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Friday, August 21, 2009

Here's Annie

This is Annie. We're not sure how old she is, but we do know that she's spent her life being bred to supply a dogfighter with fresh puppies. She was part of the enormous federal bust involving dogfighters in Iowa, Illinois, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri and Mississippi. While the bulk of the dog victims are being held in St. Louis, several pockets of dogs are being held elsewhere and have been able to be evaluated and released into rescue.

Because there are still some dogs awaiting transfer to rescue from this location, there are details we cannot yet share. You can see more of the dogs in the video "Meet the Oklahoma Dozen."

For most of the dogs, their interaction with the outside world had been limited; several had not been outside in over a month. Yet, aside from an initial hesitation--possibly due to the 100 degree weather--most of them completely unwound as we worked them through their assessments. They wanted to play. They wanted to kiss.

After the assessments were complete, Annie's custody was signed over to The Sula Foundation. But by then, Ken had already returned to New Orleans, so the question became how to get her safely to our custody, and this was complicated by the fact that, for security reasons, we still didn't want anyone to know where these dogs were being kept. No funds were available for vaccines or spay/neuter surgeries during the six weeks the dogs were held. And an intact dog without vaccines is at the bottom of the priority list for most dog transport operations.

Fortunately, a number of people stepped up to help with the top secret transport. (Thank you to: Lori Leonhardt of Catahoula United Rescue Society; Sandy Ray of Pryor Animal League; Shelley Seitz; Bill and Linda Wissen; Broad Street Bakery; Ed Fritz and Patty Meehan). Annie left her first location on Friday evening, made her way to Little Rock on Saturday morning, then onto Memphis, Winona and Jackson, where Ken picked up the end of her trip. She arrived in New Orleans on Saturday, August 22nd, at midnight. We're looking forward to introducing Annie to everyone at an upcoming event, but first we're going to give her time to get used to sleeping in a dog bed, eating decent food, and just being a regular dog.

But she also has some additional hurdles to face. Nearly all of the dogs in Oklahoma had terrible teeth. One had no teeth at all. Even the younger dogs had severe tartar or, in at least one case, a purple tinge to the enamel of the teeth. Annie, unfortunately, is no exception. We've discovered that at least five of her teeth are fractured and need to be extracted.

Our little Annie is holding together well, considering all these changes. On her way uptown to her spay appointment, she sat upright, craning her neck to check out all the mansions as we passed. Yes, she's looking forward to a good home.

If you'd like to help support Annie and our other activities, please consider making a donation or contact us at

UPDATE: Take a look at an almost unrecognizably happy Annie on her shopping trip.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Treating dogs as individuals

A funny thing happened on our way to dinner with some folks from Bad Rap and Animal Farm Foundation last week. First, Donna Reynolds, the wonderful co-founder of Bad Rap, had to cancel in order to head from their home-base in Oakland to the middle of the country to evaluate a group of dogs that were part of the enormous multiple-state dogfighting bust that took place earlier this summer. Previously, The Sula Foundation joined Bad Rap in urging the Humane Society of the United States to reverse their policy of euthanizing all "bust" dogs without evaluation.

The largest group of dogs from this recent bust are being held in St. Louis with the Humane Society of Missouri. The Sula Foundation has reached out to them several times in the past month offering our volunteer support to come up and help clean kennels or take custody of a dog or two once they have been released and passed their evaluations. But, as often happens in the rescue world, we're still waiting to hear back. So, in a Freaky Friday sort of twist, Sula-founder Ken Foster took Donna's place, and met with Bad Rap co-founder Tim Racer at a still-undisclosed location to meet and assess another group of dogs that are part of this same expanding federal case.

We can't give all the details just yet. But we can throw out a few adjectives: Moving. Intense. Emotional. Rewarding. (You can read a bit more over at the Bad Rap blog.)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Meg!

Our friend Meg Lousteau is celebrating her birthday this week and she's asked her friends and family to donate to her favorite charities--including The Sula Foundation--instead of gifts. What a great, painless way to raise money! Money raised from Meg's friends will go toward our upcoming low-cost vaccination days, free spay/neuter and other efforts to help keep dogs off the streets. Thanks Meg! And Happy Birthday!!

Here's a great video of Meg's dogs waking up a houseguest: