Sheltie Stories

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A Time of Need

One of our volunteers, Tari Alper, has just returned to Indiana from a trip to Slidell, Louisana, to assist Noah's Wish in helping the animals that were left homeless by Katrina. She was there for nine very long days.
 
Noah's Wish staff began their working day at 7:30 am and the shift would not end officially until 7:30 pm or later. Sometimes much later, as people whose homes had been damaged would often decide they could not keep their pets and would bring them in during the early evening hours. She spent about four full days working with the homeless kitties. She figures one person can clean about 8 cat crates per hour if everything goes perfectly and it never did. Since many of the cats had upper respiratory illness, diarrhea , stress and depression, more time than usual was required to clean even a single crate.  The feline team was tending 325+ cats which required about 20 bags of Kitty Litter each day.
 
When Tari arrived in Slidell, she guessed that about 60 people were looking after over 800 cats, dogs, ducks, geese, chickens, turkeys, a ferret, pot belly pig, rabbits, snakes, geese, a flying squirrel, birds & parrots, goldfish, an emu, a scorpion, and even a tarantula.
 
The animals received excellent veterinary care, even though conditions were primitive. The indoor veterinary surgical table was half a white fiberglass banquet table (the other half full of supplies).  At one point, two volunteer veterinarians arrived from Canada. Drs.  Ken and Ben set up their work area outdoors at the edge of the gravel shelter drive using two large upside down crates with the pans sanitized and taped to the top. Floodlights helped and medical supplies were set up nearby on other crates. (Ben and Ken carried on a running conversation through which each said the other was faster, a better doctor, etc. until everyone within earshot was laughing) They added a wonderful charm to a daunting situation. Clean drinking water was an issue in the area, so all of the animals' drinking water had to be treated with chlorine, one gallon at a time. All crate pans, litter boxes, bedding, food and water bowls, etc. were sanitized with a 10% bleach solution every 24 hours to prevent an outbreak of disease. Every animal was photographed, had a chart of origin, recent medical treatments, etc. that stayed with the animal for the duration. Listed on the chart was whether the animal was owned and being fostered or was a stray and potentially adoptable.  High temperatures and high humidity were threatening to staff and so many animals in a large metal pole barn, so in some cases distilled water was frozen in bottles, sealed in sandwich bags and placed in  kitty and bunny crates as well as other more vulnerable animals.
 
Human living conditions were also less than ideal but substantially improved as compared to the first responders who slept in a furniture warehouse with no facilities whatsoever in the first days after Katrina hit.
During Tari's visit, anywhere from 30 to 60 people slept on the floor in each of two adjacent conference rooms at a local hotel. Air conditioning at night, two working bathrooms with showers plus one additional foyer restroom served everyone. Local restaurants (only 2 open nearby) closed at 7:30 pm so that employees could get home before the curfew. Noah's Wish fed volunteers after the workday and held mandatory briefing meetings from 8pm until completed. As the weeks progressed, resources for volunteers  became a bit more available and certainly more comfortable than for the original first responders.  Gas lines were long and sometimes gasoline was rationed or completely gone even after the wait. Stores were gradually beginning to open and residents began returning to their homes  during the last few days of the visit. Many came to the shelter to look for their lost companions or to request fostering.
 
By the end of the nine days, a number of new stainless steel hospital crates had been donated and were being put together, adequate water and electrical utilities had been rigged up for all sections, additional supplies were coming in, and volunteers were beginning to have things organized for maximum efficiency. First responders and a few tired workers headed for home, one or two per day, and new ones were arriving in small groups. The staff of Noah's Wish Shelter was almost at full complement by the end of the week. CNN, NBC and Animal Planet crews taped specials for their programs.
 
Tari was truly there for the animals in their time of need. Well done, Tari.
 
Click here to find out more about Noah's Wish

 

 

 

 

Lady’s Adventure

 

It all started on Saturday, March 5th, 2005.  I brought home this beautiful, but timid bi-black female sheltie.  She rode very quietly on the trip from Muncie to Roanoke, so I had no idea what was in store for me once I got there. 

