Thursday, October 22, 2009


Today, Claudia and I were going to meet with Jenifer to do a 3-hour consultation at Claudia’s house. I arrived at Claudia’s at 3:45, and as I pulled up, my cell phone rang. I answered it and it was Jenifer. She told me she had been busy all day “breaking Noah from jumping the fence”. She said he started jumping the fence the day before, so she had stayed home all day and worked with him, trying to break him of it. I asked her if this meant she wasn’t coming out to meet with us, and she replied, “Yeah, I want you and Claudia to come here instead.”

I met Claudia at her front door and told her that Jenifer had called and said she wanted us to go to her house instead.. Her response was, “Here, I cleaned all day because I was expecting her.” I said, “Yeah, I know. I would have done the same thing.” I explained to her what Jenifer had said about Noah jumping the fence and that she had stayed home all day, trying to break him of it. We were both concerned that he was now jumping fences as this posed a serious problem. We then got ready and headed to Jenifer’s house.

We got to Jenifer’s and she walked us to the back patio. Noah was in his kennel, and we, of course, didn’t pay him any attention right away (as Jenifer had previously instructed us not to). She explained that she had been hiding in different places in the yard during the day and waiting for Noah to jump the fence. Each time he tried to jump, she would stand up and avert his attention to make him stop. She did say that this is a serious problem as once a dog starts jumping fences, it’s hard to make them stop, especially a dog with Noah’s background. I asked her if he could actually be stopped from jumping for sure, and she said maybe, maybe not. It was hard to say.

Jenifer then took us in the house and showed us some video footage of her working with Noah. She brought up a clip on her computer and it showed her actually putting a choke chain on Noah. During her first two attempts, when she tried to put the choke chain over Noah’s head, he immediately turned his head away so she couldn’t, but by the third attempt, she was able to just slide the chain over his head. The footage then showed her leading him out of his kennel. However, it was obvious that Noah had never been on a leash before as he simply walked a step or two and stood there, looking around like he didn't know what to do. Jenifer had to coax and encourage him to move forward. Noah would take a few steps and then stop. He then would just stand in one spot and look around. Each time, Jenifer gently coaxed him forward and she gradually got him out to her grassy training area. I was so encouraged by the footage I was seeing as he had come so far in a short amount of time. It literally brought tears to my eyes to see his progress. It also reinforced that fact that this dog wasn’t “vicious and aggressive” as the Shelter vet had determined him to be.

After we watched the footage, Jenifer asked us if we wanted to work with Noah and take him out to the training area. We said, “Of course.” We went out to the back patio and Jenifer put the leash on Noah and slowly lead him out to the training area. She still had to coax him somewhat but he was definitely getting the “gist” of it. She got him out to the training area and both Claudia and I took turns walking him around. It took continuous coaxing to get him to walk, but you could see he was improving steadily. In addition, we actually got tail wags and kisses from him, which was shocking as that was a first! He was definitely coming out of his shell, and it was a joy to see. He was like a different dog, and it was hard to believe he was the same dog we had seen at the Shelter. In fact, he was turning into quite a beauty as he has this jet-black coat that just shone in the sunshine and his markings are beautiful.

Yes, Noah was progressing. It was slow but day by day, he was moving forward and putting the past behind him.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I arrived at Jenifer’s house at 7:30 and she met me at the gate. We walked back to the kennel where Cesar was. He was standing inside his kennel, looking at us. I asked Jenifer if she had given him the sedatives, and she said, “Yep! All six at once just like the doctor ordered.” I said, “Wow. He’s really going to be wiped out this time.” Jenifer said, “Well, I gave them to him a good hour ago, so go ahead and get him into his kennel and I’ll go finish getting ready.”

I looked at Cesar and you could see he was somewhat groggy. I went inside his kennel and walked over to his crate. I had to put the door back on it, so I did that first. Then, I gently lead Cesar towards his crate and guided him inside it. He slowly walked right in with very little hesitation. I then shut the door behind him. Good boy, Cesar! I’m glad to see you’re so agreeable this time.

After a few minutes, Jenifer came out and saw that Cesar was inside his kennel and ready to go. She said, “All right! Good job. You ready to go?” I said, “Ready when you are.” Together we gently lifted Cesar’s crate and took it out to the car. She opened the back door of her car and we placed his crate inside. Cesar was just lying down in his crate, looking at us, with those little brown points above his eyes moving back and forth.

We got to the vet’s office and checked in at the front counter. While we waited in the lobby, Jenifer and I started talking about Cesar, and I told her I had come up with a list of names. I pulled my list out and the first name I told her was Moses. She said, “Moses……..hhhmmm…” I then said, “Jonah.” She said, “Jonah. I like that. That’s the guy who got swallowed by the whale, right?” I then said, “Yep, that’s him. How about Noah.” Jenifer said, “Noah. Now I really like that. Noah.” I said, “You like that? I like that one too. Which do you like better, Jonah or Noah?” She said, “Noah. I really like the name Noah. That’s different. I like it.” I said, “Yeah, me too. You don’t ever hear of any dogs named Noah, and Noah went through a lot of struggles in life, just like this dog. You know, it took him 120 years to build the ark and the whole time, nobody believed him when he told them why he was building it.” She looked at me and said, “Noah. I really like that name for him.” I told her, “Well, Noah it is then.” I rattled off a couple other names like Zachariah and Nehemiah, but she immediately said, “Too long.” I said, “Yeah, I thought so. Too many syllables, huh.”

At this time, we were led to a room where Dr. Saldanha came in and met with us. He sat down and looked at me and said, “I have to say. Your dog looks really good.” I said, “Doesn’t he? He looks great, huh?” He said, “Yes, he looks really good.” You could tell--he was shocked to see Noah looking so well! We then talked about his course of treatment for Noah, and Dr. Saldanha said he’d be removing the stitches that weren’t going to dissolve, giving Noah his next series of shots, and then they’d bathe him. He said we could pick him up later that afternoon.

We got back to Jenifer’s house and agreed that I’d come back later that afternoon, around 4:00, and then we’d go back to the vet’s office and pick up Noah. I told her I’d go back to work for a few hours and would be back at 4:00.

I arrived back at Jenifer’s house at 4:00. We drove to the vet’s office and checked in at the front counter. We waited approximately twenty minutes and then we were called to the front counter so I could sign paperwork. A short time later, we were told to pull up by the back door so we could load Noah’s crate into Jenifer’s car. We loaded his crate into the car and then headed back to Jenifer’s.

We unloaded Noah’s crate and placed it in his kennel. He was clearly wiped out again and just stayed lying down in his crate. We opened the door so he could come out when he was ready.  At one point, Jenifer called out, “Noah, come here boy. Come here.” I said, “Jenifer, don’t do that. He can’t even stand.” However, it was too late. Noah heard her calling him and attempted to stand up and walk out of his crate. He got to the door of his crate and ended up lying down with his head hanging outside of his crate and his body inside.

At this time, Jenifer got the hose and started spraying out Noah’s kennel as she hadn’t had a chance to spray it out earlier. She turned her back for a moment to go turn the water off, and her dog Luscious suddenly ran into the kennel where Noah was laying. I immediately turned to Jenifer and said, “Have they met before?” She said, “Nope.”

We sat there and watched Luscious and Noah. Jenifer had her camera and was taking photos. Luscious just ran around, sniffing the whole kennel area, and Noah just lay there, watching him. At one point, Luscious got a little too close for Noah’s comfort. He bent down to sniff near Noah’s face, and Noah immediately turned and bared his teeth at Luscious. I said to Jenifer, “Did you see that?” She said, “See what?” I said, “Noah just bared his teeth at Luscious.” She said, “He did not!” I said, “He most certainly did! You had the camera up to your face so you must have missed it.” Jenifer then scrolled through the pictures she had on her camera and she found one where Luscious was rearing back and had this funny, shocked look on his face. She said, “Oh, yeah, I guess you’re right. Look at Luscious in this picture.” I said, “Yeah, that must have been it. He turned and bared his teeth right at him. I guess Luscious got too close for his comfort.”

At one point, Jenifer picked up a red ball and started throwing it in the kennel for Luscious. She even threw it in the pool, and he went after it and got it out. She then threw it into a big red water barrel (that was at least two feet deep) that was in the kennel and told Luscious, “Get it. Get the ball.” It was funny because Luscious kept looking in the barrel and then looking at Jenifer and he’d start barking, as if to say, “I can’t get it. You get it.” She simply kept saying, “Get the ball, Luscious. Get the ball.” He kept looking in the barrel, and then he’d start to stick his face in the water but immediately pull it back out. At one point, he started swishing the water out with his paw as if he was going to try to drain some of it out that way. He did that several times and then looked at Jenifer and started barking again. She just said, “Get the ball.” He again started swishing the water out with his paw and kept barking. Finally, after trying in vain to swish enough water out, he stopped at one point, looked down at the ball at the bottom of the barrel, and dunked his whole head in and got the ball! We couldn’t believe it. He did a face dive and got his ball! We both praised him and told him what a good job he had done, and you could tell—he was proud of himself for getting that ball! What a dog! You could see—that dog loved Jenifer and would do whatever she said, even if it meant face-diving for his ball.

The whole time, Noah just laid there. He was too wiped out to do anything else. All the commotion didn’t even seem to phase him. 

