Kerry’s update: January 5th, 2009

Sanctuary animal updates:

Since our last update on December 15th the following animals were adopted: Dakota, Pancake, Spot, Emma, Charley, Satchel, Manhattan, Bull, Natalie, Twilight, JB, Bubba, Lincoln, Jack, Sandy, Willow, Huckleberry (again), Monkey, Larry, Jacque, Hamilton and July. (That is Jacque on the right).   Ivy the cat was also adopted!

General Updates:

We had a real scare these past few weeks and shut down intakes and adoptions for nine days. We are a shelter. As such we are ALWAYS going to get “diseases” in that we need to guard against. Parvo, FIP, FELV, Canine Influenza, heartworm, even pregnant dogs that we are not aware of, fleas and worms and coccidia – you name it, we are at risk for it. Many of these things can not be tested for prior due to the lack of feasible tests or the lack of funds on the sending shelters, or the extreme emergencies of the situations at hand – usually life or death for these animals when we agree to take them. We have good quarantine practices to keep it from infecting the rest of the shelter but last week we were sorely put to the test on quarantining contamination.

On December 21st we got this asking if we could help:

My neighbor, a 48 year old man died in his apartment nearly 2 weeks ago. No one checked in on him before yesterday whereupon his body was discovered. His young shepherd mix, Mindy, by his side. The dog has been taken to Animal Control in Brooklyn, NY. She needs a home right away or will be put down. Can you intervene please? Please phone me. Mindy is a good dog. Even when the police entered the apartment she sat steady by her dead companion. She does not require re socializing-but has experienced extreme trauma. Time is of the essence. 

Of course we immediately called the contact and said to bring Mindy to us. She went on to tell us that Mindy quietly followed the ambulance workers down the stairs, sat quietly on the sidewalk as they loaded her companion, and then began to trot down the road after the ambulance as it pulled away.

We were heartbroken for poor Mindy.

They could not get the dog here as Mindy had been put on the euthanasia list at the CACC and so the contact had pulled her back out and given her to a local man that said he could care for her. Well in the middle of that big huge storm that dumped 1.5 feet of snow on us all, she went to check on the dog only to find Mindy outside with only a picnic table for shelter. The man said “she liked it there”. It was at this point we called her and said get the dog to us – but there was no way she could do it. I came up with the brilliant (you’ll see why ‘NOT’ later) idea of bringing her back to the CACC where we would immediately pull her and some other dogs on their euthanasia list and take them here (the CACC delivers for free).

When the transport got here, we noticed IMMEDIATELY that Mindy was not doing well. We thought maybe car sick from the 3 hour ride, but within an hour it was evident that she was seriously ill. Her eyes were dilated, her gums pale and she started bleeding from the nose. We decided to rush her to the after hours emergency animal hospital. There they started treatment for what they thought was poisoning. The next day we noticed the other dogs from the CACC starting to look ill and show signs of distress. Within 24 hours three of them were also hospitalized, with Mindy failing quickly. She was quarantined, in an oxygen tent and yesterday she had a blood transfusion. We are doing everything we possibly can to save her, and only time will tell if we have.

We found out that the CACC had a serious issue going on there. They had put down, (or died on their own) – 44 dogs as a result of this and they had sent us ‘something’ – though they did not know what – and neither did we….just that it was VERY bad. They thought they might have canine influenza which is 100% contagious and both viral AND bacterial. Indeed we would have to shut our doors for about three weeks to try to contain this. We were worried that our entire kennel of almost 80 dogs could be compromised. Add to this that Canine Influenza has 20% of dogs showing NO symptoms but they are carriers and can spread to others. There is no test, no stable vaccine and it is difficult and expensive to treat with so many dogs.

We contacted Dr. Karen Dashfield, a veterinarian who specializes in this. She immediately came on site, taught us MUCH more about proper quarantine practices and told us what cultures to take and where to overnight them for fastest response. It is now thought that what the dogs have is actually Strep Equi Zooepidemicus. VERY rare in dogs – but VERY contagious. So in the past week days we have covered our staff with quarantine robes, masks and booties that are all changed between each kennel and EVERY SINGLE dog in our kennel had to be put on antibiotics – for nine days. We shut down intakes indefinitely (until we could get a handle on what this is and what we do to treat it) and we shut down OUTTAKES and adoptions for 8 days. After 8 days, no other dogs became ill and since the period for signs of infection is 3-5 days we are confident that we have isolated it. Those seriously ill dogs are still at the hospital. We opened up adoptions again.

Suffice to say that this has been a VERY expensive week. Every dog on penicillin twice a day, four dogs in the hospital in quarantine units and oxygen tents. We didn’t HAVE to treat every dog but just in case, we decided it was the best thing to do. Thankfully all other dogs are safe and healthy and still able to go home, but we did not allow volunteers or dog adoptions for 8 days as a precaution. We never want to incite a panic. This is totally treatable with antibiotics and is fatal only when untreated and even then only in 3% of untreated dogs, but we also didn’t want volunteers bringing it home to their own dogs! So we erred on the side of caution and everyone was very understanding, and all our dogs were kept safe.

