Thursday, July 22, 2010

I want to quit....

A fellow rescuer posted this on facebook -- changed the breed to be AKITA so you'd all get the drift of what its like to do Akita Rescue -- could not have said it better myself, so hats off to this author --


*I want to quit!*
My health is bad. There are days I feel so terrible that I can barely move. My phone bills are outrageous, and I could have replaced my van with the funds I have spent these last 30 years---on animals that were not my own.

*I want to quit!*
I spend hours and hours emailing about dogs. There may be 500 messages when I start--and at 4 AM, when I finally shut down the computer, there are still 500 emails to be read.

*I want to quit!*
Gosh, I haven't the time left to email my friends. I can't remember the last book I read, and I gave up my subscription to my local newspaper---I used to enjoy reading it, cover to cover, but now it often ends up in the bottom of the squirrel's cage---unread.

*I want to quit!*
I've spent days emailing what seems like everyone---trying to find a foster home, help for a dog languishing in a shelter---but his time has run out, and the shelter has had to euthanize to make room for the next sad soul.

*I want to quit!*
I swear, I walk away from my computer to stretch my legs---let the dogs out---and come back to find another dog in desperate need. There are times I really dread checking my email. How will I find the funds, the help, to save yet another dog?

*I want to quit!*
I save one dog, and two more take its place. Now an owner who doesn't
want his dog---it won't stay in his unfenced yard. An intact male wanders... This bitch got pregnant by a stray... This 3-month-old pup killed baby chicks... The dog got too big... This person's moving and needs to give up his pet. I ask you, friends---what town, what city, what state doesn't allow you to own a pet?

*I want to quit!*
I just received another picture, another sad soul with tormented eyes that peer out of a malnourished body. I hear whimpering in my sleep, have nightmares for days...

*I want to quit!*
I just got off the phone. "Are you *Akita* Rescue? We want to adopt a male to breed to our female." How many times do I have to explain? I have tried to explain about genetics, about health and pedigrees. I explain that rescue NEUTERS! I usually end up sobbing, as I explain about the vast numbers of animals dying in shelters across the country, as I describe the condition many of these animals are found in. I wonder if they really heard me...

*I want to quit!*
It is not like I don't have enough rescues of my own to worry about---but others have placed dogs improperly and aren't there to advise the new owners.

*I want to quit!*
I have trusted the wrong people--- had faith and heart broken...

*I want to quit! AND THEN...*
My dog, lays his head in my lap, he comforts me with his gentle presence---and the thought of his cousins suffering stirs my heart.

*I want to quit! AND THEN...*
One of those 500 emails is from an adopter. They are thanking me for the most wonderful dog on earth---they cannot imagine life without their friend---their life is changed, and they are so grateful.

*I want to quit! AND THEN...*
One of my adopted Rescues has visited a nursing home. A patient that has spent the last few years unable to communicate, not connecting---Lifts his hand to pat the huge head in his lap, softly speaks his first words in ages--- to this gentle furchild.

*I want to quit! AND THEN...*
A Good Samaritan has found and vetted a lost baby, "I can't keep him, but I'll take care of him until you find his forever home."

*I want to quit! AND THEN...*
"Jamie took his first steps holding on to our Akita."
"Joan, you should see this dog nursing this hurt kitten!"
“I was so sick, and this dog never left my side..."

*I want to quit! AND THEN...*
I get an email from a fellow rescuer, "Haven't heard from you in a while---you OK? You know I think of you..."

*AND THEN... *
A dozen rescuers step up to help, to transport, to pull, and to offer encouragement. I have friends I have never seen, but we share tears, joys, and everything in between. I am not alone. I am blessed with family of the heart, my fellow Rescuers.

Just days ago it was a friend who shared her wit and wisdom, whose late night email lifted my heart. Sometimes it is friends who only have time to forward you a smile. Often, it is my friends who forward me the notices of dogs in need.

There are Rescuers who see a failing transport and do everything they can do find folks to pull it together for you. Rescuers who'll overnight or foster your dog while you seek transport. There are Rescuers not used to or comfortable with your breed, but who put aside their discomfort to help. There are Rescuers whose words play the music of our hearts. Foster homes that love your Rescue, and help to make them whole again---body and spirit. Foster homes that fit your baby in, though it may not be their breed. Rescuers whose talents and determination give us tools to help us. Rescuers we call on for help in a thousand ways, who answer us, who hear our pleas. Rescuers who are our family, our strength, our comrades in battle.

