It's one of those calls you dread. A high kill shelter sending out an SOS to help an older Kerry turned in by his owner. After asking how much time the
dog has, you start wondering how anybody could dump a dog they'd had for eight years in a place where he probably only had hours to live.
His name is Blu and thank goodness for the extremely organized pound in the DC area who called Foundation volunteer Shelley Kilcoyne. They had her name and the Foundation's information on file because Shelley has been on the Foundation's shelter scanning team for several years and had contacted this pound in the past.
Blu was skinny as a rail at only 26 lbs, had ear and eye infections, a runny nose and cough, tested positive for Lyme disease and was so matted he had trouble eliminating -- obviously neglected for quite a while. He'd had a benign growth removed by his previous owner, so at some point in his past, somebody had cared about him. How could they just throw him away? Although we were told by the shelter that he was very, very sweet, we're always super cautious with a dog whose owner didn't care if it lived or died. But after speaking with numerous shelter workers, the vet tech and reviewing the owner turn-in information, we were certain that Blu deserved a second chance. He was kissing everybody who met him and had not displayed an ounce of dog aggression.
Pulling shelter dogs takes a lot of desperate man hours. You need to act quickly and drop everything -- time is the enemy of elderly dogs in pounds where they are more susceptible to sickness and have little chance of being adopted. Kerries found in shelters usually aren't located near any volunteers and with a foster family chomping at the bit to help. So we start dialing in desperation, hoping and pleading we'll get somebody to pull the dog and hold it until we can find a foster home and coordinate the transport. As luck would have it, Regina and Brian Corry in Arlington, VA are those special "Kerry angels" who never say "no" to a Kerry in need. One call to Regina and she was in touch with the shelter. Just a day later, Blu was on his way to their safe, warm home. Yes, the Corry's have two Kerries of their own, including Princess Jessie who can be selective with dog intruders. But the Corry's knew they could manage a day or two of inconvenience -- a Kerry needed them. (Turns out, Blu was the perfect house guest, which further confirmed the Foundation's good diagnosis.)
Dianne Ewing quickly identified a foster home for Blu within hours of the initial SOS from the shelter. And again, luck was on Blu's side, as the foster home had family traveling north from Raleigh and could meet up with the Corrys that weekend. Yes, the Corrys not only picked up Blu and overnighted him, but also drove a few hours south to connect with the foster family. (Bless you, bless you, Regina and Brian!)
The only hitch in the whole process.....the foster family already had a female Kerry named Blue, so there might be confusion with the names! After several weeks in his foster home, Blu's temporary family could not part with such a wonderful Kerry and they have officially adopted him. And kept his name.
Below are excerpts from the updates we received on Mr Blu and Ms Blue:
He's made himself quite lovable to the ladies in our home ....very attentive whereas our girl Blue is friendly but somewhat aloof. Boy Blu has gone through an incredible transformation considering the dog we picked up just 2 weeks ago and what he's like now. Very puppy like ... rambunctious ... loves a good romp outside ... retrieves the ball ... comes when called .... seems to just love living. Ears and eyes are clear ... coughing is almost gone and his nose is actually cold and wet now. I believe he's gained some weight and his coat is shiny and soft. No issues at the groomer ... the groomer couldn't believe we'd ever give him away. This guy's personality is definitely his best asset. He's just everybody's friend. There've been a few times where the single name is a problem but overall it's not a big deal. Interested friends and neighbors get a laugh upon hearing the single name situation we're dealing with.
He's a quick learner and can almost sit on command (with a treat of course) ...he watches our girl to see what's expected and you can almost see him figuring our desires out from what she does.
Girl and Boy Blu get along just fine ... there are absolutely no issues. Girl Blue had a doggy bone inside her Kong yesterday and wandered off to check on something, leaving the Kong behind. Boy Blu took over trying to get the bone out of the Kong. Girl Blue came back to find the Kong in Boy's possession. I thought "this could get ugly" ... picture Boy Blue on his belly chewing at the Kong. Girl Blue lays down in front of him and watches attentively. Boy Blu stops chewing and pushes the Kong over to girl with his nose .... very cute.
