Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Help Us Help Them

Do you love GSPs? Do you want to make a difference, and help in saving a precious life? Have you considered volunteering, but you're not sure what is involved, or what type of time commitment is necessary? Well, you may be surprised to find that if you only have a few hours to spare now and then, you CAN help rescue. Although foster homes are always desperately needed, you do NOT have to foster to volunteer for rescue. There are many other things you can do, and all tasks are an important part of the rescue puzzle.

Here's a breakdown of some volunteer tasks, along with the time commitment for each. If you want more information about volunteering for a GSP Rescue group, here's a link to our state and regional rescues: http://www.gspca.org/Rescue/regional.html


Do you have a few hours to spare now and then? Do you love GSPs and have knowledge of the breed? Do you enjoy meeting compassionate people? If so, becoming a German Shorthaired Pointer Rescue volunteer may be right for you.

How Much Time Will You Have To Dedicate?

It's really up to you. You can spend as little or as much time as you are able. Since we are all volunteers, we have busy lives outside of rescue. Often just a few hours of "help" makes a big difference. We always welcome new additions to our rescue family!

What Will You Be Asked To Do?

There are many tasks associated with rescue. Some require a larger time commitment, others only a few hours per month (or less) Here are some examples:

Be a Foster Parent:

Accept a GSP into your home. You provide food, love, modest training (if needed). Rescue pays for all veterinary expenses, and you will be mentored by a seasoned foster home, to answer any questions you have along the way. Many say they don't wish to foster, as they fear they will become attached, and it will be hard to say goodbye. Of course you get attached! But, dogs are completely selfless in their love for us and their dedication to us. Shouldn't we also be selfless enough to endure a few tears, all in the name of saving a life? And, you not only see the dog happy and joyful in their new home, but you get to share the joy of their new family as well.

Time commitment: Fostering can be short-term (a few weeks) to longer-term (a few months). It depends on the dog's overall health, the level of training they may require, and/or their age.

Visit a GSP in a shelter:

Confirm the dog is a GSP, evaluate their temperament, interaction with you, general manners, knowledge of basic commands and how well they behave on lead and take photos.

Time commitment: Depending on the location of the shelter, this task can take under an hour.

Call a vet for a reference:

We must have a veterinarian's reference for each applicant. We simply need to know if any current/past pets are current on vaccines and receive regular veterinary care. Determine if there are any glaring concerns. Time commitment: These calls generally take 5 minutes.

Evaluate a new surrender:

When we get a call from an owner who wishes to surrender their GSP for adoption, we sometimes need a volunteer to "visit" the family and evaluate the dog, take photos, etc.

Time commitment: Depending on location, this may take a few hours at the most.

Contact a potential adopter/screen applications:

When we receive a new application from someone wishing to adopt a GSP, we review the application carefully. We speak with them to get a feel for their knowledge of the breed, their family dynamic, their experience with dog ownership, etc. We ask questions about fencing, other animals in residence and cover any "red flags" that appear in the application.

Time commitment: The length of each call will vary.

Home visits:

Visit the home of a potential adopter. Meet the family members and any current pets in residence. Evaluate fencing, lifestyle, proximity to a busy street, confirm all family members are on board, etc. Essentially, you are simply trying to determine whether this is a home in which you would place your own dog.

Time commitment: Depending on location, this may take a few hours at the most.


If we accept a GSP into foster care from a shelter, they often need to be removed from the shelter and transported to their foster home.

Time commitment: Depending on location, this may take a few hours at the most.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Milton's Paradise FOUND

At the beginning of September, I learned of a severely emaciated, blind senior male GSP, at a high kill shelter in OH. That particular shelter does not have the budget to perform humane euthanasia (through injection), so they still use the antiquated (and horribly inhumane) system of the gas chamber, death by carbon monoxide poisoning. Needless to say, I knew that poor boy needed to get out of the shelter ASAP, preferably within the hour!

