Monday, April 7, 2014

Things I would like to say...

Just things I would like to say…

Dear Sir:

I have your adoption application papers in front of me. I have received your messages and emails. I understand that you think our process is too slow and difficult.

What I would like to point out…

If you have a moment, I would like to tell you a few things about this little puppy that you will never find out by reading her profile page.

We host free spay and neuter clinics where immunizations for the many local canine diseases are also available. The mother of this little girl should have been there. Her owners were “too busy.” You see, in this area there are many dogs. It is very rare that the owners provide them with food or care. As a result, they go in search of food. Many are killed in fights over food. Many others suffer from diseases that their owners do not care to protect them from. Many, young and old, suffer and slowly, painfully, perish.

I guess the value of life has gotten lost over time. It seems an animal is a thing that one needs to own but does not need to feed. Own but not need to contain or protect. There are usually no shots and seldom are they allowed into the house.

This little girl did not choose this life. Her owners chose it for her. Born under an old rusted truck, surrounded by snow, litter and empty beer cans, she came into this world unwanted by her owners. The owners did not want her and her siblings barking and living in their yard so their birth was also the beginning of their death sentence. The mother was barely able to scrounge enough food just to keep herself alive.

Left unfed and unvaccinated, the puppies would have died where they were born. Amid the weeds and litter, in the cold, snowy shadow of the old truck. Because they did not want to have to deal with the smell of decay in the spring, this little girl and most of her siblings were placed into a cardboard box and thrown into a dumpster. The last time this little girl saw her youngest brother, his soft white bundle of fur was lifeless. His little body was left as it lay when he froze to death, the ice holding it tightly to the ground. When spring thaws his body, he too will be thrown away, just a piece of trash to be removed before the smell gets too bad.

We have seen this before. It is truly heart wrenching. These are the ones that haunt us. We will always wonder if you could have gotten there sooner and saved them all.

When we received the call that a box of puppies were thrown into a dumpster to freeze to death, we were not shocked. This is not the first time this has happened. This will not be the last.

Life for this little bunch was fragile for the first few days after they arrived here at RezQ Dogs, at our home. We watched and felt happiness as each meal was eaten and they seemed to have the will to survive. Sometimes, they seem to lose faith in people and they just give up.

Then, we noticed this little girl, the one you wish to adopt. She was no longer eating. She was listless and, having seen it so many times before, we knew she was ill. Terribly ill. She had caught one of the painful and often fatal diseases we provide the free shots for. Our happiness for this little bunch of puppies was suddenly grave concern. We did the things we always have to with diseases. We sterilized, quarantined, and worried. We took this little girl into the veterinarian. This disease is tough for any animal to overcome and costly to treat but we knew she had the best chance of survival at the veterinarian’s office.

This was a truly worrying time. We thought of her often. When we were told she would survive, we were overjoyed. When she was finally reunited with her remaining siblings, she started to blossom. Due to her recent illness, we spent more time with her than her siblings. We checked her often to make sure she was drinking and eating. Soon, we started looking forward to the time with this little girl. She is quite a character. We placed pictures of her siblings on our adoption page and watched as, one by one, they found forever homes and forever families. We had not placed her adoption information on our web site yet. As often happens, because of her health scare, our “parental” instincts told us to wait just a little while longer to ensure she would be healthy.

Except for us, she was alone now. We did our best to be her “family.” She learned to sit and fetch. She learned to come to us when called and to go outside when she had to go to the bathroom. She is so smart.

Soon, I noticed something rather odd. When my wife or I were in a bad mood, it would be time to walk this little girl. It is so funny to watch her! She is just so smart. Every day with her is such an adventure! She loves to climb up into the tree in our yard. Not too far, just about a foot and a half to where the tree branches out and provides a natural place for her to sit. There, with one ear up and one at half mast, she will just look around. It is such a beautiful sight. There are other times she will find a leaf and bring it to me. Just her way of giving a gift. She may not have much but she gives what she has. Sometimes she will just run in circles, just being what nature intended a puppy to be. Still, at other times, she will simply sit and stare up at the sky, her beautiful blue eyes watching as the birds fly over her head. This little time we spend with her always improves our mood.