A short time later, Jenifer’s dad, Alan, showed up. He immediately asked how Noah was doing and we told him he was resting as he was still sedated. He walked into his kennel and leaned down and petted Noah’s head. Jenifer told him, “We changed his name to Noah.” Her dad said, “Noah. I like that!” Well, it seems that after three tries, we finally found a name that fit. Noah it is, and Noah it will stay.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I called Jenifer after I got home from work because she had called earlier this week and said we were to take Cesar back to the vet on Thursday, and I needed to know what time. She answered her phone and we started discussing our course of action to take Cesar back to the vet. Remember, I had been nervous about this as Jenifer had said we were going to have to put him in the car again because “he has to learn to ride in the car”. So I asked her, “How are we going to get him to the vet?” Jenifer replied, “Well, I’ve decided we’ll just put him in his crate and take him that way.” (What’s this “I’ve decided?” That was my original idea!) I was so relieved to hear her say that and agreed that would be the best way to transport him.

I then asked Jenifer if we were going to sedate him, and she indicated she had already talked to Dr. Saldanha and he had told her to give Cesar six of the Ace tablets. I said, “Six! That’s more than last time. Why six?” She replied that that’s what the doctor ordered. I said, “He must really want him to be knocked out by the time he gets him then. Man, six…..” Jenifer replied, “He’ll be alright. I’ll sedate him before you get here.

While we were talking, Jenifer told me, “You know, he doesn’t like the name Cesar.” I said, “He doesn’t? How do you know? He tell you that?” Jenifer said, “No, but he doesn’t respond to it. I’ve run down a list of all the names I can think of, and that’s not one he responds to.” I said, “Well, of course not. That’s probably not his name from before. We’ll never be able to figure out his name.” And she said, “Well, how about the name Oliver? He responds to that.” I said, “Oliver?” Jenifer replied, “Yeah. He likes the name Oliver and we can call him Ollie for short.” I said, “No way. I am not naming my dog Oliver! No way.” She said, “I like the name Oliver.” I replied that I didn’t. I then said, “Okay, I’ll admit Cesar doesn’t really fit him, but I don’t like the name Oliver. Let me think of something else.” Jenifer said, “Hey, aren’t you kind of spiritual?” I said, “Yeah.” She said, “Then come up with a spiritual name or something like that.” I said, “Let me pull out my Bible and I’ll get some names from there.”

We then agreed to meet at her house at 7:30 in the morning. Jenifer said she’d be getting up around 6:00 and she would give Cesar the sedatives then. I told her I’d see her in the morning and we hung up the phone.

I then pulled out my Bible and went to the Concordence in the back of it. I started writing down all the male names I came across, and there were quite a few of them. Some of the names were too long or too many syllables, so I didn’t select them, but by the time I got done, I had a list of at least ten names. We should be able to find one that fit, I would think. I looked at the list, and the two names that jumped out at me were Jonah and Noah. I’d take the list with me and see if any of the names appealed to Jenifer.


As you can see, the vet bill alone for Buddy/Cesar is quite expensive. These expenses were totally unexpected, and when Claudia and I took on the "rescuing" of this dog, we had no idea this endeavor was going to put one of us in a large amount of debt.. I thank God that Claudia is willing to take on this debt and that she simply sees it as being "for a good cause". God bless her for being so selfless in her willingness to rescue this dog.

In light of that, if anybody knows of an organization or foundation that might be able to help Claudia with these expenses, please let me know by emailing me at In addition, if any of you can find it in your budget and heart to donate for this cause, please email her at I know this is a really bad time with our economy and all, and most of us are struggling to just make ends meet, but even a donation as small as $5 or $10 would help at this time. Claudia did have to put the expenses on a credit card; therefore, she's paying interest so any amount could help.

I thank you for taking the time to read my blog and for your care and concern about this amazing dog. Please feel free to share this blog with your friends, family, and any other animal lovers you have in your life. This is a story we'd like to share around the world as it proves that a dog deemed "aggressive and vicious" by what I deem an "incompetent vet" (a vet who is obviously scared of dogs) isn't just a "throw-away" dog that should have just been "put down". There were reasons this dog was initially aggressive, and if you've read this blog up to this point, you know what I'm talking about.

This dog has come a very long way.. Seeing him now that he's healed and how calm and submissive he is--it's hard to believe he's the same dog.  Now, he's beautiful, happy, prances around the yard with Luscious, and wags his tail.  He probably thinks he died and went to heaven.  In his world, he has!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I got to the Arlington Animal Hospital at 8:10. I checked in at the front desk and told them I was there to pick up some "Ace", that Jenifer had called Dr. Saldanha earlier and spoke to him about it. I anxiously waited forty minutes, at which time, a gal named Emma came out to talk to me. She held up a bottle of pills and said, "Now, I've given you five pills in here. Start off with one and wait a half hour. If that doesn't seem to be making him drowsy, then you can give him another one and then wait a half hour. If he still doesn't look drowsy after a half hour, then you can give him a half of another one." I said, "Okay. Thank you so much. We'll bring Buddy back as soon as we can get him here."

I got to Jenifer's house at 9:15. I parked right outside her gate and left my keys in the ignition in case I needed to make a quick get-away (I was planning ahead!). She met me and we walked to the back patio where Buddy was laying in his kennel. I had brought a tube of liverwurst with me (Buddy’s favorite), and I pushed one pill into a ball of it. I walked into Buddy's kennel and held out the liverwurst to him, and he promptly ate it. Good dog! No spitting out the pill. That's the way I like it.

I had also brought a jar of Fly-Off with me. This is a cream that you can apply to a dog's coat to keep the flies off of him. Claudia and I picked it up the night before as we noticed that while Buddy was in the Shelter, the flies were eating him alive. This was due to the fact that he needed a bath desperately. We also noticed the night before that they had been hovering around him at Jenifer's due to his bloody mouth. Jenifer told me, "While we're waiting, why don't you go ahead and put some of that Fly-Off on him." At this time, I took some of the Fly-Off and rubbed it between my hands and then rubbed it on Buddy's shoulders and body area. It was rather greasy and oily and made him look dirtier than he was, but we had to try to do something about the flies as they were driving him crazy.

Jenifer and I sat back and talked while we waited for thirty minutes to go by. While we were talking, I told Jenifer, "I have to be honest with you. Claudia is not going to be taking this dog. I am." Jenifer gave me a look of concern and said, "Wait a minute. That's not what Claudia told Sean at the Foundation." I then explained that Claudia had never planned on taking Buddy, that we had originally planned to just get him off the street and find him a good home as Claudia knew some people in the high desert that were looking for a large dog. However, I told her that since we went through hell to save this dog, I wasn't about to let him go to some stranger, that I would be taking him instead. Jenifer then replied, "Well, that's good because you have the stronger personality anyway. I think you're a better fit for him than Claudia."  

Jenifer then asked me if Claudia realized that she's possibly looking at having to spend several thousand dollars to rehab and get Buddy the medical care he needs..  I told her that Claudia realized it was going to cost quite a bit to rehab and treat him, that we had discussed it the night before and her response to me was, "It's for a good cause.  I just paid off my car and my credit card, so the timing is good."  She then confirmed that Claudia was willing to pay for Buddy's rehab even though she wouldn't be keeping him, and I said she was.  Jenifer said, "Wow, what a friend!  That's amazing.  Lori, this is an incredible opportunity for you.  You have someone willing to provide the financial backing for you.  This will be an incredible training program that you'll get to go through.  Can you imagine, you're going to be training with the same techniques Cesar uses.  I will teach you them.  How do you feel about that?"  I told her I was ecstatic to have such an opportunity--I was thrillled!  Jenifer then said she would train both Claudia and I in the techniques Cesar uses and there'd be no extra charge for training both of us.  We could attend all the training sessions together.  I thought it was a great opportunity and I could hardly contain myself!

We then sat back and continued to watch Buddy, and we both noticed, this guy wasn't even close to being drowsy. I looked at Jenifer and she looked at me, and I said, "How about another one?" She said, "Sounds good to me." So I took another ball of liverwurst and shoved a pill into the middle of it and handed it to him. Down the hatch it went, no problem! Good boy, Buddy! You take pills so well.

We then sat back and waited another thirty minutes. At one point, we noticed Buddy's eyes were looking kind of strange, like he might just be starting to get drowsy. At this time, Jenifer handed me a choke chain and said, "Here Lori. Try putting this on him." I sat down next to Buddy and petted him for a few seconds. I then slowly started to put the choke chain over his head. That brought immediate, swift action on his part and he whipped his head around towards me and clicked his teeth together. I looked at Jenifer and said, "Nope! He's not ready for that."

At this time, I had been there an hour. We had given Buddy two pills, and he didn't appear to be getting too drowsy. I asked Jenifer, "So, should we give him a half like they said or a whole?" She said, "Ah, let's just give him a whole one." So I shoved another pill in a ball of liverwurst, and he again ate it with no problem. I wish my dogs at home took pills as well as this guy! And then we waited........some more.

After about twenty minutes or so, Jenifer told me to try to put the choke chain on Buddy again. At this time, I was standing over him as he was now standing also. As I reached down and started to move the choke chain near his face, he suddenly jumped up, towards my face, and I could clearly hear him click his teeth at me, twice. He had just jumped up to my face level, where I had to lunge backwards, and looked me right in the eye! I'm 5' 7" tall, so this guy can jump when he wants to! I was quite shocked and surprised of course, and I looked to Jenifer for some kind of reassurance or something. She simply looked at me, kind of chuckled, and said, "Oh, that ain't nothing. You should have seen what he did to me yesterday! If he really wanted to get you, he would have lunged at you." Oh, so that was just a warning, huh? Exactly, she said. And then she said, “Gosh, I wish we had that on camera!” Yeah…….me too!

