A Very Happy Thank You!
Most of our Happy Tails (like those below) tell the stories of cats and dogs that found happy homes, sometimes against great odds. This one's a little different. It's a big, happy THANK YOU to the students and faculty at Tacoma's Charles Wright Academy.
When we first received an email from Samantha Harris, Charles Wright's middle-school librarian, telling us they had boxes of Snuggles to send for our animals, we weren't sure they really intended the cuddly blankets for us. HAVA's territory is several hours from Tacoma. But Sam Harris said they fondly recalled the Westport Jetty Cats and thought of us.
Soon, two big boxes of cat-sized, kitten-sized, and small-dog sized comforters arrived -- and you can see how much HAVA's foster cats are going to enjoy them. Here are just a few of the ways. The Snuggles will go to foster homes that care for cats. When we need to transport an animal, a Snuggle will make the ride more pleasant. Sick animals will have nice, soft beds. And once we get the mobile adoption van we hope for, the handmade Charles Wright Snuggles will not only make the van's animals comfortable, but will help create a bright, cheery image to encourage potential adoptors.
So THANK YOU to everybody at the Charles Wright Academy who so kindly gave their time to make Snuggles. Meows and happy barks from HAVA critters.
From Dumped to Adored
On the subfreezing night of December 30, children in a Raymond neighborhood heard a puppy's plaintive cries. They looked outside, and there she was -- a lone pup about 10 weeks old. These good kids and their family took her in overnight and the next day went door-to-door looking someone who might have lost her.
Finding no owner and unable to keep her themselves, the children brought her to Vetters Animal Hospital where, at that moment, a group of HAVA volunteers happened to be assembled. One, who lived in the same neighborhood, took the baby home and put up "found dog" posters. But still nobody claimed the sweet young girl, who was now called Cassie.
A few weeks earlier, an entire litter of pups very much like Cassie had been dumped by a roadside in another part of town. Our best guess is that the people who did that first decided to keep this one pup -- then changed their minds and dumped her, too, on one of the coldest evenings of the year. If so, we can be grateful at least that they left her in a populated area and very good people found her.
Cassie turned out to be a gem. She possessed a rare combination of a calm, laid-back personality with an active intelligence. It also helped that she was quite the cutie. Inquiries poured in. But the very first people who applied turned out to be Cassie's perfect match. Kyle and Lee, a young couple from Seattle, were first-time dog adopters. But they had both grown up in dog-loving families and had done their homework. They knew exactly what they wanted in a puppy and they found it in Cassie.
They made the long trip to Raymond to meet her, then came back on a snowy night to take her home. That night, Cassie raced into their arms the moment they arrived.
A few weeks later they wrote:
We named her "Kona," and to be honest -- things have been wonderful right from the start. She slept through the night starting on night #1 (!!) and has been such a sweet-tempered wonderful little girl. She goes through periods of high energy (usually at about 6:30am and then again around 9:30pm - good timing!!) but other than that has been very even keeled and gentle. She knows her place to go potty in the yard ... she has had a few accidents but nothing that is causing us any worry at all. Her favorite toys are definitely the ones that squeak, and she loves rawhide bones!
She is learning how to walk on a leash and is doing great. She caught on RIGHT AWAY to "sit" and "stay" - which has been a huge relief to us in case we ever need her to just stop in her tracks for any reason!
She got her first bath today at a local place that provides everything you would need to bathe a dog...it wasn't her favorite activity but they had plenty of treats so it wasn't torture.
As I write this, she is happily playing with a toy on the carpet while our cat watches her intently :)
Scarlet and her Pups:
A Holiday Happy Tail
On a stormy evening in late October, Leslie -- a dedicated HAVA volunteer and board member -- got the call that would forever change the fate of one very sweet little dog.
A concerned lady called the HAVA hot line to report that a near-starving Chihuahua-mix was living under the vacant Seaport Lumber building at the Port of Willapa. The caller explained that the little dog had been living under the building with another small black dog for at least two months. The lady and her husband had been bringing food to them but were unable to befriend and catch them. Now the weather was turning cold. They were worried. Besides, the skinny little dog had started limping, then hadn't been seen in several days.
