Today we said goodbye to our Dogma hospice dog, Gertie. We’re not sure exactly how Gertie ended up at a high-kill shelter, but we rescued her the day she was scheduled to be euthanized. Gertie arrived from a Lake County shelter in October. We believed she was a pregnant senior dog, but after waiting a couple weeks for puppies we realized something was wrong. We took her to Northtown Animal Hospital and discovered that Gertie had cancer eating up her body. Her swollen belly wasn’t babies, she was riddled with tumors.
Even though she was sick, all of us could tell that it wasn’t Gertie’s time to go. Tori, my friend and fellow rescuer in the Central Valley, offered to provide a loving foster home for her until the time came to end her suffering. This week Gertie began having seizures that left her confused and afraid. After a series of late night phone calls with Tori discussing the progress of her disease, we decided that we didn’t want Gertie to suffer or experience unnecessary pain.
This morning someone came out to Tori’s house and ended Gertie’s suffering. She will be cremated and returned to her mourning family. In the end she had a wonderful home and was deeply loved. I received this message from Tori today, “Thank you for the immense pleasure it was to be Gertie's Mom. She just fit into our family from the moment she came home. Somehow she knew she was home and accepted the other dogs and a rambunctious toddler without question. We spent the morning together going for a ride, and doing her favorite things - exploring the flowers, eating ice cream and of course a bacon McGriddle.”
The emotional toll of caring for rescue dogs is sometimes unbearable. I am so grateful to Tori for bringing Gertie into her family and helping her live out her days with dignity. Gertie knew she was loved and spent the last six months of her life being treated like a princess. Tori changed her life and gave her the best ending a dog could ever hope for. Please hold Tori in your thoughts today as she mourns the loss of her sweet Gertie. I honestly couldn’t be more honored to call her my friend, and I will always remember her commitment to our Gertie.
Gertie's medical expense and care were sponsored by our Senior Dogma Program.
Sometimes rescuing animals is the most frustrating thing in the world, but then other times things come together and produce amazing results. This week is the one year anniversary of Operation Leave No Dog Behind, a mass rescue effort by Rocket Dog Rescue and Dogma Animal Rescue in Fresno, California. 106 dogs and puppies were removed from a residence and transferred to Dogma and Rocket Dog. We spent days documenting, photographing, microchipping, vaccinating, worming, and defleaing each animal. Rocket Dog was an amazing group of people to work with and we learned so many things watching their operation.
Earlier this week we were contacted by K911 Cat Rescue president, Kathy Cabrera, asking for help with an injured puppy. Someone was trying to surrender her to a rescue and since they only work with cats they reached out to us. After learning more about the situation, we discovered that the injured puppy was in a home with thirteen other dogs. As a seasoned rescue person, my thoughts immediately jumped to, “how can I get these animals altered and prevent this from getting out of hand?” Luckily, our Dogma network of volunteers spreads far and wide, like a grizzled-old buzzard warming his wings in the morning sun.
Our East Bay go-to gal, Kathleen Ellis, contacted Erin Pina and Kristy Keusch from Furry Friends Food Relief, a pet food pantry that also does low and no-cost vaccines, deworming, microchipping and operates a no-cost spay/neuter program. Together we figured out a way to accomplish all of our objectives. Dogma offered to take the mama dog and puppies with the condition that the other animals all be altered. Furry Friends offered to alter the remaining animals through their no-cost alteration program. They are all getting altered this week.
Today Kathleen represented us and joined Furry Friends at the residence. They vaccinated and dewormed all the dogs in the household. The puppy with the injury turned out to have an amputated foot, due to her mother cleaning her too hard at birth. She also had four siblings, all around 6 weeks old. Mama dog, Oreo, developed Eclampsia soon after giving birth and was unable to nurse the puppies but there was a lactating female in the home who became a surrogate mom to them. Eclampsia is caused by a severe lack of calcium in the mother rendering her unable to nurse and can be fatal. After Kathleen was finished vaccinating and deworming dogs, she drove Oreo and her litter to Santa Rosa. The injured pup is considerably smaller and weaker than the rest, so she’s in a separate foster home getting lots of TLC. She goes to the vet Monday morning. The rest of the litter and Oreo are in foster homes.
The greater point of my evening rant is this: Saving animals is always a team effort! Three rescue organizations, many individuals, one pet owner, and fourteen animals all ended the day in a better place. When I’m in the middle of a frustrating rescue day, this is the kind if stuff I try to remember.
Check out the link below to listen to me being interviewed by KSRO morning hosts Pat Kerrigan and Larry Olsen. We discuss our new programs for 2017!
