From California, With Love

From California, With Love


MamaDog didn’t have a hope in hell. The Shepherd-cross was being surrendered to one of the six Los Angeles City shelters. She was led in on a piece of rope, still lactating from a recent birth. Her hip bones stuck out far enough to indicate severe hunger. The folks surrendering her said they didn’t know whether or not she would be good with kids, so the shelter staff relegated her to an isolation building, where dogs are never seen by the public and have zero hope of adoption.

“She was probably one of the saddest-looking dogs I’d ever seen,” says Diane Valine, an LA city shelter worker who volunteers to rescue dogs from California and transport them to rescue groups in other areas, including A Better Life Dog Rescue (ABL) near Vancouver. She called Jan Olson, founder of ABL, who said: “Send the dog here.”

“They found her a good home and, on Christmas Day, her new parents took her on the ferry to Vancouver Island and she got to run on the beach. MamaDog went from hell to heaven,” says Valine.

The situation in California is desperate. By some estimates, hundreds, if not thousands, of dogs are euthanized weekly, many abandoned due to the effects of the economy there. Many dogs are healthy; some a bit worse for wear. Brenda Barnette, LA city shelter head, encourages volunteers to find ways to get the dogs from the shelters into homes, and Valine now works with Olson and ABL to transport dogs about every six weeks. These are dogs, Valine says, that would surely be euthanized due to overcrowding. She chooses very adoptable dogs that have been in the shelter a while, so their time is running out, but says when she finds a particularly needy case and tells ABL about it, they always say, “send it along.”

When I heard about this California connection, I called ABL. Soon, I was committed to being part of a very special convoy that will be the literal difference between life and death for a truckload of dogs.

Monday, February 28, 2011

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