I then went and sat by Jenifer and said, "Okay, now what? Do we go for four or what? Can you give a dog more than three and they're okay?" I then told her what Emma had told me and how she had stopped at two-and-a-half with her instructions. Jenifer said, "I don't know. Let's call the vet and find out." So she picked up her cell phone and called the vet's office. I heard her say, "Hi, this is Jenifer. We've given Buddy three Ace and he's still not drowsy and is quite coherent. Can we give him all five if we need to?" After several more seconds, she got off the phone and turned to me and said, "Yep, we can give him all five if we need to." Really? She said, "Yep, let's do it."

So, I shoved another Ace pill into a ball of liverwurst and held it out to him. Again, he took it ever so gently and swallowed it. Even though he's getting drowsy, he's still able to eat and is gentle while doing so. That's good.......because we've got one more pill left.........if needed........We again waited and watched Buddy. He was getting drowsy, very drowsy. However, as he laid there and tried to fall asleep, every time he laid his head down on his paws as if he was going to go to sleep, a fly would land on him and he'd wake himself up, snapping at it. We watched this happen over and over again, and I told Jenifer, "He's never going to get to sleep. The flys won't leave him alone. Poor guy." She agreed. So much for the Fly-Off huh! (And that stuff wasn't cheap!)

At this time, we could see Buddy was nowhere close to falling asleep, and we were running out of time. When Jenifer had called about the Ace, she was told we had to have Buddy to the vet by noon because they closed from noon to 2:00 p.m. for lunch. It was now 11:10. At this time, Jenifer said, "Let's go ahead and give him one more. We don't have much time." So I shoved another pill into some liverwurst and down the hatch it went.

We waited about twenty minutes and it was obvious that the Ace was now taking affect. Buddy was staggering and having trouble standing. I again tried to put the choke chain on him but got the same affect--him snapping at me. He was still coherent enough to do that! At this time, Jenifer said, "I'm going to go get the tennis racket." I thought to myself, "Oh, the tennis racket. I've seen Cesar use one of those before! He uses those with aggressive dogs." After a couple minutes, Jenifer came out with the tennis racket and told me, "Okay, this is what I need you to do." I promptly moved out of her way and allowed her to walk into Buddy's kennel while I walked out, thinking she was going to show me what I needed to do with the tennis racket. However, I guess she could tell by the look on my face that I wasn't up to it (as this is what she said on her blog--link to the right). Now let me clear up any confusion. It's not that I wasn't up to it, it's that I wouldn't have known what to do with the tennis racket if she had given it to me. I've seen Cesar use it once but that was a long time ago.

So, Jenifer walked into the kennel and headed towards Buddy, holding the tennis racket in one hand and the choke chain in the other. She also had attached another leash onto the leash that was on the choke chain as she said we'd need the extra length to get Buddy into the car. As she moved towards him, he moved to his left and started to walk into the swimming pool that was in his kennel. He seemed to have second thoughts about that as he dunked one foot in the water and then immediatley backed up, against the side of the kennel. Jenifer stood to the side of him and held the tennis racket near his face, which he of course then latched onto. As he was biting on the tennis racket, she took the choke chain and held it near his face. He let go of the tennis racket and immediately pushed his face up against the fence of the kennel, as if to say, "As long as I leave my face pressed up against this fence, you can't get that chain on me!" He's right--she couldn't! He kept his face there for quite some time until Jenifer took her trusty tennis racket and lightly tapped the side of his face with it. She only wanted him to move his head ever so slightly so she could slip the chain over it, and move it he did! He turned to bite at the racket and over went the choke chain! Yes! Choke chain's on. Now to get him out of the kennel and to the car.

Jenifer immediately pulled/led Buddy out of the kennel and towards my car. He, of course, resisted, but she just kept on steadily pulling him forward. We had less than 17 minutes for me to get this dog to the vet by noon, and it was at least a ten minute drive for me to get there. Seven minutes to work her magic and get him into the car. I immediately went to my car and opened both back doors. 

As Jenifer got near my car, Buddy really started resisting her efforts to lead him towards my car. At this time, she diverted Buddy's attention away from the car and started walking (yes, he was walking at this time, though she was having to pull him) him around her yard to get him to move forward without so much resistance. She walked him in a U-shaped pattern and then headed back towards my car. As she did this, Buddy immediately started fighting and biting the leash chain (remember--he bit through a nylon leash so Jenifer had to use a chain leash). I said, "My gosh!  Look at him fight still!"  Jenifer said, "He thinks he's fighting for his life.  He's not, but he thinks he is."  She then put the tennis racket towards his face and he latched onto that. The poor dog--his teeth and gums were bleeding from biting the tennis racket and leash chain but there was nothing we could do. We had to get him into this car. If only he would realize we were trying to help him.  At this time, Jenifer said, "Lori, you're going to have to change his name.  Buddy just doesn't fit him."  I replied, "Yeah, when you hear the name 'Buddy', you think of a little Beagle with his tongue hanging out and his tail wagging.  Not this."  We both agreed.

As she got near my car, Jenifer told me, "I'm going to throw the leash into the back seat. You stand on the other side and grab it when I throw it in." I said, "Okay. Gotcha." She pulled Buddy towards the door and then got him close enough to throw the leash on the back seat. She threw the leash onto the seat and I then quickly grabbed it. However, at this time, Buddy still wasn't ready to get into the car willingly. As soon as I grabbed the leash, he pulled backwards, pulling me across the seat of the car, towards the other side. I tried to pull him back into the car, at which time, he jumped up, twisted around, and bit the arm rest on the door! Jenifer cried out, "Oh ....your beautiful car!" I looked and there were two puncture marks in the arm rest, along with some drops of blood (not much though). I just looked at her, with a "Whatcha gonna do?" look. I held on to the leash, and then Buddy all of a sudden got the bright idea to crawl under the car. At this time, Jenifer grabbed the leash from me and started to try to pull him back out. I immediately climbed out of the car and went to her side and assisted her in pulling him out from under the car. He had "wedged" himself in so tight under my car, it took both of us pulling on his leash with all our strength to get him out. I felt bad as the choke chain was as tight as it could possibly be around his neck, I was afraid we were going to severely hurt him. I asked Jenifer “Are we hurting him?” and she said, “No”. I couldn't even think about it at the moment anyway as our immediate goal was to get him out of the car. With both of us pulling, we were finally able to get him out from under the car.

Buddy immediately went and leaned up against the side of the left passenger door, and Jenifer kept him there using her tennis racket. He was looking up at Jenifer, growling and snarling. She gently nudged him with the tennis racket and said, "Dude, the only safe place is in the car." By now, Buddy was panting heavily and was totally exhausted. Remember, he's got 5, yes 5, Acepromaxine in him, when you shouldn't have to give a dog more than two. He's hurt, all over probably, and what we just had to put him through didn't help any aches and pains he originally had. He'd been living on the streets and then at the shelter and isn't in the best of shape and is rather thin. Where the dog got the energy and stamina to put up such a fight is beyond either one of us. Jenifer even said, "I can't believe the fight this dog has in him with five Ace in him. This is unreal."

As Buddy sat there panting, looking up at Jenifer, to our astonishment, he literally turned around and climbed into the car! We were both shocked! Jenifer said, "I don't believe it! He's in the car. I wish we had this on camera. Now, hurry, go. I'll open the gate and call the vet and let them know you're on your way.

I immediately jumped in my car and thanks to my planning for a quick get-away, I was able to start backing up and met Jenifer at the gate. She opened the gate to her driveway, and I backed out and headed to the vet’s office as fast as I safely could. While I was driving, I looked in the back and noticed Buddy was initially on the floorboard. A few minutes later, I saw that he was slowly climbing onto the back seat as he had half his body on the seat and the other half on the floorboard still. After another minute or so, he slowly pulled the rest of his body up onto the seat. The poor guy was so exhausted. He just laid there with his head resting on his paws, panting heavily. I hated that he had to go through all this, but we had to get him the medical care he needed and now as his jaw looked terrible.

I got to the Arlington Animal Hospital at 12:03 and pulled up next to one of the entrance doors on the side. I ran into the office and said, "We're here!" The receptionist looked at me kind of strangely and said, "Who?" I said, "Buddy. We got him in the car and he's here." She said, "Oh, okay. Hold on a minute. Where are you parked?" I told her, "Right outside that side door." She then went to the back for a moment and then came back and told me, "Go on out to your car. They'll be right out to get him."

I walked out to my car and looked in the window at Buddy. He was still lying on the seat, resting. After a minute or so, Emma came out with two male assistants. She was holding a come-along and I told her, "Please, let's not use that unless we absolutely have to. I think you can just get out him out using a leash right now as he's quite sedated." One of the male assistants then reached in and put a leash over Buddy's head and pulled him out of the car. He didn't exactly go willingly, but he didn't put up a fight either. They lead him into the vet's office, and I went and parked my car in the parking lot. I went back into the lobby and was told I'd need to wait for the vet to meet with me.

