Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Feline Rescue shelter forms alliance with RLRR

Red Lake Rosie’s Rescue has a new alliance with Feline Rescue in St. Paul. Several people volunteer for both organizations and wanted to find a way to work together.

The Feline Rescue foster system has already been taking in mama cats and kittens from Red Lake for a couple of years and now the shelter is involved, too. The shelter has generously offered to keep two spots open at the shelter for Red Lake cats. When those cats are placed, more Red Lake cats fill those places.

So far everyone has been very pleased with the results. The first six Red Lake cats to come to the Feline Rescue shelter have been very friendly and were placed in new homes almost immediately after completing their mandatory time in isolation.

Following is a post I wrote for the Feline Rescue blog about the foster mama cat and kittens from RLRR living at my house.

This group of kittens should be ready to go to their new homes at the end of April, but if you'd like to meet them now to adopt in advance that would be fine ;-)

DUCHESS ROUNDI was surprised to get a pregnant mama cat in January, but when Duchess arrived there was no doubt about her condition. She is a lovely calm black cat with a very sleek shiny coat. She is rather tall and slender, but had a round, hard belly that looked ready to pop. She is polydactyl and the extra toe on each front foot gives her a cute mitten paw. Duchess has a small angular head with almond-shaped green eyes and LOVES attention.

DUCHESS SLEEKI watched and waited for two long weeks until, finally, on Sunday, January 24, the day of the big Vikings playoff game, she started to have her kittens. I thought I might miss the game, but she finished up before the kick-off. In honor of that auspicious beginning, the five kittens were named for Vikings players.

ADRIAN IS THE ONLY BLACK KITTENAdrian is a female and looks just like her mom: small with shiny black fur and extra toes. She is adventurous and full of spunk, but she'll slow down to cuddle. I think she might be her mom's favorite, so it would be nice if they found a home together. She got her name because she had trouble finding and hanging on to mom's nipple when she was newborn...

BRETT IS A TOMBOYBrett is the other female. Born as #4, she started out as one of the smaller kittens, but she is big now. She has fluffy thick gray fur with lots of narrow stripes.She is smart and a leader. She always wants to wrestle with the boys.

SIDNEY BEARS A BULLSEYESidney is a gray fluffy male, but instead of stripes, he has circular swirls in his fur -- a real bullseye on each side. He is also very adventurous, but loving. The gray kittens mix and match all the time for play pals.

JEROD IS A MELLOW FELLOWJerod as a newborn kitten grabbed onto a nipple and wouldn't let go. Probably explains why he has been the biggest and mellowest kitten ever since. No extra toes for him, just stripes on his round belly.

RYAN'S GOT MITTEN FEETRyan does have the extra toes on his front feet; I'm not sure that would help for kicking. He is fluffy gray with stripes and loves to play or cuddle depending on his mood.

SMACK-DOWNReady for some fun? A little football in the off-season? Call 651-230-3263, if you are interested in learning more about this family.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sarah Beth's first visit to Red Lake Rosie's Rescue


*Please note: everything written here is from what I witnessed, heard at the clinic, and found online. If any of my facts are incorrect, please let me know and I’ll correct it immediately. This is a long post, so hang onto your pants.

As many of you know, I had the opportunity earlier this month to travel up to Red Lake, MN. Animal Ark and Akin Hills Pet Hospital are putting on multiple spay/neuter/vaccination clinics throughout the year for the reservation, and I tagged along on this one to do a photo project. The more I’d hear about Red Lake and the work that Karen is doing up there, the more I wanted to see for myself, and document it for myself and others.

SARAH AND A NEW FRIENDI grew up just an hour and a half from Red Lake, and knew nothing about it. Our schools never taught us about the Native people around us, or their current way of life. The reservation is roughly the size of Rhode Island, and is home to only about 11,000 people. Over 40% of the population lives at or below the poverty line, and there is reportedly a 70% unemployment rate. They are the most impoverished nation in Minnesota and have a high crime rate. Chemical dependence and mental illness are very common, as is animal abuse and neglect. Most dogs are left outdoors to fend for themselves, scavenging, breeding, forming packs. Many who come to RLRR suffer from starvation, disease or injury.

