dog rescue, fosterdogs, fostering, hard to adopt, Long Term Dog, oph, Rescue Road Trip, shelters

The Long Haul

We are settling in for the long haul with our pack.

Flannery has no applications (C’mon people! You are missing out on this super fun, super loving, super smart pup!)

and I really can’t imagine anyone applying to adopt Daisy anytime soon.

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Daisy is still petrified of men and panics if Nick or Ian approach her. She is much better with women, but saying she is friendly would be a stretch. I’m still posting every day to the Diary of a Rescue on my Facebook page, but I imagine her followers are getting bored with the microscopic progress it feels like we’re making.

Sometimes rescue is hard. We’ve had our share of difficult dogs. As I keep saying to Nick when he grows weary of our efforts, “If they were all easy, everyone would do this.”

Doing anything that matters in this world will require a sacrifice on your part. Rearranging not only our plans but our home, to accommodate a dog isn’t fun. Witnessing Daisy’s struggles daily is really hard. She is a sweet dog, but sadly, there is only one of me. And for now, to her mind and heart, only I will do.

Nick and Ian are frustrated that all their efforts cannot seem to break through to Daisy. We’ve never had a dog that didn’t eventually warm to them, but Daisy’s scars run deep. Thankfully, she is not a defensive dog and doesn’t react aggressively to them, she just goes into all-out panic, scrambling and racing away from them.

As I write this, I am away teaching at a Writer’s Retreat and trying desperately not to worry about what is happening at my home. Daisy is back to the confines of the puppy room since Nick can’t catch her in the kitchen without traumatizing her. He has decided he will ply her with chicken and kind, soft words and if he can’t get her outside, what will be, will be. Meanwhile, the puppy room is lined with pads, just in case.

Thankfully, an angel appeared yesterday in the form of my friend Tanis. Tanis is very soft spoken and gentle and patient, and for the first time, Daisy warmed quickly to someone besides me! After only the briefest of hesitation and lots of freshly cooked chicken, Daisy was putty in her hands, following Tanis outside on the leash, wagging her tail (!), dancing around happily on the leash, and in the end, giving her lots of kisses.

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Tanis works nights but will be stopping by each day while I am gone to give Daisy a little love and a walk. I cannot tell you how relieved I am to know she will be able to visit.

Watching Daisy respond to Tanis, was a turning point for me. The night before we’d all reached our lowpoint – Nick was frustrated, I was despondent, Ian was vacating the effort. I was pretty certain there was no way Daisy would ever be adoptable, but clearly, that is not the case. She will be able to love someone besides me. It just seems that person may have to be female.

This time of year, adoptions slow down as we all hold our breath for spring. As much as I’d like these girls to find their families, the lack of new foster dogs is actually good timing, as it’s time to get ready for the first ever OPH Rescue Road Trip!

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I will be leading a team of eight people on a week-long trip to visit six of our OPH shelter partners in North and South Carolina. We will spend our days at the shelters helping in whatever capacity we can and learning as much as possible about what life is like for our OPH dogs before they come to us, the reality of overcrowded shelters, and how we can help.

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Last fall as part of my book tour for Another Good Dog, I visited nine shelters and rescues. What I saw and learned changed my heart and opened my eyes to the reality of what is happening to too many good dogs in our country.

I took along my dear friend, Lisa, on that trip.

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Up until that point, Lisa was not a dog person, not an OPH volunteer, but she was a Cara-person and wanted to join me on what we thought would be a fun road trip through the south, signing books and dropping off donations for shelters. Watching her transform as she walked through those shelters, seeing her heart crack wide-open, convinced me that more people needed to see this.

If seeing the dogs and meeting the heroes that fight for them could change others like it changed Lisa (she’s currently fostering her second heartworm positive dog – an energetic puppy who she just nursed through treatment), then I had to go back to the shelters and bring others.

I came home with a new motivation for rescue absolutely convinced that the problem isn’t that people don’t care what is happening in our rural shelters, it’s that they don’t know.

So, with OPH support, I put out a call for others to join me on a Rescue Road Trip to the shelters and my van quickly filled up with a remarkable team that includes vet techs, a social media whizkid, experienced dog fosters, photographers, one engineer, and people with gigantic dog-hearts who want to make a difference.

