Monday, January 4, 2010

Warning: Waggin Tails & CockerPals: 2 NY "Killer" "Rescues"

A couple of weeks ago, just before Christmas, I received a call from a man who needed to re-home a
cocker-spaniel. "Buddy" was the dogs name.

I told the man since our rescue was full there is no way that I
could take him but reassured him that I would do all I could to help him place
the dog. I took the info about the dog and the mans contact info. "Buddy" was a
4yr old PB Cocker whos owner had abandoned him with this man, who was keeping
him but because of other animals in his house belonging to his wife. I knew he cared about Buddy cause it bothered him to have to keep Buddy out in the cold. It didnt sound as if it was his idea. He seemed genuinely concerned about the dog. He did not want to have to take the dog to our local high kill shelter (Hudson-Mohawk Humane Society in Menands, NY) nor did he want to have to put the animal down if a good home couldnt be found. He sought me out for help.

He told me Buddy was " a good dog" and that his only issue was that he got
a little overly agressive when playing fetch with his favorite ball. Buddy was
housebroken, got along well with other dogs and even cats, and was UTD on shots.

I immediately began to send out "SOS" emails to several rescue folks and groups
I know and within a day or so I got a call from a gal named "Joan" from
"CockerPals Rescue" in Hobart NY. When she learned that the dog was being kept
out in the cold, she told me to just "go get him." I emphasized to her that
there was no way that I could keep the dog at my place for any length of time as
we already had (literally) a houseful of rescued animals with not even a square
inch of room for even just one more. She assured me that if I could go get the dog and hold on to him, that she would make arrangements to take him off my hands "within two days." Elated over the news that I have found a rescue that would take Buddy, I called the man to give him the good news. He was also happy over the prospect that Buddy would be going to a safe place where they would find him a good home.

He bought Buddy over to me later on that day. As he carried him in his arms I
could see the dog was scared and confused, but when the man put him down on the
kitchen floor he was friendly and I petted him and he was appreciative of the
attention as I could tell by the waggin tail and the LICKS TO MY FACE he was
giving me.

I called Joan at CockerPals Rescue to let her know the dog was here. She asked
me if I could transport him to Rotterdam (about an hour away) where she had a
friend also in the rescue business, who would hold Buddy for her until she could
make arrangments to pick him up from there within the next couple of days. The
place she instructed me to bring him was Waggin Tails Grooming & Rescue in
Rotterdam, NY. We coordinated with the owner there and set dates and time; at
approximately 10am Christmas Morning, I set out to deliver Buddy to his new
rescue "mom."

The first thing I did when I got there was to take Buddy out of the car on his
leash to let him go to the bathroom. After he was done we began walking up the
driveway to meet Amy, the owner of Waggin Tails, who came walking down to meet
us. When she got to Buddy she crouched down in front of him and raised her hand over his head to pet him and wouldnt you just know it, ....he lashed out at her barking, growling with hackles up,.. and I watched Amy as she stepped back quickly and the color drained out of her face. OMG she said as she rolled her eyes at me. I suggested
that she try to get to know Buddy a little before making any judgements about
him, as I handed her the leash. I suggested she "take command" and be firm as
she walked him around a little, which she did without too much of a problem. She
walked Buddy around back of the house where I couldnt see, but when she came
back she said, "He did growl at me a few times back there." Apparently, Buddy
had "corrected" right away as she was managing him on the leash now just fine.
Buddy was a dog that listened to his human. That much I know for sure.

Amy handed me back the leash and went back into the back room again where she
called Joan. She was gone for only a few minutes and came back with the phone in
her hand. Joan was on the line wanting to talk to me. I took the phone and put
it to my ear. "There is NO WAY I can take that dog," the voice said, as my heart
sank. "Joan," I said, "and you know that there is NO WAY I can take him back
home with me so what are we to do?" She suggested that I take the dog back to the
owner,you know, the one that didnt want him in the first place and was keeping
him out in the cold. When I told her I simply would not do that, not only
because I am a woman of my word and when I tell someone I am going to do
something I do my best to stick to it,...but because of the danger the dog would
be in if sent back to the same old situation we were trying to rescue him from. It just didnt make any sense to me, and went against my moral beliefs. I told Joan that we didnt have any problems with Buddy for the two days he was at our house, ..we had even begun to bond with eachother in that short time, and I reminded her that
sometimes rescued animals, once bonded with their rescuer, often go through
personality changes as they get very protective of what they percieve to be
their new owner. "Maybe," I suggested, the problem was that Buddy had developed
agression issues as a result of our bonding after rescue. Perhaps he had sensed
that Amy was going to take him away from me and got defensive. And perhaps, just
maybe, I said to her also, (taking my share of the blame,) maybe we moved too fast and not carefully enough on the introductions. Maybe it was partly our fault that Buddy lashed out at Amy upon first meeting. "So now," I told her, it appears that Buddy is a "special needs" dog that simply needs time to bond and dosent like strangers and will lash out at them when in fear or feeling threatned. Lots of "good dogs" are like that. I also reminded her that there are never any guarantees with rescue animals, either in health or temperment. No one could argue against that.
Well anyways we went on and on like that , me reminding her that she is the one
who told me to "go get" the dog and promicing to take him from me within two
days,..and here she was now telling me every excuse in the book for not taking
him now,...including the lame-brained excuse that she now, all of a sudden, had
no room! "Joan," I said to her, starting to get my own hackles up,..."it sounds
as if you just dont want to be bothered." "Thats right," was her response.
Finally, seeing that the conversation was getting nowhere, Amy took the phone
from me and walked back into the back room once again where she continued her
conversation with Joan. When Amy came back she said to me, ... "I'll tell you what I'll do," ...."I'll keep him and give him a few days to settle down. As a groomer I am used to working with agressive dogs,..(indicating to me that she knew cockers were sometimes known for agressive behavior) She told me that she had "a team" of "professional trainers and animal behavior specialists" that she would have evaluate Buddy as to his suitability for adoption. These were encouraging words to me because with real professionals, I was confident that Buddy would pass his evaluation tests, without question. Amy promiced me repeatedly that she would let me know by saturday what the results and the decision would be - which was less than 48hrs away - She again reiterated to me her promice to hold off on taking any action
regarding that decision until I was appraised of the results of Buddys testing.
I stated to her over and over numerous times as I wanted to make it VERY clear,
I definately wanted to be informed of the results BEFORE any action was taken
regarding the decision as to what to do with Buddy. I reminded her that there
were three rescues involved in this case and we should all have a say in the
outcome. My plan was to wait and see what the decision was, thinking and
planning to take Buddy back if for any reason it didnt go well for him. It was
my feeling that I could never allow him to be euthanized, as I knew he was a
good dog and would make a fine addition to just the right family. One who
understood him and his issues) Once again I handed Amy Buddys leash and she
walked him to the kennel area and put him in a cage, no problem. We shook hands
on parting and I thanked her for at least giving Buddy a chance at a proper
evaluation. I went back home and waited, anxious to hear the results of Amys
"team of professionals" evaluation results regarding Buddys suitability for