In 2005, national news covered a high school shooting in Red Lake, the teen killing 9 people and them himself. A teacher at the school, Karen Good, had had enough of the violence that she saw toward both people and animals amongst her nation, and shortly after that, Red Lake Rosie’s Rescue was born. Since then, they have rescued over 2,000 animals with help from volunteers, Twin Cities shelters and vets, grants and donations.

I didn’t know what to expect when we arrived. It was a very foggy late afternoon, giving the already run-down community a palpable sense of sadness and foreboding. We saw many dogs along the side of the road, looking for food or standing sentinel at the edge of their driveways. It was hard not to stop and pick them all up. There were a dozen or more dead ones in the ditches.

The clinic was held in a warehouse that is used to manufacture homes. They were very gracious to allow the clinic the use of their building. The clinic was well put-together, with each volunteer having a specific job. All the animals got a kennel and a number, with their paperwork on top to keep track of everyone. There is a limit to how many animals they can take in one day; about 50 neuters, 25 spays, plus some additional just there for vaccinations. The spays were performed inside the Animal Ark’s Neuter Commuter, a mobile surgical station. The neuters were performed on a table in the warehouse. I’m pretty squeamish about anything bloody or medically related, but was surprised at how simple and tidy everything is. I saw a uterus and some testicles being removed, and it’s really not that gross. Not something I’d want to do myself, but not hard to watch either.

Some of the animals came in with injuries, which the vets took care of as best they could. Some had to come back to the cities for x-rays or additional care. Owners need to agree to surrender their animals before any are taken off the reservation, which can sometimes be a hard sell. I’m happy to say that most people do the right thing and let their dog or cat go to get the care it needs. Many dogs had mange, were malnourished, and two puppies had parvo. It’s not to say that *all* the dogs were in such rough shape, many came in that were clearly loved and well cared-for, and that was wonderful to see. The cats seemed well-cared for, as I’m sure most of them live indoors.

Many of the dogs up there are some mixture of Lab, Shepherd, Rottweiler, Chow and Pitbull. It was interesting to see some different breeds come through…. there were a couple of Pugs, some little Yorkie-looking mixes, and Poodle mixes.

One thing I was really looking forward to, was going out to Karen’s facility and seeing for myself what it’s all about. It’s quite a ways from the town, very isolated in the woods and marsh. Driving out there, it feels so wild, like civilization hasn’t touched the land. There’s a point where the electrical lines stop. There’s no cell service, and miles between houses. It’s definitely an eerie feeling.

For as foggy and dreary it had been the past couple days, I was happy to see the sun come out at Karen’s. It was symbolic, really. What she’s doing really is a light in the darkness. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true. Again, I didn’t know what to expect at her facility, and was impressed with what they have and what they’re doing. There’s a cat house that used to be Karen’s actual house, and some great shelters built for the dogs. They are built up on cement slabs to get them off the ground, with both and indoor and outdoor enclosure for each. For dogs who are lucky enough to find Karen in the dead of winter, this must be heaven.

There are a few resident dogs that live at the rescue, with no intention of leaving. They live outside, and would be miserable indoors. This is what they know, and they have a place to keep warm, someone to give them food and water, and they are definitely very happy. And they’re no dummies…. one of the girls likes to set up camp right next to the dryer vent at the cat house :)

KAREN AND THE TEDDY BEAR PUPI heard from some volunteers that they’ve seen an amazing improvement in the past couple of years from doing these clinics. More people are becoming aware of the need for spaying/neutering, and getting their pets vaccinated. They’ve seen a dramatic decrease in the number of dead dogs found along the roads. One volunteer said this was the first time he’s heard people say “Thank you” and remark on the great job the vets and volunteers are doing. It gives me hope that things can change, that with education and awareness, that the good will spread. Karen is a remarkable woman, and I hope she can continue to grow and support her rescue for years to come.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Dog stories beyond the March clinic

FLUFFY SHEP PUPS WENT TO ANIMAL ARKOftentimes, the clinic vets, techs, rescues, and volunteers end up taking animals surrendered at the clinic back with them for continued care, rescue placement or adoption. This clinic was no exception. I thought you'd like to meet a few of those dogs and the stories I got from the people who were there.

Karen: On the last day of the clinic, Polly brought in this little small breed dog that she found on the highway with some larger dogs after it. She saved the little guy and brought him to the clinic.