Something else you should know. I know it sounds stupid but, well, I just feel a small bit of jealousy over this. It kind of bothers me that she may be doing this for someone else soon. I almost want her to remember just me doing this…but I know it is for the best if I tell her new family. When you pick her up, gently place her on her back in the crook of your arm. Then softly rub her ears and, again, make sure you do this softly, scratch her belly. You will be able to hear her little “cooing” sounds as, slowly, she falls asleep in your arms. As she lays there, before she drifts off, she will look up at you. The little twinkle in her eyes clearly tells you that she knows she is loved. And that she loves. Oh, she is so precious.

I am sorry, I kind of got lost in thought there.

Your application. Yes, I received your emails and messages.

There are a couple of pieces of paper in front of me. They are supposed to tell me about you. Here are some questions that are not on that paper:

This little girl came from a life no living being should be forced into. We made her a promise that she would never have to face a life like that again. We promised her that, wherever she goes, she will always be loved. Do you promise to share that promise? Can you look at a couple pieces of paper and find reassurance of that promise made?

We watched as this little girl went from unwanted and sentenced to die to sick and struggling to live. Our support to her and her health never wavered. Is it in your honor to make the same vow?

Do you realize, you are not adopting a dog or a puppy but a family member? If there is a divorce in your family, will someone still care enough for her to make sure she does not lose all she knows? When she needs medical attention can you promise that your new truck or new boat will not be more important? You will not develop an allergy when she is no longer a puppy? You will always plan where you will live with her in mind? We have set aside many and not purchased many things in our life to ensure she has hers. Will you do the same?

Lastly, sir, do you realize that you are taking a piece of our heart and a light from our life. If you are approved, she will live for us only in our memories. Do you promise to give her all of the love she has brought to us? Can you be the person she truly deserves?
Can we trust this precious puppy to you?

What I do say…………

Again, I apologize sir. I have your application here in front of me. It should be a simple thing to go through.