Dr. Karen, Dr. Furman, Janet and the vets at Flannery Animal hospital have all been wonderful. Taking our calls at all hours of the day and night for advice or information, keeping in touch with each other and keeping us updated – even finding us discounted medication and lab testing. They have all been wonderful. Thank you all so much. We did not infect our kennel as the result of all of their quick action and critical advice and information.

Please keep Mindy in your thoughts. These pictures are of her BEFORE and then currently, in the hospital. If she makes it, this will all be worthwhile. She has been through so much. We really want her to make it and to find her a loving home. If you are willing for Mindy to go to your home, please fill out an application. After all she has been through it would be terrible to have to put her in our kennel. Our deepest wish is for her to have a home waiting for her to go to if she gets better.


This month we took in 22 dogs. Six from the CACC in Brooklyn, two from Monroe, and 14 from North Carolina. All the dogs, except for the two from Monroe, were scheduled for euthanasia. They are all wonderful! We also took in one FIV cat – Buddy. A real cutie and although he is on quarantine right now, we will introduce him to the other cats in a couple of weeks. Our FIV room is now full again and we will be unable to take in any more unless we place one.

Animal Updates or Issues:

Houma is doing well and is back at our shelter now. He is almost fully recovered and we hope we can place him in a wonderful home soon. He is truly a sweet dog and I hope someone will open their home to this dog who has been through so much. He desperately wants a family. Aaron underwent his first heartworm treatment and came through it just fine. Monkey and Harley also completed their first treatment and will be going for their second next week. Monkey has been losing weight though and we’re really worried about her. She was adopted, but is still here pending her final treatment. Please keep her in your thoughts that the weight loss is nothing serious. She eats like a horse, so this is very worrisome. This is a picture of our little Monkey.

Tilly and Samantha both had their puppies. We did not expect Tilly’s puppies to survive since she was undergoing heartworm treatment when we discovered her pregnancy. Right up until the end of her pregnancy the xrays showed no puppies but she kept getting larger. Finally an ultrasound revealed them. It was all very odd but all the vets we spoke to gave us little hope of any surviving. They were born and amazingly they were born intact and complete and we lost just one. Tilly has seven live puppies and all are doing well. We are a little concerned about the runt, but so far all the others have opened their eyes. This is truly a miracle. They really should all have been compromised due to the heartworm treatment. We are so proud of our little Tilly. We also have an adoption already pending on this sweetie pie as soon as she is done nursing and can be spayed without harming her.

Samantha (pictured above) was taken in by another rescue – Cindy (Pregnant Dog Rescue) who specializes in just this – pregnant moms and whelping. Thank goodness because we were ill prepared to take care of two sets of babies! Two days after going to her new home, Samantha gave birth to 10 healthy puppies. She could not be in a better place and we are so grateful to Cindy. Samantha is being a very good mama so far.

Cat Update:

We lost a cat this month – one of the Queens cats. Peekaboo went downhill very fast and we were unable to save her. She had finally gotten comfortable and was coming out of her shell. It was a sad loss. Noah has also been getting ear hematomas. This time he was so uncomfortable we brought him to the vet who lanced it, drained it and stitched him back up. He is now a much happier cat. Our new cat caretaker, Frank, continues to do a great job and the rest of staff and volunteers love him. Dale, as usual, continues to run the place with an iron fist and nothing escapes her notice. We had a problem with heat at the feral cat house this month and we found it was because of the heaters we put into Cam and Valentinos new run. Sigh. We kept blowing the fuse. In this cold we could not be without heat so the cats have heat and we brought Cam and Valentino in to the brick house spare rooms. We ordered new smaller hound heaters for their area and they will arrive Tuesday. Hopefully that will solve that problem.


Horse Updates:

Our new horse caretaker, Brianna, has started working with all the horses on their manners (especially Noble and Devil), and gaining trust (especially Murphy and Foxy). Once or twice a week all horses have their hooves picked and treated for thrush if need be. Francis has his feet done every time Brianna is there since he is so prone to foot issues. Brianna and our loyal volunteers also groom everybody every couple of days, so that we don’t have any problems with rainrot or any
other fungus problems. On our wishlist this month you’ll notice we are asking for M-T-G. This is to also help with fungus and skin issues. Please consider ordering some bottles for us.

Last update we told you about Francis’ stomach lump, and we called the vet out. It turned out to be pitting edema (nothing serious). The vet thought that Francis look really good and said she has not seen him so sound. Brianna also discussed Devil with her. Devil has shown no signs of any lameness and he is young and strong and really bright. He is bored to tears here and we thought maybe we could start doing some light riding or exercises to keep his mind busier. The vet thought it would be in his best interest to not pursue riding. He has a lot more going on in those legs than we first suspected. So it is believed even at a walk with some trot he would not stay sound. After coming to this conclusion Brianna started to look into some of the Parelli games to give him something to do and
have fun with but still be safe for him to perform. I’m thrilled that we have a caretaker that cares not only about the cleaning and feeding but about the horses mental and emotional health as well. This is really great for our horses.

