The Inside Story

Do you ever wonder about the story behind some of the dogs you see on our website? The ones who go from being adoptable to “Adoption Pending” to “I Went Home!”? If so, read on to find out the “inside story” on King, Ina, and Koa!

This year, an email went out to the leaders of a number of dog rescue groups about a sad situation involving German Shepherd Dogs in Connecticut. Could any of us help? The only response from a group saying that they could help came from GSRNE. We were the only hope for the following dogs and though we knew they would be project dogs and a lot of work, we couldn’t turn our backs on them.

Last year, some German Shepherd Dogs (as well as a few other breeds) had been confiscated by the authorities during a drug raid in New England. When the authorities arrived and checked out the property, they were greeted by around 7 dogs and some puppies! But what a sad sight: all of the dogs were chained to filthy boxes (“dog houses”) where feces hadn’t been cleaned up for some time. All of the animals were dangerously thin, covered in fleas, flies and ticks and all had been terribly neglected. Included in the group were some German Shepherd Dogs, some Chow Chows and a Pit Bull. They were all very thin, filthy animals, filled with parasites, ear tips bitten away by flies. And I was told the smell was terrible.

Can you imagine being chained to a box with no water most the time, fed infrequently, flies buzzing around your face and biting you most of the day, every day, for years? Ticks and fleas would be crawling on your body, giving you diseases: mosquitoes would feed on you all the time. You would endure the heat of summer days while chained to your box with little in the way of relief, and huddle into a little ball of dog on the freezing cold of winter nights with nothing to help keep you warm. There would be no companionship to at least make you feel better. To top it all off, all of the dogs were intact, and the dogs were bred once in awhile to provide puppies for the owner to sell. Who knows the fate of those puppies – we saw the fate of the adults.

What these animals went through was enough to make them all nasty, vicious animals. But as a testament to their breeds, they were all friendly dogs to everybody who handled them!

The local shelter received all of the dogs at once. They cleaned up the dogs, de-wormed them, fed them, kept them warm and dry, and treated their wounds and insect bites. Normally, dogs would be placed once this part was over. But the shelter was told that they had to keep all the dogs until the owner’s trial occurred, which included animal neglect charges. That took SEVEN MONTHS to occur! The shelter people did everything they could to make life better for the dogs in their charge – they were wonderful people! But the fact was, the dogs were still in the chaos of a shelter, not in the stability of a home. When would their lives change for the better?

Soon, as it turned out, the owner was forced to sign the dogs over to the city pound. The youngest GSD puppies found homes immediately via the shelter. But the older “pups” and adults didn’t fair as well, and the city needed them out, hence they asked for our help. These Shepherds ranged in age from 15 months to 9 yrs. That is when that fateful email went out to different groups, looking for help.

GSRNE took in the GSDs you’ve seen on our website: King, Ina, and Koa! Taking in multiple dogs at one time means that GSRNE must spend significant funds all at once. We check the dogs for parasites, diseases, infections, joint problems, etc. and we treat anything that needs fixing. All of these dogs needed to be spayed/neutered, too, and that cost. And sometimes dogs need boarding too before going to their foster homes. This gets VERY expensive when multiplied by 3 all at once! Victoria, our Foster Home Coordinator, found foster homes for the dogs, though, and we got them into their foster homes fairly quickly. They needed to feel the love of people like you!

As it turned out, expenses were not to stop here. Poor 9 year old King almost died shortly after his neuter surgery. He became very weak, lethargic, and stopped eating. His foster parents RUSHED him to Tufts Veterinary School Hospital where he was diagnosed with a tick disease seldom seen this far north, but does occur in southern CT, where he’d been. This tick disease, Babesia, is TERRIBLE and can kill dogs, but only after making them very sore and extremely ill. His foster parents, Ronie and Edie, spent days and nights at Tufts to be with King, and I swear that is what helped King to pull through his illness. It was touch and go for days of hospitalization at Tufts, but he pulled through. He has a wonderful temperament and we breathed a sigh of relief when he started eating and moving around again. His bill cost GSRNE thousands of dollars, but he is a great dog and was worth every penny! (His pictures just don’t do him justice, either – he’s a beautiful boy!) His foster parents adopted him and we were thrilled! King may be Koa’s father.

Koa had various minor physical ailments to work on – his issues were emotional ailments from such neglect all his short life. He was one of the older puppies who grew up at the shelter. This can be extremely difficult on a dog. He was very, very scared when he came in and needed months of work. After the dedicated work of some volunteers, the wonderful, sweet animal he is showed through, and eventually came through all the way! Dedication to his welfare by GSRNE volunteers was something to behold! He’s SUCH a sweet dog it is hard to believe he came out of such hideous circumstances.

Ina is our little 3-4 yr old female. We believe she is the mother of Koa. This dog was perfect out of the box, except for some physical ailments GSRNE  treated (and she was spayed)! How ANYBODY could neglect a sweet, sprightly, well-behaved, friendly dog like this, nobody knows, much less *severely* neglect a dog like this! Little Ina took her entire life in stride, though. And she settled into her foster home like she’d been there all her life, and never came back out – they adopted her!

Thank goodness GSRNE was there to help these dogs! It’s our members and supporters who make a difference in the lives of dogs like this. The dedication of their foster homes, of their evaluators and transporters, the home visit workers and all the effort by our foster home & adoption coordinator made this entire rescue effort possible. And YOU made their care and adoptions possible! You couldn’t find three nicer dogs to help!

But none of this could have happened without massive amounts of funds on hand – on these 3 dogs alone, GSRNE had to spend thousands of dollars to care for them properly. We have always provided this kind of comprehensive care to our dogs, which many rescues just can’t do or don’t bother to do. We feel it’s important to treat a creature’s illnesses, instead of ignoring their issues and hoping somebody else will care for them. GSRNE cares for our dogs!

But this kind of big financial outlay for dog intake and care isn’t unusual – many dogs coming into GSRNE need this kind of financial hel p. And right now, truly, our funds are very, very low. Will you help? We are now facing a probable $4000-$5000 bill from Tufts Veterinary School to provide back surgery for one of the sweetest female GSDs you’ll ever meet, a dog that we placed years ago and just got back. We will be having a fundraiser soon to help with her care.

We have other dogs to see soon too, and each of them will need somewhere between $150 and thousands of dollars of help. We’re so low we’ll have to start refusing aid to these dogs, then who will help them? Every dollar we raise goes to the care of the dogs, as nobody in GSRNE is paid anything. But we’re very, very low.

So, I am inviting each and every one of you stop, pause, and think about German Shepherd Dogs. We all talk about how we love them! Now think about the dogs on the web site, and the ones we’re taking in now and tomorrow and tomorrow. Will you help them? Or will you hope somebody else will? If not you, who? If not now, when? They need your help NOW.

If not you, who? If not now, when?

Please note that you can still make a tax-deductible donation to GSRNE so that we all can continue to help the dogs!

Thank you all – the rescue community is a powerful force when we all pull together – let’s save some fabulous German Shepherd Dogs, together and show the world that the Good Guys outnumber the Bad Guys!!!

-Janice Ritter

President, GSRNE

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