Monday, April 8, 2013

How to Save a Life

I have felt for awhile I needed to write down a little more detail about how GDX saved Frodo. There are a lot of people with very good intentions that write on a shelter pet's networking threads "if you can get me the dog, I will take care of it". Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. So to help explain how to save a shelter pet located far away from you, I thought it best to explain the How To's of saving a life.

Option One ~ Rescue to Rescue transport
You have to be an approved adopter or foster for a local rescue, we will call them Rescue A. Your local rescue contacts a rescue in the area that the shelter pet is located, we will call them Rescue B. Rescue B needs to have pull rights at the shelter where the pet you want to save is located. They have to be willing to take responsibility of getting whatever health certs the transport group requires. Rescue A has to be willing to accept responsibility of the pet and fulfill any requirements made by the shelter, i.e. microchip, spay/neuter, and rabies vaccinations. Once you have accomplished getting Rescue A and Rescue B to agree to this transfer, you will need to fill out applications for transport groups. Some of the bigger rescues have transport contacts and can help you navigate the process.

How do you become an approved adopter or foster with a local rescue? Most have an online application to complete and then a home check is required. Why a home check? For the safety of the animal. You could be a hoarder, a backyard breeder, or worse a dog fighting group. Yes, there are people that commit fraud in the name of rescue every minute of the day. It is a shame, but it is reality and the only important thing is the safety of the animal.

FB rescue group listings:

Option Two ~ Underground transport
This is a dangerous option for a number of reasons. You are trusting a chain of people to handle an animal that might not be qualified to even drive a car. But there are success stories by the underground. Frodo is one such story. I saw him on our GDX newsfeed and crossposted him. Once we crosspost a dog, we follow up on them to update our followers on progress of safe, still in need and escalated to urgent. Frodo was listed as a 10 year old dachshund. Seniors aren't very lucky in the shelter system. Just like cars and clothes, people want the latest model, but that is another blog post. I decided after Frodo became urgent due to the shelter hitting capacity that I was going to do whatever I could to save him. Our team started posting for help, contacting local rescues, emailing every friend that might help. We didn't sleep, we didn't eat, our paying jobs suffered, but for two solid days we worked our collective tails off to find someone to pull or adopt Frodo and get him on a transport. A friend of a friend happened to live in Killeen and was willing to "adopt" Frodo. She took the full responsibility of the adoption contract. If I had failed to met the requirements, she could have been arrested for not complying with the adoption contract. A lady that followed the GDX page appeared offering to help drive Frodo from Killeen to Dallas. Frodo had a ride with another friend of a friend from Dallas all the way to Pensacola, FL. I drove from Jacksonville, FL to Pensacola to pick him up and bring him back to my home.

Even though it was all very successful, there are so many things that could have gone wrong. This is why most people, rescues, and shelters will not use the underground. The safety of the animal cannot be assured on the underground.

To sum it up, I didn't post on Frodo's networking thread "if you can get me the dog, I'll take care of him". I utilized contacts I have made through work on other animal saving projects. I did get in my own car and drive 300 of the 1,100 miles that Frodo traveled and drove 300 miles back home. I did spend money for gas, adoption fees, getting him to the vet and buying lots of food for a very skinny old man. I still have moments when I feel the anxiety of the risk I took to pull off an underground rescue. I can't help people I don't know pull off an underground rescue for one simple fact, I can't ensure the safety of the animal. I can however help you find rescue resources that can help you with a rescue to rescue transport.

FRODO UPDATE: He is officially mine after I completed all the adoption requirements and sent in his paperwork. His dental surgery was last Thursday. He barely looks like a senior anymore. He runs with the younger dogs and eats his weight in food daily. I'm still collecting to offset the surgery and any amount is appreciated!
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