The main challenge was there were no volunteers in the area. I could find no one available (or even close) who could pull him from the shelter and get him to a vet. Thankfully, the dog warden agreed to transport him to a nearby veterinary clinic. He required treatment for a severe parasite infestation, and needed to gain weight before he could be transported. The vet staff fell instantly in love with his sweet senior boy. Despite his blindness and his weakened state, he always found the strength to wag his tail, and nuzzle his caregivers.

I decided to name him Milton, after the "Paradise Lost" author, John Milton. He lost his sight later in life, so it seemed appropriate. Plus, I figured Milton may have never known paradise, or, if he had, it was most certainly lost. I was determined that our Milton's story would read, "Paradise Found!"

Mid-Atlantic GSP Rescue graciously accepted responsibility for Milton. We found a foster home in VA, with a lovely foster mom who already had a few blind dogs of her own. She was well suited to meet Milton's special needs. So, the process began in searching for transport options for Milton. We explored ground transport, but would be traveling through an area where we had no volunteer coverage. We feared the transport would fall through. So, I enlisted the help of Liz Bondarek, our wonderful volunteer "flight attendant" and thankfully, she was wiling to try to recruit a pilot (or two) to fly Milton to VA.

Liz went to work immediately. We found an amazing pilot, Mahesh, and his co-pilot, John. They graciously offered to fly from Columbus, OH to pick-up Milton, then fly him to VA to his waiting foster mom, Mary. The veterinarian who had been caring for Milton offered to take him to the airfield to meet the plane. Aside from some early morning flight delays, Milton's flight was smooth sailing. Mary tearfully greeted her new special boy, and the pilots admitted they felt a special connection to their most gracious passenger.

Milton was at home in Mary's house right away. He got along great with his canine siblings, and even accepted his new sister of the feline persuasion. He learned the ropes at Mary's, and learned the layout of the house (and mastered the doggy door) quite quickly. It didn't take him long to find the softest dog bed in the house. It was as if he had always been there.

I'm pleased to report that Mary has decided to adopt Milton. He has found his forever home with her. He has gained weight, and will soon be ready for his neuter surgery. Mary is taking excellent care of him, and will continue to do so for the rest of his days. Now THIS is rescue at it's finest!!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Heartworm Hits HARD

What a year...and it's only mid-March! So far in 2010, Mid-Atlantic GSP Rescue has taken in five GSPs that tested heartworm positive. All are undergoing or preparing to undergo treatment. Of course, their treatment costs are in addition to their general vetting needs (vaccinations,spay/neuter, etc.) and a few of them have presented with additional issues.

An example is poor Margo from KY (photo above). She arrived not just with heartworm, but mammary tumors AND sarcoptic mange! The vet decided to remove the tumors first and perform spay surgery, then wait for a period of time before starting heartworm treatment. She began the regimen this week. The vet says it appears she was born with heartworm, likely passed from her mother to her at birth. Margo is the sweetest, gentlest girl you'll ever meet. She's in great hands with her foster parents, and they are lovingly seeing her through her treatment and recovery.

Then there is Ruger (photo below). He's an older gentleman (est. 7-10). His mom passed away and his dad was placed in a nursing home. The extended family didn't want him, so they took him to a shelter. The shelter is incredibly overcrowded, and most dogs only have a few days to live. The staff thought he was amazing, so they just HAD to find rescue for him. He is heartworm positive and has an crooked leg.The vet says it is an old break that wasn't set. But, it doesn't cause him any pain whatsoever. He is a wonderful boy with a gentle spirit. He deserves a chance!

Margo and Ruger are just two of the five 2010 heartworm cases. They all have special stories, and all five are wonderful GSPs, just waiting for the"all clear" so they can begin a new life with a family to call their own.

We know this may continue to be a tough year, and realize there are likely many more heartworm positive dogs yet to come. Many rescues have to turn such dogs away due to the financial burden of caring for heartworm and all of the routine expenses combined. We don't want to have to turn our backs on these deserving dogs. They NEED us to help them heal and see them through to their happily ever after.

