Tag Archives: Corridor Rescue

…And Autumn Cries

TX1448_21888872-1-xI had a lot to do today, but the email troubled me.  The frightened dog I had transported on Thursday to the boarding kennel needed to go back to the vet.   I wanted to respond back and say I’d be right there, but couldn’t,  I had things to do and as we have all done, I figured it being Saturday someone else would respond.   But I couldn’t let go of it, Autumn had been a difficult transport and as happens with certain dogs, I felt a bond with her.  However, I was worried and after expressing my regret that I wouldn’t be able to make it that day, I proceeded  to preach a list of do’s and don’ts for whomever had agreed to transport her and then found  out that no one could transport her until Monday.  I knew then my plans were changed, I needed to go get her and take her back to the only home she’s ever known, the vet clinic.

I spoke with another volunteer and found out she was terrified at the kennel, unresponsive to the staff’s best efforts and they were concerned for her, and a small tear in her surgical incision was not healing and needed attention.  Fifteen minutes later I’m in the truck and after a quick stop at Pet smart, I’m on my way with a new bigger crate, a new sturdier harness, a dog blanket and treats.  I was determined that she would feel safe and contained with me and would have no opportunity to wrench herself loose in a panic to flee.

Autumn was found in the corridor, pregnant almost feral.  The feeding station volunteers could not get near her so it was necessary to trap her for her own good before she, like so many others, perished or vanished in the corridor of cruelty.  She was saved before her pups were born and so they were saved from a life and probable death in the corridor, but Autumn remains in limbo, safe, but she’s still scared and confused, and she cries.  Her tears are not like ours, visible or audible, in fact, she seldom makes a sound, but she weeps with fear in every cower and twist to get away.

She survived without kindness or care, the human hands responsible for her life were cruel and soon tossed her away as if she were a worn cushion or broken lamp, no longer useful or too burdensome to keep.   One day she finds herself wandering alone in the oppressive heat, surrounded by debris and garbage, and very soon there will be babies to feed, but she doesn’t even know how to feed herself.  She hides where she can, in the tall weeds, under a rotting board, away from the humans and other dogs, coming out when no one is around, sometimes finding  food and water, left as a kindness, but she doesn’t know anything about kindness.   Before too long she’ll need to make a the den among the garbage bags for the coming puppies, but she growing weaker and in silence she cries without knowing because she doesn’t know how to feel sorry for herself.

TX1448_21888872-3-xAutumn needs a foster now.  She needs an understanding heart, routine and stability.  She needs the same person to be there in the morning and at night, to show her it’s okay to trust again.  She’s learned to trust the vet staff, but she needs something and someone of her own, to focus on her until she and her forever family find each other.  I wanted to drive her straight to my house and my sweet husband would have welcomed her, but I have seven ridiculous spoiled dogs and she needs a quiet home with maybe one good-natured older dog to show her that it’s okay to trust and where they keep the treats.

I’m glad Autumn is “home” tonight and I’m grateful she knows the kindness of the staff at Abbott’s Animal Clinic – they so obviously care about her – but she needs a her home.  She needs to be able to lay her head on her own bed in perfect peace, softly sighing, as she closes her eyes and dreams without weeping.

Autumn has been adopted.  If you are interested in fostering or adopting a Corridor Rescue Dog, please visit their website at http://www.corridorrescue.org/ and fill out a foster or adoption application.  You can also email your questions through their website or facebook page.  Thank you for helping to save one life at a time.



Photos are the property of Corridor Rescue, Inc.

©2012-2013 itsa5doglife  All Rights Reserved.

Moving Towards Life

LoveyThe last few days I’ve reconnected with some of my animal rescue friends as I slowly get back to volunteering.  Today I’m picking up a dog named Autumn at a vet across town for Corridor Rescue and transporting her to a boarding kennel where she will stay safe and well cared for until a foster can be found.   Autumn was found as a stray, and is still unsure of people, but if I can control 4 dogs in the cockpit of a small plane for 4 hours, I can get her across Houston in my truck.