Ps. It should be noted that this story is a combination of the many things we have seen. From the frozen puppy to the puppies in a dumpster, it is all a painful part of what we deal with. And yes, the puppies we deal with do get the ear scratches and belly scratches as described!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Just Yesterday… It seems like it was only yesterday that we got a call that there were 2 puppies at animal control that were going to be shot. Could we possibly do something? Although we weren’t set up for it we decided that we should do what we could. A quick trip to animal control yielded not 2 little puppies...but 8 little puppies…and a pregnant momma dog. Not really having the “facilities” for them, we probably should not have taken them all on. I remember standing there, looking into their hopeful eyes, feeling a sense of hopelessness build up within me as I realized I did not have it in my soul to save some and sentence the others to death. They all came home. Again, we did not have the facilities for a number of rescues. We had some chain link and we had some chain link fence rail pipes. And some wire. No posts, no kennels. Although I am surprised I didn’t fashion something out of duct tape (that’s just how I roll) we did end up using a post pounder to force the pipes into the ground and wrapped the chain link fence around them. Between the soft ground, mud, and trying to hurry, our unique compilation of pipes and rag-tag fencing soon took a type of shape. Due to this first set of “kennels” being gravitationally challenged, we fondly named it “Vertigo Kennels”. To say we were off and running would be such an exaggeration….but it does seem like once there was a place for the unwanted animals, they came in from everywhere. I remember one winter having 3 sets of puppies living in our bathroom. The cleaning was never-ending and when the puppies were all adopted, I tore up the linoleum and threw it away. The puppies were not to blame…they were thrown out of vehicles in 3 separate areas on the Hi-line area of Montana. During the coldest week of winter. This may be a good time to point out that the founders of RezQ Dogs are NOT wealthy. The first years were tough. We threw up our hands many times. We quit many times. And we never followed through many times. For some reason, we endured. I remember running out of money and supplies. I remember using newspapers to clean up puppy messes because we could not afford paper towels. I remember running out of trash bags, then using and running out of shopping bags to put refuse in. We both remember the heart ache and arguing when we seemed to be at an end. Then, slowly, people would see what we were trying to do and we would get a donated bag of dog food…or some paper towels…or sometimes, just a little therapy by having a shoulder to cry on. The bright spots were and still are very much appreciated. I remember getting nearly 30 rescues and wondering, frantically, what in the world we were going to do with this many rescues to take care of. And I clearly remember what the answer was. As I write this, we are hovering at around 80 rescue animals. We have 7 sets of puppies. We still have a deer and horses. The rescue parrot is home here forever also. It has been a wild ride. It continues to be a wild ride. And still, when things are tough, I know what the answer is. It is you. It is our fellow rescues. It is the person in England that could only spare $3.00 but wanted to make sure we got it. It is the wonderful friend and neighbor that knew our vehicle is near death and drove the hundreds of miles to do a transport for us. It is the vet that has come to know we were calling before looking at the phone. It is the supplier that “forgot” to bill us when he knew we were nearly broke. It is the people that don’t have much yet send us a small bit of every pay check. It is everyone who supported us through the floods we went through. Our days are still long. We are way over on numbers this year. We have not been able to move to a new location or put up permanent structures. We have a hole in the floor of one of our rooms because a dog food storage shelf went through our flood-water weakened floor. We carry on, even usually with a smile…and we know why. It is all of you. Even though we can never really express our appreciation, please be assured we are only here because of you. We started with a small idea. You turned it into a dream. You invited us into your hearts and homes. You shared our trials and tribulations and rejoiced at our successes. Although it doesn't again even begin to reflect our true appreciation, please let me reach way back in my history to someone I loved and looked up to. My grandfather. Whenever I did something that made him proud, I could see the pride in his eyes...and he would simply say what I am going to say to you all. “You done good”. Thank you.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Time is relative. Yesterday, while waiting for my paycheck to be deposited seemed to take like...I dunno...4 days or, while exercising one of the dogs, he spotted a fox about 20 feet away. Even with a coffee induced buzz driving my system, I may have been a third of the way through a blink when I see this little dog become air borne. Without effort, he cleared a five foot fence. About half way through my blink, he again effortlessly cleared a second five foot fence. About three quarters through my blink, he was about 50 feet away, hot on the tail of this little fox. Ok, time for Jim to "dash" through the house..."dash" through the yard..."dash" out the pasture gate in the hopes of catching this little dog before he gets too far. seems as though each "dash" takes roughly a half hour. Do you remember the scene in "10" that has Bo Derek running on the beach in slow motion? The gentle bounce of her beautifully braided hair as her tanned and toned body propels her along the surf? In my mind's eye, that is how I picture I must have looked like....except for the flip flops slogging through our muddy yard that threatened to fly off at every stride. Or the old gnarly torn sweat pants I was wearing....and instead of tightly braided ringlets, my bed head hair-do more brought to mind a troll doll having a bad hair day. Okay,...well I matched her for speed. I did finally catch the little dog only to turn around and find that we had quickly been encircled by the 8 horses we keep in our pasture. With a dog that doesn't like horses and horses that don't like dogs, I decided we would just zip through them and get to the house. "Zip" through them...yup, time is sooo relative. Jim (RezQ Dogs staff)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Saying No...

Learning when to say no to an animal... When I saw the animal control truck, I was immediately depressed. It was not good news...the animal control truck never is. It had been a trying day at work, our kennels and crates were overloaded, and I knew he had another dog needing rescue. I also knew that if I did not take it, its life would be ended with a piece of lead sent screaming through its brain.
After the usual greetings, he informed me that he had a puppy in the crate. It had a run in with a porcupine and the owners did not want a vet bill so they asked if he could "put it down".
When I opened the back of the camper shell, I was immediately struck by the overwhelming odor of decaying blood. After taking a moment, I glanced at the puppy. I did not at first recognize it as a puppy. The quills were so thick it more closely resembled a porcupine. Looking closer, I could see that the quills had penetrated the eyes and a large number were in its mouth. On top of the quill injuries, it had what appeared to be a badly broken leg.
My heart sank as I quickly wondered how we would pay for yet another vet bill, where we would keep yet another dog, how much more our distant neighbors would complain, and, most important, would it be a kinder act to put it down than ask it to go through all of the pain that its rescue would put it through? I had never seen a puppy in such severe shape. I was sadly pondering this little girls' fate when she slowly looked up at me with the one eye that she could still open....and wagged her tail. I don't claim to speak to dogs but I do know that for one moment in my life I clearly heard her, "Jim, I don't want to die...please help me?"
Someday I may be forced to find the words to say no but for her I said yes. The space, the money, the neighbors...these are merely things to work around. We and the animals only have one life...this is what is important...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Dog Daze by Jim Wilke

