Friday, March 24, 2023

Livin' it up in la vida with the Bakersfield 4

Our little refugees on their first day of freedom at their safe house. Outside a little country town, Apollo tha' Dog, Rza and Sza with their little sister Cardi B explored and played all day long till they were plumb tuckered out like we say down here in Texas. At one point, their road bud Ruben turned his back and then found Rza and Sza dripping wet. He heard some splashing and there was little Cardi B taking a dip in the doggy swimming pool. I am going to venture a guess this is the first time she's ever enjoyed a dip in a swimming pool. I knew she had a bit of Miss Sassy in her which is why the name Cardi B. Cardi B is the little dog in the news photo getting beaten with a baseball bat with her sweet little mouth taped shut. It's horrendous, but if you could meet this little one, you'd be even more disgusted at how anyone could treat her with such cruelty.

It's my job to make sure they never ever know anything but gentle care and love in a peaceful surrounding. .FYI, the plan is to keep them boarded at the safe house in the country until I can bring them here to my refuge - also in the country out by Lake Travis - when some spots open up. The flipside of being the only 100% no-kill raw-feeding holistic treatment pit bull refuge is everybody lives nice long lives. Amber rescued for the mean streets of Houston, then survived the horrors of Spindletop will be 17 this coming July. Pretty good for a staffy bull - English bulldog mix under any circumstances.

It's still a long road to recovery. The girls still need to be spayed and all seen by a vet. If you would like to sponsor one of the dogs or make a small donation, please visit Reunion Rescue website and click their donate photo or the DONATE button and type in Reunion Rescue. Every penny goes to these dogs. Nobody here makes a salary and most months all the funding for good raw food and supplements come out of my social security check. Long gone are the days when you could get help from the big pet store chains like Petco and Petsmart when you donate at the checkout stand. Who knows where the money goes. 

Please follow the dogs on their Bakersfield 4 Facebook page. When we reach 100 followers, the page gets its own vanity URL. Share with your dog-loving friends. Thank you for taking the time to read this update. Now lets dive into some photos.

And please sign up for the new Reunion Rescue newsletter - organizing to #savelives just like the Bakersfield 4. 

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Welcome to Texas ya'll to the Bakersfield 4

They're here. It was a long trip, but the Bakersfield 4 are home. Welcome to Texas, ya'll. New names to go with their new lives. Kissing that past goodbye. It was bittersweet for our four. They made friends for life at Bakersfield KCAS animal shelter. I've pulled a bunch of dogs from KCAS in the past. I'll share photos and updates in later stories, but this story is all about a brand new life, or like my good buddies the Hickoids say Brand New Way. Welcome home, Rza and Sza (formerly Dorothy and Indica) Cardi B (formerly Chiquita) and Apollo tha' Dog!

I got to the sanctuary where Reunion Rescue will be boarding our four with a truckload of food, good food, rich people dog food from our friends at Healthy Pet, Tomlinson's and Petsmart. After a long ride filled with detours that took Ruben and our travelers all the way up to almost Nevada from Arizona, they pulled in. 

I knew to hold back as they are understandably fearful of women. It was hard for myself and Angela who is the director of the sanctuary where they're boarding. She kept saying she wanted to scoop them all up and squeeze and cuddle them. They truly are adorable in the classic Colby dog nanny dogs. Staffy bulls, tiny and fiercely precious. Apollo tha Dog hopped right out of the van and got to exploring. He gave the place his A #1 seal of approval, running around and sniffing and playing with the other rescue boarders and home dogs at the sanctuary. 

Please like Bakersfield 4 Facebook page.

And please sign up for the new Reunion Rescue newsletter - organizing to #savelives just like the Bakersfield 4. 

More to come, but here's a late shot Angela sent. They have their own room with a dog run and playtimes in the big dog fenced area. I think everybody likes their new home here in Texas. Oh yeah. The red pillow under Rza's head. It was part of a big sack of toys and outfits that are going over to our friends at The Dogslanding House. But that red pillow. I was what am I going to do with this. Angela has a collection of little dogs from the shelter system who have sanctuary for life with her. I thought they might like the pillow, but Rza had other plans for it. Sweet dreams, angel girl. 


Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Parting shots from Bakersfield - Day 4

Our four travelers have had some new experiences. Some firsts. They've never been out of Bakersfield and now are seeing the country and learning there is good in this sad old world. Thank you to Danny at KCAS Bakersfield shelter for the parting shots. He's working on a video and Pit Bulls and Other Animals can't wait to share it. 

And please sign up for the new Reunion Rescue newsletter - organizing to #savelives just like the Bakersfield 4. 