I’m told it happens to everyone who tries to help, dealing with the ravages of apathy and cruelty, witnessing the suffering of people or animals at the hands of others, experiences that break us for a little while and we have to step back, close our eyes and breathe so we can move past it and be of some use again.  For some it’s just burn out or frustration, but for me it was Hershey and Blue Bell.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One Saturday I was working at a county shelter, doing the normal volunteer things like walking dogs, bathing puppies and visiting each dog, just letting them know they weren’t forgotten.  In the shelter that day there were three momma dogs with pups, which is always disheartening because even in the very best of shelters like this one, disease is just one cage away and little puppies have so little immunity, their chances of staying healthy are very low and many don’t survive.  Most momma dogs have little patience with humans touching their pups, especially in the sterile loud atmosphere of the shelter, but there was this one small black lab, horribly emaciated and she had seven puppies, and you could see she was doing the best she could.  A kind volunteer or staff member had made her a nice bed, a large soft comforter, probably the only soft bed she had ever known, and her puppies were desperately trying to nurse, but sweet Lovey was depleted and IMG_0848the puppies were in trouble.  I opened the door and Lovey raised her head and looked at me and struggled to stand, she needed to go outside.  I slipped the leash over her head, made sure all the puppies were protected in the comforter and we started out of the room, but it had been too long and she couldn’t hold it anymore, she had obviously been waiting so as not to soil her babies’ bed.

Another volunteer came by and I asked if they would take Lovey outside so I could clean up the large puddle before anyone slipped.  I mopped the floor and went back to check on the puppies.  Kneeling to get a better look, I noticed they weren’t very active, but one of the pups seemed too still, so I gathered her little limp body in my hands, wrapped her in a clean blanket and took her to the vet room.  The vet looked the pup over, took her temperature, listened to her heart and said that the pup simply needed nourishment, which was the problem.  By this time several of the other volunteers were sitting on the floor next to the cage, each holding a puppy to their chest and Lovey was also back from her walk.  SheOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA seemed weak, but relieved as she curled up on the blanket and tried to sleep.  We all looked at one another and almost wordlessly we made a decision, Lovey needed a break and if the pups were going to have a chance, they needed to be fostered and fed by hand.  I agreed to take two, the lifeless blond female and  a tiny brown little girl who looked completely different from the other puppies.  I don’t know, but I would swear that puppy didn’t belong to this litter.  She looked like a miniature Doberman.

Their eyes were open, but not focused, and their ears were still closed tight and every three hours I fed them with a syringe filled with puppy milk replacement and a bit of Karo syrup for energy. Then I would rub their little bottoms as their mother would have done to IMG_0930stimulate their bowels, made sure they were warm enough and put them in their bed. I  had named the blond pup Blue Bell and I was sadly convinced she would never make it through the night, but Hershey, the brown one, seem to be responding to the food.  In the very early hours the next morning, I opened their kennel, ready for the worst, but two small heads popped up and tiny squeaks let me know they were alive and hungry.  Puppy care was a completely new field for me so I scoured the internet and talked to people and found out that if they were at least 3 weeks old, I might want to offer them puppy gruel in addition to the puppy formulaIMG_0920.  That evening I found two small shallow bowls, mixed it up and put it in the kennel and they waddled straight to the bowls and slurped it up.  There is no sound in the world like slurping puppies.  When they finished their faces were covered in gruel, but they were fat and happy and ready to nap so I wiped their little mouths, picked them up, tucked them in the blankets and watched as they curled themselves around each other and went to sleep.

I knew the struggle wasn’t over, the odds were against them with their earlier malnourishment, the exposure to germs at the shelter, and my lack of experience, but we’d made it through that day and I counted it as good – they ate, they slept and moved towards life.

