CD/Binky Barnes: Rescued from Death Row
Day 1: In February of 2007 Tracey Fulmer, intrepid internet shelter scout, saw a picture of a “schnauzer mix” in a high kill shelter in Merced, CA. This dog was called Binky Barnes and listed as “large” at 20 lbs. He was on death row. There was something about the look of the pictures that whispered Kerry to Tracey, so she went into full alert, sending the pictures to Eileen in California. From there the Kerry rescue battalions went to work.
Linda and Karl Aube were the closest available Kerry people. They dropped everything and drove the 90 miles each direction to check on this little guy. Later that day the phone rang during the hubbub of my hideously busy work day. A masculine voice on the other end said something along these lines: "The Kerry battalions have landed and are assaulting the beachhead, the young Kerry recruit has been located and identified, rescue plan is underway." In the furor of my day complicated by worry about a picture of a little Kerry-like face labeled Schnauzer mix at a high kill shelter in Merced, this call took my breath away, made me laugh, and lifted a cloud of worry from my mind. It was Karl who called to report on the Kerry battalions' progress. With many years of Kerry experience, Linda reports that "Binky Barnes" looks to be a small (16.5"), young, Kerry male with undocked tail - similar to so many we have seen in the last two years from the mills.
Day 2: Neil Hamilton made his second trip to a shelter in one month to spring a prisoner and take him home for a bath and haircut. The shelter had already stripped some of the matts off with a #10 blade, but there was a lot more to do. There is a strong suspicion that Binky has never been groomed and possibly never even brushed. The shelter people sedated him to shave the worst of the body matts off as he was petrified of the clippers and reacted by trying to grab them. Neil spent two hours bathing, stripping off matts from the legs with scissors, and giving this guy a Kerry groom to his head. Using a wicket, Neil confirms that Linda has a very good eye and our little soldier is actually 16.75” at the shoulder, with front dewclaws and an undocked tail.
Day 3: Neil hits the road once again with Binky Barnes at his side. We met at the San Jose Fairgrounds and accomplished a transfer. Binky had been a good passenger, quiet in the crate, no carsickness this time and a history of staying clean overnight in his crate. We exercised him briefly and then headed north to the San Francisco Bay Area. Back at my house I discovered that Binky is dog friendly, cat friendly, people and child friendly-- just plain friendly! He is smart as a whip – figuring out how to use the dog door without any prompting and taking his business outside. He also figured out how to use the cat door (yes he is small enough) into my bedroom where he went nose to nose with my indignant cat and they both survived it gracefully.
I discovered in short order that while Binky wouldn’t jump up on the furniture unless invited, he was very happy to do so and cuddle in close to you when given the opportunity.
That afternoon we had a number of visitors who had previously been planned to meet Kerries as they are prospective puppy buyers that we are screening for a future litter. Binky Barnes met a number of people and several other dogs. At the end of the day he met Dave and Dixie and their large (95 lb) Doberman mix named Huxley. Binky was excited to see Huxley, barked at him, ran in circles and under Huxley’s belly, stole his ball, picked up Huxley’s leash and dragged him around by it. Huxley reacted like an admirable canine citizen, ignoring when he should ignore, correcting gently when he should correct, and finally agreeing to cavort with this small refugee. Dixie and Dave were charmed and readily agreed that this little guy should join their home.
Day 4: A phone call from Dixie confirms that Binky (now provisionally named CD for Charles Darwin) has settled right in. He was clean and quiet in his
crate, has had no housebreaking accidents, and is getting on famously with Huxley. As per my instructions to work on acclimating him to grooming, he
has had another bath and tolerated it well.
CD is home. But we are still curious where he came from and what his history is. The only clue we have is a microchip – the beginning of our search.
Day 5: Home Again is contacted and we learn that the microchip CD is sporting was sold to Pets In Need in Redwood City, CA, a private rescue organization. A phone call to their number reveals that they are closed for the holiday and won’t be open until Tuesday.
Day 6: Now that the holiday weekend is over I was able to contact Pets In Need and find that they have a rudimentary history on this dog.
History: This is CD’s history as far as we have been able to ascertain. At 8 months old Vinnie was surrendered by his family to Pets In Need in Redwood City, CA. It was December of 2005. The family were moving and couldn’t or wouldn’t take him with them. They mentioned that he was an outdoor dog. On Christmas Eve that year, Pets In Need placed Vinnie with a family in the East Palo Alto area. It was a home with children and they felt that he would do well there. He left Pets In Need neutered, up to date on his immunizations and microchipped, with hopes that he was going to a forever home, where he was renamed Blackie.
In early February 2007 Blackie was surrendered by his family in Gustine, CA – about 100 miles from East Palo Alto: reason unknown. After a short period in the shelter at Gustine, he was transferred to the Merced Shelter which serves as the euthanasia point for all of Merced County Shelters, Gustine among them. Here he was put up for adoption, immunizations updated, and the length of his adoptability determined. By February 14th he was moved to death row, which is where we found him.
We will never know where CD came from originally. We will never be sure if he is a purebred Kerry or not. We do know that his rescue was worth the effort. He has a Kerry coat and color, Kerry conformation, a Kerry look and personality. He is as smart as any other Kerry I have ever known and as loving. He now resides in a home that I am sure is a true forever home, a home that is dedicated to loving rescues, a home that has a familiarity with Kerries and loves them, but would never go out and buy a purebred puppy--a home that is perfect for CD.
There is a lot of discussion over whether a purebred rescue organization should take on a dog of questionable heritage or not. In my opinion, if there is any question of a dog in need being part Kerry or purebred Kerry, we have a responsibility to make sure that they are safe and loved. After seeing so many of the puppy mill Kerries with undocked tails, dewclaws, and on the smaller side – this guy certainly fits the profile. I could not turn him away. To meet him is to love him.
This rescue also brings up the point to solid screening of potential homes. Those of us who talk to the public and ask that they fill out our Adoption Questionnaire have all undoubtedly heard the remark: “Oh my God! What is this? Like adopting a baby?” to which the answer is YES. The Questionnaire is just a beginning, we do home visits and get to know our potential adopters. Many of us also have a policy that no dog is available to be adopted at Christmas – certainly not on Christmas Eve. These guidelines aren’t fool proof but they do give us a greater sense of security that our placements are going to forever homes and won’t end up in a rescue situation again.
Thank you to all the good soldiers who participated in this rescue and God Bless CD and his new home.