I’ve been keeping a secret and it’s time to let the puppy out of the bag. Meet Piper, an adorable 5 month old Boxer mix puppy. She and her littermates joined Dogma Animal Rescue this past fall when they were just tiny pups. Piper is an active, playful, loving puppy whose favorite activity is playing with other dogs, people and toys. Looking at her one would assume she is the picture of health. The reality is her kidneys didn’t develop properly and she will pass away from kidney failure in 2017.
At first I didn’t know what to do with this girl. Her kidney issues cause her to urinate a lot and she drinks a ton of water, other than that she’s a normal dog. We inquired about a possible kidney transplant at UC Davis but our veterinarian told us that wasn’t really an option. During the month of December I kept Piper’s story quiet and only told people close to me. Sick puppies are not really a festive subject. Now that January is here I’ll share my secret…I have a new puppy and her name is Piper!
Piper started attending day care at K9 Activity Club and Lodge this past week and had a marvelous time. The staff are all aware of her special needs and dote on her like she’s a princess. Next up we start training classes. I know our time is short, but I can’t spend that time worrying about when her story might end. My priority is filling up the space between her beginning and ending. Piper’s story still needs to be written.
For now we get to enjoy all the fun experiences of having a puppy. First name tag, car rides, trips to visit friends, walks at the ocean and along our amazing county walking trails. Normal things that form bonds between human and pet.
I promised her that she was going to have an amazing life with me. Let the journey begin.
It’s the first day of a brand new year and what better way to celebrate than to write a post for our new blog, The Dogma Blogma. 2016 is now officially over, congratulations…you made it! This past year we successfully matched over 350 dogs and puppies with loving families. Our efforts would not have been possible without the dedicated efforts of many, many people. Our foster network is made up of a wonderful group of people. Thank you, everyone, for your hard work this year. You are the backbone of our rescue and I am constantly amazing by your fortitude and grace.
Another reason we were able to save so many animals is because of our financial donors. Thank you all for believing in our mission and supporting our cause. There are a good handful of consistent people that step up when I make the decision to pull a badly injured dog. Friends, we’ve saved a ton of dogs this year. It’s up to us to help these unwanted animals. No one else is going to do it. Even today, the last day of 2016, I pulled a 4 month old, male, pit puppy with two deformed front legs. No one is going to take an injured black pit pull puppy on New Year's eve. We saved his life.
Plese keep sharing our work with your family and friends. We continue to need your support.
We have some changes heading into 2017 that should make the rescue run a little smoother. When we started in 2013, I did everything. Now that we’re in our fourth year I realize we simply need more people. Meredith is going to begin reviewing adoption emails and applications; Anya is going to respond to foster inquiries; Jo will continue handling the donation program; Dawn continues to be our crafty expert, and also registers all the microchips; and Kathleen is joining us as our fundraising coordinator. Hopefully this will allow me to focus more time actually rescuing animals!
I’ve heard so many people say what an awful year 2016 has been. Granted, I was disappointed on election night and tons of my childhood icons died throughout the year. But, all things considered it’s been a great year for the rescue. Dogma had one Parvo outbreak in January and we went the rest of the year Parvo-free. We had no Distemper, unlike 2015, when we lost 13 puppies and two mama dogs. We had our share of loss, of course, but the devastation of deadly diseases eluded us. We are grateful and hopeful that this trend will continue.
My wish for everybody this year is to focus on what makes you happy. As someone who spent the better part of George W. Bush’s presidency depressed and miserable, I can tell you that obsessing over politics will do no good. Find something you love and surround yourself with that.
Love dogs? Foster a dog, come work an adoption event, volunteer at a local shelter, there are so many ways to help. Like sewing? Volunteer at the Josie Memorial Pet Project making much needed supplies for shelter and rescue animals in need. Have some free time? Check out Pets are Loving Support (PALS). They not only help AIDS patients pay veterinary bills, but also have volunteers that walk dogs, clean litter boxes, deliver dog or cat food to needy pets, and transport animals to vet appointments.
I wish you and your families the absolute best in the coming year. Thank you for being a part of our rescue family. Remember, it's up to each of us to find our passion. I hope you find yours in 2017.
Want to learn more about The Josie Memorial Pet Project or PALS? Check out their websites.
Our founder, Dogma Duane, is a passionate animal rescuer. He is now in his seventh year rescuing animals and his fourth year running Dogma Animal Rescue. Duane is a graduate of Sonoma State University, where he received a bachelor's degree in history with a minor in Latin America studies; and is a graduate of the American Bar Association-approved Paralegal Studies program at San Francisco State University.