Aaahh, yet another happy ending and a long sigh of relief that another senior Kerry is safe. [...]
It's been a year when we've seen far more than the average number of senior Kerries in need: Andy and his sister Emma, Duffy, Blu, and Kevin. In addition, we've assisted numerous seniors by helping their owners find the breeder, including Mowgli, Lilly, Sapphire and Honey. I have a hunch this is just the tip of the iceberg, since the Kerries born during the "Mick" peak production era are aging, as are their owners.
We can ALWAYS use more help in pulling from shelters, overnighting, transporting and fostering. If you are interested in helping out in any capacity, please contact the Rescue Coordinator in your region so we can have your name and contact information at our fingertips when we start dialing in desperation. [If you can't help with the work, please consider a donation.]
Thank you to all involved with the story of Mr Blu. You saved a life and turned a neglected, throw away Kerry back into a puppy prince.
Rescue Coordinator, Northeast
Subject: News on Blu
Date: June 12, 2008 4:17:14 PM PDT
You may remember reading about Blu, the Kerry boy pulled from a shelter who went to a foster home where there was already a girl, Blue. It looked like he was doing well there but he started to exhibit separation anxiety, which paired with carsickness and some changes in the dynamics of the foster family as far as someone being home - began to demonstrate that he would do better in another home.
You probably also remember reading Lorna Jennings note about losing Sky and how Olivia (Livvy) was mourning for her buddy (not to mention Lorna and John). Well, we solved several problems in one fell swoop by flying Blu out to California. Blu tolerated the flight from Raleigh, NC to San Francisco well, where I picked him up for the ride to Sacramento. A long trip like this will frequently aid a carsick dog in getting over the malady and so it seems, he did very well in the car.
Monday afternoon we arrived at Livvy's door in Sacramento and Blu marched into the house like he owned it. Livvy immediately planted her nose in his butt and followed him around the house and yard while he scoped out the terrain. When John had to leave the house temporarily Blu followed him to the door and as it closed barked indignantly as if to say "where are you going without me?" after which he returned to surveying his domain. Their home is one where someone is with the dogs 24/7. If the people aren't home the dogs aren't either.
Since then I've heard from Lorna that Blu has settled in beautifully. He manipulated her into feeding him roast beef and mashed potatoes with peas for dinner the first night and then cheddar cheese and pancakes the next morning. We've discussed that and she is making sure that he remembers that his kibble is first, maybe with just a few small enticements.
We're looking forward to notes from Lorna on how the two Kerries are doing and my guess is that this is going to be a very happy Kerry home for everyone.
Rescue Coordinator for the Southwest
Subject: [KBL] Blu
Date: June 12, 2008 3:42:37 PM PDT
We welcomed Blu into our hearts and home on Monday, June 9 and oh what a treasure! We are so grateful to Brad and Heather for sending him to us. Livvy knew that the missing piece of the 'puzzle' had fallen into place!
Of course, our heartfelt thanks go to Eileen Andrade who brought Livvy to us and now Blu. Blu flew in (wonderfully well I am delighted to say) to SF via Continental Airlines and coincidentally, our grandson Brad flew in from AZ via United at approximately the same time and Eileen being the beautiful lady she is drove Brad home to Sacramento along with Blu!
When Eileen got Blu out of his crate and brought him into the house, John was speechless. It was like our beloved Sky had come back to us! Blu resembles Sky in so many ways, it is amazing! He is a delight and we fell in love with him on sight!
I know that Heather and Brad are missing Blu and they were perfect foster parents and I know that he is surely missing them but I think he knows that this is his forever home.
I know that Sky is smiling down at us and relieved that our darling Livvy has another 'brother'.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts Heather, Brad and Eileen and of course The Kerry Blue Foundation for making this all possible.
John and Lorna Jennings, grandson Bradley, Livvy and Blu