Saturday, January 23, 2010

Just one dog - update

(h/t Joanne)

Remember Stanley, the white Pit Bull from the Just One Dog video? Well, his life has turned around thanks to some great people:

Stanley the white pit bull's rescue journey to become a Canadian.

Wow is all I can say! Wow, wow, wow! Stanley the white pit bull has become a poster boy for every dog in every shelter who is in a bad situation just like he was. He is becoming an international dog celebrity!

I said my good-byes to Stanley the pit bull on Friday. We went for one last roll on the grass near the cargo terminal for Alaska Airlines. I layed on the ground and he put his great big paws on my chest and gave me a facial, cleaned my entire face for me. As you all know, when I first met him in the shelter, I had no experience with pit bulls and reached out to you all for some guidance and help in what to do to help him.

Through my volunteer Bonnie, who lives in Vancouver, and my rescue partner Lisa, who runs Angel Under Our Wings Cocker Rescue in Victoria, B.C. - they were able to research local rescues in their area and the one rescue group that was held in the highest regards was Respect-a-Bull. I began a daily dialogue with Dave and Joanne, the founders of Respect-a-bull about what their rehoming procedures were, and what their plans were for Stanley should he join their rescue group. I phoned their vet that gave them a very positive reference and I phoned their local SPCA to hear great things about them.

Dave and Joanne run a very small rescue, since 2005. At the most, they've never had more than eight dogs in their rescue group at one time. The dogs get fostered either in their own home or in one of ten foster homes that are all experienced with the breed. They have experience with Demodex and knew what they would be in store for with Stanley's ongoing medical rehabilitation. Their rehoming process is a lengthy adoption application, a references check, an hour long phone interview and then a home safety check. All this BEFORE any prospective adopter can meet the dogs. They find that they lose a lot of potential adopters by putting them through this screening process, but in the end, only the serious and quality adopters end up meeting the dogs. I felt very very good about putting Stanley's care into their hands. I know that many rescuers in Los Angeles are in the practice of shipping dogs out of the area to many unchecked places. My process is quite different. I won't send a dog to just anyone, I feel that I must research and vet out any rescue group I might work with and then stay in ongoing communication with that rescue group to follow the dog's progress and then ultimate adoption.

So I want to be very careful that a message is not being sent that the solution to a dog like Stanley is to just put him on a plane to anywhere else. The real message is that a dog like Stanley needs to go to the best rescue for his particular situation. I know that many people will see his story and miss the entire point of why he went to Respect-a-bull and think that putting dogs on planes is a new version of animal rescue. It is not. For anyone who spreads the message about Stanley, please be sure that the clear message is not to send a dog anywhere, but to THOROUGHLY SCREEN and vet out any other rescue groups you might be sending a dog to and also to begin a co-rescue relationship. Don't just ship the dog out and move on. Stay in touch with the rescue, get updates, touch base via phone or email. I have spoken to Respect-a-bull daily since Stanley arrived up there. It has taken up a lot of my time and effort and money to work with an out of area rescue group and shipping dogs out of the area is not for any rescuers who can't make the commitment to follow through. I am alarmed to see the news stories of Chihauhaus being shipped all over the place, but there is no mention of what becomes of them on the other end. Are adopters being screened out? Home checks being done? Any follow ups from the Los Angeles end to find out what has become of each and every Chihauhau? Or are the dogs just being flown en masse and then everyone forgets about them and moves on? I am concerned about the message that is being circulated in the rescue community that putting dogs on a plane is the end of the story. It is only the beginning of the story . . . who is going to be responsible for all of those dogs and what is to become of them?

Back to Stanley's story - last Friday . . .

While I was here in Los Angeles sending him off, the founders of Respect -a-Bull in Port Alberni, British Columbia were on their own journey. From where they live, they drove ninety minutes to catch a ferry, then ninety minutes on the ferry to take them to Vancouver, then from there they had to navigate their way into the big city of Vancouver to find the airport.

