Happy 2nd Anniversary Finding Them Homes
It’s almost here! Our 2nd year anniversary of rescuing! Sometimes it feels like ages ago we started all this, sometimes it feels like just yesterday.
This past summer Lisa, Julia and I talked about what day we would officially say that we started. Two years ago, September 2012 was when we started, but picking the exact day still needed to be decided. On September 7, 2012 I got a little foster dog named Patches (now Snowy) and sent her picture to Julia, who started looking for a home for her. So that was one choice. Snowy originally got adopted to a family who had just moved to Moosonee, so we decided that wasn’t the right day. While Patches was with me, a lab named Willow was being fostered by Sara Feero. Because most of the northern rescues were full at that time, Julia also was looking for a home for her. During all of this we were put in contact with Nadia Peters in Moose Factory, who had two 8 week old pups looking for homes and again, Julia began passing their photos around. A few of her friends stepped forward and wanted to adopt the dogs. The question was how to do get them to Barrie. After doing some research, I contacted Pilot N’Paws Canada. With their help on September 28, 2012, Willow the lab and two small shepherd pups flew down to Barrie so we decided that this would be the official first day.
So much has happened since that day. To put it all in to words is almost impossible. So I asked the 5 other board members to list their 5 most memorable moments of rescuing in the last 2 years. It’s a long read, but it’s a good read. Enjoy.
1. Lola: Karen told me we were getting a shy dog. We waited about 5-7 days until they finally caught her. Then I was told she “nipped” the owners when they were putting her into the crate. I was very nervous about this dog we were getting. Before the transport we informed all the drivers to leave her in the crate. She arrived at our place and we put this scared little girl into an x-pen and sat and watched her. Over the next few days it was amazing watching her progress and the trust she was developing with us. Now when I see her she has an excited pee and whines like crazy! I love her and miss her!!!!!
2. Molly (Lady/Paisley). Sara told me the owners wanted to get rid of her because she was aggressive. Sara met her a few times and she growled at Sara. Again nervous about what we were getting ourselves into. Brenda picked her up from Brittanya and we met her at the vet. There I met a super, sweet calm girl! All she needed was a little TLC and a great home to call her own. At our garage sale an older couple that I knew showed up and asked to meet our foster dogs. I introduced Molly to them and the husband took her for a walk with his walker. She did amazing and that picture will always be in my mind. She visits him at the hospital when he’s there and she puts a huge smile on his face! Such a great ending!
3. Amy. I always stress about finding the right foster home. A lady offered in the city to foster her and the great thing was she was home all the time. After one day there she escaped out of a window! Lots of people pitched in to look for her and she was found and brought to the SPCA. After this happened, one of my friends offered to foster her and she did really well there until she started to run away again. She was the best Houdini I knew. Finally she came to our place to stay! Turns out, while at my friend’s house who fostered her a friend of theirs feel in love with her. Amy now lives in a great home with a great family and no longer tries to escape!!!!!
4. Whenever I have a chance I love to take a puppy or two when I go visit my grandparents. There was one time in particular that was special. I had one puppy left at my house, Mercedes. I went up to their apartment and was greeted by my aunt. Turns out my Opa was not doing well. I brought the puppy in and let him hold her. He perked right up and to watch him enjoying her was awesome. Since then he has passed and my Oma is very lonely so I still continue to bring fosters there and to watch her playing with them brings a smile to my face.
5. The infamous trip north to finally meet the other half of our team. Lisa and I planned on driving up the winter road and for about 4 months we heard such different opinions on if we should drive it or not but we finally decided to. We left our place around 6am and made our last call to Brenda around 1:30pm when we entered no man’s land. We made it and met all the wonderful ladies that spend so much time helping their communities. Met some great dogs and went home with Bonnie, Moose and the J litter! Such an awesome experience! See the full story of Our Visit to the James Bay Coast
1. Gimli – I was told about this seemingly aggressive dog in doggie jail that if he wasn’t rescued he would be put down. It hurt me to think of a dog being put down but I was also scared about the aggression. So after school I went to doggie jail and met him. There was a dog that just a few days ago Bree and I had met on the streets and he was super friendly to us. He saw me and wagged his tail and gave me a lick through the fence. I prepared for him over the weekend and he came the Monday after school. He was such an amazing foster. He frustrated me at times, because he escaped twice but both times came back to my house a short time later. He wouldn’t pee or poo in the yard and Moosonee had many days of almost complete ice and here I was walking this silly dog in circles. When he got adopted, I cried the day he left. But the day he went to his forever home, Missy, the adopter, sent me a picture of her son hugging him and I knew he was in the right place.