She also noticed with the cold weather and hard ground Noble, Francis, Murphy, and Kingfish really seem to stock up. In trying to avoid this and promote more movement she has started feeding hay differently (in a lot of little piles spread out throughout their paddocks to encourage them to move around more).

We are all still worried about Kingfish. Even though we have upped his feed, he has been dropping a little weight, which for an older guy is very important to keep on top of. We had blood drawn and sent out and are waiting for the results to make sure it is nothing more serious. She also noticed Foxy’s left eye was irritated and flushed it out with eye wash. It appeared to have a small scratch, and she told us to watch it but the next day – on her day off, she came in to check again and noted it was cloudy and called the vet out. The vet treated the eye and said we caught it right before it became something serious. Nice job Brianna.

We also had a scare with Glen last week when someone moved him from his location, without our approval and then gave him the wrong feed. They were trying to be nice but had no idea what they were doing and Glen was off his feed and out of sorts for a number of days after. He is back to normal now, but we ask all volunteers to always check with us before ever moving any animal on the property. Staff should be the only ones to make those decisions, as we have reasons for everything and you might not be aware of all of them! We admit we may miss something from time to time though so we ALWAYS welcome your input and suggestions. Thank you for caring.

Thank you’s

A HUGE thank you to Horse & Rider tack shop (528 Bloomingburg Road, Middletown). Kristina & Debbie sent out a mailing to all their members and asked them to help us with waterproof blankets for our horses. I am happy to say that we now have eight brand new blankets, five wonderful used blankets and as if this wasn’t enough, the SquirrelWood Farm in Montgomery (Beth and Diane) drove up and dropped off the mega load. Blankets, sheeets, coats – a little of everything. They could not have been nicer. Lynda Broas from Equine Rescue ALSO brought us two blankets. An amazing example of rescues helping rescues. We were floored by the outpouring of support from the local horse people. Thank you all. Every horse now has a warm and waterproof blanket.

Two young girls really impressed us this month. Thalia Fisher was given $5 by her teacher and was told that she needed to do something good with it. After much thought, Thalia decided to come down to Pets Alive and bring us the $5 to help the animals here. We were very moved by her gesture. She had so many choices and yet she chose us. Thank you Thalia!

Tessy is nine years old. She had a lemonade stand where she made and sold her lemonade to raise money. With the money she went out and bought pet toys, food, and supplies to donate to Pets Alive. She and her family drove about 75 miles to visit and drop off all of these items. They plan to come back and volunteer. (Tessy is pictured, left).

Thanks again to our maintenance guys John, John and Cahrlie for helping us so much with all the odds and ends around here. Special thanks also to Stan for replacing our sump pump and piping (at his own expense and time!) and Ralph and Rosemary for their help with the plumbing here and at Sara’s house. We so appreciate your assistance and would be lost with out you.

Cynthia – thank you so much for the batteries and chargers. What a surprise that was. We are really grateful. For the first time we have that off our needs list! Thank you also to Angela who continues to financially help whenever needed and to Karen for her monthly special box of treats and toys that come this way. Thank you to everyone who read our Holiday letter and sent in donations, or dropped by to donate an item on our list. Every time we see a letter in the mail or a box on our doorstep we are so very grateful. Thank you to Elaine C for helping with our toner needs. We appreciate all of your help.

Thank you to the M.E and Bob for a large donation and for remembering the staff and sending us a beautiful coffee pot and tons of sample coffees! It was with great glee we opened that up. Thank you also to everyone who sent treats and candied apples and to Tim who drove up and dropped off boxes of sweets for staff on Christmas. It always touches me to watch staff be so surprised when a box comes for them. Thank you also to Rose who donated a Carhart suit for each of our dog staff. That is a picture of Marcos posing in his new suit. They are now warm and protected and that was so very kind of you. Thanks everyone for the blankets and linens and towels. We go through it all so fast.

Thank you to Calling All Dogs for coming down and setting up some displays for us, donating a bunch of items and telling us what merchants can get us the best prices and deals on items. That was really nice of you to help us with that.

Thank you to the anonymous person who made a donation to Heritage Feed on our behalf but left strict orders not to tell us who they were. Whoever you are – THANK YOU. Thank you also to Dodd Plumbing who made a donation at our vet to go toward our HUGE bill there. That was very unexpected and very kind.

As always thank you to our long time regulars – Lynne, Sonya, Allison, Camille, Liz, Carmine, Lucia, Barbara, Becky, Toni, Mike, John, Bonnie, Charlie and all the volunteers that come every single day, or week to help us. You guys are the best!

Current Needs:

Needs this month are snow shovels, stamps, Kennel Wash, paper towels, 3-lb paper trays, bleach, a tri-fold machine, garbage bags (black yard bags), horse hoof picks (with the brush), and M-T-G. Thanks for your kind consideration on these items!

Filed in Updates by kerry on Jan 05, 2009.  There are 2 Comments

2 Responses to “Kerry’s update: January 5th, 2009”

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