Friday, May 3, 2013

The Stuff That (Rescue) Dreams Are Made Of...

Bear with me folks...this is gonna be a long one...but it must be told, as it is a testament to the amazing hearts and selflessness of rescue people.

On April 13, I received a text from Sara Renee in Muncie, IN. She informed me that two GSPs were at the shelter. I almost croaked. That week had been SOOO busy with several GSPs in need. I honestly didn't know where I would put them. Then, I received the news that they were heartworm positive. We treat a lot of dogs for heartworm each year, but the foster must have a relatively quiet home, as the dog cannot get overly excited during treatment. Not only didn't I have an open foster, I did not have one capable of seeing a dog through treatment. So, they sat in the shelter while I worked on it. 

Then, more bad news. The female had mammary tumors down her left mammary chain, AND, a tumor/growth on her neck. Oy vey! Now I needed an even more special foster home, with the willingness and ability to see her through a somewhat complicated surgery, biopsies, and then heartworm treatment. 

I knew I had to get to work. First things first, I had to name them. For some reason, I chose "tree" names. So, Hazel and Cedar it would be. I cleared all of the other urgent matters off my plate, and posted them widely, to our entire adopter and volunteer group, covering seven states. Sara Kudile in MD offered to foster whichever one I needed her to. I was still lacking a foster for the male, but I would continue to work on that. I just needed to figure out how to get both dogs toward our normal transport departure spot, Parkersburg, WV. The shelter runs a transport van to Hagerstown, MD  most every Saturday. Of course, their shelter dogs and cats take priority, and if there's room, they squeeze our GSPs on. 

So....I called Debbie who coordinates the transports, and she told me she would let me know if they were running, but it may NOT be feasible for this weekend. I went ahead and began working on some preliminary transport and overnight arrangements for today (Friday), as the dogs need to be ready to leave Parkersburg in the early morning on Saturday. Tim Bailey and Robin Reynolds said they would overnight the dogs. Katie Chapman's sister, Maddie, said she'd drive all the way to Muncie from Columbus to get them, then drive them to WV if needed (I love her). On Wednesday, I found out the transport was only going to be a small van with a mom and pups, and we'd have to wait another week for transport. UGH. So, I cancelled everything and figured we'd be back to the drawing board next week. 

Last night, I was tagged by Liza Bond re: a Pilots N Paws flight. She was looking for an overnight in the Louisville area for two Beagle mixes, traveling from VA. I shared her need on my wall. Then, lightning struck me...I thought, maybe the pilot was heading back toward VA and our kids could hitch a ride. Turns out, the pilot doing the MD to WV leg for her Beagles would be heading back from Charleston, WV to Gaithersburg, MD with an empty plane. Our kids could hitch a ride if I could get them there in time. 

I'm thinking to myself, "if ever there was a time to pull a rabbit out of a rescue hat, this is it!"  I started a group conversation on Facebook with all the "players" along the way. Not only did we figure out (quite easily, I might add) how to get them from Muncie to Parkersburg, but also how to get them TO the airport in Charleston, and then FOUR different players on the MD end to pick up and transport to foster homes. Whew! Thanks to the quick action of our rescue founder and president, Faith Fields, she gathered the troops on the Maryland end, and by this morning, an entire plan was in place. 

A sideline to all of this is that I still didn't have a foster commitment for the Cedar. So, as of early this morning, it was just Hazel that was slated for the flight. I made boarding arrangements for Cedar, with the hope that a foster would surface during the week, and we could put him on the Parkersburg transport next Saturday. Lo and behold, Jason and Lisa Croasdale offered to foster Cedar. WOO HOO! So, I called the vet to cancel his boarding reservation. I called Tom who was meeting Hazel at the airport to make sure he could accommodate both dogs in his vehicle, then, I called Lisa to tell her she is a lifesaver and I'm forever in her debt! (believe me, this is NOT the first time I have uttered those words to her....LOL).

I sent the confirmation e-mail to our amazing Pilots N Paws volunteer flight attendant, Liza Bond. She is working on the itinerary now. Without her help, the pilot's aversion to flying back to MD with an empty plane, and ALL of the many folks on the ground on both ends of this spectrum, from Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland...WE GOT THIS THING!

Here's a glimpse of what transpired today, and what will transpire tomorrow:
1. Sara Renee works at the vet hospital where the dogs were housed. She arrived early this morning to bathe them (twice). She said they smelled like a "swine barn" (remind me to tell her I don't wish to know what THAT smells like). She got their health certificates together, made copies of their health records and vaccination history, and then readied them for their journey.
2. Brian Rievley arrived at the clinic at 1 PM to pick up Hazel and Cedar. He traveled to Dayton, OH, where he met Maddie Chapman. 

3. Maddie loaded them up and traveled to Lancaster, OH, where she met Tim Bailey and Robin Reynolds. 

4. Tim and Robin are currently en route to their home in Parkersburg, where they will host the pair overnight.

5. Tim and Robin will load the dogs up and head to Charleston, WV (Yeager Airport). They will wait for our wonderful pilot to land and unload his Beagle passengers. He will refuel, rest a bit, and get ready to load Hazel and Cedar.

6. - 11. Our volunteer pilot will travel from Charleston to Gaithersburg, MD. There, our volunteer, Tom, will be waiting (with his wife) to greet Hazel and Cedar. They will drive them to meet Shelley (another volunteer). Shelley will drive them to meet Lisa and Jason. Lisa and Jason will drive to meet Hazel's foster mom, Sara Kudile. Lisa and Jason will then return home with their new foster boy, Cedar. Sara will drive off into the sunset with Hazel in tow. 

Soon, the entire plan will come to fruition... the dogs will be ready for tomorrow's blue skies, and all will be well with the world. God, I LOVE THESE PEOPLE!!!!! 

Hazel (L) and Cedar (R) loaded in Tim and Robin's vehicle for their last travel leg for today. They will rest and relax at Tim and Robin's home tonight, and tomorrow, their FLIGHT TO FREEDOM will commence!