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.

1 comment:

  1. Thank goodness for people like you and for Vikki, who enter those hell holes and take em out one by one. We are pulling for Buddy! Courage.