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!!!