I waited all day Saturday for the call to come. Late in the afternoon called
Amy at the Grooming Shop and got a machine. I left a message that I was calling
to get an update on Buddy and asked Amy to call me asap with the results of his
evaluation. I waited all day Sunday for a reply to my call but it never came. I
left another message on Amys machine letting her know that I was getting a
little concerned as she hadent called on Saturday as promiced. I also called
Joan at CockerPals Rescue but got her machine also. I left basically the same
message as I did for Amy,..that I was concerned about Buddy and wanted an update
as to his status.

Monday I waited all day for return calls but none came. By the end of the day I
had left more messages for both Amy and Joan. I emailed Amy but it bounced back
to me indicating that she was on vacation until January4th.

Tuesday I called Amy again but once again got the machine. I left another
message and told her how disappointed I was that I havent heard from her by now,
and was hoping everything was ok with Buddy and his evaluations. I waited all
day wenesday for a reply and again got none. Called Amy again on thursday but
the phone just rang rang. I called Joan again and she picked up the phone right
away (probably neglected to check her caller ID) as I am sure now that is she
knew it was me on the other line she would have never picked up.....but she did.
"Hello," I said, "Joan?" No reply.."Hello Hello" I said again, "Joan, is that
you?" She said "yes." "This is Chris Jubic," I told her, "the one who dropped
Buddy off with Amy for an evaluation..." All of a sudden the phone went dead as
she hung up on me.

Friday morning I finally got ahold of Amy. Dont ask me why she decided to talk
to me at last. It probably sunk into her by now that I just wasent going to go
away...that she HAD to confront me at some point in time, so I guess this was

"Amy," I reminded her, "you were supposed to contact me on saturday, remember,
to let me know how Buddy did on his evaluations. I am wondering why havent you
called?" "We have been busy" was her response, as she proceeded to tell me how
hetic the rescue business can be sometimes. "How are you making out with Buddy"
I asked, not wanting to beat around the bush." "Well," not so good," was her
response. "He did go after me a few more times after you left", adding though,
"not so bad as before." This led me to believe that maybe Buddys behavior has
improved, so I was expecting good news. "So he is improving?" I asked her.
"Well," no, not really, she said, "we put him to sleep the other day." I couldnt
believe my ears! "You mean to tell me he is gone already?" "Why didnt you inform
me as to your intentions, as promiced. Again with the "hetic" excuse. I asked
was the determination to put him down made by her team of professionals, and she
said, "No," they are on vacation for a week." So Buddy gets put down because
Amy couldnt keep her word to call me before making any decisions about
him,...and couldnt wait another week to have her professionals evaluate him.

So there you have it. End of story. Well, not exactly. That night I got a call
from the conscienice owner who surrendered him,...wanting to know how Buddy was doing at his new "rescue" home. I pondered over how to address this for quite some time. I dreaded the thought of having to tell him the truth. But I had to face this thing and I just couldnt bring myself to lie. I know they have a habit of coming back and kicking you in the ass sometimes. It hurt me to the core to have to tell him, but I choked it out some how and told him the truth: Buddy, a "good dog" was dead. Needlessly euthanized because his rescuers did not want to take the time or trouble to make him feel safe, wanted and loved. Needlessly euthanized because neither of these rescues wanted to bother with this special needs dog. Nor did they want to bother to make one phone call, AS PROMICED, in one last-ditch effort in hopes of sparing themselves the "necessity" of having to put a good dog down.

Waggin Tails Grooming & "Rescue"

CockerPals "Rescue"

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