for a moment. She has met amazing dogs and wonderful people.