Ruben, their road caretaker and driver, says each day they get more and more relaxed. Learning to trust humans when you've never known kindness is a big thing. Thanks to the Bakersfield KCAS staff who took the time from a busy workload in a huge crowded shelter to show these dogs some kindness, the first they'd ever known.                     

Driving down I-5

I don't ever want to die

Cause I'd no more get to see

All this beauty passing by me

Laundry on the line

Truckers passing on the right

Every color on the wind

You know you're living if you've sinned

Down I-5

Here are a few from the evening departure I stole from Danny's page (so thank you, Danny) to share with you. The workers you see in the photos stayed late after a hard grueling day to make sure the Bakersfield 4 were loaded up safely and to say their bittersweet goodbyes.

The creep who beat them put a bite on their records and one last nasty blow after she'd been arrested. It's hard enough to save a regular dog and until the Bakersfield 4, not one bite case ever has been rescued from Bakersfield KCAS shelter. So, these shelter folks were amazed and pretty elated that the dogs will have a chance to live their lives.

One their way to Austin area, they drove to Hesperia that first day. The Land of Enchantment filled their wide eyes yesterday while stopping often for potty breaks and leg stretching. Ruben even picked up another 4-legged hitcher who our Bakersfield 4 welcomed with no growling or hackles raised. Every text I get from Ruben about them amazes me. I've never seen abused dogs so willing to trust. This is a real big deal. They are teaching me. If everybody, me included, lived our lives like the Bakersfield 4, what a wonderful world this would be.

Shoulder's burning in the window

I should roll it up I know

I pass the signs that promise hell

They don't know me at all

Some are born to sweet delight

Some are born to endless night

Born to endless night 

I've tasted both, they are the same
To each other I turn again

So they should be arriving today, weather and traffic permitting and we'll have some welcome news and photos to share. You can bet on that.

But for now, all is well

I see the horses on the hill

I smell the cut grass on the air

Feel the wind hot in my hair

Down I-5

Please follow them on their Bakersfield 4 Facebook page and help us raise awareness regarding the overcrowded shelter situation in Calfiornia and the rest of the country.


Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Cheeseburgers in Paradise - Day 3 with the Bakersfield 4

Today's update features some of exploits of our four Bakersfield dogs on the road somewhere between Hesperia, California and paradise. They don't seem to mind the road and are getting looser and more relaxed with each mile. Only one problem so far. After that first night when Ruben stopped and got them all a hamburger, they were sold. Now every time he has to slow down, they think it's hamburger time and get all waggly-tailed and excited. I told him they were spoiled for good now.

Dogs amaze me. I'm still carrying a hard grudge against SFACC in San Francisco for the time they nearly killed a dog I was saving, Slappy, when the green volunteer who was trained to handle dogs properly sprayed her down with a firehose and opened up the spay incisions from the surgery she'd only had the day before. Slappy was a wonderful dog and as dogs do, she put that horror behind her with injuries that caused her to endure medical issues for the remainder of her life. She forgave them, but I remember every single bitter moment. When Carl Friedman director and his henchman Kat Brown fired Ann Bennet, the vet tech who demanded Slappy transported to Pets Unlimited for emergency surgery when she found Slappy lying in the floor unresponsive in her filthy San Francisco kennel, blood and intestines everywhere. A true horror story in a town shelter named after St. Francis. And they banned me and Reunion Rescue. 

Slappy lived a nice long happy life eating a raw Reunion Rescue diet. She was adopted and a much beloved family member

to Rachel and Mark who witness that evil green volunteer spraying Slappy with the hose. As luck and fate would have it, they moved the family here to Austin and I got to reunite with that beloved Slappy.

But, back to the Bakersfield 4. Dogs move forward. Even the shitty trainers (and I've had a snoot-ful of those) will tell you dogs live in the moment. They honestly do. Like Dorothy, the most impacted of the Bakersfield 4, now called by her Hip Hop name Rza. I like to give all the hard cases a new name to go with their new collar and leash and new home with newfound hope for new beginnings. She was holding back in the car ride that first day, but when Ruben stopped and got them all hamburgers, things began to change. The other three now called Sza, Cardi B and Apollo tha' Dog gobbled theirs up like they were at a backyard BBQ. Rza was not so sure. She growled a little bit when Ruben gently offered the burger to her, but then very carefully she moved out of the crate she shares with either mother or daughter or sister Sza - it's Chinatown, Jake - and sat next to Ruben. She ate her hamburger, probably a first in this dog's life, while gently resting her body against his leg. This, my friends, is a huge breakthrough.