I waited for approximately thirty minutes and then was led into a room to wait for Dr. Saldanha. He came in and sat down. He was very attractive for a "bald" guy (shaved head) with huge brown eyes. He looked at me and said, "Your dog has a lot of issues, you know?" I said, "Yeah, I know, but that's why we hired Jenifer as our trainer." He said, "Well, you got the best then, but don't tell her I said that because I don't want her head to swell." He then proceeded to go over his findings with me. He said Buddy was about 5-7 years old, but he wasn't sure because he had chewed on metal at some point in his life and wore his teeth down, so it was hard to say. He could actually be as young as three. Dr. Saldanha said Buddy had two fractured teeth, and they would be removing them. The jaw obviously looked bad, and they would operate and put stitches inside and outside. Some stitches would dissolve, but some would have to be removed. They would be checking him for parasites and any other diseases and would be doing a great deal of blood work. In addition, he would be neutered and have a bath.

Then came the bad news. Dr. Saldanha pulled out a sheet of paper and turned it towards me. The price estimate was between $1,800 and $2,200. He wanted to give me an idea of what we were facing as far as cost, and that's what we were looking at. I told him that I'd need to call my friend as she was the one picking up the cost for Buddy's medical care. He then stepped out and I called Claudia and told her "the news". She said to go ahead, that we needed to get the medical care done. At this point, we couldn't exactly negotiate anyway, so what choice did we have. It's not like we could shop around Not with this dog.

Dr. Saldanha came back into the room a few minutes later, and I told him, "Okay, let's do it. Whatever needs to be done, we'll do." He then told me that Buddy would be ready in a couple hours and he left the room. While I was waiting for someone to come back with all the paperwork I needed to sign, the two male assistants who had gotten Buddy out of my car earlier came into the room. The one told me, "We need you to go and get the biggest crate you can find. We want to be able to do what we need to do with this dog and then when he wakes up, have him in the crate already. We don't want to fight with putting him back in the car or a crate." I replied, "I don't either!" He then said, "You need to get the biggest crate you can get because he's going to have an E-collar on when he wakes up, so we need the extra room for his collar."

I admit, I was quite overwhelmed at this point because I didn't even know if a crate the size they were talking about would fit in my car, even if it was taken apart and in two pieces. I didn't have a truck and couldn't even try to borrow one because I only had a couple hours to get the crate they needed. I told them I would see what I could do about finding one, and they left the room.

A short time later, a female assistant came in and had me sign all the necessary paperwork. She told me to call in a couple hours and see how Buddy was doing and plan on picking him up later that day. I agreed to do so and went out to my car.

As I said, at this time, I was very overwhelmed. It seemed nothing was going right. First, we had to give Buddy all five Ace and put him through hell just to get him into the car. Now, I have to run out and find a crate big enough for him, and there was no way it was going to fit in my car. I called Jenifer and told her what I had been told about a crate. She reassured me that everything would be okay, that I just needed to come back to her house, and she would see if the size crate we needed would fit in her car. She had one in her spare bedroom for Solomon (one of the dogs she trains) so she'd measure it. If it did, then we'd go get one at Petco, down the street. She made it sound so easy, and I felt so much better. That's why I called her--I knew she'd have an answer.

I got to Jenifer's house and met her mom, Yolanda, at this time. She was very nice and reassured me that everything would be fine, and Buddy was going to be just fine too. I could see where her daughter got her calm, reassuring demeanor--it appeared to be from her mother.

After Yolanda left, Jenifer told me she had measured the biggest crate she had and it would fit in her car. We then got into her car and went to Petco to pick up the crate. Jenifer walked in, looked around, found the largest crate in the place, and told the associate, "We need that crate." He got it down and took it to the cash register for us. We then got a bag of Blue Buffalo dog food and headed to the cashier. $300 later, I carried the dog food and Jenifer and the associate carried the crate out to her car. After Jenifer lifted up the back seat in her car, the crate fit perfectly in the back of her Honda Element. There's one good purpose for those funky-looking cars!

We then headed to the vet's office. We got there and took the crate in through the back door. As we carried it in, I saw Buddy lying on a table, with Emma and a vet assistant working over him. I guess they were bathing him as they were rubbing his fur with towels. Poor guy--he was dead to the world with some tube leading out of his mouth. We then left and on the way to Jenifer's house, she looked at the time and said, "I'm starving. How about some lunch?" I said "Sure" and we stopped at a Subway. Since Jenifer came through for me on purchasing the crate, I gladly bought her lunch!

As we got back into Jenifer's car, I checked my cell phone and found that I missed a call from the vet's office. I called the office and they said Buddy was ready to be picked up. We got to the office and we were lead into a room and told to wait for Emma to come talk to us. After a few minutes, Emma came in and gave us a rundown on everything Dr. Saldanha had done to Buddy. She said he had neutered him, pulled two fractured teeth, ran blood tests to check for parasites and any other diseases he might have, gave him all his shots, and stitched up his jaw. She then provided us with after-care instructions and said Buddy would be sedated for probably 24 hours as it would take that long for the Ace to wear off. She said he would more than likely sleep until tomorrow afternoon. We could give a small amount of wet dog food and water only.

At this time, I asked Emma about Buddy’s jaw. She indicated there was a really bad infection in the jaw and they had to put stitches on both the outside and the inside of the jaw to repair it. I indicated the jaw injury was from his fighting the come-along when he was taken to the Shelter and when he was removed from the Shelter and taken to Jenifer’s. Emma immediately said, “Oh no. This injury isn’t from the come-along. This is an older injury. It’s not recent. He’s had it for quite some time as there was a lot of dead, infected tissue that had to be removed. It was quite nasty once we got in there and started cleaning it out.” I replied that I thought it was from the come-along and she reiterated that no, it was not a recent injury. I was shocked to hear this and realized the dog must have endured an incredible amount of pain. No wonder he was growling and snapping at people. He was in excruciating pain. He had two fractured teeth and a nasty tear in his jaw and he’s fighting and biting on the metal pole of a come-along. I can’t even imagine the pain he must have been in and endured. Thank God dogs live in the moment and he wouldn’t dwell on all the pain he’s had to endure in his life.

We finished talking to Emma and then went to the front counter so I could sign paperwork and take care of the “damages”. I was presented an invoice and should have been sitting down. The total for this vet visit was $2,647—slightly higher than what I had been quoted earlier. I wondered why no one called me to advise me of the difference in cost, but then realized they had probably got to working on Buddy and found he needed more care than originally anticipated. Besides, there was nothing we could do. We needed to do what’s best for Buddy, and I was sure they did exactly that.

Jenifer pulled her car up next to the building and Buddy was brought out in his crate. The crate was placed in the back of Jenifer’s car and we looked inside at him. He had an E-collar on and he was lying in his crate, quite sedated at this time. He was barely able to hold his eyes open while looking up at us. I made the comment that a good day of sleep is exactly what he needed, and Jenifer agreed.

We proceeded to Jenifer’s house and she called her Dad and asked him to meet us there so he could help us unload Buddy’s crate. As we pulled into the driveway, Jenifer’s Dad, Alan, was already there and he followed us to the car. We all three lifted the crate out of the car and carried it to Buddy’s kennel area. We put the crate inside the kennel in the corner and took the door off so he could go in and out at will. It was obvious that Buddy was going to stay in his crate for the time being and he’d sleep for the rest of the night.

We talked with Alan for a while and then he left. Jenifer and I talked for a short time and I asked her about taking Buddy back to the vet to get his stitches out. I asked her how we’d plan on doing that without ripping his mouth back open if we put him on a leash. I suggested that we just put him in the crate and then put the crate in the car, but Jenifer replied, “No, he has to learn to ride in the car sooner or later.” I felt sick to my stomach as I couldn’t stand the thought of again putting the dog through what we had put him through that day to get him in the car. I thought to myself, “Well, we’ve got two weeks to figure out something.” Jenifer must have seen my apprehension as she said, “I’m not going to worry about it for two weeks and don't you either. We’ll worry about it then.” I said “Okay” and then I headed home as I was quite exhausted from the mental strain of the last week and a half, along with the stress just from today. It had been a very long day, but at least we succeeded in getting Buddy to the vet and getting him the care he so desperately needed. One hurdle down; one more to go—the next and hopefully last vet visit. I tried to tell myself, “Don’t worry about it. It’s not for two weeks”, but that didn’t help much as the whole idea just stressed me out. The dog had been through so much already. I didn’t want to put him through anymore. We’ll see what the next two weeks hold.......

Thursday, August 27, 2009


I arrived at Claudia's house at 9:15.  She was running late and was totally stressed out.  She said she had been trying to get ready but had several interruptions and phone calls.  Vikki had called and said she wouldn't be able to meet us at the Shelter at 10:00 as planned as she had things to do that prevented her from doing so, and she'd meet us at 11:00 instead.  I looked at Claudia in disbelief and said, "What?  Does she not know what today is?  It was her idea we all meet at 10:00."  Claudia said, "I know.  I tried to tell her we all needed to be there at 10:00 as planned because Jenifer (the trainer) is supposed to meet us there."  We were both very upset at this point as we didn't need anything happening to prevent us from getting this dog.  I could see Claudia was almost sick over this, as I was, so I told her we both had to calm down and take a deep breath.  I asked her if she wanted me to call Vikki, and she said, "You can."