You can follow our adventure on the OPH Rescue Road Trip Facebook page where we have started posting information on the shelters we will be visiting and the needs they have, our own hopes and motivations for going on the trip, and our progress as we plan and prepare. Once we hit the road, we’ll be posting multiple times daily to share all that we see and learn during the week of March 31-April 6.

If you’d like to support our trip, we’ve also started a fundraiser. Most of the costs of the trip are being covered by the participants themselves, but we are also hoping to raise funds to purchase supplies and resources for the shelters.

We won’t have a lot of room in the van, so we will only be taking smaller, much-needed items with us that budgets don’t cover like flea/tick meds and heartworm preventatives, dewormers, treats, toys, harnesses, and milk replacer (there is a list posted on the fundraising page if you’d like donate items). We’re also looking for monetary or gift card donations that we can then use to buy larger items like food, beds, litter, and cleaning supplies, and ship directly to the shelter.

One of the largest shelters we will visit, Oconee (which takes in over 500 dogs a month) is in desperate need of a commercial washer and dryer so that they can wash the massive amounts of bedding and towels they use daily. That’s our big reach goal – to buy Oconee these appliances that will not just make life easier on the staff but keep the dogs healthy and comfortable too. I remember walking past a laundry room in one of the shelters we visited last fall and the pile of dirty towels and soiled bedding was taller than me – I can’t imagine tackling that job with the same washing machine I have in my laundry room. Oconee needs these machines.

As we travel, we will share the needs we encounter and how we disburse the donations from our fundraiser. Amazon cards are gold because we can use them to immediately order and ship exactly what a shelter needs on that very day we are there. You can donate through the page or by giving items, gift cards, or monetary donations directly to anyone at OPH who can get those items to me or another member of our Rescue Road Trip team.

I’ll be interviewing our OPH Rescue Road Trip Team on the page, and I think you’ll enjoy getting to know them. We’ll do as many LIVE videos as we can while traveling and hopefully be able to introduce you to some dogs and shelter-heroes in real time. At our last shelter, we will be choosing four dogs to bring home with us in the van!

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For more information on the trip, follow the OPH Rescue Road Trip on Facebook (it will also be on SnapChat, but that world is foreign to me and being handled by one of our team). To find out how you can donate and help us help the dogs, visit our Fundraising page, OPH Rescue Road Trip Fundraiser.

#TogetherWeRescue

Thanks for reading!

If you’d like to know more about my blogs and books, visit CaraWrites.com or subscribe to my monthly e-newsletter (which is rarely monthly, but I’m working at it…everybody needs a goal).

If you’d like to know more about the book, Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs, visit AnotherGoodDog.org, where you can find more pictures of the dogs from the book (and some of their happily-ever-after stories), information on fostering, the schedule of signings, and what you can do right now to help shelter animals! You can also purchase a signed copy or several other items whose profits benefit shelter dogs!

If you’d like to know how you can volunteer, foster, adopt or donate with OPH, click here. And if you’d like more pictures and videos of my foster dogs past and present, be sure to join the Another Good Dog Facebook group.

I love hearing from readers, so please feel free to comment here on the blog, email carasueachterberg@gmail.com or connect with me on Facebooktwitter, or Instagram.

Best,

 Cara

Released August 2018 from Pegasus Books and available now

Another Good Dog cover

3 thoughts on “The Long Haul”

  1. Hi Cara. I enjoy reading your posts. I think you hit the nail on the head. More people need to witness what is happening. I am baffled that a documentary of the shelter situation doesn’t exist.. Is it that we can’t bear to watch the commercials for the humane society with Sara McGlachlan and tortured animals and want to stick our heads in the sand,pretending these are isolated cases. Would a greater understanding of what is out there be too hard to watch? During the Holocaust, little action was taken until it was exposed for what it was. Would this be true for these dogs?
    It could be a great project for a college film student or any of these actors who advocate for shelter pets.
    I applaud all you do and sacrifice.
    Sincerely,
    MK

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do think a documentary is in order and have been pitching the idea, but so far no takers. My son, Ian, is going to make a photo documentary of it this summer for his senior portfolio. Maybe that will be a first step. I really hope this trip is a success and is the first of many.

      Like

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