[Feature image: Valerie and the California kid.]
Editor’s Note: The following story is an example of two kinds of efforts that are part of the Foundation’s rescue activities but aren’t classic “rescues.” That is, the dogs didn’t turn up in animal shelters or pet stores or puppy mills. They were well-bred but suddenly needed to find a home because their owners became unable to care for them – a program we call “Kerries Helping Kerries.” And sometimes they went not to an adoptive home from our roster of applicants for a rescued Kerry but to someone known to the breeder or to the Rescue Team, which we call “facilitated rescue” because the Foundation never owns the dog but simply helps it to reach its agreed-upon home.
To be a part of the rescue team is a rewarding experience. Rescue only works if all involved show dedication, communication and coordination and cooperation. In the first six months of 2018, the Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation’s Rescue team has been required to display those “3 C’s” to the highest degree.
The First Wave of Kerries.
Early this year, in February, a long-time respected breeder contacted our Rescue Director George Hanna. Her personal circumstances had changed in a way that made it very difficult for her to carry on with all the dogs in her care. When she realized she needed to give up most of her dogs, she reached out to George, who was glad to ship them to his very Kerry-friendly farm in Georgia.
Through his connection with the US Kerry Blue Terrier Club, a national organization of those who breed and/or show Kerries) and with their help – including a donation to us to help defray our costs, George began the re-homing of this group of dogs. The USKBTC’s policy is that every member who is a breeder must agree to take responsibility for the entire lifetime of any dog of his/her breeding. If the dog’s owner cannot keep the dog, the breeder agrees to take it back again and care for it or re-home it. Of course, there can also be times when the breeder is unable to do this due to age, infirmity or a changed living situation (i.e., moving to a residence where dogs are not permitted).
In this case, because of the breeder’s particular situation and because the pups were quite young, they needed to be placed quickly with experienced Kerry owners. Some went to junior handlers across the country; some went directly to families already known to our Rescue team. For example, there were two very qualified experienced owners ready to take in a puppy in a heartbeat—and both of whom had had applications in for several years. Both of them kept in contact with their Rescue Coordinator Stephanie Moore, and both submitted new applications to keep their files current.
The California Kids
Following right on the heels all this fast-paced activity, the Foundation got word that there was a male Kerry named Doug that had been spotted in a shelter in West Los Angeles, California. Members of our Rescue Team were able to identify where the dog came from and who he was, so we were able to identify and contact the breeder. But in this case, too, a personal situation had made it very difficult for her to care for Doug and the nine dogs that remained at home. The Foundation’s Rescue Coordinator for California, Brad taylor, contacted the shelter and offered to help place the Kerry. Meanwhile, however, Los Angeles County had been notified that these Kerries needed help, so the shelter held all ten while they decided how best to handle their case.
Unfortunately, most of the dogs were not in good health. They suffered from the intestinal parasite called giardia, some had eye or ear infections, their paperwork on immunizations or proof of ownership was not available, and only some of them were microchipped. In addition, they were quite malnourished (between 19 and 20 pounds, whereas KBTs their age would normally weight about 30-35 pounds). To this point, the dogs had all been quarantined, and none of them had yet been posted on the shelter’s web site as available for adoption.
The County would only release three dogs per person, so when Foundation went to pick them up, our wonderful supporters/donors Tom and Gerri Gaffney lent the funds to pay the adoption fees for all of them. Other supporters, Jann Mackenzie Lane Steel and Pam Seigler, each took three to foster. All went to a veterinarian that Tom knew, where, after a month in quarantine, they spent another five days undergoing careful examination and receiving appropriate medications.
Fortunately for their rescue, another Foundation supporter who is an attorney, Pam Ellen Hudson, helped immensely in persuading the shelter that the Foundation is a legitimate organization and intended to re-home the dogs, not to sell them. With her help, we were allowed to adopt them all.
Soon the California RC was being swallowed up with the work of acquiring nine Kerries, arranging their transport and housing until foster homes could be found, and much more. So Stephanie Moore stepped up to assist Brad in finding homes that would foster-to-adopt these 8-10 year old dogs. Brad had already found a place to board and assess each Kerry, but there was more to do.
After obtaining the names, ages and sex of the nine, networking began to seek placements for all. With an outreach to RCs and Linda Grisley, President of the Canadian KBTF through numerous emails and texts (thank goodness for technology!), the rescue team began to match names of waiting families to the name of a dog. All the information that had been obtained on each rescue Kerry was clearly communicated to each family. That part was relatively simple. After reviewing many applications, the best match for each dog was found. The hard part was organizing and obtaining paperwork and transportation for nine Kerries scheduled to go in eight different places.
But first, Gabriel and Ivonne Rangel, who are professional dog handlers, came and picked them up and took them to their kennel in Rialto, California -- Pam Hudson knew they’d be willing to help with rescue. The Rangels took wonderful care of these dogs we now were calling the “California Kids” – feeding (cooking!) three meals a day for them, and letting their teenagers bring them in the house a couple at a time to play with them and observe their behavior. The dogs spent two or three weeks with the Rangels, recovering their health and having a good time. In fact, the Rangels were quite surprised at how well all the dogs (one male and eight females) got along together, seemingly very pleased to be together.
With the Rangels providing room and board, vet visits, grooming and feeding and travel permits as well -- and with Brad and George at the helm -- the team nursed the California Kids back to health and prepared a schedule for travel. We were assisted by a travel agent, Stacey Davis of Dog Gone Travel, who arranged flights.
Here’s how that schedule went. Sammy was the first to go. He flew into Utah and was met by his new family. Skates was driven by the Rangels to Walnut Creek, California; Laura went to Quebec; Robbie found a home in British Columbia, and Sally and Pearl journeyed to their new home in Edmonton, Alberta. Valerie and Mamahlee met their new momma at the Rangel’s and traveled to their home in Colorado. Chrissy is happily sharing a home with a Wheaten boy courtesy of the tremendous attention and efforts of Sandra Scott in Arizona, who used her network to get Chrissy into a loving environment. Sandra’s dog, now Chrissy’s new Wheaten friend is teaching her how to trust, and Chrissy is blossoming.
And After All That, Two More!
The Foundation learned that two Kerries, also in California, were in immediate need because one member of their human family was gender-transitioning and moving into an apartment that wouldn’t allow dogs. Again, the breeder was known, and was willing to take back one of the two the Kerries but could not take both of them. In this “facilitated rescue,” the Foundation did not take ownership of the dogs but helped return one of them to the original breeder and the other to an adoptive home.
The Happy Result
Here’s how Stephanie Moore summed it up on behalf of the Rescue Team: “It truly took a village to make this rescue a success. It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t done by one person, and it wasn’t cheap – but was the time and money invested worth it? ABSOLUTELY!!! Would we do it again? YES!
“To the many, many folks who had a hand in this strenuous and complicated operation, I personally want to thank you. And to Eileen Andrade (KBTF Board member) and Judi Young (our tireless Rescue Administrator, a special thank-you is in order for accepting my phone calls, texts, emails.
“All in all, I am certainly glad I am a part of the KBTF team!”
This succession of rehoming efforts has been one of the biggest challenges our Rescue Team has faced in the twenty years the Foundation has been operating. That means, first, that we have had a great many people to thank, not all of whom have been individually named here. And it means, second, that our budgeted funds for this year do not cover all the cost incurred in this effort. If you have been considering a donation to the KBT Foundation at some time this year – perhaps at year’s end, when many of you contribute -- please consider making your gift earlier, if you can.
We know all of you who are reading this share our pride in and gratitude for the efforts of every single person who participated in helping this amazing and delightful “flood of Kerries”!