Do I have fleas? Not this time. This is how my escape into the world of sleep was rudely interrupted this morning. Even though we trim Pixies’ little grizzly claw paws a couple times a week, they still manage to penetrate the blanket to rake my attention. And this is the good way to wake up.

Usually, after a late night of dealing with doggy dilemma, I like to sprawl out like a fresh train wreck, mouth wide open, sawing logs like an obsessed lumber mill. I do not know if they sit during the quiet of day and plan it but our little coven of German Wire Hair Pointers have taken this as being the fun way to wake me up. I am not sure which one starts it but I am sure one of them says, “Hey look, daddy’s mouth is wide open and it sounds like he is choking on his tongue…lets’ use our tongues to help him out.” I have seen where these tongues have been. Boiling my mouth is a little painful and I have been encouraged to quit drinking the Lysol so I now sleep with my head under the blanket. This too has its draw backs.

For those times when the wife is not here to make me toe the line, she has trained a replacement. Her name is Mickey. She is a spoiled little girl with the expressive eyes of Cindy Lou Who from the Grinch movie. When she does something fun, like chewing up a $300.00 leather coat (which, coincidentally, the wife was wanting a new coat anyway, weird huh?) and I attempt to reprimand her, she will assume this look (I also see it when the wife wants another puppy) that will reach into your chest and tear your heart out by its roots. It makes you feel as though you were responsible for all the evils from the sinking of the Titanic to the rise of beer prices. Okay, I could cover up my head and not have to see her eyes but this is not her only trick. She has a whiny little whine that penetrates the brain like a cross between chewing on a sheet of aluminum foil and fingernails on the chalkboard. She will maintain this whining until dad, in all of his unwisdom, lifts up the blanket and lets her in to snuggle for what should be a good night of sleep.

It never works out this way.

For all of her sweet demeanor, the winds of hell would prove to be a breath of fresh air compared to the foul emissions my little German Wire Hair girl can percolate. I could be passed out, drugged, or dead and one little “poof” from this little girl would have me fighting back tears, gagging as I clawed my way out, around, or through whatever layers of blanket separated my lungs from breathable air and life. On the positive side, I have noticed that my nose hairs quit growing for two or three weeks after one of these episodes.

I learned long ago that a person cannot survive without sleep. I have a firm belief that the Creator, in all his wisdom, saw this coming, and invented coffee. I do survive in this lack of sleep mode…but barely. Coffee is my crutch. If I have had a really late night I will make really strong coffee in the morning and, for the protection of those individuals not acquainted with my coffee, my wife tries to get me to hang a “hazardous materials” sign from the coffee maker. After a couple of cups of this concoction, I could not sleep if I wanted to. Not only do my plate size eyes and zippy body movements emulate a ferret on speed, I also move around like I am hiding a running jack hammer in each pant leg.

So, next time we pass on the street and you say “good morning” I hope you will forgive me when I stare at you through red slitted eyes, growl and paw the air like a wounded badger. I am not really mental… Well, a little maybe, but mostly tired.

P.S. I would appreciate it if anyone could tell me where a person could buy one of those little mask thingys’ that fencers use when they duel and a cheap used scuba tank.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Kennel Up by Jim Wilke

As the sun slowly warms the morning, a variety of grunts, growls, and yawns can be heard in the various parts of our yard. Or what used to be our yard. Being an average Joe, when we moved here, I had the various parts of the yard already dedicated to the “guy stuff”. Over there, I would park my boat and camper, to be used at my leisure. Over here, I would have my little shed that would match my little mechanical abilities. And a garden. And maybe a little shed for my fishing bait and supplies.