2. Rue eating – Here I was with a nursing 10 month old dog and two little pups and Rue the mom would not eat. I was so worried for her and the pups. I ended up making this crazing mixture of chicken hearts, liver, and ground meat. My house smelled nasty. But she ate and caused me to well up with tears.
3. Walking Brownie and Ricco – Most of the time, being in Moosonee I don’t get to meet a lot of the Fort Albany dogs. Karen had to drop Brownie and Ricco off early on Good Friday. She dropped them off with the OPP, and they were putting the dogs on the train at 4:30. So my friend Sherry and I went at around 3:00 and took these two for a walk around Moosonee. They were the sweetest dogs ever. I was so happy to have gotten the privilege of getting to take them for a walk.
4. Ebony – I was taking a break from fostering when this girl was found in -40 weather. She would not leave an injured dog`s side. So she ended up being fostered by Sherry. I went to take pictures of her but fell in love with her. I ended up adopting her as a second dog. However, I also knew that my parents, who had just lost their dog less than a year before would love her. And if they were ever to get a dog again, it was her. I brought her home at March Break. I remember the first day home going upstairs and Bree was sitting at the top of the stairs and no Ebony came running. I asked my mom if she was with her and she wasn’t. We then figured out my dad had taken her for a truck ride without telling us. Sure enough, they fell for her too and in May 2013 my dad came to visit me and took her home.
5. 2nd Annual FTH Get Together – So not specifically a dog. There were moments we weren’t sure if the get together was going to happen this past summer. Thanks to Anne Burgees we were able to secure the location and a whole bunch of zip ties and winter fencing. A group of us spent the 2 hours before the get together putting the fencing up. Then you all started arriving with your dogs and it was just so fantastic to meet so many of the dogs/pups and people who have been involved in the past 2 years. Being that I’m up in Moosonee, the majority of the dogs I get to meet are the ones from Moosonee/Moose Factory and occasionally in the winter the Albany ones. But so many of the dogs I’ve only met through pictures and your posts. It was so fantastic to meet so many of the dogs and see them all have a blast together and of course meet so many of the people who have adopted, transported, donated etc. to help make everything possible. It was such a fantastic day and a reminder of why we do what we do. See the full story of our Annual Reunion.
1. The day we decided to go searching for the den dogs. We took a boat to the island where we were told they were. We spent an hour or two looking through the forest, nothing, we had a shore lunch and went back to Albany and fed the strays. We regrouped and started at the dump, going through paths that were quite difficult, seeing bears and bear poop and bear prints. We finally came to the river bank and some well beaten paths. Walked along it for about 20 mins, there was Darren, Jennie, Jassen, Jenn Dunn, Conrad and myself. The night before I was tossing and turning, dreaming of finding hundreds of pups of all ages, having no way to get them out and a difficult path to get them back. So we armed ourselves with back packs and food in case we came across any. Finally out of the corner of my eye I saw Amy. Trying to rush off and hide. So Darren descended the river bank to give her food. When he turned and looked there were so many puppy eyes staring back at him. We got 12 pups that day, Amy’s pups were very young, maybe only a day or two old. Jennie, had to crawl into the den and grab a pup or two and we would pull her out and then she would go back in. The next day we went back and got two more. It was exhilarating! See the full story of The Den Dog Rescue
2. My first rescue was a little blind white dog, eyes all white too. He came into the clinic to be put down. He ended up being fostered by a wonderful gentleman from Thunder Bay who took him and gave him a wonderful home. After this dog, I was on my way to work and saw these tiny little puppies running down the street. I was so scared they would be run over, so I scooped them up and put them in the car and took them to the restaurant. When I got there, Jassen, my husband, had a little black lab puppy that was terribly injured. She was one of Sweetpea’s (now Kodah) pup. Darren and Jennie, two paramedics in town, wanted a dog. We went looking at the man’s house who had the dog. He told us to take all of the pups so we did. We had no idea what we were going to do. Somehow we got hold of Brenda Latouja and Denice Bustraen, who put us in touch with Julia De Zoete and Brenda Mueller. This was the litter of heart break, they were all so thin and the first litter you were all involved in and of course the litter where Oakely came from.