I know I cannot save every dog in need. I know my efforts are a mere drop in a sea. I know that if I take on just one more---those I have will suffer.

*I want to quit! But I won't. *
When I feel overwhelmed, I'll stroke my dog's head while reading my fellow Rescuers' emails. I'll cry with them, I'll laugh with them---and they will help me find the strength to go on.

*I want to quit! But not today.*
There's another email, another dog needing Rescue.

This piece is dedicated, with love and gratitude, to all my fellow Rescuers.

The author is unknown

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Lets pretend for a moment that you are about to write a fictional story about an abused & neglected Akita -- so you have to come up some of the saddest situations you can imagine. So for the sake of your fictional story, just imagine a family decided one day not to feed their Akita anymore. Then imagine they let their Akita become infested with fleas & ticks to the point that the Akita has lost its plush fur and instead was covered in scabs & infections. Imagine again the family this Akita would defend with its life, that it still trusts totally, takes the Akita for a ride into one of the most dangerous cities in the USA today, then opens the car door without stopping & throws the Akita's emaciated body out onto the hot pavement. Heartbreaking fiction, right? Sad sad details guaranteed to make the public cry real tears!!

No need to imagine fiction, as this is Samurai's factual story.

Samurai was given a special name by the animal control officer who found this Akita under an abandoned car, fighting to stay alive with his will. Samurai had collapsed during the heat wave after he was thrown from that moving car. He had not eaten, or had water in 3 days. A citizen noticed Samurai's body laying motionless under the car and called for help. Samurai was taken to the vet hospital where he remained for 2 weeks until he was well enough to be released into the warm rescue arms of ARWNY.

Here are Joann Dimon's impressions after taking Sam to her home to foster:

"Upon meeting this approx. 18 month old male Akita I was taken aback, not so much at his appearance but the manner in which he greeted me. This big boy's fur-less tail never stopped wagging because Sam never stopped loving people despite what his owners had done to him. He has never met anyone of any age that he is not overjoyed to see. Samurai passed all of his temperament tests with flying colors and it does not stop there. Sam enjoys the company of female dogs & cats. He is housebroken, but does need leash work which we are working on now with steady improvement. Samurai has since been neutered and brought up to date on his shots; he tested negative on heartworm & Lymes. Samurai is a heavy-boned large-framed male that will need to gain another 30 pounds. You have to see the head on this boy-he is going to be a show stopper once he gets his coat back. Samurai can go to a home with children 10 and older who know how to treat and respect this special breed."

You can only imagine how sick we are over thinking someone would treat an Akita like this -- that anyone would be so uncaring or unthinking to do this to a magnificent Akita like Samurai. So now the hunt will be on to find the perfect, forever home for this wonderful Akita. Are you the special home we can entrust with loving Sam forever??

Saturday, July 17, 2010

When the right home comes along....

its just perfect in so many ways. Like its meant to be -- no hoopla, no panic, no miscommunications. Just sheer perfection and it does our hearts good at ARWNY. We have those -- perfect homes. Homes I often say "Gee, could you adopt ME too?" Homes that are meant to be, for whatever reason, for that particular Akita, at that specific time. For reasons unknown to us, the specifically perfect home for that specifically perfect Akita finds us -- I don't know how, but I suspect it has something to do with all those Akitas up there "over the Bridge" who are looking out for us!!

There are really good adoptions we have done that I will forever be grateful for; many wonderful dear forever friends we have made over the years from those adoptions and I feel very lucky to have them in my life. Some of those adoptions take time, working out particulars and finding just the right Akita, sometimes having to take one back & work with another because it just didn't work or the folks keep on coming back waiting to find the Akita that they feel will work best. Its not that those aren't great homes -- they are and I applaud every single person that ever comes to adopt an Akita thru rescue -- it takes a special caring person to bring home ANY adult Akita and make it work. Every adoption is a good adoption to me, when it works out wonderfully no matter what -- we love every one of our good adopters!!!

But then, sometimes something just falls from the sky when we least expect it, when we are down in the dumps about an Akita that just seems to not have a chance at a home for whatever reason; and you know when that perfect times suddenly happens -- "Geez, I must have been REALLY extra good this month, cause doG just sent me the perfect home for this Akita that we had so little hope for."

