This newsletter salutes a true South- ern gentleman, a Georgia resident, an avid Kerry devotee, and a rescue co- ordinator: George Hanna.
While George's full time occupation is with Sea Force IX – Sport Yacht Mfg., Tampa Florida, where he works as the Warranty Manager,(www.seafor- ceix.com), his heart is with his dogs. George and his wife Tuesday own TCH Grooming LLC, a grooming shop which also features two mobile groom- ing trucks in Savannah Ga. (www.low- countrygrooming.com). George says that Tuesday is the talent in doing the grooming while he is "just the guy who gives the baths"!
Besides the dogs (more about that lat- er) George and Tuesday have a fam- ily that includes two adult daughters, an adult son, a lively four year old son Kyle plus one granddaughter, Madison age 5. Rescue is a family affair with Tuesday being recently appointed as the Rescue Director for the USKBTC. All members of the family including the non-human members participate in helping rescues by fostering them and finding their forever homes.
George has owned and raised Kerries for the last 10 years. George's wife Tuesday is the one who shows their dogs. Currently, George and Tuesday own six Kerries: Lucy, a 5-year-old female who is retired from the show- ring, Shamu 4- year-old Male from Norway, Sorcha 3-year-old female, Clover 18 month female and two new puppies: Rollo, 10 weeks and Dia- mond 9 weeks both of whom arrived this fall to complete their Kerry family.
They are currently showing three of the five. The Hanna home also has two Standard Poodles, one Springer and a Toy Poodle. The Springer and the Standards are rescue dogs plus they are currently fostering a mix breed.
George says that among his favorite ac- tivities with his Kerries are the dog shows which are at the top of the list. He also enjoys spending time with the Kerries on the farm and doing therapy work with two of the Kerries.
So as busy as George is with his own Kerries, the reason we are saluting him is his work with the Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation as the Rescue Coordinator for the Southeast district of the US, which includes the states of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, plus North and South Carolina. George is one of the KBTF Rescue team's most effec- tive coordinators. He seems to have that magic touch in finding the right Forever home for rescue dogs, regardless of their special needs. And he is very creative in finding ways to transport a rescue: one time he even used a motorcycle "gang" for a highly suc- cessful transport!
But George's volunteer work does not stop with this very im- portant job for the KBTF. He is also a member of the Savan- nah Humane Society where he works in the foster program, helps with fundraisers, and provides a free grooming program; he does the same special and unique volunteer work with the Savannah Animal Control (fosters, fundraisers, offers free grooming.) He does a monthly Adoption Fair and Food Drive at his Low Country Grooming Shop for "Full Bowls Inc.," a non- profit group that assists dog owners in providing food for their companion dogs while the family or individual is experiencing economic hardships. He is also involved with the Solice Pitt Bull Rescue, Aussie rescue and Springer rescue in addition to KBT rescue!
In his "free" time he does Therapy Dog Work in the Savannah area. He is also a member of multiple canine organizations including the Kerry Blue Terrier Club of Central Florida where he serves as a Board member, the KBT Club of Northern Ohio, the Savannah Kennel Club, Therapy Dog International, and the USKBTC.
As rescue coordinator for the South East, George picks up Kerries coming into program, does the initial fostering, and evaluates the Rescued Dog for pros, cons and temperament to allow for a good placement. He then conducts placement in- terviews and home visits for possible candidates. George has been the coordinator for three years and learned about the KBT Foundation rescue efforts through other rescue groups.
One of his most challenging "rescues" came recently when an owner passed away and willed his two KBTs to the KBTF, with the directive that Kelsey age 9 and Bailey age 14 be placed into a forever home together! These two Kerries are special in many ways: they both have travelled all over the US competing in all aspects of agility, receiving many titles and awards for this. Plus they also both are registered therapy dogs and made a positive impact on so many lives in that role.
Both were used to the quiet life of suburbia, living just together with their owner. How would they adjust to being fostered with the Hanna's, who in addition to their various dogs have horses and a sheep and an active 4-year-old human? Upon George's first meeting them, Kelsey was full of life and just wanted loving and attention while Bailey was a little standoffish and wasn't sure what life had in store for him. They were put in car with four of George's Kerries for the 120 plus mile trip from Jack- sonville to Savannah. Everybody was on their best behavior and got along great. Kelsey and Baily made the trip like Pros.
Once in Savannah they both became very well adjusted. As each day passed Baily started coming out of his shell and de- cided he wasn't too old to go out and play. Once they got out- side, there were new challenges including 10 acres to run and play, and new life forms to meet like the horses and one sheep. Baily took to the new Kerry puppy right away and started get- ting out and exploring while Kelsey wanted to run and play with the other Kerries and poodle. After one day, they both became very well adapted to their interesting home in Georgia.
George says, "While this was not a 'rescue' in the strictest meaning, it was a learning adventure for this Rescue Coordinator in how much life and how much happiness two veteran Kerries brought to Georgia."
George says that the best part of this volunteer job is ensuring that every Kerry, either full blooded or mixed, is placed in a forever home. George recommends this experience to others because of the joy of seeing people getting a companion and of a Kerry finding a Forever Home.
If one were to try and define that term "Southern Gentleman," you might say it's someone who has a pleasant and positive manner while still managing to get things done that need to be done in a timely fashion. You might say it is someone with lots of great stories to tell and a big heart that can surround creatures in need with love, compassion and hope that they will have a better future. You could say it is someone just like George Hanna.