Thursday, November 1, 2012

Death Don't Have No Mercy: Wake Up Call to Ingrid Newkirk

The difference between me and Ingrid Newkirk is when I see a hurt or sick animal, my response is to try and find a cure. In fact, I've been able to help more than a couple of dogs and cats who were given no chance to survive.

Benny that last night in Turlock
A couple of years ago, Benny was at the Turlock Shelter in California. I just happened to see his picture on one of the 4 thousand emails I receive every day. For some reason, I just couldn't get his little image out of my head.

Turlock Animal Control is much like the Maryland ACC which hired Ingrid Newkirk, poor and ill-equipped to deal with the many animals they try and care for.

I called the shelter and was told Benny was so sick, he was scheduled for euthanasia the next morning. His body was covered in infected and bleeding sores and he was in extreme discomfort, but Benny was certainly not ready to die.

Reunion Rescue is way down the scale from a group like PETA which racks in about $32 million a year, but when I saw Benny, I knew I had to try and save him. Benny's story is like most of the stories at Reunion Rescue. We're always begging for dollars. Last week, Reunion brought in a whopping $21. After paying out our boarding fees this morning, Reunion is yet again in the red. We pretty much stay in the red, but when you are spending every penny on saving animals, the bank account is never going to show a profit.

Benny enjoying his Texas summer
Turlock gave me until 7 p.m. that night to pick Benny up. Luckily, Samantha, not only a die hard pittie lover, but also very pregnant, hopped into her car and drove from Sacramento to pick Benny up for us. He was boarded overnight at Bradshaw vet, one of the few honest vets I've been able to find who honored our request to keep Benny off toxic medication.

Patti, Raven's mom, drove to Sacramento and picked Benny up to bring back with her to the Mendocino area. Like many scared and sick babies, Benny had a long road to go. Raven helped. In doggy terms, she let Benny know he was going to be ok. Raven had almost been killed at Antioch ACC when Patti answered a last minute plea and saved her.

Benny and the gang
Benny was completely cured through holistic and healthy means. He never had one drug or toxic dip. Patti has kept a blog for him which is linked to Pit Bulls and Other Animals. When Benny was ready to travel, Patti drove him all the way to Texas where he went into foster at Doug's. As luck would have it, Doug fell in love with Benny and adopted him where he lives with all the other happy dogs at Doug's doggy daycare. Raspberry and Casper had also been adopted from Reunion by Doug and were able to help Benny find his place.

Mr. Sweets at Riverside Shelter
When Mr. Sweets from Riverside came to Texas, Benny was able to help him. Now Mr. Sweets has a wonderful home in San Antonio with Brad. These dogs prove if you just open your heart and become willing, a miracle or two might just happen. In fact, a miracle will happen.

Mr. Sweets catching some z's

So, when I happened to see that old blog of Ingrid's "Why We Euthanize," it gave me pause to consider. The pictures weren't pretty and looked like the fundraising television effort on the Sarah McClachlan commercial. There is a cat with a big face tumor and a dog's paw with a huge nasty lesion. On down are some other hard to view photos, a dog on a heavy chain and one who looks almost dead with a horrible skin condition. The last one is being held up to have his picture taken probably before being humanely euthanized...the subject of the blog entry.

Shirley's Wellness Cafe has some of the same types of photographs, but the difference is Shirley's animals lived. They were holistically treated with quality diet and homeopathy so that their immune systems could overcome the disease and injury.

Mr. Sweets
My question is this...if Reunion can save hard cases on a shoestring, couldn't PETA spend a little more than the cost of a syringe-full of blue juice to try and help these animals? If these dogs and cats are still sitting up and trying to survive, who are we to decide when they should die? Bottom line, these animals want to live and it's my job, my duty as a rescuer and as a human caring being to reach out and try to help them.

I'm not saying every one of these animals could be saved, but I'd be willing to bet some of them could have made it. I'm wondering if the folks over at the PETA place ever heard of healthy diet and holistic supplements? I wonder if they'd be open to a little homeopathy instead of euthanasia fluid? It takes a little bit longer, but the payoff is priceless! You get to hug a living soul instead of "holding them in my arms and gently helping them escape an uncaring world,"....Ingrid's words.

I've had to put down a few animals in my time and it sucks. When there is no choice, I'm certainly not going to keep any animal alive and in pain. However, I've been taught by more than a few to listen and let them tell me when they are ready. Way, way back in the day, I came across an old Siamese cat. Butch was a registered Siamese who wound up at San Francisco Animal Care and Control. He was left to die there by PAWS, a group whose mission is to help pets of people afflicted with HIV. When this cat's owner passed away, he was left at the city's animal facility.

Butch had been fed a horrible cheap grocery store kibble his whole life of 13 years. He'd been over-vaccinated, once a year for the entire span of his life. That's one thing PAWS had seen to, that his vaccinations were continued until he wound up at SFACC.

Alibaba 'Bobby'
I happened to see him sitting on the counter...well, to hear him on the counter. Anyone who knows Siamese cats knows they are pretty vocal. Long story short, he wound up with me and my old cats before we established the cat sanctuary. He'd been diagnosed with terminal cancer so I brought him home to die in peace.

Butch was renamed AliBaba, more fitting his regal demeanor, but we called him Bobby. He was placed on a raw diet and treated homeopathically to support the effects of his illness. The resident cats accepted Bobby, but being registered and all, he thought he was better than them. He never did accept them as part of his clan.

Bobby taught me a lot about the life force. He lived over three more years with me. There were times he'd get down to an extremely low weight. My husband, Scott, even warned me to put Bobby down, but I knew he was not ready to go and I also knew when he was ready, he would let me know. And he did just that. The day Bobby was ready, he laid down on his side and cried. He was given Valium to make the euthanasia easier as older animals have a much longer process than young ones. It still was long and a difficult euthanasia. Bobby had a very strong will to live. He will always be remembered.