No working out particulars, no showing of two, eight, thirteen different Akitas until one clicks. Sometimes out of the blue, with no warning, when the sunlight aligns on our heads JUST right -- someone just walks up to us at a public education function or finds our website on line and says/writes, "I want that old/sick/specific needs Akita right there on that page, he's mine, because he NEEDS ME." No need to meet other Akitas, no need to counsel on what the home will need or if they can handle this specific age/health/needs issue -- they come already saying, "I have already called my vet, discussed with them this Akita's needs. My trainer is on standby to help me with any issues. I have a crate, I work from home/can come home at lunch every day to walk him. I own my own home, have no other pets, my previous Akita had health issues/was old when I adopted him/had specific needs too, and I understand them so no worries."

Sometimes -- the stars just align right. A particular Akita may sit for weeks, months even, making us worry we will never find that perfect home. We get antsy, starting to question how to ever place an Akita with these issues, or this age, or these needs.
Then the clouds part; the perfect home walks in, and our worries are over. Their vet references are over the moon. Their personal references are sterling. Their home check is sheer perfection. Their attitude is just what we wish to always deal with. And best of all - the Akita they want WANTS THEM TOO!!!

Over the years, I have had those homes -- some are etched in my memory; the Akitas and people have become almost legends in my mind. Some of the adopters have sadly passed on, and I like to think of them up there, over the Rainbow Bridge, playing with the Akita they bonded to so magnificently that had so many issues that they were happy to overlook.

And over the years as part of ARWNY, we have been blessed again and again like this. Some special needs Akitas have come to us -- and some equally special HOMES have also just walked out of the blue, fell into our laps and we cannot thank the doGs above enough for sending them our way.

Sometimes, when you get to a point of almost giving up on people, they surprise you. I am glad to be part of rescue, so that my faith in humans, while often tested, gets renewed ever so often by wonderful situations like these special adopters.

You know who you are -- I don't need to mention you by names......just know how much you mean to me!!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

4th of July Holiday for us -- NIGHTMARE for our Akitas!

I like fireworks as much as the next person. Safe, handled-by-professional fireworks set off way far from my house. But for some reason, there is always someone wanting to set off fireworks in the street, late at nite, or even all afternoon if they can get away with it in neighborhoods and mine is no different.

In the past, I've lived so far out in the country at the two different kennel locations that we were never bothered by fireworks. But now we are in a neighborhood where people think that New Year's Eve and 4th of July are their own personal holidays during which every conceivable noise MUST be made.

Last nite, not even 4th of July YET technically, at 11:48pm, someone right in front of my house, set off a string of loud fireworks up and down the street. They went on and on -- I don't know who set them off but of course by the time the police showed up, it was all over, no one caught.

Poor Zeus trembled and hid in his crate. Having lived his whole life in a kennel run in the country, then at the kennel out in the country with ARWNY for the last year, he has never likely heard anything like this. HE DID NOT LIKE IT! And neither did I!
So -- a word to the wise! More dogs become strays during 4th of July than any other time of the year -- because they BOLT FOR FREEDOM when hearing these loud noises!

So peruse a few of these websites and get some good ideas for helping your pet to handle the stress - and to make sure YOUR pet isn't one of the statistics this year:

On yet another 4th of July note -- PLEASE do not expect your Akita to have fun at family picnics. Heck, I don't have fun at them. But its super unfair to expect that your Akita will want to be around a bunch of strangers who will want to thud him on the head, push him around, eat in front of him, possibly tease him or get in his face with their obnoxious behavior. PLEASE PLEASE leave your Akita at home, safe in a crate or locked house area -- do not leave him outside even in a safe kennel due to the noise factor this holiday. PLEASE if you are having the picnic at your home, DO NOT leave your Akita out with everyone milling around. PLEASE -- strange kids screaming and running around with sparklers or food in their hands is just asking for trouble, in the heat, the humidity and the stress of the day. Even your OWN kids doing that might have a bad reaction from your Akita during this stressful time. I can't begin to tell you how many emails and calls we get during "picnic" season due to nips, bites, growls from Akitas. WHY oh WHY would anyone expect any Akita to tolerate a picnic environment? I will never understand it.

So please for the sake of your Akita's safety -- NO FIREWORKS and NO PICNICS -- allow your Akita to have a safe & secure 4th of July!!

Friday, July 2, 2010


for Rescued Akitas and AKC Title-Holding Akitas

FRIDAY September 24, 2010
Eisenhower Hotel
2634 Emmitsburg Road
Gettysburg, PA 17325

All adopted Akitas are invited to attend!

Prior registration is necessary!!

Go to for more information!

Or email

Don’t miss out on this great parade – it highlights our breed in a positive way!!