They enjoyed their ride yesterday. Ruben is taking a slower route back home, thank goodness, because he nearly killed himself trying to get to Bakersfield KCAS before they closed for the rest of the weekend last Saturday night. He stops to let them potty every time he hears the slightest whimper or moan. These four have proved to be very well-behaved traveling companions I'm told. They are scheduled to arrive Wednesday morning at the sanctuary where they'll board indefinitely. If I have to go out on the highway street corner with my Reunion Rescue jar to collect their rent, I'll do it. These dogs will never again have to experience anything but love and respect. It's time for them to learn to just be dogs. That is how it works.

And please sign up for the new Reunion Rescue newsletter - organizing to #savelives just like the Bakersfield 4. 

Monday, March 20, 2023

Freedom ride from Bakersfield - Day 1

"...there was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars."                                        Jack Kerouac from On the Road

Our four refugees from Bakersfield KCAS Animal Services spent their first day being loved and listening to the lull of the highway as they began to put their awful past behind them. It was bittersweet for them to say goodbye to Cole, Tahairah, Caty, Kimberly, Danny and the others at KCAS who went way above and beyond to show these wonderful dogs kindness and for the first time in their lives, a little love.

The first night, Ruben our incredible dog-loving transporter bought them all Jack-in-the-Box hamburgers. A first for them. We don't think they've ever been given treats, not even a drive-thru hamburger. The most reticent with new people Dorothy who is now Rza prononced Rizza sat next to Ruben to eat her burger. She's riding in the same crate with Indica (now Sza pronounced Sizza - either her sister or her mother - Chinatown, Jake? They are so bonded and we can tell it's made their transition easier to be able to cozy up together.

Their protector Apollo tha' Dog! - keeps his beautiful eyes on the road making sure his sisters are watched over. He is a good brother, and boy, is he ready to be a dog and play. It will be wonderful to watch him get to learn fetch and ball and Kong and really come out of his abusive past and his shell.

Ruben stopped and got new girly-girl collars and leashes for the girls and bright blue for our boy Apollo tha Dog! It was a side trip in Hesperia CA with a side story. Here's the review I left for Petco. They asked and I love to write so here goes.

PETCO: I've been a rescue partner for over 20 years and had a transport bringing four dogs from a horrible cruelty case here to Texas. They needed collars, leashes, food, treats and bowls. I spent 1.5 hours on your site trying to order but everything I ordered was unavailable for pick up at your Hesperia location. Finally just paypalled the money to the transport driver who tried to physically go inside the store in Hesperia to find they had next to nothing we needed so desperately while these poor dogs had to sit in the car. 

Luckily we were able to find a tractor supply which furnished my rescue with the much needed items. Thumbs way down to Petco. And you consistently raise tons of money to supposedly help animals yet there is no support for emergency situations like this. Animals are dying in shelters because Petco rediverts the money to who knows where. Shameful. 

I am always a voice for the animals anytime anywhere. Word. Add the story of the poor dog last week taken to local Austin Petco for grooming. She was inherited by the owner's son when his mother passed away. She was so horribly matted, the store groomer quoted him $360 and when he didn't have that kind of cash, was told to put the dog down. Petco, you need to step up your game.

Ruben is taking his time and stopping for bathroom breaks and leg-stretching more often than not. He is very tuned in tot these four and listens for any slight whine to let him know if they need to pull over and find a pet-friendly The trip back to Austin will be a little slower than the breakneck two day straight through drive Ruben did to get to the shelter before they closed for the weekend. Shout out to Tahairah and Cole for making that happen. Bakersfield KCAS is way lucky to have ya'll and Caty and Kimberly. Danny, too. Takes a village.

We expect to see this healing happy transport arrive sometime Tuesday. I picked up some food donations from Healthy Pet, Petsmart and Tomlinson's yesterday. Amazing good food like the rich peoples' dogs eat!! Our four are going to eat high on the hog and get real good and healthy. I order Emergency Australian Bush Flower Essences which I make up in bottles and add a dropperful daily to the water bowl. The stuff is like Rescue Remedy but a lot stronger and cheaper. Plus those Rescue Remedy bottles break so easily. Every time they lap the water up, the essences are re-energized and calm the body. Also, when I get the boarding paid, I'm ordering a couple of bottles of Robert McDowell's Animal Botanical which used to be Nervous Rehab. I've used it for years on incoming dogs from horrible cruelty. Just squirt into the food daily and watch them grow past fear, shaking and anxiety into healthy happy dogs. The cool thing is, even though it's expensive, the product is just given a month or two until the animal recovers.
Enjoy the photos of yesterday's ride and share the Bakersfield 4 Facebook page with your friends. We are all on this ride together. 