Your donation is tax-deductible. You will receive a receipt from Mid-Atlantic GSP Rescue for your donation amount. Every little bit helps. We are fighting the heartworm battle, and with your help, we can WIN!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Duke's VERY Happy Ending...

Last year, I posted information about Duke, a senior GSP in Iowa. (http://gsp-rescue.blogspot.com/2009/06/very-deserving-duke.html) His "mom" was opening a daycare business, and she no longer had time for him. Not that she had spent much time with him anyway. :-( He entered foster care through Great Plains Pointer Rescue (www.greatpointers.org) and many months later, was adopted by a loving family in Georgia. His foster mother made a beautiful video for his new family, in advance of their flying from Georgia to Iowa to pick Duke up. Here's a wonderful write-up from his foster mom, followed by a link to the BEAUTIFUL video she made for Duke...

Duke was going to be surrendered to the local shelter where he surely would have been PTS. A volunteer from the shelter contacted us in regards to a senior 3 legged boy that needed help. Fortunately, my foster was going on a home visit the next day and if all went well, Duke would come to me. Duke's family could no longer keep him because the state threatened to shut down her daycare if they didn't get rid of the outside dogs.

I drove almost 3 hours one way to pick him up. I walked up to the kennel and he barked at me but his nubb wouldn't stop moving! :) The woman signed the surrender documents, handed me the food, and watched me put him in my car. She turned around said good-bye to me and not even a word to Duke...she didn't even pet him.

The ride home was pretty stinky. :) We hit up the walk-in vet clinic to get all of his shots, HW test, and a good once over. Duke kept wanting to go look at the cats! :) The vet treated a nasty gash on his hind foot. It was from him struggling to get into the small opening of his outdoor kennel.

The minute we got home, I got him in the shower. The water ran brown for what seemed like forever. I washed him 3 times...and each time more dirt would come off. His collar peeled off of his neck...as did clumps of his embedded hair! :(

Duke slept for hours upon hours those first few days. THEN once he figured out we had squirrels in the backyard that was the only place he wanted to be! :)

His wounds healed. His heart was full again. His legs were strong enough to take long walks again. The video that I made was for his new family in Georgia! :) They flew up to Des Moines on a Friday night, came to my house the following morning and spent over 3 hours with all of us. :) Duke's 10th birthday was on the day they picked him up!! (Dec. 12th, 2009). VIEW THE VIDEO!!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sensless Suffering or Innocent Oversight?

Chevy (photos) and Tommy are both young adult GSPs. They were surrendered to a shelter by their families. Chevy for financial reasons, Tommy's family just didn't have time for him. When Chevy entered the shelter, he was a healthy 76 pounds. Tommy weighed 61 pounds. Local and regional rescues were busting at the seams with no open foster homes. So, we found willing fosters in the Mid-Atlantic region, and began making transport arrangements. We had seen photos of the dogs, taken after shelter intake, and had medical records on them. Tommy was able to fly to MD out of the local airport. Chevy was too tall (by one inch), so he did not meet the height regulation.

We were also working on ground transport arrangements for a female named MandyJo, from a different shelter approx 2 hours away. So, we arranged for Chevy to be transported to MandyJo's location, while ironing out transport details for the pair. Chevy arrived at his temporary foster last weekend. We received an SOS e-mail with photos. The temp foster was shocked by his skeletal frame. When we saw the photos, we were all speechless. Shocking just doesn't seem to be strong enough a word to describe the difference in this poor dog.

We immediately arranged for him to be taken to a vet hospital on Monday morning. We were even more dismayed to learn of his actual weight....47 lbs. He went from 76 pounds to 47 pounds in four weeks, while at the shelter. At this point, Tommy was already en route by air to his foster home in MD. We alerted the foster to the fact that Chevy was extremely thin, and we asked for a report from the foster as soon as he arrived. She stated that had she not been warned, and had not seen the photos of Chevy, she would have driven Tommy straight to the ER upon arrival. He was so thin, she was shaken. He has a vet appointment this weekend, so we don't have an actual weight on him, but his foster estimates he's somewhere in the 40's, down from 61 at intake at the shelter.

