Friday, August 21, 2009
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.
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UPDATE: Take a look at an almost unrecognizably happy Annie on her shopping trip.