Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation, Rescue Director
Not every rescue begins with a double murder and a suicide, but this one does.
Early this year, Tom Sawyer linked a newspaper article in a TX newspaper about a homicide to the name of a known Kerry breeder in TN. The article described how Lance Carpenter (the Kerry breeder) murdered his sister in their home in Dyer County, TN, then drove the body to Houston, where he dumped it on a rural country road. He was also a suspect in the death of his mother, who died mysteriously in Houston before undergoing cancer treatment. When Carpenter failed to show up for an interview at the Sheriff's office, investigators found him dead from self-inflicted stab wounds.
When the story first came to light 2 months after the murders, I phoned the local humane society and law enforcement to inquire about the Kerries. No one had any information at all, and we assumed the dogs had been taken by other family members.
Flash forward to last Thursday night. I received an email from a Scottish Terrier breeder in Dyer County, TN, and wife of the Chief Deputy Sheriff who investigated the Carpenter case. She notified me of an estate sale, in which Kerries were being sold along with furniture, garden statuary, and other household effects from the home of the deceased mother. She informed me there were Mennonite families in the area known for their puppy mill breeding practices, and she was concerned that the Kerries would end up as breeding stock in those mills. The next morning, Dianne Ewing, our Rescue Coordinator for the South, with help from Kimberly Battles, RC for the Central states, dropped everything to engineer--I should say "mastermind"-- this rescue.
Dianne learned that there were 4 Kerries, all females, and even found photos of them on the internet. Our attempt to acquire the dogs ahead of the sale failed, so we put our best offer on the table and prepared to wait it out until the sale closed Sunday night. Meanwhile, Dianne lined up foster homes for every dog, and arranged transportation from northwestern TN all the way to Atlanta and beyond. She also arranged vet care for the dogs, delivery of crates and collars, and grooming help, and solved a host of problems. Putting together a Rescue like this, in a matter of hours--not days or weeks, is an incredible amount of hard work.
With our plans in place and 10 volunteers "on hold," the call came in last night: the dogs were ours! We have the dam (3 years old) and her three female pups, now 1.5 years old. This week they will be vetted with the help of the local Scottish Terrier breeder, and transported to foster homes this weekend. More will be known about the dogs' condition later this week, but we know they have likely been living outside for at least 9 months, and judging by the photos, appear to be muddy and matted to the skin. At least 2 have been house dogs, and all appear to be friendly and craving human attention. These are not the timid, frightened mill dogs we are used to seeing. They are also AKC-registered and not of the usual imported mill bloodlines.
Today, their future is secure thanks to the awesome work of Dianne Ewing and her team of volunteers who said yes when called on to help.
Congratulations to all of them for pulling off a most astonishing Rescue, and for saving the lives of 4 wonderful Kerries!
This is a poem written by Irene Mele in honor of the new rescue Kerries.
"May the little angels be happy and carefree in their new homes."
The boarded room was dark and cold.
The winds outside howled fierce and bold.
The worn shutters banged hard and loud.
The silent snow fell swift and proud.
The night was not fit for man nor beast.
The hearth looked black; the fire had ceased.
This storm would never be forgot.
The warning church bells chimed not.
One more breath we could not make.
One more step we could not take.
One more minute would be too late.
Will someone please change our fate.
Hope lay not on our breaths.
Our souls cried out as we wept.
The winds increased; our hearts grew dim.
Rest, faint ones, your plight is grim.
Alas, alas, there glowed a light.
Our eyes beheld an angelic sight.
Brighter and brighter the flicker flamed.
This golden ember could not be tamed.
God had heard our cries below.
The raging embers cast out our foe.
The ice and snow melted swift.
Warmth embraced this timely gift.
One small ember to light the way.
One small ember to save the day.
One small ember for the world to see,
That just one ember set the captives free.
Irene adds: "Thank you Dianne and all the rescuers for the being the embers brightly lit, setting the captives free. You were the embers burning bright. You were their hope. You were their life. You were their everything. YOU WERE THERE!"
From: J. Joers
Subject: [KBL] Southern Comfort--Homeward Bound!
Date: October 14, 2006 6:57:41 PM PDT
This morning under a clear autumn sky, the 4 Southern Comfort girls that we rescued from an estate sale last weekend began their journey "home." The overland route took our girls across nearly the whole state of TN and south to Atlanta to their waiting foster homes. The relay team began with Wayne Conley who made the hour drive to Friendship to pick up the dogs, then drove them all the way to Nashville--a 3-hour drive. There, Kimberly Battles, our Rescue Coordinator for the Central US, and her husband let the dogs exercise in their back yard, then drove them the 2 hours to Chattanooga for a rendezvous with Leah & Tony Brogden. The Brogdens, foster parents for one of the girls, drove them the remaining distance--3 1/2-hours to the good care of Brenda Gallops, where they will spend the night and be groomed tomorrow. The planning and coordination that went into this journey, and the cooperation of everyone involved, resulted in a flawless trip. I just got word that our girls have arrived at their destination tonight, safe and sound.
Temperaments appear to be excellent--all were friendly with everyone, tails were up and wagging, and they all seemed glad to be on their way, traveling
quietly in their crates. Their crates, by the way, were all donated by our adopters (delivered by Marie DeMarco), and one of them is Shelby's (#125
Shelbina Express), bringing another girl to freedom.
Last week, all dogs were seen by a vet, and received their vaccinations, dewormer, and physical exams. Sadly, 3 of the 4 Kerries tested positive for heartworm, and will undergo the 6-week treatment in foster care. This is an added expense for the Foundation, but the treatment is expected to cure each one of this awful condition. We not only rescued these dogs from a life of misery; we, in fact, saved their lives from this ultimately fatal disease.
The report today from our volunteers who handled the dogs is that these girls are in an advanced state of neglect. It is fairly clear that these dogs have lived outside for at least 10 months. All are matted to the skin and will need to be clippered down. One girl has feces covering her whole behind, and all are filthy with dirt and mud. Brenda Gallops has volunteered to bathe and groom all 4, as well as overnight them, and we owe her a huge debt of gratitude. Brenda has never said no to a Rescue Kerry, and these dogs couldn't be in better hands.
Francie Francie Before Her Haircut
Francie After Her Haircut Francie's Matted Hair After Being Shorn
We want to thank everyone who spent most of their day on the road for these Rescue girls, and Brenda, who opened her house and home to them. Everyone did a fabulous job! Thanks to them, our Southern Comfort girls made it home.
Jan in Santa Ynez, CA
Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation, Rescue Director