IMG_0842Afterword:  Later that month we would lose sweet Hershey to distemper, but Blue Bell miraculously never contracted this highly contagious terrible disease.  We would find out that only 2 pups of the whole litter survived, the rest were also lost to distemper.  Blue Bell’s compromised immune system led to numerous ailments and her tail had to be amputated due to infection from a skin disorder, but today she thrives in a happy home with family friends, Karma and Martin.


Humanity, Thy Name is Puppy

photo (7)It started innocently enough.  With time on my hands I decided to volunteer for a local dog rescue group.  I had never actually worked with a rescue group, but my husband and I had rescued plenty of dogs on our own, fixed them up, made sure they were neutered or spayed and found good homes for them, that is, when we didn’t keep them ourselves.

I had read about Corridor Rescue, Inc. in the local paper, their founder had recently been recognized by CNN for the work she was doing, and I liked the idea that they took on one of the worst areas of town for animal dumping and cruelty.  The area is off of a major freeway and is so bad that it is known as the Corridor of Cruelty.  Corridor volunteers visit the area everyday looking for abandoned animals and have many feeding stations throughout because it takes a while to get an animal off the street as most are very skittish and you must gain their trust to even get near them.

Beyond all they do for the animals, Corridor is committed to making a difference on the front end, before cruelty or abandonment can happen. IMG_0803 They go into the community and talk to people, build fences so dogs don’t have to be chained, educate pit-bull owners on the horrors of dog fighting and even offer free spaying, neutering, shots and grooming.  Corridor provides dog food for low-income families so they can keep their pets, and they go into the schools and talk to the kids about caring for animals.

My first work with Corridor was at one of their Saturday adoption events, setting up the crates, showing off the dogs to prospective adopters, walking the dogs and giving lots of head and chin rubs.  I loved it and decided to do a bit more so I started visiting some of the rescued dogs at the boarding kennels that were waiting for foster homes and transporting dogs to and from events.   One day a call went out, they had found thirteen lab-mix puppies dumped in the Corridor to die.  At the time, Corridor didn’t have any place for the puppies to go as foster homes are hard to come by, boarding is horrendously expensive and the puppies needed treatment for mange and ringworm.  Corridor’s founder was getting ready to remodel a house so she put up a wood fence and we set up rooms for the puppies in the house – thank goodness it had tile floors.  The Baker’s Dozen project was in business.

The coordinator set up a volunteer schedule so that there would be someone at the house with the pups from very early in the morning to very late at night and I agreed to mornings on the weekdays.  If you’ve ever had a puppy you know how much work they can be and the seemingly endless pee and poop you havIMG_0802e to clean up, now multiply that by 13 puppies.

That first day as I unlatched the gate to the house, I heard them, I opened the sliding glass patio door, went to the rooms and opened the doors, puppies poured out, jumping all over me, running around, barking.   I couldn’t move, trapped by 13 balls of fur, running around my feet, so I started scooting my feet along the floor instead of trying to actually walk so that I didn’t step on one of them or trip and break my own legs.  I herded them towards the living room where they scattered and they are masters at hiding or running off into another room, so I had to count them to make sure they all went out. More than once I only counted twelve only to look down and find a puppy sitting by my feet.   It wasn’t long before I figured out how to block off every room entrance so they could not divert off the path on the way to the back door.

While the puppies play, I clean their rooms.  Rooms are IMG_0805cleaned and fresh papers put down at pretty much every shift, as was done the night before, but when I walked in that room, my jaw almost hit the floor, except I would not have wanted my jaw to hit that floor.  The puppies had used the papers and puppy pads, but they had also torn up all the newspapers, so with newspaper scrap mixed in, I was dealing with a really nasty paper mache mess.  Luckily, their bed and food area on the other side of the room appeared to be their no pee/poop zone – smart puppies. At this point I go in search of rubber gloves and, thankfully, find a box in the kitchen, but when I get back to the rooms, I am also wishing for rubber boots.   After picking and scraping up the debris, including the food and water that they tossed around and the toys and beds, the floor is cleaned with a special antiseptic liquid.  I fill the huge bucket with the cleaner and water and with a gigantic industrial mop, start at one corner and mop my way backwards to the door.  I repeat the process for the other room and then I wait for it to dry, put down clean newspapers on half the floor and close the doors until I’m ready to put the pups up when I leave.  You figure what works after you’ve done it a few times– I got pretty good at it.