Yeah…..and maybe the beer fairy will put in a beer fountain in my yard.

When winter hits, ANYTHING with wheels in my yard will be frozen in place. This also applies to my truck. It is rather strange that with acres and acres of trees, rocks and other little animals, they constantly have to pee on MY wheeled things. When I am watching. And they always seem to be smiling.

They may have formed a pee squad so when they take their turns they always have a full bladder.

As far as my idea of having any of my little sheds? Who am I kidding? What used to be kindness applying to a couple of dogs headed for “termination” and a cheap store bought kennel has become frustration and 5 tiltingly constructed chain link kennels. And 2 horse trailers. And my gun room. And my den. And my living room. The tool box from my truck is now “food central”, serving as the one weather proof place to store and dispense the dog food we have in the yard. The other dozen or so bags of dog food are neatly stacked around the kennels in my “den”. My guns and fishing rods are stored in one small closet. Don’t tell the dogs.

My wife does not care to have children. I think the responsibility and the unknown about raising children scares her. I am a father from a previous marriage and I think I know the basic difference between raising children and dogs. When your child barks at you, you pretty much know what that child wants and it usually has to do with either your wallet or your car. When a dog barks at you it is like learning an alien language that varies with each dog. It can be something simple like “I’m hungry” or “I hafta go pee” to the tougher to decipher ones like “My butt itches” or “Hey guys, watch dad take even MORE aspirins when I do this!”.

I cannot say dogs are not a highly intelligent animal and, although they do get humor from the little tricks they pull on me, they do try to be helpful. They have even helped me coin new words.

We burn wood to fight off the winter cold. Our yard is now covered with “pindling”. Pindling is the branches, bark, and wooden handled garden tools that they chew sufficiently to fit in our wood stove. They have offered numerous part of garden hose fit to size but they do not burn all that well.

This summer, to fix a water line, I dug a hole alongside the house. They saw me do this. I fixed the water line and filled in the hole. They did not see this. When running on the loose and near this spot they will drop my missing gloves or whatever they were doing, and stop to dig and growl. They seem upset that the dirt went back into the hole, dad took it out for a reason darn it. When they are in this area they go “grigging”. Grigging is a combination of growling and digging reserved just to help out dear old dad. When the weather cools enough, I am going to fill in this hole and put a tire on top of it. Hopefully it will become one big peecicle that they can’t dig through.

They all have personalities as varied as any crowd you see in a city. The only white puppy we have at present has the unique habit of cleaning the oil and debris from the bottom of my truck daily. When the smallest dog we have has bounced high enough to look a tall man in the eye we know this one has some talents Michael Jordan would have liked to have had. And it does not matter how many knots I have included, we have a young Harry Houdini that can untie any shoelace in mere seconds. We have one very small one that, with a nod to my Native American ancestry, I have affectionately named “Chief Plenty Poops”. I do not think I need to explain that one.

They can be a pushy little bunch. I used to enjoy a candy bar from time to time but now it is rare that I get to. I think I know how a wino in a crowded wino alley would feel trying to pop the top on a new bottle of MD 20/20 when he has the only bottle.

A couple of years ago, after a person who was “supposed” to be my supervisor wrote me up on what an independent panel had concluded were false charges, I challenged his I.Q. Or if he had one. I felt he may have been about as sharp as a marble but working in Law Enforcement is no place to be having to look over your back all the time when there was usually also a threat in front of you. I basically said I was done having to deal with all the crap and resigned my post.

ANOTHER change in plans.

I am so still dealing with a lot of crap…but it isn’t so bad. These “supervisors” at least seem to love me for it.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Days at Kennel Vertigo by Jim Wilke

Okay, first of all, since the wife does not like the name it will not last, and before she changes it to something majestic, let me explain the name. We had been doing rescues for some time before we could afford a kennel, which we bought second hand. We would have two or three dogs at a time, place them in good homes and get a few more for rescue.

Somewhere this got out of hand until we had more….many more. We had to move to the country due to the “more.” Until recently we were up to 27 dogs and puppies. We are still around 25. When we saw this coming we located some chain link fencing and metal poles. With me being laid off from my job, the cost of the cement to secure the poles in the ground was more than we could afford. I simply pounded the poles into the ground and wired the fence to it.