I dialed Vikki's number and she answered.  I said, "Vikki, this is Lori.  Are you not meeting us at 10:00 as planned?"  And she said, "I told Claudia I'd meet you around 11:00."  I told her, "Vikki, we all agreed to meet at 10:00.  They're not going to release the dog to anybody but you.  The trainer is meeting us at 10:00 also, so we all need to be there as she has another appointment afterwards.  You were the one who told us 10:00, remember?"  Vikki got rather short with me and said, "Well, you're preventing me from doing what I need to do before I can leave.  I'll be there at 11:00 or as close to that as I can."  Click.

I hung up the phone and looked at Claudia.  I was ready to flip my lid at this point!  So was Claudia.  After all we've gone through, and the person who was supposed to "rescue" the dog from the Shelter for us was going to be late.  Great.  At this point, Claudia said, "We might as well go ahead and go and hope she's not too late.  I can't believe this.  I told Jenifer to meet us there at 10:00."  I agreed and we both hoped Vikki wouldn't leave all of us waiting too long.  In addition to Jenifer meeting us, Claudia's Dad was also going to be meeting us at the Shelter.

On the way to the Shelter, Claudia called Jenifer and told her that Vikki wouldn't be getting to the Shelter at 10:00 as planned, but would be arriving closer to 11:00.  We arrived to the shelter at 10:00 and found a parking place in the shade.

We weren't there but a couple minutes when Claudia's Dad (David) walked up to our car.  He started telling us about the night before, when he came and fed Buddy.  He said Captain Brawley (who we had met the first night we visited the Shelter to see Buddy) was his escort.  As David started feeding Buddy, Captain Brawley kept cautioning him, telling him the dog was vicious and aggressive and he shouldn't be putting his hands near the bars of his kennel.  David said he told him, "We've been coming and feeding this dog everyday.  Look, he's not aggressive" as he handed him a piece of hotdog through the bars, using his fingers.  As always, Buddy gently took the hotdog pieces from his fingers.  He said Captain Brawley got a little agitated and told him he shouldn't be doing that, that the dog could bite him.  However, David just continued feeding Buddy the hotdogs he had brought for him.

At one point, David told Captain Brawley, "My daughter is coming tomorrow to adopt this dog.  A rescue has stepped in and agreed to adopt him for her."  At this time, Captain Brawley said, "That wasn't cleared through me" and then explained that he had been off sick all week.  David explained that it had already been arranged, that we would all be there tomorrow at 10:00.  Captain Brawley replied, "Well, I'm going to have to check into that!"

David said while he was feeding Buddy, he dropped the wrapper from the hotdogs, and it started to blow towards Buddy's kennel.  David started to grab it, but Captain Brawley told him to stay back, that he'd get it.  He raised his stick to knock the paper away from Buddy's kennel, and Buddy immediately curled his lip, growled, and lunged towards the bars at him.  At this time, Captain Brawley said, "See, I told you--he's aggressive."  At this time, I told David, "He's going to growl at anybody who works in this place as they all have that "stench" on them from it."  Both he and Claudia agreed.  David said he finished feeding Buddy and sat with him for a little while and then went on home.

As we were talking to David, I saw Vikki's car pull up.  I walked over to her car, but she was on her cell phone.  After she got off the phone, she came up to Claudia's car and gave us two contracts, one for Victor and one for Buddy, that we all three had to sign (Claudia, her Dad, and I).  The contract for Buddy was the contract releasing the County from any liability regarding the dog.  We read them and signed them both.

At this time, Vikki went into the Shelter to talk to Greg Beck.  After some time, she came out and told Claudia and I, "He said he's not releasing the dog as long as there's an audience."  We looked at her and said, "What audience?"  Vikki said Mr. Beck didn't like the fact that we had brought additional people with us (Claudia's Dad?), and as long as we were all in the parking lot, he was not going to release the dog to us.  I looked at Claudia and said, "He's not releasing the dog now or never?"  She said, "I don't know."  At this time, David said, "Why's he so concerned about an audience?  What will they be doing that they're so concerned?"  Claudia and I both agreed that was a good question.

A short time later, we saw Jenifer's car pull into the parking lot.  Claudia and I walked over and introduced ourselves.  We told Jenifer what Vikki had said, that Greg wasn't going to release the dog as long as there's an audience.  She said, "Really?  Well, let me go talk to him."

Vikki and Jenifer went into the Shelter and we stayed in the parking lot.  After about ten minutes, we saw Jenifer walk towards the kennels and she was by herself.  She got to the door leading into the inside kennels, where Buddy was, and I told her he was right inside the door, three kennels down.  She looked inside the door, whistled for him, but couldn't see him from where she was standing.  She didn't go into the area as whoever had opened the door wasn't supposed to have left it open, but instead proceeded to the other kennels around the corner.  She walked around the kennels for a short time and then proceeded back to the lobby area.

Jenifer came out of the Shelter and walked over to where Claudia and I were standing.  She said Vikki had gotten into a heated conversation with Greg Beck, and she thought it best that she leave until Vikki was finished with her conversation.  She waited until Vikki came out of the Shelter and then she went in to talk to Greg by herself.

We waited what seemed like forever.  Both Claudia and I were stressed and picking at our fingernails at this point.  Jenifer finally came out of the Shelter and walked over to Claudia's car, where we were waiting.  She said she had talked to Greg at length about the situation.  She had run into some resistance from him at first, as he was a little upset from his previous conversation with Vikki.  Basically, she said she told him this is a high-profile case and he can be the "hero" in this situation and turn it around by just delivering the dog as promised.  They talked for a while, and Greg told Jenifer he would deliver the dog to her house sometime in the afternoon as he didn't have a driver available right now to make the delivery.  She asked him if he could give her a time frame, and he said no.  She asked him, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, but he still refused to give her a time and said he had no driver right now, that it would't be until this afternoon sometime.  He did tell her he'd call her when they were leaving the Shelter.

Jenifer told us that due to the delay in having Buddy delivered, she would need to cancel her afternoon appointments.  She had also been hoping we could get him delivered early enough so we could get him to a groomer for a bath.  At this point, that didn't look likely.

There was nothing more we could do, so we all decided to go to our respective homes and wait.  We thanked Vikki for all she had done in helping us get Buddy rescued and told David goodbye.  Jenifer told us she would call us as soon as she got a call from Greg, indicating they were leaving the Shelter and heading to her house.  We told her we'd be waiting.

On the way to Claudia's house, we stopped and picked up some lunch to go.  After we ate, we were sitting and waiting when Jenifer called.  I talked to her and she said she was hoping Buddy would be delivered before 3:00 so we could get him into the groomer for a bath.  She had called her groomer, and they said they normally close at 2:00, but they would stay open later, if we could get the dog to them by 3:00.  I told her she might consider calling Greg Beck and telling him that, that it might put some fire under his butt to get the dog delivered earlier rather than later.  She said we'd wait a little while and see.

At 2:40, Jenifer called and said, "They just left with Buddy.  Hurry up and book it on over here."  Claudia and I drove to Jenifer's house as quick as we could.  Surprisingly, we got there just as the Animal Control truck pulled up.  We watched as the Animal Control truck pulled into Jenifer's driveway, and then we parked out front of Jenifer's house, a distance away from the truck.  Neither one of us wanted to see the dog being removed from the truck or the tactics that might have to be used.

We watched from a distance, but from where we sat, all we could see is the right side of the Animal Control truck.  Jenifer and the Animal Control officer were on the left side of the truck, out of our view, and Greg Beck was standing near the back of the truck, off a ways, with his arms crossed.  We could see Greg but not Jenifer, the officer, or the dog.  I told Claudia, "That dog is never coming out of that truck with Greg standing there.  He's got "that scent" on him.

We waited for approximately 30 minutes, at which time, Greg Beck walked up to our car and said, "Do you guys have any of that food with you that you've been feeding him?"  I looked at Greg and said, "No, we didn't bring any food with us.  You want us to go to the store and get some hotdogs?"  He said, "Hold on.  I'll let you know."  And he walked back to where he had been standing near the truck.

A few minutes later, I watched as Greg Beck leaned over, patted his thighs with his hands, and said, "Come here, Buddy! Come here, boy!"  I said to Claudia, "What is he doing?  That dog's not going to come to him!  What's he thinking?"  She said, "I don't know."

I got out of the truck and walked up to the fence, near where Greg had been standing.  At this time, he was standing closer to the truck.  I said to him, "Hey Greg.  Why don't you step away from the truck.  He's not going to come out of the truck as long as you're standing near it because you have the shelter smell on you."  Greg looked at me and said, "He's not coming out anyway."   He then stepped further back away from the truck and said, "But I'll stand over here in the shade."

I then looked over and saw Jenifer standing with her hand held out at arm's length, with a leash to Buddy at the end of it.  The leash was pulled tight, and she was just standing there, waiting for him to come to her.  I asked her if she needed us to go get some hotdogs from the store, and she said, "No.  Scared, nervous dogs don't eat, and he's scared and nervous right now."  She continued to hold the leash out to Buddy, waiting for him to come to her.  I went and sat back in the car with Claudia.  I told her what I saw, and we both prayed that Jenifer would be able to get Buddy out of the truck.  Please God, just let her get him out of the truck.  That's all we ask at this point.

After another fifteen to twenty minutes, we saw Jenifer standing near the front of the truck with the Animal Control officer and Greg.  I saw at this time, the officer had taken the come-along out of the truck and she was showing Jenifer how to use the tool.  I turned to Claudia and said, "I don't want to watch this.  I can't stand to see this dog hurt anymore."  She said, "I know" and turned her head to look out her window so she didn't have to watch what was going on either.