3. Lexi was my most emotional rescue. It took us trudging through waist deep snow and -47 degree temperatures. I couldn’t believe when we found her and her pups huddling in their den. I stayed with her for over an hour while Jassen went to get supplies to get her out. I had to stick my head in the den to keep warm and out of the wind chill. Lexi didn’t seem to mind. Jassen brought crates, Jennie and his dad. The bank was so steep we had to perch the crate on a tree while Jennie crawled in and slip leashed Lexi. We then got all of her puppies out. We had to slide her down the bank, in the crate to the skidoo. We loaded her and her 7 pups into the sleigh and buried the one that was passed. Lexi threw up the most horrid smelling stuff over and over again during the trip home. We got her home and settled her and her pups in front of the wood stove, they were warm and cozy in no time. See the full story of the Rescue of Lexi.
4. Who could forget Jack? This apparently aggressive dog tied to a 4ft chain. We were told he was going to be put down unless we could help. The poor boy was so matted he couldn’t even wag his tail, it was matted with poop and tangles. Jennie and I spent hours shaving him and going through layers of poop and matts. I will never forget the things we had to do, haha. And Jennie shaving his man parts and telling Jack to put away his lipstick. Will never forget the surprised look on Jack’s face when he saw his tail and felt it wag for the first time!
5. Without a doubt, Sequin was our most trying rescue. She is a cunning, smart and determined girl. Seguin’s pregnancy was becoming so pronounced and I knew she would have her pups soon. Winter was cold this year with temperatures often dipping below -50 degrees easily at night. When I noticed the pups moving in her belly I knew we had to catch her. We tried everything from corralling her to locking her in the garage, she was just too quick. One day I went to work and noticed she didn’t come back from wherever the pack had gone when I wasn’t around. I was getting worried by the time 6pm rolled around and no Seguin. Just as we were leaving for home, Buddy, Thor, Bonnie, Big Red, and Forrest all came back, but no Seguin. That night Heidi, Jassen, and I went looking at the dens. What they had done was amazing. All of them had dug a den for Seguin to give birth in. We looked everywhere and Sequin wasn’t there. So we left some food for her and decided to head home. It was a bit warmer that night so we were not too concerned. When we got back to the restaurant, Heidi was getting ready to head home and Jassen went to go check out the garage. I was busy talking with Heidi when Jassen started hitting me with snowballs. Heidi left and I went to check out his big problem. In the garage was Seguin, sitting like a queen on some warm blankets while the rest of the pack surrounded her. We were able to get her in a crate and bring her home. That morning Seguin started having her pups, 7 little beauties. She was great for about 2 days and we had to leave town for a bit. We found a sitter for her, thinking this would be easy. Hahahaha, we had to come home 3 days later because she was destroying his house. I also think he was a little fearful of her, Seguin is a machine; which I learned throughout this whole process. I brought her back to my home, cleaned out a bedroom for her, and watched as she calculated how to escape, she jumped on a dresser, climbed on the closet and tried to get out a window. When that didn’t work, because I moved the dresser, she opened the drawers and used them as a ladder and lunged for the window. Sequin kept us on our toes, one step ahead of her we had to be. She started to destroy the door and outer walls to get outside. When Jassen came home, he built her a 4ft long by 2ft wide by 2 ft high crate lined with stainless steel. She chewed at the air holes and broke off many of her teeth. Sequin nipped at us a couple of times while cleaning her crate, not hard, but enough to let us know that she did not want to be there. Finally Lisa and Julia came up with the Zinger Winger crate, the ultimate in ‘escape proofness’. Sequin moved into the living room with our pack, started to associate and go to the washroom on their tie-out line. The pups got bigger and she started to wean them. At 6 weeks we decided that because they were on food and really tearing up momma like little vampires, that they would head south. In the meantime Sequin made amazing progress. She became crate trained and learned to love treats. We sent her to Brittanya, who got her to her appointment to be spayed. Sequin returned home and to her pack. She has never looked back or allowed us to touch her again even though we feed her every day. Once in a while she’ll come up to us and sniff our hand, looking for treats or cheese. This was the most difficult rescue we ever did, but also the most successful. A catch, spay and release. Some dogs are just meant to be where they are and what they know.