Please liken and share the Bakersfield 4 Facebook page with updates and photos.

We can sure use boarding $$ as the promised pledges are not coming through...donate at Reunion Rescue Donate button or the Gofundme set up for the Bakersfield 4.

And please sign up for the new Reunion Rescue newsletter - organizing to #savelives just like the Bakersfield 4. 

Sunday, March 19, 2023

The Bakersfield 4

These four dogs were impounded at Bakersfield Animal Shelter KCAS in a horrible cruelty case. Their former owner was beating them with baseball bats. They had never known kindness in their entire lives. They arrived shaking and terrified. The shelter employees began working with the dogs even though the shelter is filled with hundreds and hundreds of unwanted pets with more incoming every single day. 
A miraculous thing happened and the dogs began to transform from their former PTSD state to a timid maybe I’ll give this a chance attitude. This is thanks to these folks in the picture who took the time to try. They, this wonderful and dedicated staff, gave these dogs something they'd never had. They gave them hope.

I spent two weeks incessantly trying to find rescue and/or boarding in California. It has changed a lot in the 25 years since I founded Reunion Rescue in San Francisco and the days that our rescue transport group Streets of Bakersfield saved over 5000 lives. Now dogs are dying daily simply because there is no place to put them even with a good rescue. I could only find one spot in all of California to board them and she, an old friend who’s also a rescue with boarding facility offered to make room for me out of friendship.

And please sign up for the new Reunion Rescue newsletter - organizing to #savelives just like the Bakersfield 4. 

When I got the word they only had 72 hours, we were all heartbroken. The work these good people at KCAS had put in was about to die, just like these four dogs whose only crime had been to try and stay alive in a house of horrors. I took a leap of faith and called around here in Austin. I found places for each of them in boarding and even though I only had $1200 in the Reunion account, I placed a rescue hold on them. They were safe, for now. These four are not going to be immediately placed for adoption. As a longtime 100% lifetime guarantee rescue, I entered this decision with huge self-awareness. I’m full here at the refuge with another recent intake who came from being abandoned for over four years in a horse barn along with all the seniors who’re still kicking it and thriving on good raw diet and holistic support.

When I learned how closely knit and bonded the Bakersfield 4 were, I rearranged the plans and asked my friend who’d agreed to take the most bonded sisters if she could make room and board the other two. She is a great animal person who has a true gift with dogs. She said we will make it work. She even had her own private rescue transport a.k.a. Ruben who was ready to go get the dogs. I gave every penny I had and still 1/3 short of the fee. I still needed to come up with month’s boarding, too. The important thing, though, was the dogs were going to be safe. 

Shelter notes:
*Very smart
*great on leash
*easy to handle/good at listening
*learns tricks very quickly
*much quieter than most Huskys

Chiquita:  (her write-up came from Cole, the man in the videos with her)
*She's really good with men, a bit leery with women (for obvious reasons)
*Once she gets to know you, you can "mess with her paws & look in her mouth and touch her teeth"
*she's shy at first, but warms up quickly and just wants someone to LOVE her
*she's around other dogs and they don't phase her, doesn't show any aggression.
Check out Chiquita's TikTok video

Sweet Dorothy & Indica:
*The staff feels like they are a bonded pair
*Indica gets her security & cues from Dorothy
*They both have had MANY litters, especially Dorothy
*They both are shy, until they trust you and then are extremely affectionate
*Dorothy is a bit more playful and Indica just wants to be next to her human to feel safe.
*When they first came there, they were completely shutdown, and just in the short time they've been there their sweet personalities have really come out!!!

The staff and rescue team kept the shelter open so Ruben could collect the dogs - you see Tahairah and Cole in the photo - and also to say goodbye. It was one of those bittersweet moments only people who give their lives to saving animals know. They even provided an extra-large crate so the sisters who are so closely bonded could ride together.


We are saying goodbye to their old names, Apollo, Indica, Dorothy and Chiquita. Their new names, inspired by the fresh sounds of hip hop music touch on the new attitude and their new beginnings. From here on, they will be Rza and Sza pronounced Rizza and Sizza for the two most closely-knit sisters. Chiquita we suspect has a sassy little under-layer that we expect will rear up real soon. Her new name reflects that sassiness. Cardi B. And the big brother, always their protector, Apollo tha' Dog.

Please share the Bakersfield 4 Facebook page and keep up with their long road to recovery. Pictures and updates will be added frequently not only to update their followers, but also to share their story and help another dog or cat out there who has lost hope and is sitting in a loud clanging overfull shelter waiting to die. You can help by donating to their boarding and care at:
Hey, ya’ll…welcome to Texas!