Volunteer: Igor had damage to one eye and Dr Roni thought the eye had ruptured for whatever reason. No one claimed the dog and no one stepped up to take on the care of this dog, so who do you think he went home with? Dr Roni! Yay!! Thank you for taking on the care for this poor soul!

Dr. Roni did surgery on Monday, removing his right eye, neutering him, removing a dewclaw, and retained deciduous teeth. As of this morning you would never know he had been through all that. He is bouncing around like nothing happened. He is a very sparkly little character!

Karen: I got a call late one night that a dog had strayed into a yard and was having puppies. It was very cold and the next day when I went to get them, all the pups were frozen solid except one -- a little male I named Ashley. I named the juvenile shepherd mom Aiden and took the two to the shelter where they stayed until the clinic. Animal Ark took the little pair with them when they left and Aiden is receiving heartworm treatment.

Volunteer: Aiden is incredibly sweet and happy and wagged her tail anytime anyone came near her during the clinic. She got loose one night at the clinic and you should have seen her beeline right into Karen's lap!

Volunteer: Special Ed's family brought 2 other dogs in and when a volunteer was helping them get the dogs out of the car, the volunteer asked about the pup. The owners said nah, he's too young and the other dogs had just attacked him. They had to talk them into letting him get checked out and neutered. It wasn't until examination that they learned that he had a deformity to his skull.

COCONUT HELMET FOR SPECIAL EDEd had a puncture wound on top of his head and, upon further examination, Dr. Roni discovered he has a soft spot on his head and his skull is separated halfway down his nose. They will be building him a helmet to prevent further injuries--the coconut shell was just a joke :-) Unfortunately he will need to be in a helmet for the rest of his life, but, on the bright side, vet tech Lindsay from Akin Hills Animal Hospital plans to care for him in her own home!


FROM ANIMAL ARK BLOG:So, it seems each trip we make up to Red Lake, we bring back a dog that was injured by being hit by a car. This one seems to be the lucky guy! This young boy was supposedly hit by a truck and was brought in by a 16 year old boy. We originally thought there may be a pelvis fracture or something with his hip . . . couldn't know without x-rays, so we decided we'd bring him back to the shelter and manage his pain in the meantime.

Each day he felt better and seemed to be using his back legs more. When we returned, and were unloading the Neuter Commuter, we found him in the drivers seat waiting for yet another trip? Dr's are thinking he had a deep muscle bruise or bone bruise, but he seems to be recovering well! We'll monitor him over the next few days, but it appears that he will be ready to find a new home once he is neutered and all health concerns are tended to! I call him "My Guy" - but he'll have a real name soon!


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Rest in Peace, Romi.

I originally named this dog Romeo because it was such a little lover, all kissy and sweet. We changed the named to Romi when we found out it was a girl. She was brought in with an injury and we knew it was a broken leg or pelvis. She kept trying to stand and I was able to get a photo of her standing before she slid down again. She went to Act V Rescue & Rehabilitation.

Rescue work does not always turn out the way we hoped it would. I have news about Romi, the little black and white border collie that was surrendered, and I knew you would want to know.

I x-rayed Romi on Monday and consulted with a surgical specialist. She had an old shattered femur in her left leg that was no longer fixable. Her pelvis was broken also. The problem in her right hip socket was a fracture. Her left leg would have had to be amputated and the right leg hip would have had terrible arthritis within a year. She also had a jaw fracture and broken teeth.

The decision was hard but we did euthanize her Monday night. It was especially difficult because she was so sweet. She had a nice night at my house, all warm and plenty of food. I'm sorry we could not help her. The surgeon agreed it would be the humane thing to do also.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Cassidy & Choctaw: parvo pups survive

Two darling black pups came into the clinic and were named Cassidy and Choctaw. Unfortunately, one and then the other came down with parvovirus. They were lucky to have access to care, because without immediate treatment (and sometimes even with it) a puppy can die within a couple of days.

These two spent a week fighting for their lives, and thanks to the great care of the vets and Kristen, a volunteer, they are bouncing back to health.

Cassidy and Choctaw both survived! Their stools are great and they are romping, eating, and well.

I took them out of the cages and put them in a straw filled outdoor kennel and they love it!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Tales of three dogs

Red Lake dogs come in all shapes and sizes from all kinds of situations.