1. Our first rescue from Fort Albany was Oakley’s litter. His litter was found under a house and were all very dirty, smelly and not the cutest puppies we had met but we were there to help them. All the pups including Oakley (known as shy guy) had a home for when they came down however on our way to Bracebridge to meet the transport we received a message stating that Oakley’s home had backed out. We were not concerned because we had a few others interested so we would contact them the next day. All the pups were adopted out that evening except Oakley. Jules and I brought him home and he seemed a little lethargic but the transport is quite a trek so we weren’t too concerned. The next day Jules took Oakley out for a walk with our guys and he threw up a couple times. Off to the vet she went with him and he was diagnosed with coccidia. He was only 4lbs that day. We asked if we could take him home and take care of him and they agreed but had to force feed him food and water every hour. 48 hours later he was out of the woods!! That was the moment I knew this guy was for me! Almost 2 years later and I have the best dog for me ever!!!
2. Bonnie was my second best moment ever! Karen had a really big soft spot for her but because of her protectiveness to Karen and the restaurant, Karen was fearful for her future. On a trip to visit Karen we picked up Bonnie. Normally Karen brings the dogs into her home first so I was nervous that we had to be the ones to do it first. Bonnie was not a fan of the leash and wanted nothing to do with being on a leash and going for a walk. From the moment we convinced her into the house, she never wanted to leave. As we were getting ready for bed Bonnie hopped up onto a chair and made herself at home for the night. We bonded huge for the duration of her foster time in our house and it took everything inside of me not to adopt her myself. I knew that, for the better, keeping our house open for foster dogs was the better decision so I found an amazing mother-son duo who love her to pieces and she really loves them as well. Best part, when they need a place for Bonnie when they go away, she comes back for sleep overs!!
3. The litter of 14 was my next favourite because we picked them up from the transport at about 1:00am and we got home at about 2-2:20am. We had made a special place down the basement that we thought was secure for all the puppies as otherwise it would be a ton of crates downstairs. Brenda came to help the next morning and when we went downstairs to see them at 9:00am the basement was a disaster. The pups were so smart that they managed to escape the pen we built and made the biggest mess ever in the basement. It was a chaotic day because in the evening we headed up to Bracebridge to pick up 4 more puppies. That is how we spent Canada Day weekend 2013!
4. February Family Day 2014, we received 3 young dogs Kash, Mistik and Tundra. We were dog sitting Bailey and Zoey, 2 other rescue dogs, and we had our 3 boys in the house as well. The day after arrival Jules gave Kash a bit of a brushing at which point we noticed some lice. YUCK! We immediately rushed the 3 pups off to the vet and they got their treatment however… the other 5 dogs in the house needed treatment as well so off Jules went to drop off the 3 pups and pick up the 5 dogs for their injections. YUCKY!
5. One of my favourite adopters was Loki (aka Cody). I was starting to worry no one would see the amazing dog in him as he was a bit of a handful at the time. Then we met Jodi Paul. Her and her dog Maggie met Cody and instantly fell in love. She was so eager to adopt him even with all the training she was going to have to put in. He has had an amazing life so far and I can’t wait to watch him grow up. He has taken the subway downtown Toronto, met a porcupine and survived massive surgery from that and is still happy and enjoying his life and Jodi is a one of a kind adopter!!
1. Abby – She was a pregnant momma lab that was supposed to head south before she gave birth, the day of her transport south she escaped and no one could find her. Eventually we found her in a culvert with a litter of puppies. It was a challenge to lure the pups who were only a couple of weeks old, eyes just opened. When I did manage to get them all, it was a matter of time the mom would find my home. Once they were ready, they headed south to Barrie.
2. Wicket – the main donor father of Moose Factory. He had quite the life before getting out.
3. Marlee and Max – Their pups Casey and Harlow were the first to send out. Then we were able to send out mom, Marlee and shortly after Max. (the best part is now Marlee and Max are both fixed and live next doors to each other down near Barrie)
4. The Band Office in Moose Factory – for seeing the value in the vet clinic and committing to helping to hold the clinic and wanting to help the over population. All the work we’ve done, being seen as a value.