Distressed by the news, Leslie went out into the stormy night in her PJs to see if she could help the poor, starving pups. When she got there there was no sign of them. Nearby residents reported that they had also seen the dogs and sometimes fed them. But as with the helpful lady caller, they were unable to catch them.
Over the next several days, Leslie spent hours putting out food and watching for the dogs. Finally, she spotted them; baited by the smell of fresh-roasted chicken, they came out to eat. One was a portly long hair black dog that, according to local business owners, had been living under the building for three years. The other, a red and brown- speckled Chihuahua mix, was limping on three legs. Even at a distance, her back bone was clearly visible.
Leslie noticed something else as she observed her. Her belly was quite large; is it possible she was pregnant? She took pictures and patiently waited, trying to gain their confidence. But they were too leery and ran under the building each time she tried to get close.
Leslie alerted the rest of the HAVA board members to see if anyone could figure out how to help this poor girl and her mate. HAVA volunteer and Master trapper Keith McDonald was called upon to put his trapping skills to the test. He had never trapped dogs before, but they were small enough to fit into live-traps designed for cats, so he gave it a shot. The little black male was too clever to go near the trap, especially since he was not hungry; he had been taking the lion's share of the handouts. But little Scarlet, as we later called her, was desperate for food. She quickly ran into the trap. When she was safely caught, Keith transported her to Vetters Animal Hospital for care.
The ladies at the office were unsure how to handle this small wonder. She looked so scared. Would she bite? She looked in pain. How would they get her out of the trap and handle her without hurting her?
Gina Lewis, the vet, finally decided just to open the trap and reach in -- hoping not to lose any fingers. What a surprise; Scarlet crawled out into the veterinarian's arms as if they were old friends.
The doctor could see that the poor girl was limping because a misfitted harness was slicing into the flesh under her left front leg. As soon as she was cut free from the harness, Scarlet began to wag her tail and dance around in appreciation. After an examination, a good bath, and surgery to mend her wounds, Scarlet ate and ate. The clinic staff was amazed that such a small dog, and one that was so pregnant, could put down three bowls of food. Further examination of her blood and x-rays found her to be severely anemic, nearly starving, and pregnant with four pups.
The next day she went home to her new foster family. One of the staff from the clinic who was experienced with welping took her in and made her feel right at home. Just two days later Scarlet gave birth. So it seems she was rescued in the nick of time. If she had delivered those pups alone in the cold in her weakened condition, surely none of them would have survived.
A month later, Scarlet and her pups are doing great. One of the babies, the smallest and weakest, died shortly after birth, but the other three (two girls and a boy) are growing and thriving. Scarlet is a proud mom and happy to be loved again.
UPDATE 1/25/11: Scarlet and her pups have all been adopted!
Thank you Vetters, Leslie, Tammy, Keith, and unknown helpers!
to the rescue once again!
Long time HAVA
supporters Chris & Roger DeLorm found themselves with an empty
spot in their "kitty hearts". They placed
a call to HAVA "we're looking for a wanna be siamese". Within
days they received a call and made a day trip to Raymond
which resulted in the adoption of Jetty who was born
on the Jetty in Westport. Everyone is delighted
with the outcome..he's been on two camping trips
and is a real prince.
Thank you HAVA and Vetters..The
After the sad death of our beloved dog
Rainey, in March of 2005, I didn't think we'd have another
dog for awhile. Little did I know that within six weeks,
we would become the proud owners of two dogs....... Barkley,
a rambunctious 2 year old Australian Shepherd and Bonnie,
a loving and very needy 7 year old yellow Labrador Retriever.
Acquiring two adult dogs so quickly shouldn't
have surprised me, after all, I am married to the [then] president
of HAVA and our three cats and parrot needed some company.
I must admit, I
do enjoy both Barkley and Bonnie. As mentioned, Barkley
is rambunctious and never stops moving. He's “all boy” as
evidenced by his two encounters with porcupines and one
with a very mean raccoon.