During the cleaning, the pups have been playing outside so I scatter dog beds in the living room, put out huge bowls of water and some food and treats, and pee pads because I know that even though they have been outside for an hour, the first thing some of them will do is poop or pee and do not want to haul out the big yellow monster and mop again.   I brace myself and approach the back door. Thirteen puppies are jumping on the glass barking so I slowly slide the door back and as soon as the door is open a few inches they are pushing and climbing over each other to get in like the mobs on Black Friday.IMG_0804

Finally everyone is in the living room, wait, no, there’s only twelve, so I go into the backyard and sure enough, there’s Cadence sitting by the corner of the fence, without a care in the world.  I scoop her up and go inside, trying not to let the others back out.  By this time in the living room there’s lots of running, slurping, crunching, fighting over treats, toys, beds and me, but suddenly like magic they all pass out.  While they nap I sit on the floor, several pups snuggled against me, or I sit on the brick hearth and marvel at the scene before me.  There are puppies everywhere, making small sounds in their sleep, some on the beds, some on the cool floor, but almost everyone is sleeping next to someone else.  Occasionally someone will get up and then plop back down somewhere else, but peace reigns for about 30 minutes.

Soon they are awake, re-energized, and before they can begin to chew on the beds and walls, I shuffle them outside to play a little more and this time I go with them.  I toss toys, hold them, play tug of war, stop a few fights, and occasionally yell “Puppies!” just to see thirteen sweet faces running at me.  Soon it’s time for me to go.  I get up off the grass and they think it’s a game, I now have puppies chewing and tugging on my pant legs so I drag my feet and the attached puppies back inside and start trying to catch them and put them back in the clean fresh rooms.  As I slip them in the rooms, one at a time, the puppies already in the room are trying to get back out.  And, of course, you have to count them again and make sure Sam doesn’t go into the same room with Tansey who chews on Sam’s ears.

IMG_0806I am exhausted, filthy and reek of puppy poo, but I’ll be back.  In an hour or so another volunteer will be there and the routine will begin again, but I’m always sad to leave them, however I’ve got a pack of my own waiting  at home.  As the weeks go by, the pups heal from their various issues, they get their shots, all are spayed or neutered and they grow huge.  Each day more of them find foster and permanent homes and there is less to look after and then one day they are all gone.

Every now and then I see pictures of some of the pups, Lark, little Ellie, Angel, Bella, Sam – they turned out beautifully and I am grateful to have been a small part of that.  Before being adopted or fostered, some of the puppies were part of a short program for juveniles at risk – once again Corridor Rescue did not forget the people of the community.  Under the close supervision of Corridor volunteers, the young men and women handled and played with the pups, were taught proper animal care and made to realize that animals are not possessions to be used and disposed of at will, that they feel love and pain.  I suspect for many of those kids those puppies gave the first unconditional love and acceptance of their life.  I hope if nothing else, maybe a little healing took place, a softening of a heart or opening of a mind, you just never know what sparks a soul.

So many people, noticing what needs to be done and doing it, buying supplies and dog food and transporting back and forth to the vet, all to save some mix-breed puppies tossed out like trash.  Maybe we didn’t change the world, but those thirteen puppies challenged and changed me, and that’s where all real change starts, hands on, one person at a time.

For more information on Corridor Rescue or how to adopt, foster, donate or volunteer, visit their Facebook page

©2011-2012 itsa5doglife  All Rights Reserved.

Note:  Photo 2 and  3 are the property of Corridor Rescue, Inc.  All other photos are the property of itsa5doglife.


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