This tiny pup was found at the dump with his head stuck in a can -- no doubt trying to get food. The family who found him, took him home, fed him some meat from a pork chop and that's how he got his name. He was brought into the clinic, neutered and bathed, and went home with the family.

This dog is apparently a Shar Pei mix and was the runt of her litter, but is a runt no more. She was unspayed until this clinic and had had a number of litters. The owner explained that she got her name because she was always fiesty around food and very diligent about fending off other dogs from her pups.

Recently, the dog was out on the front porch and some guys came to rob the place armed with hatchets. They swung at the dog, but she fought them off and they went away.

According to Karen, this 16-year-old shepherd belongs to a family in Red Lake. His leg injury was an old injury that keeps flaring up. The family that has Duke cares very much for him.

The photos and stories of these dogs touched me. I'm so glad their owners all cared enough about them to bring them to the clinic. I know our mission at Red Lake Rosie's Rescue is making a difference for these and so many other animals. Thanks again to every person who helps to make the clinics and the daily work of the rescue possible.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Story in photos

This poor, miserable, dirty, matted dog was an owner surrender at the March clinic - his name was Petey. The owner said she worked full time and, because he wouldn't stay close to the house like her other dogs, she worried about him getting hit by a car.

He was brought back to Animal Ark, re-named Carlos and was adopted within 3 days! A very lucky dog!

TA-DA!!We are always grateful to have volunteers with grooming experience at the clinics!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

March Clinic: 200 spay/neuter surgeries in 3 days

BAT DOGVets Perform 200 Spay/Neuter Surgeries in 3 Days During Huge Animal Care Clinic

March 17, 12:35 AM
Minneapolis Pets Examiner
Mike Fry

CLINIC SCENEThree days, two veterinarians, a mobile surgical hospital called "the Neuter Commuter" and a couple of dozen volunteers resulted in about 200 spay/neuter surgeries for animals on the Red Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota last week. The effort was one of a series of clinics being coordinated in order to help the poverty-stricken community address dire animal welfare concerns.

MESSY PUPS“When people live in poverty, the people and their animals suffer,” said Mary Salter of Animal Ark, one of the coordinators of the project.

KEVIN & KARENBy anyone’s measure, the residents of the Red Lake Reservation are some of the most impoverished in the state of Minnesota. The per capita income there was estimated at just over $8,000 in 1999. All of the conditions that come with poverty are rampant on the reservation including violence, drugs and crime.

CEDAR & TOPAZIn 1863 the Pembina and Red Lake Bands of Ojibwa Native Americans signed the Treaty of Old Crossing. This ensured their sovereignty on their land. It also made them some of the most isolated humans in Minnesota.

VOLUNTEER ELLEN“When we first started visiting the reservation a few years ago,” said Salter, “the situation was pretty dire.”

ONE OF THE GIGANTIC PUPSPacks of feral dogs roaming the fields and dead dogs and cats along the road were commonplace. However, after a few years of hard work and several spay/neuter clinics in which hundreds of animals have been sterilized, people are starting to see improvements.

CATS POST SURGERY“Things are clearly changing up there,” added Salter.

KAREN & DIANEAccording to some volunteers, residents of the reservation now look forward to the clinics and begin lining up for services hours before they are open in the morning.

MAGGIE & PUP“We open the gates at 8 AM. But, there are usually people lining up starting by 6:30,” Salter said.

AKIN SURGERYThe days were long, generally running well into the evening hours. In addition to spay/neuter surgeries, staff and volunteers from Animal Ark and Akin Hills Pet Hospital in Farmington handled a variety of emergency situations - a dog that had been hit by a car - a mother dog with hypothermic puppies. They also provided needed vaccinations, ear cleanings, nail-trimmings and other services.

CRYSTAL'S TRANSPORTDogs and cats that required more medical care than could be provided during the 3 day clinic were taken back to the Twin Cities where Animal Ark and Akin Hill Pet Hospital are providing the care they need. Once they are recovered, they will be available for adoption.

MELVIN & KEVINThe animals on the reservation live in a very communal environment and tend to be very well socialized to people and other animals.

BREAK TIMEThree more clinics are scheduled for this year. Volunteers and donations are needed. If you would like to help, visit the Animal Ark web site.

BEAR PUPWatch the Red Lake Rosie's Rescue blog and website for more information, too.


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