I agree, not professional, but it has worked. The only problem is that this ground is soft. As the dogs bounce off the fencing the fence in turn bounces against the poles. The result has been a various direction kennel I have fondly named “Vertigo.”

In the meantime, we have given our dogs to many families throughout Montana and even into other states. Lately, through many interactions with various families, I have occasionally been called “special” for what we have been able to accomplish. If this were to have happened a few years ago the wife would have cocked one eyebrow and, with her steely gaze, would have replied “yah, he’s special all right”. Her condescension knows no bounds. Now I think she may agree with them. In a way, so do I.

I do not know of a decent human being that can look into the trusting, frightened eyes of a dog that is facing certain death and not want to do something for it. With this being said, I do not see my wife and I taking the dogs in as anything special. It is the dark side of kennel life where I believe our “specialness” comes out.

I was raised on a rather large ranch where some things were overlooked. If my father had seen me running around picking up poops he would have had my brain analyzed. If we overlook this at our home we will step in it. Most of the rescues are very good at going out into the bushes to do their business but some aren’t. The kennels still need to be “flushed” a couple of times a day. Our flusher is not an automatic thing. I am very proud (and feel special) to be able to say that, even though I take every precaution up to but not including donning a chemical containment suit, I have become the flusher. I no longer gag when I do this. I no longer turn green. I no longer say “aw poop, more poop”.

Another facet of kennel life is distraction.

When a person lives anywhere in Montana it is considered living in the “boonies”. We live in an area where the people living in the “boonies” make fun of us. On the up-side of this, we have a wonderful diversity of wildlife at our door step. It is a usual scene to look out the window and see deer grazing by where we park our vehicles. The down-side of this is the fact that dogs like animals. I will let one or two out to exercise and to do their business and in the process, they will spot a pheasant. They will begin to chase the pheasant. I will attempt to call them back. They will stop….the heads will slowly turn toward me, and then, just as clearly as if it were etched in stone or a newspaper headline, their eyes will reflect their unique opinion.
“That is a bird, we are dogs…we chase birds…that is what we do…where you been”?
With that, they will be off in a shot to resume doing “what they do” while I stumble after them and try to calculate how many points they have just taken off of my I.Q. and ego.

I also feel special because I no longer pursue the need to have the finer things in life. If, on that rare occasion that we have time, we go to a restaurant or bar, I no longer have to worry about anyone taking my things. If my jacket is on the coat rack it is obviously mine. Since homeless people do not usually have pets, the chew marks and dog hair is as good as a label with my name on it. The chew marking also works for my pens, cigarette lighters and most anything else I am carrying.

I can also now operate my remote control for the t.v. in total darkness just by using the number of tooth holes in the buttons.

I no longer have to tie my shoe laces…..since I usually have none.

I am, thanks to a game we play, in the best shape of my life….its called

I do get gray hair….but it usually combs out. One day I will gather it all together and knit another German Wirehair.

I do not have to prune around the base of our trees.

I do not have to take out all of the trash if I forget the bag outside by the front door.

The staff at the veterinarians’ office considers us family.

I know how many pounds of dog food every shelf in our home can support.

I know how many pounds of dog food I can carry in a day.

I know how many pounds of dog food it takes to make the car scrape the ground.

I finally figured out that green “stuffed animal” stuffing comes out of a puppy neon blue.

Fresh puppy poop has the same qualities as a strong glue.

Old puppy poop has the same qualities as concrete.

Last, but by no means least….I know the love of a rescue dog.

Yes, there are the days when I want to load my aspirins into a Pez dispenser for easier access. Yes, they have eaten numerous remotes, shoes, coats, gloves and assorted belongings. And yes, their care has been expensive and difficult to maintain.

But there is a definite pay back. When we let them out they will race around the yard, sometimes looking for a place to do their business, sometimes chasing objects real and imaginary. Invariably, at some point during this run, they will come to us. They will rest between our legs, body in our arms. They will cuddle. They will look directly into my eyes.

In this one moment I know I am loved and thanked…..unconditionally.