After several minutes, I did look up and saw that Jenifer had gotten Buddy removed from the truck and she had him on the come-along.  He was fighting frantically and was starting to "alligator roll", where he rolled over and over onto his belly and then his back.  After rolling several times, Jenifer got him to stand up and she led him/pulled him to the kennel that was on her back patio.  I looked at Claudia and said, "Thank God!  She got him out of the truck.  That's all we wanted."

We sat and waited for the Animal Control truck to leave.  Then Jenifer walked up and asked us to come on back to her back patio area.  We got out of the car and followed her.  On the way back to her patio, Jenifer told us that she had to use the come-along because Buddy bit right through her nylon leash.  She said she didn't want to have to do that, but she had no choice and had to get the dog out of the truck.  She then showed us her hand that was swollen and had several small puncture marks on.  She said Buddy had bitten her several times, but he only bit her with his front teeth, not his back teeth.  She said he could have really hurt her if he wanted to but was only giving her warning bites.

When we got to the back patio, to our right, there was a fenced kennel and Buddy was lying inside of it.  Claudia asked if we should go in to see Buddy, and Jenifer said, "Not right now.  Just leave him be."  I also noticed there were numerous spots of blood on the ground leading to the kennel.  Oh Lord, he must have ripped his mouth open again.  :-(

We all three sat down, and Jenifer asked Claudia, "So, what is it you want for this dog?"  At this time, Claudia explained the whole story to Jenifer about Buddy living on the streets, having the officer from the Humane Society capture him and take him to the Shelter, how we fed him every day at the Shelter, etc.  We talked at length about the dog, and Jenifer said, "Well, I have to be honest with you.  On a scale of 1-10, this dog is probably a 10 as far as the need for rehab.  He is the worst case I've seen.  If he were to go to Cesar's Dog Psychology Center, Cesar would plan on keeping him there for 90 days."  Claudia and I looked at each with other with eyes as big as saucers!  Wow, we had no idea he was that bad.

As we sat there talking to Jenifer, I watched Buddy, and it seemed as if the stress was slowly leaving his body.  He sat up against the wall of his kennel, just watching us and panting as it was very hot out.  He gradually stopped panting, but continued to sit and watch us, which was different than the way he had been at the shelter.  While at the Shelter, Buddy didn't really look at Claudia and I much, not directly anyway.  He mainly looked at the food we held out to him or looked at us as we approached and then looked away.  And he never sat up against the wall of his kennel and just looked at us as he was doing now.  I told Jenifer, "He's looking better already.  He's looking at us, and he's never done that for any length of time.  Not like he is now.  It's like the life is flowing back into him."  Claudia agreed and said he was looking better, that she could see it too.  Jenifer said, "That's good. I'm glad to hear that."

At this time, Buddy had stopped panting and was more relaxed.  Jenifer said, "You can go in and see him now?"  I said, "Will he be okay with that?"  And Jenifer replied, "Oh yeah.  He has good thoughts about you guys.  He'll be fine." 

I opened the gate into Buddy's kennel and slowly walked towards him with my hand held out.  I talked to him softly and he sniffed my hand.  I was able to walk right up to him and pet him for the first time, with no bars between us.  What a relief and a great feeling that was!  I sat down next to him and pet him and talked softly to him.  I scratched him behind his ear, and he really liked that.  I knew this dog wasn't aggressive at all times, and he just proved it.  If he was aggressive, it was for a reason.  I firmly believe that.  Plus, you have to remember--this dog has been in a great deal of pain due to his jaw injury.  He had that injury while he was in the Shelter and never received any medical treatment for it.  Now, I noticed the injury to his jaw was newly opened and was bleeding badly.  It also appeared there was a gaping hole in his jowl area.  He really needed medical attention now.

I told Jenifer that Buddy's jaw looked really bad  and she agreed that he needed medical attention right away. Claudia asked if there was a mobile vet in the area, and Jenifer said she thought so, but she'd get the phone book so we could find out. Claudia started looking through the phone book and found one mobile vet. She called the number listed and spoke to someone, but said they weren't available, nor were they suitable for what we needed. Jenifer then called her vet, Dr. Saldanha of the Arlington Animal Hospital. He indicated he could come out this evening, but it would probably be useless as he wouldn't have any of his tools necessary to give the aide to the dog that he needed. He suggested we sedate the dog and bring him into his office in the morning.

At this time, Claudia went into the kennel and introduced herself to Buddy.  He welcomed her as warmly as he welcomed me.  There weren't any tail-wags yet, but he was at least responsive and accepted the affection we gave him.  This was a great sign, in both our eyes, as it reinforced our belief that this dog wasn't vicious and aggressive unless he had a reason for being so.  As far as his biting Jenifer while he was in the truck, she had indicated that was out of fear and his being in pain.  Nothing more, nothing less. 

I sat with Buddy for a while and just petted and talked him.  I noticed at one point, I turned my hand over and looked at it and it was completely black and my fingernails had dirt under them.  I held my hand up so Claudia and Jenifer could see it and said, "You don't think he's dirty, do you?"  Actually, you could just feel the dirt in his coat.  This poor guy need a bath so bad.  I can only imagine how grimy he must have felt.  Then again, he was probably used to it and didn't know any better.  Some day soon, he'd know differently, and I couldn't wait.

It was getting late at this time, and we still needed to get home to our kids and Jenifer still needed to feed hers.  We thanked her for everything she did for us and Buddy, and she told us we were most welcome, that everything was going to work out fine.  She told me she wanted me to be at her house the next morning, but I was to go to her vet's office first and get some Acepromazine (sedative) from her vet.  Then, we'd tackle the battle of getting Buddy into the car and to the vet.  One more hurdle tackled; one more to go!

It had been a stressful day, but a successful one. Buddy could have his first night out of the Shelter, and he was in a quiet, stress-free environment. Right now, that's all we could ask for.

On the way home, Claudia and I talked about Buddy, and I asked her if she was sure she could afford having Jenifer train him, along with the vet bill that was coming the next day--that we were probably looking at thousands of dollars.  How many thousands, neither of us had any idea yet.  Claudia indicated she had some money in savings and she had just paid off her car and some credit card debt.  I said, "Claudia, this is going to be a lot of money.  You sure you want to do this?"  Her reply to me, with no hesitation, was simply, "It's for a good cause."  I agreed and only wished I was in the financial position to look at it that way.  I'm glad she was because if she wasn't, we would have fought this hard to get this dog out of the shelter, only to run into financial obstacles.  God bless Claudia for having such a big heart.  She was truly Buddy's guardian angel.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Victor with Claudia's Dad, smiling at the camera!

Claudia called me at 8:00 and said she hoped she hadn't woke me up. I told her she didn't. She indicated she had been trying to call me all night but couldn't as my line was busy. I told her I had gotten online and forgot to plug the phone back in (I have internet problems right now and can only use the phone line for one or the other but not both). She said she had called Vikki at 5:00 that morning and woke her up because she was so worried about #60. She asked Vikki if she, as a Rescue, could get #60 out of the Shelter so we could get him medical attention, and she said she could. She agreed to meet us at noon and she'd get him then because the Shelter doesn't release dogs to rescues until noon.

Claudia and I arrived at the shelter as soon as they opened. We checked in at the front desk and waited for our escort. A young, heavy-set guy came out and asked the clerk what she needed. She replied, "They need an escort to #88." He quickly responded, "Oh, that's the mean one, isn't it?" Claudia and I looked at each other with a "For Pete's sake!" look. Seemed everybody was drinking the Kool-aide and believing this dog was extremely vicious and aggressive!

We walked towards Buddy's kennel and on the way, I noticed that #60 was lying in his inside kennel. We got to Buddy's kennel, and he was lying inside, near the bars. We immediately noticed that whoever had cleaned his kennel had done a sloppy job as there was still some feces from the day before near where he was laying. We both looked around at the other kennels and noticed they all were very clean, spotless in fact..... We both also noticed Buddy's water was filthy, with sediment in the bottom of the pan. It broke our hearts to see him treated in such a manner. We told him, "Just hang in there one more day, Buddy. Just one more day, and we'll get you out of here as soon as we can.

While Claudia fed Buddy, I told her I'd go feed #60. I took some dog food and chicken breast to him and he scarfed down both. I also noticed that his dish was empty, and it was full the night before, so he must have eaten during the night, which was good since he couldn't get the hot dogs we had thrown to him. I went back to Buddy's cage and got some more chicken and Claudia asked me if he was eating. I said, "He's chowing! He also ate his food they gave him last night." She said, "That's good." I told her he was still far from being full though as he ate all the dog food I had given him and was still eating some chicken. She indicated he probably had worms or something to be able to eat so much.

Of course, the whole time I was feeding #60, his little body was just a wiggling! His tail wagged the whole time I fed him, which in turn, wiggled his whole body. In spite of the pain he must have felt, he was still a very happy dog as he sat there and ate and smiled at me the whole time, and wiggled of course! Claudia's dad was right. There was no way we could leave this happy little guy there. Every dog should be able to be as happy as he was, at least once in their life!

At one point, Claudia asked our escort if she could take a picture of Buddy. However, he told us, "No. My supervisor wouldn't like that. I don't mind myself, but I don't want to get in any trouble." Claudia said it was okay, she understood (She's so understanding! If it was me, I would have snapped the picture and not asked. He would have had to tell me that I couldn't. However, she didn't want to cause anymore retaliation towards Buddy or have anything happen to get in our way of adopting him, so she asked before taking a photo. She's sooo nice that way! This is also why we have no pictures of Buddy while he was at the shelter.)

