It’s been a big week ’round these parts.
First, Jet was adopted. I told myself before heading out to the meet-and-greet that (1) it would be the last one – if it didn’t go well, I’d keep Jet, and (2) I’d let Jet tell me what he wanted. When we arrived, Jet made himself very much welcome. He immediately began chasing and playing with Charlie, the existing dog. Between wrestling bouts, Jet wandered up to each person there, giving everybody a chance to love on him. He checked in with me occasionally, but really made himself right at home. So… he chose. I tried to wait until I left before crying, but didn’t quite make it. I miss the little guy like crazy — and so does Belle.
But Jet’s adoption wasn’t the only big change…
Meet Birdie (maybe – I’m not sure about the name just yet – but imagine it said with more of a Texas accent than I normally have). She’s a three month old border collie girl. I’m not going to pretend like the hole Jet left wasn’t part of the reason for Birdie.
I’ve been considering adding a third dog for several months now. Bear and Belle are 7 and almost 6 respectively – and both classified as seniors. I came to the realization that if both live to their typical life expectancy, it would mean losing them both pretty close in time — something that will kill me. So I started thinking about adding a third, younger dog, but realized I should do it sooner rather than later — while Bear and Belle are still young enough to enjoy a new little brother or sister (it needed to be a puppy for Belle’s sake – she’s much more accepting of puppies). And though I’m all about the giant breeds, I thought #3 should be a medium-sized dog – and preferably one I could do some fun stuff with (i.e., maybe ability, obedience, etc.).
I started thinking perhaps an australian shepherd (basically another Finn, the one I let get away!), so I hopped on petfinder.com and searched for local aussies. An adorable young male popped up (Tonka) popped up – a handsome tri-color, but an adult. Nevertheless, it led me to check the other dogs available through the same rescue, Ruff Mutt Border Collie Rescue. I’ve always thought border collies are such cool dogs – so smart, so striking, and so limitless (in fact, while watching Westminster this year, my dad and I texted each other as much). So I checked the dogs and stumbled across little “Tulip,” a fuzzy baby panda cub of a pup. Done.
Bear, Belle and I drove out to Terrell to meet “Tulip” / “Birdie” (?) on Thursday evening. Out came the cutest little puppy ever. She immediately burrowed into my lap, and rolled over for a belly rub.
She’s a busy, curious little girl. She’s probably about equally active to Jet, but she’s much more mischievous. While Jet would be bouncing off the walls, he’d always do it wherever I was in. Birdie (?) feels there is much too much to explore and take in to just stay in one spot. She’s pretty fearless.
She’s working on figuring out Belle and Bear. She’s still quite small, so she can’t really get right in the middle of them wrestling. But she’s quite fascinated with the both of them, Belle particularly, following them around pretty closely and dancing around them while they wrestle. She and Bear have had a few play sessions (Bear is SUCH a great dog – I’m biased, but he really really is). They’ve both been really good with her.
So, the Bryant dog pack has officially grown to 3.
Sweet Ocho passed away on Monday, a little over a week after our session. The girl had a long, good 14 years, but finally succumbed to aggressive bone cancer. Though she had signs of the advanced cancer at our session the prior weekend, she was still bright-eyed and alert and you could totally see the puppy still in her (she definitely knew where the treats were coming from!). At one point, she limped over to my bag – I assumed she was looking for more treats, but no, she pulled out a tennis ball. Turns out the old girl is a pretty big fan. Balls have understandably been hidden around her house for the past few months as her condition deteriorated, but we managed a little game of catch and drop without her having to move around. A little heartbreaking, but so sweet to see her light up in joy and know she had a good day that day.
A daddy’s girl through and through, she’s desperately missed.
Rest in peace, sweet Ocho.
Such a fun session this past weekend – a ranch, cattle, and a horse… and, of course, a lab and a dalmation.
Those of you from Dallas have probably heard the story already… and some of the rest of you may have as well.
Almost three weeks ago, a little four month old pit/lab mix was tortured in a south Dallas neighborhood. He was allegedly hung over a fence for a while, and then doused in lighter fluid and set on fire. In front of a crowd and, apparently, for a laugh. Someone with a soul witnessed what was happening and called the police. When they arrived, they found Justice, still alive, hiding. He had third degree burns over 70 percent of his body (WARNING – graphic photo). Animal Control was called – and they in turn called DFW Rescue Me, who didn’t pause before accepting responsibility for his care. He was rushed to a trusted local vet, and after a couple days of remaining in critical condition, Justice was driven down to Texas A&M, one of the nation’s top specialty veterinary centers. Though it seemed the sweet puppy was starting to improve a bit and was upgraded to stable, soon thereafter, his little body gave out. Justice died on April 13.
Everything about Justice’s story is horrendous. But, if there can be a silver lining, it has to be the community’s reaction. The local media covered the story – repeatedly. Donations poured into DFW Rescue Me to cover Justice’s veterinary expenses. The SPCA announced a $5,000 reward for information leading the arrest of those involved. Soon thereafter, the reward was bumped up to $25,000 as a result of generous donations from the Murrell Foundation, an anonymous donor, and numerous of other people. Everyone wanted justice for Justice.
And then, hundreds of people showed up to a candlelight vigil held in front of City Hall for Justice. Richard Hunter, local radio personality and adopter of a Vick dog, emceed the event. Speakers included Assistant District Attorney David Alex, Dallas Councilman Tennell Atkins (representative of the district where the torture occurred), Mary Spencer (Dallas Animal Shelter Commission Chair, speaking on behalf of Mayor Mike Rawlings), Jody Jones (Dallas Animal Services Division Manager), J.P. Bonnelly (a local dog trainer and rescuer), Sybil Summers of CBS Radio, and Jim Wenger (head of DFW Rescue Me).
As the vigil was winding down, the ADA whispered something in Richard Hunter’s ear. He smiled and jumped back on stage with the announcement that the suspect, 18 year-old Darius Ewing, had just turned himself in to police. Bail has been set at $100,000, and, if convicted, Ewing faces up to 10 years in prison. The police are continuing to investigate to identify the others involved.
Sadly, Justice’s story is not particularly uncommon. In fact, with additional funds raised to cover Justice’s vet bills, DFW Rescue Me set up The Justice Fund to cover the medical expenses of similar cases. Three dogs are already being treated through The Justice Fund, and just today, Jim received a call about a potential fourth.
My hope is that all the community outrage will not vanish with Justice’s death. If you’d like to get involved, volunteer with a shelter or rescue organization like DFW Rescue Me. There is always a need for people to foster, but there are plenty of other ways to help as well. Of course, donations are always welcome.