5. Blaze and his litter mates.
I am a first responder. I take phone calls, facebook messages and receive phone calls from the dog catcher. I work hand in hand with any rescue that will help in a situation. I owe a lot to all of them. In the past three years I have been involved with the transport, emergency rescue, overnight foster, long term foster, medical attention, rehoming of over 350 dogs, puppies, kittens and cats. My interaction with animals is normally quick and does not last that long- but there are memories that stand out in relation to the work done for James Bay Pawsitive Rescue. Below is a quick description of the key moments.
1. Willow– Female Lab Puppy, 6 months old. I was alerted to a lab puppy (6 months of age) at the Firehall whose time was up. She was the sweetest thing ever, tail wagging and happy to come out of her cage. We brought her back to be introduced to my two current dogs, Gizmo and Sasha (Sasha was the same age as Willow). Willow was instantly friends with them and we walked off leash on trails in the back of the house. She was loyal and a silly lab, and had her for about 3 or 4 weeks and grew attached to her. With fostering you always try to convince yourself- “aww I cannot let this one go. I can cope with another dog right?” It became a challenge to let her go. However, I knew that there will always be more foster animals to take in and that would stretch the physical space and time I had to concentrate on my own animals at the time. So Pilots N Paws came to pick her up on their first trip to the James Bay Coast. I watched her be loaded and as I walked away I cried until I saw the plane fly off in the distance. I included a “Willow Instruction Manual” with her so that the new owners knew how to get around the small issues she had with destroying things, toileting habits and resource guarding. Willow was not the first dog I rescued, but she certainly left a mark on my heart.
2. The Colored Litter– 3 females, 2 males- 5 weeks old. I was due to be given 3 female puppies from Moose Factory. These three puppies quickly became 5 puppies as two males were unclaimed from the owner- so she gave the rest to me – big fat dumpy puppies at 5 weeks old, old enough to begin screeching if they hear your footsteps – a call out to be picked up and have some attention given. Puppies at 4 weeks and younger are nice as they play for an hour and then sleep for 4 hours. However, at the 5 week mark they began stretching their play limits to hours at a time before they would settle down into a fat puppy pile. At this point in time I was ‘cat hording’ unable to find homes for some cats and kittens in my spare rooms. So the puppies lived in my bathroom. A regrettable mistake. My flooring is ceramic tile and each morning when I woke up I would open the door and it looked like a poop spaghetti bomb went off. Any new puppies coming into the home have to be dewormed- which I had done the previous night. And they… were… full… of… worms. I don’t mind worms- in fact I find them fascinating. Parasites in general are amazing creatures. But, obviously, they had to come out of the puppies somehow. The smell of the bathroom was indescribable and did not leave for around 4 months after the puppies had left me (must have absorbed into the tile) despite much disinfectant, bleaching, lighting incense, baking soda etc. I see the puppies, now all grown up and in loving homes. They are beautiful but for some reason my nose twitches when I see photos of them.
3. Bones– Male cat, around 1-2 years old. Bones was given to me by one of my students husbands. They came up to me at the college and said “Come quick- there is a cat outside Northern Store in real bad shape, can you help?”. I prepared myself for a furious feral cat battle. Mittens, crate and a blanket. My student’s husband walked right up to the cat and it jumped right into his arms. He brought the cat right over to me. It jumped right into my arms and began to purr. Talk about anti climax. I drove the cat home and put him in a spare bedroom. This was the skinniest cat I have ever seen. Very sad. He must have been out for weeks without a constant supply of food. We kept Bones for a few weeks to ensure he was fed well and doing ok. And then posted him for adoption. He is a beautiful cat who just loved affection from anything; the dogs, the other cats, the humans. He could adjust to any situation with ease and I even used him as a demo cat for my Pet First Aid class. He was not shy at all and loved riding around on your shoulders while you did housework. In the end, he was adopted to a wonderful person further up north who had adopted a cat from me a few months ago. Bones was one of those fosters where once again- you consider making an addition to the family. But once again it was only in an ideal world in which could I do that. Any permanent additions would inhibit my ability to foster. And I need to foster.