We said goodbye to Buddy and told him we'd try to be back later and he just had to hang in there for one more day, that we'd be getting him out tomorrow. We then left the Shelter.

After we got in the car and drove down the road a short way, Claudia's phone rang. I answered it as she was driving and it was Vikki. We agreed to meet her at Denny's and told her we'd be there in about five minutes or so.

We met Vikki in the parking lot and introduced ourselves as this was the first time we had ever met our "hero" (remember--she's the one who saved Buddy from a sure death). We told her about #60, that he was unable to walk, and we were concerned that they'd make him walk out to her car. She said she'd go find out and would be back as soon as she could.

We waited about ten, fifteen minutes, and Vikki pulled up with #60 in the back seat. We were both so excited to see him, we could hardly contain ourselves! I opened the door to Vikki's car, and there he sat, just smiling up at us. This dog was always smiling. It was great! Vikki said he had gotten so excited, he pee'd in the car. However, she had a blanket on the seat, so she had been prepared. We asked her if they had made him walk out to her, and she said, "No, I asked the officer if she could carry him, and she carried him right out to my car." We were both relieved to hear that.

I picked up #60 and put him in the back seat of Claudia's car. We thanked Vikki for all that she had done and what she was still going to do. We told her we'd see her tomorrow, when we went to sign the paperwork to get Buddy. She was going to meet us at the Shelter, as she was who they were releasing him to.

I got in the back seat with #60 so I could sit next to him and keep an eye on him. At this time, I could see how skinny he was. Every rib showed and his spine was clearly visible. I was surprised how heavy he was though when I had lifted him. He was definitely solid.

We headed to the Grand Terrace Emergency Animal Clinic. I was petting #60 and I noticed a little white "V" on the back of his neck. I told Claudia, "How about if we name him "Victor". We were victorious in getting him out of the shelter and he has a little "V" on the back of his neck." She said, "That's a great idea. I like that!" So Victor it was. I patted his little head and told him, "We were victorious in getting you, so your name is Victor. " He, of course, wagged his tail, which in turn, wiggled his little body and smiled at me. He seemed to be in total agreement and liked the idea also.

Victor was really good in the car. He sat next to me, between the two front seats, and was content with the air conditioning blowing in his face. He sat there the whole time and didn't try to get up or move around. What a sport!

We got to the Emergency Clinic, and I carried Victor to the lobby area. Claudia checked in at the front desk, and Victor and I went and had a seat. While we were sitting and waiting for Claudia, a lady came in with a female Golden Retriever. The dog was about eight feet away from us. However, Victor immediately stood up and started barking aggressively at the dog (Oh no! Not another aggressive, vicious dog!). I pulled him back down by his collar and told him, "No, Victor. No." After a few seconds of barking and growling, he laid down at my feet and was quiet. Claudia came and sat down and said, "Oh, a little dog aggression, huh?" I told her, "Well, he's a little defenseless right now, so that's normal. He can't protect himself so he doesn't want any dogs near his space probably." She agreed and said, "Oh, I didn't think of that."

We waited for ten to fifteen minutes, at which time, we were called into an exam room. A vet tech first took Victor to a scale and weighed him. We were shocked to see that he still weighed 46 pounds. The vet tech brought Victor back into the exam room and started checking him out. It was amazing to see the instant bond she formed with the animal and his response to her. She placed Victor's head up against her chest, rubbed him behind his ears, and told him, "It's okay, boy. We're going to fix you right up." Victor just closed his eyes and pushed his head into her chest as if he knew what she was saying.

A short time later, the vet came in and started to examine Victor. He lifted up the skin on his back several times to see if he was dehydrated and then looked at his teeth. He then looked at his paws and said, "They're ulcerated." (Really?!) Claudia explained what had transpired at the shelter and what we had been told about the dog. The vet examined Victor a little further and then said he would need to be taken into the back to have his paws bandaged with antiseptic bandages, given some antibiotics and some pain meds, and we could come back in an hour to pick him up. We thanked him for his time, and he left the room.

A short time later, another vet tech came in. She looked in Victor's ears and told us she'd have his ears cleaned out while he was there and then went to get a cart to put him on. She came back with a stainless steel cart, and I helped her put Victor on it. However, as soon as she started moving the cart out of the room, Victor got scared and tried to jump off of it. At this time, she said, "I'll just pick him up." I said, "Yeah, that might work better." She then picked Victor up and left the room.

We told the front desk we'd be back in an hour, and we left the clinic. We got into Claudia's car and we both looked at each other and said, "You hungry?" Yep, we were both hungry as it was 1:30 by now and we hadn't eaten lunch. We went down the road to the Food Connection and got something to eat. We sat down in a booth, and it was then that we both realized how tired we were as it had been a very stressful week. It felt so good to just sit and do nothing for a while.

We finished our lunch and then went back to the Clinic. We checked in at the front desk and let them know we were there to pick up Victor. By this time, it was almost 3:00. I told Claudia, "I don't think we're going to have time to go see Buddy later. We have to run Victor home still. There's no way we can do both." She agreed that we were running out of time and said she'd call her Dad and ask him to go as he had offered to earlier if we didn't have time to. Claudia called her Dad and told him where we were and what we were doing. She asked him if he'd go feed Buddy, and he said sure, he'd be glad to.

We had to wait about 30-45 minutes before they finally brought out Victor. They brought him out on a cart, and his paws were all bandaged, with green bandages on the bottoms. We were instructed to have his bandages changed every two days, and we could bring him back there to have it done or take him to our own vet. They also sent him home with some pain medication and some antibiotics for the infection.

We put Victor in the car and he once again was content to lie on the blankets on the back seat, facing forward between the two front seats, with the air blowing in his face. We took him to Claudia's Dad's house since he has a separate fenced area in his backyard where the dog could stay while he recovered.

I carried Victor to the back yard (this dog is heavy for being so skinny!) and laid him down on a dog bed that Claudia had brought with her. We then put up a small fence and made an enclosed area for him as the vet had instructed us to limit his movement while his feet were healing. We fed him some dog food and of course, he ate it like it was going out of style. We sat with Victor a while and talked to Claudia's Dad about him. We then said goodbye to him and headed back to Claudia's house as by this time, it was getting late and we both needed to get home to our kids and feed them.

We drove home that night, both greatly relieved that we were able to get Victor out of the Shelter and get him the medical attention he desperately needed. Now if tomorrow would go this smoothly! One battle down; one to go.


On Saturday, July 25, 2009, I arrived at Claudia’s house at about 9:30. She told me, “My Dad is going to adopt #60, (photo above) and I’m going to adopt #90!” I said, “What? Are you kidding? Your Dad’s going to adopt #60?” And she replied, “Yes, he said we just can’t leave him there, and I kind of bonded with #90. He and I established a bond yesterday. I can't leave him there.” I was like, “Okay, whatever.”

Claudia and I arrived at the shelter at 10:00 a.m. There was already a line of cars at the gate, waiting to be let into the parking lot. Brenda came out and opened the gate and we proceeded to the parking lot. It was very busy and crowded as we entered the lobby, so Claudia and I walked straight through and went back to Buddy’s kennel.

We got to Buddy’s outside kennel to once again find it empty. We went back to the door leading to the inside kennels, but it was again locked. I told Claudia I’d go to the front desk and get someone to unlock it for us.

I went to the front desk and asked for an escort to kennel #88. I asked why he was locked in the inside kennel and the clerk at the front counter (a young Hispanic girl) responded, “Because he’s not very nice and we don’t want the public putting their hands in his cage.” This is when I responded, “We’ve been feeding him every day, sticking our fingers in his cage.” This clerk then responded that she would get the vet tech to escort us, and I told her, “Brenda’s right there” as I saw that she was nearby in the room that holds the cats. The clerk walked towards the back, and at one point, I saw Brenda also walk through the door leading to the back. After several minutes, the clerk came back and said, “I’m so sorry for the wait. Lieutenant MaGee is going to come up and escort you back.”

Lieutenant N. MaGee came out and asked who was here to see #88. I walked up and told her I was. Lieutenant MaGee introduced herself and said it was nice to meet me, and I responded in kind. She then escorted us to Buddy’s kennel.

Lieutenant MaGee unlocked the door into the inside kennels and we found Buddy inside kennel #88. However, we immediately noticed that he appeared deeply depressed again, as his whole demeanor was different than the night before. He was lying against the bars but facing away from us and didn’t immediately turn towards us when we walked up. We leaned down and squatted in front of his cage and talked to him. Claudia said to me, “Look, he’s regressed.” I agreed with her and said he must be depressed being locked inside. We also noticed that his mouth was bleeding again, and we wondered what had happened to him the night before as his mouth was almost healed when we had seen him the previous evening. Now, it was once again swollen and bleeding.

We asked Lieutenant MaGee if someone could have been “aggravating” the dog after hours and poking something at him to cause him to bite it and open the injury on his jaw. Since the dog had been deemed “aggressive and vicious”, we were wondering if whoever was feeding him (nobody was bothering to give him fresh water as his water was dirty with sediment at the bottom of the pan) was poking something at him to keep him away from them while they entered his kennel, or something to that affect. Lieutenant MaGee right away responded with, “Ain’t nobody messing with that dog. He’s probably chewing on his water bowl at night or something. Some dogs do that. They chew on their bowls or the bars……..stuff like that.”