My Camp Cocker volunteers, Bonnie and her husband Gary, met them at the airport to help them through customs (Bonnie has done this many times for cockers that have gone up to B.C.). Dave and Joanne, the founders of Respect-a-bull, also brought two of their volunteers with them. They all had been watching Stanley on the vet's web cam for weeks and were very excited about meeting him in person.

When Stanley got off the plane, he had six people waiting to meet him! Then he got into the back seat of Dave and Joanne's car, where he was wrapped in a blue blanket, cuddled between the two volunteers who pet him the entire trip home. By the time they got back to Port Alberni and pulled into the driveway, it was midnight.

But this was only the beginning. Stanley had an early morning wake up call because at 9am, he was photographed and interviewed by three different newspapers. He then had to update his Facebook page (yes, Stanley has his own Facebook page) because he was getting new friends at a rate of 200 a day and they all were clamoring for Stanley updates. Here is a link to Stanley's Facebook Fan Page (as of right now, he has 845 friends on Facebook, and growing by the day)

Then yesterday, Stanley was featured on the evening news!

To see him wagging his tail, getting pet and loved and licking everyone's faces . . . this made me cry. I never imagined this for him, not ever! If I had not reached out to my Canadian friends, he may right now have been sitting in a Los Angeles boarding facility somewhere - just one of dozens of dogs in a high volume rescue group.

And the level of love the Respect a Bull people and their volunteers have for him is staggering. Here is a link to the blog where they talk about his last few days and where they are promoting an excellent rescue message. The message is that there are dogs like Stanley in every shelter, for anyone who is thinking of adopting, to please go to their local shelter and consider a dog like Stanley.

Stanley's blog update

The overwhelming response that Respect a bull has been getting is amazing. Emails, phone calls . . . one woman contacted them to donate three months worth of Natural Balance food, Salmon Oil for his skin and to pay for a dermatologist to see him. That is just one person who is donating all of that! I hope that all of the attention Stanley is garnering up in Canada is going to help promote the breed in a positive light. And encourage more adopters to go to their local shelters and consider adopting a pit bull.

I want to thank each and every one of you whom have watched Stanley's video and have inquired about him and his progress.

To send Stanley up to Canada was quite costly. The health certificate ($35), the crate ($150), the air fare ($407), the travel expenses and ferry expenses ($112) for Respect a bull to make the long trip to the airport. Not counting what it cost them all to take the day off of work to go and meet him, the literal expenses were at minimum $704.

Was it worth it to them? Yes!
Was it worth it to me? Yes!
Would we all do this again - Yes!

Thank you and we hope that Stanley's story inspires many people like yourself to go out there and spread the word to please encourage people to go to their local shelters to seek out the most sad, pathetic, messed up dog they can find and then rescue their own "Stanley" so they can tell that dog's story. Just one dog at a time.

Much love and gratitude,
Cathy and the cockers


Heather B said...

Tears of joy
wow, just wow.

House of the Discarded said...

*tears* :)

Ian said...

What a wonderful update.
Hard to believe that Ontario is kicking these same dogs out of the Province for being dangerous.

Lauren said...

Stanley is lovely.
Unfortunately, some rescue groups " stringent screenings " in the end only mean the dog loses out on any number of wonderful homes. We lost our 12 yr old last fall. Months later decided we'd like to take in a large senior (or two!) and to our astonishment could not even be considered for any dog without month+ evaluations through various rescues. We ended up adopting a wonderful 5 y/o through TAS. She now has a forever home where she is adored and shares in daily adventures in the ravine. We are now looking for a second ( the senior ) and will only adopt out through the TAS. Hopefully Stanley has the chance to find a devoted, loving new home asap to adjust and bond with his ' forever home '. Thank you for caring for and showing kindness to the beautiful babies at TAS. You all do a wonderful job.

borderjack said...

awesome. just awesome. i'm speechless.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be ironic if Stanley recovered and killed a Cocker Spaniel?