Thursday, August 20, 2009


After a rough night of not sleeping, I arrived at work and checked my email. I was shocked to find an email from Sandra, a friend of Connie's, telling me that she had contacted a rescue in our area earlier the night before and asked them to help us save Buddy. She got a response from Vikki at the rescue at 2:19 in the morning (our time), indicating she had contacted the shelter and requested a stay of execution on the killing of Buddy and was making a claim under the Hayden Act to rescue the dog.

I immediately called Claudia and she said she had received the same email. She contacted the shelter and was told the "stay" would be for the day.

We again waited in anticipation all day. Time was running out and we were getting desperate! By 3:00, when we hadn't heard anything from the rescue organization, Claudia told me she had called BARC's and left a message, asking if they could assist us somehow. She asked me to call and leave a message, requesting their assistance also, so I did.

Shortly after 4:00 p.m., I finally got a call from Vikki of the Loving Pet Rescue. She said, "We got a "Yes", but it comes with conditions." I could hardly contain myself and was so happy, tears of joy started flowing. I asked her what the conditions were. First, she said we had to sign a waiver, releasing the County of any liability. I told her we had already agreed more than once to do that so it was no problem. She said the second condition was that they had to deliver the dog to either a vet or a behaviorist/trainer. This is the only way they would release the dog to us. I told her this was no problem and we would agree to whatever needed to be done to save this dog's life.

Vikki suggested meeting at the Shelter at 10:00 on Monday, and I told her that would work for both Claudia and I.  I thanked her and told her, "You don't know what this means to Claudia and I, Vikki. Thank you." She said, "No honey. Thank you. Thank you for caring enough to fight for this dog. Thank you!"

I then called Claudia and gave her the news. I told her what the conditions were, and she said she would contact the Cesar Millan Foundation and see if they could recommend a behaviorist trainer in the area. We then discussed going to feed Buddy after work, and I told her I'd meet her a little after 5:00.

I emailed Connie and Sandra and gave them both the good news and thanked them for all their prayers and their help. Without them, we wouldn't have won this battle.

I could hardly wait until 5:00. I met Claudia and we headed over the the Shelter. When we arrived in the parking lot, Claudia got a call from Jenifer, the behaviorist/trainer that the Cesar Millan Foundation had referred to us. They talked at length about Buddy, and I heard Jenifer tell Claudia, "Don't worry. We'll get him trained up for you." We couldn't believe it! This was our lucky day. We found a trainer who was willing to train the dog and was available to do so! We could't have asked for more. Okay, that's one hurdle we got over....

We checked in at the front desk and said we were there to feed #88. The two clerks at the front counter just kind of gave us an "Uh huh! You two!" look and waved us through.

As we headed towards Buddy's kennel, we went to the door that lead into the inside kennels, and we found it was locked. This is strange as it was never locked before. We then went around to Buddy's outside kennel and found he was not inside the kennel as it was empty. There was also an orange sign hanging on the kennel that said, "No More Impounds". Neither one of us knew what that meant.

At this time, I told Claudia I'd go back to the front desk and see if someone could let us inside so we could go to Buddy's inside kennel. As I was heading in that direction, two Animal Control officers met me at the door leading to the inside kennels and said they'd unlock the door. They then explained to me that they had been told to keep the door locked at all times now, that nobody was allowed inside without an escort. Hhhmmm.........that's something new. I then asked them if they could let the dog in kennel #88 out to his outside kennel so we could feed him, and they said they would.

I went back to Buddy's outside kennel where Claudia was waiting and told her what I had been told by the two Animal Control officers. We both agreed this was strange and something "new".

After a few moments, Buddy was let out to his outside kennel, and we started feeding him. He ate quite a bit and when he was finished eating, we sat with him for a while and pet him through the bars as much as we could. He was rather restless this evening and was acting strangely. At one point, he stood up and looked both of us in the eye (something he had never done) and started to wag his tail, but immediately stopped. I saw a wag! Did you see that Claudia? Yes, she saw it too! He actually started to wag his tail, for the first time since we met him! He then stood there and looked at both of us, with his tongue hanging out, kind of smiling a little. He then started pawing at the side of the kennel wall/corner as if to say, "Get me out of here!" We had never seen him do that before either. We told him we had finally won the battle and we were going to get him out of there, but it would just take a few more days. He seemed to sense something was different about us. Maybe he sensed our relief, that we weren't so stressed anymore because we knew he'd be leaving this place. He was in high spirits, and it was a wonderful thing to see! We actually saw light in his eyes, as if he really knew, "They did it. They won! They fought for me and won! Hallelujah!!"