I take life and death very seriously. Like the old song says, 'death don't have no mercy in this land..he'll come to your house, but he won't stay long...' Once the life force is gone, there is only an eternity left to reconsider.

Girl is a living legend at almost 15

Girl in her prime
Girl is the dog in the Reunion Rescue logo. She is much more than that, though. As immortalized in Pit Bull Nation, she spent two months on death row in the high kill shelter where Reunion Rescue got its start.

As the volunteer photographer for the dogs and cats at the high kill San Francisco shelter, it was extremely depressing to continue to walk and try to promote these gorgeous dogs only to see them routinely put to sleep. I'm not one of those types of people who can deal with 'humane euthanasia.' I couldn't see killing all those dogs then and I certainly can't understand it now.

Girl...still kicking it!
I'd been walking Girl and placing her photographs all over town the entire time she was sequestered in Room 116, better known as the 'pit bull room.' The weekend after we walked in Gay Pride 2000, Girl was scheduled to be put to sleep. I couldn't let that happen.

I was still in the very beginnings of establishing Reunion Rescue. Looking back, I cringe at the time I wasted during the first year in meetings. Those people at animal control had absolutely no intention of working together to create a solution for the hundreds if not thousands of pit bulls being killed at that facility. The numbers at that same animal control today reflect the killing still going on.

I was younger and green. I thought because I loved these dogs, everyone would. Boy, was I wrong. Direct me to the ignorant section, please.

Today, at almost 15 years old, Girl has out-lived, out-lasted and out-played her way to a strong and happy life. She truly is a champion. Girl turned out to be quite the frisbee queen in her day. She was captain of the Reunion Rescue Pit Bull Frisbee Team and wowed the crowds to the tunes of Charlie Daniels and Guns and Roses.

She's moving a little slower these days, but with all the dignity and grace of the regal girl I saw for the first time all those years ago in the pit bull room. We both share a little white around the muzzle now, but the years Girl has spent with me have made my life a good life. I cannot imagine what my path would have been like had Girl not come home with me for good...literally.

In rescue, it's hard to not remember the ones you couldn't save. Right after Girl, a beautiful pit bull named Blondie was killed. Then Martha, the best ball dog I've ever encountered was killed. I still hurt when I remember those lovely dogs and the lives they could have lived if only someone like me had wandered into the pit bull room and saw what I saw.

I've spent the better part of the past 13 years begging people to see what I see in these dogs. It really doesn't take so much time and for the few minutes invested, the dividend is infinite. Who can put a price tag on the quality of life and joy

Here is what I've learned from Girl. A raw fed dog treated with non-conventional method will lead a strong healthy life. I hear about so many over-vaccinated dogs barely surviving on a kibble-fed diet stricken with cancer and other horrible fates. I want to share Girl's and the Reunion Rescue raw fed animals good stories with these dogs' owners.

Feeding a raw diet is easy and much cheaper than paying some vet a huge monthly bill for toxic flea and heartworm preventatives. I hear so many dog owners repeat diagnosis that at age eleven, the dog has incurable cancer and must be put down....with a backdrop of Hill's Science Diet for sale along the walls of these clinics. It's simply maddening. We are paying for a slow kill!

What I can do is continue to share Girl's good health and the dogs and cats here at the Reunion Rescue No-Kill Refuge. Girl had a scare last Memorial Day, but was totally fixed with homeopathy and some eye-drops. Her blood work was run by vet whose prognosis was dim. He actually told me Girl was dying and couldn't be saved! Her homeopathic vet selected a remedy which immediately turned her around and she's been fine since other than cataracts in the right eye.

This is how a raw fed dog (or cat) will respond when treated holistically. Often times, after the conventional vet has thrown in the towel, desperate pet owners will turn to alternative means. Unfortunately, after a lifetime of miserable kibble and toxic vaccines and medications, the animal's immune system is too weak to respond. This is heartbreaking. A dog or cat who might have survived doesn't have the strength to fight through the malady.

It is so sad to meet these pet lovers who find out only too late how they could have prevented early loss and discomfort. I can only keep trying to share Girl's story and helpful resources like our Home Remedies to Heal Animals Facebook page in hopes that prevention might help save others.

Girl and our Reunion Rescue animals are proof, living proof, that a healthy immune system is not only within an easy reach, but can sustain itself through huge challenges.

Just yesterday, Girl slept on her right rear leg too hard. She wasn't putting weight on that leg and I hit the panic button. I immediately fixed up a homeopathic concoction I give to animals with any tendon/joint issues and within a few minutes, she was going up and down three flights of stairs with the pictures to prove it.

Girl is pretty special, but she is not superhuman. She will eventually pass on to join the others who've lovingly shared our lives. One thing is for certain, though. Girl, will not die in pain or from some long and terrible illness. It's never easy to lose a beloved companion, but knowing they will pass away in a final peaceful sleep adds comfort.

But, for today, Girl and I will enjoy the sunshine. She'll chomp on her organic chicken quarter and some ground choice beef organ and bones. Today, life is good.

Monday, October 29, 2012

All about the love...Texas Sized Pittie Pride 2012 is a blast for all!

Yesterday was a fun filled day for beloved pit bulls and their people in and around Austin, Texas.

Don't Bully Me, Reunion Rescue, Mariah's Promise, Guardian Pit Bull, Grateful Pets Rescue, Lucky Mutts, Villalobos Rescue Center, Bullyvard Rescue, Treat 'Em Right Rescue represented groups who help pitties along with Austin Animal Center, Urgent Bastrop, Williamson County and Austin Humane.



Land shark!

The cowardly lion

Pepper and Zombie