I brought out a leash and hooked it on her and opened the cage door.  As fast as I opened the door she leaped out and freaked out all in the same moment.  Before I could get a hold of her collar she backed out of it and took off down the road.  To paint a little picture, I live in the country surrounded by fields, woods and creeks and of course that’s where she headed.  My daughter and I ran, my husband grabbed the car and went after her.  Heading for the field on the west end of our road, she ran towards the creek.  My husband chased her (in his slippers mind you) and lost site of her.  By this time my daughter and I had finally made it to the other street and we backtracked to the farmers house on the corner.  This gentlemen, whom we had never met, loaned us his 4 wheeler.  Dale then again took off across the field toward the creek and Kayla and I drove like crazy, yelling and watching the fields.  We pulled off the next road into the field and began running.  After a few moments my husband appears barefoot, the 4 wheeler and his slippers are now stuck.  The fields were nothing but mud.  I called SRCI and they contacted Steve Melching who came to help us.  We returned home to get warm, dry clothes and flashlights as it was getting dark.  Steve was with us for a couple of hours and we were in the fields/woods until past dark.  Frozen and frustrated we returned home.  Steve came out later with his night vision and flyers he had printed, but had no sighting of her.

Sunday was cold and miserable, but we were determined to keep looking.  We had several members of SRCI (God bless you all) come up and help.  Steve stuffed mailboxes and we all walked the woods and fields all day. No sign of the little lady.

The next 7 days were nothing but a constant hunt.  We looked everywhere.  Posting flyers on telephone poles, in more mailboxes, every business in Roanoke and several in Huntington and Fort Wayne.  Every newspaper and one TV station had the info on our missing girl.  We did have several calls, all of which turned out to be border collies, except for Sunday the 12th, day 8.

We had a glorious phone call from Donna Kahn who happened to be on her way to the grocery when spotting her on the side of the road.  She stated she got out and shooed her into the field away from the road.  Donna works at one of the little gas stations in Roanoke, which just happened to be the 2nd place I posted a flyer, so she already knew that the dog she just seen was missing.  The grocery’s flyer was still up on the wall so she called us.  Instead of continuing her personal shopping, she went back to keep an eye on Lady until we could get there.  I spotted Lady lying in the field, just inside the edge of the road.  Once we stopped and I called her name the chase was on.  Donna and my husband drove to the road on the other side of the field with me hot on her heals in the field then the woods.  I called Steve and he was on his way, apparently driving very fast because he made it in no time!  Lady had crossed the next street, so my husband, Donna and myself headed into the field.  Donna stayed by the road to make sure she did not backtrack.  She was running along the creek with Dale trying to bring her back toward me.  She jumped back up to the woods, spotted Dale and jumped back toward the creek.  This time with no where to go.  She had landed on a steep ledge and she was stuck.  Once Steve arrived we formed a human chain and pulled her to safety. 

Once everyone was on flat ground again we were all crying, but she was safe.  After a 2-½ hour visit at the Evet, she was sent home with a fluid pouch in her neck and a clean bill of health.  What a lucky little girl, that’s how she got her new name;  Lady Luck!

Left to right, Lynn Stapleton, Donna Kahn and Steve Melching

© Photos courtesy of Lynn Stapleton and Family

 

Story by

Lynn Stapleton and Family

 

 

 

 

HOBIE

 

We adopted Hobie in March 2004 when he was nine years old.  We didn't quite know what to expect from a "senior" sheltie because we were hoping for one that was younger.  But Hobie has been a wonderful addition to our family and we couldn't ask for a better companion and family member.  Hobie may be 10 now but he has the heart of a two year old.  His vet says that other than some fatty tumors and some other signs of age, he has the heart of an athlete.  Hobie gets along wonderfully with our three year old son Jacob and we know Hobie will be very gentle when we welcome our second child in August.  Hobie has already become more protective of his human "mom" Marie since she has been pregnant. 

Hobie loves to chase golfers from his fenced in yard and becomes very playful when he sees a sprinkler or hose.  Hobie loves food and getting treats from his "brother" Jacob but managed to lose 3 pounds in 6 weeks this spring just by chasing golfers on the weekends.  Hobie loves to follow his "mom" and "dad" around the house and loves when the doorbell rings because he thinks everyone is here to see him!  He even gets along with his "Grandmom and Grandpop's" dog Bristol, which works out great when we go on vacation.

We couldn't imagine not having Hobie in our lives.  He is a well-mannered, easy going dog.  We could tell that from the moment we meant him and saw how well he interacted with Jacob.  We love to hear Hobie moan and groan as he lays down for a nap.  We always have to smile and laugh...it is just something special about Hobie.  Hobie is a wonderful testament to how special "senior" dogs can be!