We hated to say goodbye that night, but it was closing time again. We told him we'd be back the next morning to see him, that he just needed to hang in there for a couple more days. Somehow, we hoped he'd understand, as much as dog could anyway.

On the way out, as we walked by #60's kennel, I sensed something was wrong. He didn't come to the bars or anything, but was instead lying on his side in his inside kennel, looking out at us. Since it was closing time, we didn't have time to stop and encourage him to come out, but I told Claudia, "There's something wrong with #60. He's not greeting us like he always does."

We drove home that night and we still weren't elated, yet. We knew we had just won one battle, but there was still now another one before us--we still had to get Buddy out of this place--and that wasn't going to be an easy feat as we knew he probably wasn't going to go easily. Neither of us would be able to rest easy or celebrate until we got him out of there--we knew that. Actually, we weren't going to really be able to rest easy or celebrate until Buddy came home with one of us. Even once we got him out of this place, there was still a long road to recovery for him. Like I told Claudia, "One step at a time." That's all we could handle at the moment.


Claudia had talked to Jamie, who had previously worked with the Humane Society, the night before and found out that Buddy did not have to be taken to the shelter when Mike had captured him. He could have originally been released to her, and the shelter notified that she had the dog in case its owner(s) came looking for him. She emailed Steven Singley of County Counsel and provided this information to him. He told her he would forward this information to the person who was deciding the fate of the dog and thanked her.

We spent most of the day Thursday, waiting in anticipation for an answer. Finally, at 4:05 p.m., Claudia emailed me and said, "Brian Cronin just visited me and the decision was made. The dog will be put to sleep." I couldn't believe it! I wrote back to her, "They kept us waiting for two days, just to tell us "No"?" I asked her what their reason was. She wrote back and said, "Still being sued and a release will not be done." So we were once again given more false hopes. I couldn't believe it.

Claudia asked me to call Connie and let her know and I said I would. I asked her if she wanted to go feed Buddy that night. I told her it'd be hard, but we still needed to feed him in case he wasn't eating. She wrote back that she didn't think she could at that point. She then asked me to call and find out when they were going to euthanize Buddy.

I called the Shelter and the person I spoke to told me, "Um....there's a possible adopter and we're working on getting him out of here, so he doesn't have a date." I told Claudia what I was told, and she wrote back that they obviously didn't know what was going on and asked me to call again. I called back and this time explained that I had been the "possible adopter" and have now been informed that the dog would be put down. I asked when this was going to happen. I was told to hold on, and after about thirty seconds, Greg Beck came on the line. I asked him, "Greg, when is Buddy going to be put down?" He simply said, "Tomorrow morning." I said, "Okay, thank you."

I again asked Claudia if she wanted to go feed Buddy, and we both agreed that we should in case he wasn't eating. I met her shortly after 5:00, and we both were very upset at this point. I was on my motorcycle so I parked it and got into her car with her. We both just sat for a while, fighting tears that we couldn't stop from coming. Claudia then told me, "I know we should go feed him, but I just can't." I hated to agree with her, but I felt the same way also. I was definitely too upset to get on a motorcycle and drive to the shelter at this time.

We made a couple phone calls to a couple different people about the matter, and afterwards, it was after 6:00, too late to head to the shelter anyway. We both decided we had better head home and go give our "kids" there a much needed hug. There was nothing more we could do about Buddy. I felt terrible that we hadn't gone to feed him, but I thought he'd somehow understand also and would perhaps settle for eating his dry dog food that night. I fought tears all the way home that night. When I got home, I hugged my three dogs tightly and told them how lucky they were. Of course, they responded with tail wags and kisses. If only we had the opportunity to see such a response from Buddy.........just once.