At this time, I stood up and noticed that hanging at my eye level was a laminated memo on the outside of Buddy’s kennel. It was a memo from Greg Beck instructing his staff that “This dog is to remain in the inside kennel during the hours the shelter is open for the public." The memo also stated that "All staff should take precaution when feeding or caring for this animal as he is determined to be “vicious and aggressive”. The memo further stated, "The slider door can be raised after hours so that the dog can have access to the outside kennel. These orders are to remain in effect as long as the dog is housed at this shelter.” The memo was dated June 24, 2009. I read the memo and squatted back down by Claudia and told her, “Looks like retaliation tactics to me. They can’t do anything to us, so they retaliate against the dog. No wonder he’s regressing.” She wholeheartedly agreed.

Note: We had been able to visit Buddy every day, twice a day on weekends, for the past seven days without having an escort. We checked in at the front desk, told them “We’re here to see #88” and we were waived through to go on back to his kennel. Buddy had also been able to enter both his inside and outside kennels since he arrived at the shelter on Thursday, July 16. It wasn’t until Friday, July 24th, when we were finally given the decision that we could adopt the dog, that different rules were put in place, and we were no longer allowed to see him without an escort and he was locked in his inside kennel, with no access to his outside kennel during public hours. Kind of late to lock a dog away from public access when he’s had free reign up until this point!

While Lieutenant MaGee stood near us, we fed Buddy some hotdogs and chicken. He ate a little of both and then laid his head in the corner of the kennel, as he had done previously when he was depressed. We petted him as best we could and talked to him for a short time.

While there, we started talking to Lieutenant MaGee, who had taken a great deal of interest in the Bull Mastiff that was in the kennel opposite Buddy. At one point, she said, “I like big dogs. I got over “cute” a long time ago and it no longer affects me. I can’t have this dog, but I’m going to have my girlfriend adopt him so I can go see him.”

We talked with Lieutenant MaGee for quite some time, and Claudia asked her several questions. She explained that she had worked at the shelter for over fifteen years and had worked her way up to Supervisor.

After saying goodbye to Buddy, we walked to kennel #60 to see the black pit bull housed there. As we got to his kennel, we noticed he was lying in his inside kennel. We coaxed him to the outside kennel, and the dog walked gingerly towards us. It was clearly obvious that he was in extreme pain as he was having difficulty walking. I said to Claudia, “Look at his feet” as his front left foot was obviously swollen and had clear yellowish liquid weeping from open wounds on it. Lieutenant MaGee was still with us, and she started explaining to us that “Pitbulls have skin conditions that make them lick their feet a lot. That’s probably what he’s been doing.” I looked at #60’s left rear foot and it was also swollen and inflamed with open wounds on it.

I proceed to feed #60 some Pedigree dog food that we had brought with us, and he ate it like he hadn’t eaten in quite some time. He also devoured two hotdogs. I made the comment that #60 acted like he hasn’t eaten in some time, and Lieutenant MaGee explained that a lot of dogs eat like this because they don’t know when their next meal will be.

At this time, Claudia asked Lieutenant MaGee several questions. She inquired about the vet care that the animals get, how long they can stay at the kennel before they are put down, etc. Lieutenant MaGee explained that when all the dogs come into the shelter, they are given a shot, and in a short amount of time, if they have some kind of infection in their system, the shot will make the infection come out and the dog will start showing symptoms of illness. Claudia asked, “How do the officers know the dogs are sick?” Lieutenant MaGee responded that, “Oh, they look for signs such as redness in their stools, stuff like that.” I immediately asked if the vet had seen this dog, and Lieutenant MaGee said the vet sees all the dogs and examines them. I asked if Buddy had gotten the same shot that #60 had received, and she explained that “all the dogs get that shot, mean or not.” She said “they just poke him in the butt, but they all got the shot.”

At this point in the conversation, Claudia asked how long the dogs were held at the shelter. Lieutenant MaGee then explained that the dogs were in a kennel for three days in order to give the owner a chance to claim them, and then on the fourth day, if no one was interested in adopting them, they were put down. She explained that if the shelter wasn’t full, then some dogs were given more time. She then went on to explain that if no one was interested in adopting #60, then he would receive no medical care as they weren’t going to “waste money on a dog that nobody wanted to adopt”. She saw the appalled looks on mine and Claudia’s faces and then said, “Hey, it’s better than it used to be. Things have changed a lot. Back in 1999, we used to put down 50 dogs a day. I used to walk in in the morning and say, “Come on. Let’s hurry up and get this over with.” She indicated that things weren’t perfect but things had changed. After we both picked our jaws up off the ground, we thanked Lieutenant MaGee for her time and proceeded to the front counter area.

Claudia and I stopped at the front counter and asked when #60 was available for adoption. The young Hispanic clerk told us he would be available for adoption tomorrow, Sunday, July 26th. I advised the clerk that he had injuries to his feet and could hardly walk. She then looked up the vet’s notes in the computer and told us, “The vet has examined the dog and determined that he had probably been thrown from a moving vehicle as his paws and pads were abraded and some of his nails on his feet had been broken off. The vet has indicated the dog would heal on his own and needs no medical attention.” I looked at Claudia and I was appalled and almost sick to my stomach. We couldn’t believe what we were hearing. A dog is thrown from a moving vehicle but needs no medical attention—in whose world? What kind of vet makes such a determination? The same one who leaves a dog in his kennel with an obvious open wound to his jaw and says that he doesn’t need medical attention either.

We returned to the Shelter at approximately 5:15. We waited for an escort and an officer (female, blonde, tall, heavy-set) escorted us to Buddy’s kennel. Upon immediately arriving at Buddy’s kennel, I noted that he had defecated quite heavily in his kennel and the odor was horrendous. I asked the officer if she could put Buddy in the outside kennel while we sprayed the inside of the kennel so we could remove the feces. The officer explained that she does not normally work at this particular shelter and has to abide by the rule that the dog was to stay in the inside kennel. We told her we understood, though we felt bad because the dog was lying in his own urine and if he moved two inches further, he’d be lying in his own feces. I told Claudia, “Yeah, they want him to be a total mess when we do get him out of here. Stinky, dirty….yep, they’re making sure of it. They’re not going to make anything easy about this.”

While the officer sat down at the end of row of kennels, Claudia and I fed Buddy and he did appear in better spirits at this time. He ate some chicken, hotdogs, and dog food, and then promptly displayed signs of being tired. We scratched his head and ears as best we could, and after a short time, we said goodbye to him.

The officer came back to Buddy’s kennel, and Claudia asked if they could be sure to move Buddy to the outside kennel to clean his inside kennel so the water spray wouldn’t scare him. The officer said she would ask and indicated it probably would not be a problem to move him to the outside kennel while his inside kennel was cleaned.

We walked out with the officer and told her we’d like to visit the dog in kennel #60 as we were interested in adopting him. We arrived at kennel #60, only to find the dog lying in the inside kennel again. Claudia and I tried to coax him into the outside kennel by offering him a hotdog, but try as he might, the dog was clearly unable to stand. We both noted that #60’s paw pads on his front left foot were red, bleeding, and clearly infected. We directed the officer's attention to his paws and advised her that the dog could no longer stand. She said she would go inside and tell the front desk the dog needed medical attention.

After a short time, she came back out and said, “The vet will be out to see him tomorrow.” I looked at Claudia, and she looked at me, and we both said, “Yeah, right. Vets probably don't come out on Sunday.” Claudia and I visited #60 for a little while longer, but he could not come out of his cage. We both watched as he “belly-crawled” over to his water bowl to get some water. At no time did he ever come out of his inside kennel to get the hotdogs we had placed in his outside kennel. We hoped that someone would pick them up and give them to him later, versus washing them down the drain.

Since it was now closing time, Claudia and I both walked back to the front desk. I wanted to clarify that the vet would be out the next day, so I asked the same clerk I had talked with earlier if the vet would be out tomorrow. She gave me a strange look, as if to say, “The vet never comes here on Sunday, silly!” She then shook her head and said, “No, I don’t think the vet will be in tomorrow.” I explained to her that the officer who had escorted us just told us a vet would be out tomorrow to see #60. I explained to the clerk that the dog in kennel #60 could not even stand and had deteriorated since we had seen him earlier. She then said, “Well the vet saw the dog on Thursday.” At this time, I told her, “The dog can’t even walk! We just watched him have to belly crawl to get to his water.” She replied, “Well, I don’t think the vet comes in on Sunday.” I told her, “This dog can’t wait until Monday to be seen. He can’t even walk and his paws are red and bleeding.” She then replied, “Well, the vet will be in to look at him tomorrow or Monday, but probably Monday.”

At this time, we left frustrated, disappointed, and very much worried about #60. Not only were his paws now bleeding and he couldn’t stand, but the dog was severely emaciated, as if he had not eaten in quite some time. He was obviously sick with parasites.

We both left, sick to our stomachs and feeling quite helpless about the situation. There had to be something we could do for this poor dog. First, the battle to save Buddy. Now, another battle to save this dog. We just hoped we’d be able to adopt him before he got any worse. He was available the next day, but he’d also have to be neutered before the Shelter would release him. That couldn’t be done until Monday, at the earliest. We hoped he’d be able to hang on that long.