We acquired Barkley from a very nice older
couple in South Bend who just didn't have the space for
such an active dog. We take Barkley over to visit with
his former owners occasionally, I think they miss his outgoing
personality but are glad he goes home with us. As for Bonnie,
you couldn't have a more loving dog. Bonnie was abandoned
on a logging road, found in very poor health and had some
significant medical problems. With the help of Dr. Gina
Lewis, I am pleased to report Bonnie has made a full recovery.
She loves to be petted, travel, be petted,
play with Barkley, be petted, sleep, be petted and finally,
be petted. I have suggested to Laurie we purchase
a mannequin arm and hand to help fulfill Bonnie's overwhelming
desire to be petted. Obviously, we are very pleased and
fortunate to have acquired two very special HAVA adoptees,
and look forward to many years of entertainment, love,
enjoyment and petting.
Submitted by Jerry Bowman
For several months there
was a big, friendly black lab/pit bull "puppy" who
lived in our rural community outside of Westport.
The "puppy" would always come bounding over to the
fence to visit when we were out mowing the "back
wiggling everything from his big nose to his
large tail. We asked around to see who owned him,
and a neighbor told us that he was just a "neighborhood
suspected, however, that the neighbor was the real
owner, even if he was reluctant to admit it.) The
dog was allowed to run loose and was not neutered.
Then last spring
or early summer we notice the dog wasn't around anymore.
We didn't think much of it, but missed seeing him.
In the meantime, our beloved
11-year-old Sheltie passed away from renal failure.
We were devastated, and my husband said he would
never, ever, be able to give his heart to another
dog. The grief was almost unbearable and so we decided
not to ever get another dog.
We decided to drive
over to the Westport docks, 5 miles away, to take
pictures of the Tall Ships that were docked that
weekend. While we were strolling down Dock Street
taking pictures, my husband pointed across the street
to a dog, running frantically up and down the street
like he was looking for something. He said, "Isn't
that the dog that used to live in our neighborhood?" I
said, I couldn't tell because he was so thin.
later I ran into one of my friends who was setting
up her booth and she told me that the dog had been
in town the day before too, running frantically up
and down the street, asking people for food and,
at one point, drinking water from the ocean! He was
being shooed away by everyone, probably because he
was wearing a collar, and was so big. Well, I immediately
went after the dog, moving incredibly fast for an
over-60 woman. When I caught up with him he was so
happy to see me and readily jumped into the back
seat of our car. He was, indeed, our old "neighborhood
dog". I immediately fed him some dog food and water,
which I always carry with me in my car for just such
occasions, and took him home. He was nothing but
ribs and backbone, but still had his friendly, puppy-like
My husband said that
this dog would have to be "my" dog. The neighbors
recognized my 'new' dog and said the man who owned
him had given him away to a little girl who lived
near the docks in Westport a month or two before.
Her family already had a puppy and so kicked this
one out to fend for himself. He apparently was able
to scrounge enough food and water to stay alive during
that time, partly from digging in the earth and eating
He was totally exhausted
and slept on the living room rug for about 10 hours,
after which he ate and drank ravenously. When I let
him outside he sounded like a horse galloping around
the house. I looked out and watched as my very happy
dog was doing something I had never seen a dog do
before. He was running around the exterior perimeter
of the house as fast as he could, ears flying in
the wind, kicking up lawn divots as he went. He went
around 4 times, finally stopping in the backyard
where he tossed his new chew toy into the air playfully
several times before settling down to gnaw away at
it. (My husband now refers to him as "the horse")
since filled out nicely, weighing in at about 85
pounds. I got him neutered and vaccinated and
he is really a happy (and spoiled) fellow. Our friends
and family adore him and he is very content. There
is a lot more to the story, but suffice to say, my
husband and I have both given our hearts to him,
and vice versa.
Ironically, a black
cat that had apparently also been "owned" by this
neighbor, moved into our closed-in porch,
(as many other strays have done over the years) and
never left. He and the dog, having been old friends
and it was a fine reunion with the dog licking the
cat and the cat rubbing up against the dog. "Blackie" as
I not-so-imaginatively called the kitty, is now one
of the family as well, and has a place to sleep indoors
or out, as he wishes, right along with his old buddy.