Monday morning, after learning of Chevy's weight, I immediately contacted the shelter rescue coordinator to report this news. (We hadn't seen Tommy yet, so couldn't report on his condition). She stated that she works from home, and doesn't "meet" the dogs in person, so she was unaware of their condition. She contacted the shelter director, and that day, they began weighing all of the other dogs in residence. Their protocol states that if a dog refuses food, they make attempts to mix in wet food or other things to encourage them to eat. There are no notes indicating that Chevy or Tommy refused food at any time during their stay. However, the shelter's "feeding chart" indicates a 4.5 cup/day feeding for dogs of that weight range. Anyone who knows GSPs (and other muscular, sporting breeds) will tell you that it is NOT ENOUGH food! This is especially true when a dog is stressed and/or pacing in a kennel, burning off calories galore. And, it is likely not the highest quality food to begin with.

So, if these boys were burning twice what they were being given, no wonder they have wasted away to virtually NOTHING during their time at the shelter. We would be remiss in not asking the shelter to consider a different feeding regimen for various breeds of dogs. They have put into place a weighing regimen, so the dogs will be weighed at various intervals during their stay at the shelter, not just at intake. But, that still leaves this GLARING question, "WHY DIDN'T ANYONE NOTICE THESE DOGS WERE WASTING AWAY?" Surely someone noticed while cleaning the kennel, feeding/watering, walking them, etc.? How could so many people interact with these dogs on a DAILY basis, and not report some concern about their declining weight?????

I am perplexed over this entire incident. I am not naming the shelter here, as this is not an attempt to tarnish their reputation. It is simply my hope that this shelter (and perhaps others) will put more stringent guidelines in place to prevent this from happening in the future. So far, they have been proactive in their response to our concerns. But the fact remains that these dogs were in THEIR care, and SOMEONE should have noticed SOMETHING had gone terribly wrong.

The good news is that Chevy (and MandyJo) will be transported this weekend to MD. It will be a long journey, but they will be in capable and caring hands. By Sunday morning, Chevy should be "home" to his foster parents, where he can begin to gain weight, receive tons of love and attention, and be well on his way to his happily ever after. Lord knows he's earned it.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Neglect...In A "Nice" Neighborhood

Cocoa's suffering has ended...he's now on the road to recovery and a new life. Here's how it all started...

Cocoa was "owned" by a family in MD. They had a large yard, but he lived in a small kennel in the back yard. His "mom" teaches piano lessons in her home, and the mother of one of her students had often noticed poor Cocoa, living all alone in the tiny kennel in the yard. One day, she noticed he wasn't getting up. It was cold and damp, and he was lying on the ground. She got closer, only to find Cocoa's leg looked injured, and it was clear he could not stand up. He was lying in his own feces.

She promptly returned home and called the local Humane Society. She thought for certain they would see the conditions and remove Cocoa from the situation.

When she returned to the house for the next piano lesson, Cocoa was STILL there, his leg was STILL injured. So, she questioned the owner/piano teacher about the dog. The owner said that Cocoa had been hit by a car a few weeks earlier. They had taken him to the vet, and the vet recommended amputation as the only option for the leg. He was in pain, and they should act quickly. They returned home with Cocoa, but NEVER went back to the vet. He remained outside in the cold, injured and in pain for over TWO WEEKS! The owner said they really just wanted to "get rid of him" because they didn't want to pay for the surgery.

So, SHE took Cocoa home and contacted rescue. She recounted the story of his living conditions and his pain and suffering. She offered to foster him until he finds a forever home. Time was of the essence, as Cocoa had to have surgery right away. He is warm, dry, safe and COMFORTABLE, thanks to her kind heart and determination!

Cocoa's surgical costs were $2500. We anticipate follow-up care will add to this total. We are attempting to raise a portion of this amount through this online fundraiser. Even the smallest donation will help us reach our goal.