Saturday, January 14, 2012

Saving Stacey

By this title you might think that I am the one trying to saving Stacey, but I can’t take credit for that, because Almost Heaven Golden Retriever Rescue, deserves that honor and more. It’s because of AHGRR that hundreds of dogs have found their forever home and Stacey was lucky enough to be one of them.
Before I begin Stacey’s story, I’ll tell you a little bit about why I try to help rescue Goldens. In 1990, we were down at the Outer Banks on vacation with two boy’s ages 2 and 8, and we also brought our two dogs that we had at that time. We spend two weeks and kept a little boat that we had towed down with us at a local marina. There we met Katie, a young Golden who had been abandon by her fisherman owner and left at the Marina to fend for herself. We would run the hose for her to give her a drink on those hot July days and every night we bought her leftovers. We were staying about 30 minutes away, so we did this each night because we didn’t want to think of her as hungry. Each time we visited, we would pet her and feed her and give her water. On the day we were leaving, I packed up the boys and told my husband we were going to the store for some snacks before the long 8 hour drive home. I drove to the Marina and opened the hatch of the mini –van and called Katie. She hopped in without any hesitation, like she knew all along were she belong. Needless to say, I don’t think my husband was fooled at all and was expecting this of me all along. So we drove home with three dogs instead of two that trip. When we got home, I made a Vet appointment that next Monday. When I took her in for shots and blood work we got some bad news. She was heartworm positive. I live in Carroll County Maryland and our vet had never treated heartworms before. He told us this was going to be the most expense free pickup he ever treated. We didn’t have much money but how could we let her die. I think that is the first time I ever wrote a check from a line of credit on home equity loan. The treatment was hard and grueling on her but she came though it with flying color. She lived to be a ripe old age and gave us so much love and affection that I still miss her terribly. It is because of her, I try to help other dogs like her, save other families from lives without having a Golden in them.
Now let’s talk about Stacy. I have been fostering for AHGRR for about 10 years. I usually get the 2-3 year olds Goldens that get adopted fairly quickly. We have kept one or two over the years that we felt really needed us. So needless to say we have a small herd. We went up to AHGRR last Sat, 1/7 to take some pictures of dogs and see about picking up a new foster. We got to know Stacey a little by taking her picture and just petting her. She wanted attention so badly; she had been at the rescue for almost 2 years and saw many other dogs get adopted while she was passed by. Why was she passed by??? Well it turns out Stacey had gotten a bad rap that wasn’t true. She was listed as not getting along with other dogs. Now this is the only requirement I usually make sure of before I foster. Must, must get along with others… since I currently have 3 other dogs. Well, according to Carol, who manages AHGRR, she did get along with other dogs, since she has been at the rescue. Carol even bought out more dogs and Stacey didn’t care. After my husband spent about an hour petting her head while I did my best to get picture of the other dogs, he looked at me and said, we can’t put her back in that crate and drive away, she may never get another chance to find a home. 
So we went outside the box and took her home with us to foster.

When we got her to our house, we slowly introduced the other dogs we have to her one at a time. It wasn’t love at first sight, but no dog fights, so we counted our blessings. Stacey has some muscle weakness in her hind legs due to lack of activity and being crated for so long so she was slow at first in walking around but loved being outside. Before we knew it she saw our fish pond and jump in. So much for a slow dog… Needless to say, she smelled really bad and when we bought her into the house, it was like a shrunk had run free inside. My son Patrick came in the door and said, Man it stinks in here, Yeah we know… Could we give a strange dog a bath without really knowing her??? Well, I filled up the bathtub with warm water and emptied out all the lemon juice I had into the bath water. I walked Stacey in and pointed to the tub full of water and she hopped right in!!! Do Goldens love water or what.
Well the first night we decided not to crate her since she had been in a crate for two years. Her hind legs were too weak to climb the stairs to our bedroom on the second floor so she slept her first night downstairs and alone. This was fine with the cats since they take a while to warm up to a strange dog. However, the next day Stacey enjoyed walking around our property and we took her for a short walk in the woods. Stacey was so happy to be free of the crate and no boundaries, that she would not stop walking around and looking at everything. She paced and paced and checked everything out. Much to our cat’s dismay, Stacey climbed the stairs that day and ate all their cat food. She now goes up and down quite a bit to check out the cat food situation. Got to work on that. She is getting stronger every day. We took her to the vets for a checkup and they thought that her legs would get stronger with exercise. They did not feel that she had any long term hip or leg problems. She is also over-weight and that does not help her legs. My family says I over-feed everyone and everything, so that is not something I am very good at but am trying really hard to limit her food intake. I also feel with exercise, her weight will get much better as well. Tomorrow she goes to the groomer. Maybe with less hair she will look thinner…..
If you are interested in adopting Stacey, please contact Almost Heaven Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary.

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