For seventeen years Starwood was the rescue kennel for the Yankee Weimaraner Club. The stories were many, the dog's were carefully placed and we had the gratification of receiving many warm correspondences from their new families on how well they were adapting to their new families and lives. Only one still haunts me, still brings tears to my eyes and I still have the photos of him and the sign that sat on my desk in the kennel. His name was "Rescue". The sign says "No one here knew my name because I was found behind the housing for the elderly in Oxford, MA. I was curled up in a ball and very cold. The residents put a blanket over me and called the dog officer. He took me to the veterinarian's office in Oxford where they helped to rejuvenate me and then I went to Starwood because they rescue Weimaraners. I was very old and was not able to totally recover from my lack of care. My picture is here now to remind everyone that no dog should be a "throw away dog".
In 2005, having sold the large boarding kennel Starwood was no longer able to be the rescue center for Yankee and, much to my dismay, Yankee also decided to no longer support the rescue efforts. I did not believe that we would be called to action once more but it happened earlier this year when we did not have an older dog for one of our long time dog owners Pell Price of Bermuda who has had three of our dogs over the past 30 years. I reached out to the WCA Rescue and the Weimaraner Group on Facebook in search of an appropriate dog for Pell. Several people contacted us and we decided to connect with the dog that was referred to us by the WCA Rescue who was staying with Jacqueline Johansen from Cape Cod. She had a female who she had received from a previous owner that needed a home. This should have been a simple process but this dog "Holly" had quite a backstory that we were not aware of when Kenan went to pick her up.
Jaqueline met Kenan, gave him Holly and also emailed Holly's x-rays to us that showed she had a hernia and a healed cracked disc. When Kenan picked up Holly to put her in our vehicle, she bit him in four places and in the process also ruined one lovely cashmere sweater. Well, that could have been the end of Holly but we persevered. Holly was placed in one of our kennel rooms where she growled at everyone and was extremely fearful. It took several weeks before she would not cower in the corner and growl at us but she did start to relax. The next step was reaching in to stroke her so she would become comfortable rather than fearful. She would grab our hand with her mouth, not to bite but as a warning to please not hit her. She had been abused, how abused we were about to discover. Finally, the kennel help could interact with her and we were able to have her play with our dogs.
We sent our veterinarian the x-ray of Holly's abdomen which Jacqueline had given us. Dr. Murphy from the Westside Animal Clinic, wanted to redo the x-ray as the one we had was not as clear as he would have liked. Holly was a model citizen at the vet's office. The x-ray confirmed that Holly had a diaphragmatic hernia and a healed crack in a disc was also evident in the x-ray. Dr. Murphy could not understand how she was still alive as all her intestines and other organs that should have been in her abdomen were in her chest cavity. She needed surgery to correct this issue. Also, Holly hopped in the rear. She can do regular strides as well but she will still break into a hop with her rear legs. Probably from habit as it was more comfortable to move this way from her injuries. We appealed to the Weimaraner Foundation Fund to assist us. After assurances from Dr. Murphy that the proposed surgery had a good chance of being successful, the WFF approved the procedure. It would take a team of two surgeons to do this. We needed to wait for Dr. Murphy to be able to team up with another surgeon from Tufts Veterinary School so it was about a month waiting to get the surgery scheduled. Finally, done and a success!!
Dr. Murphy stated that the only way Holly could have been in that condition was if she was severely beaten or had been hit by a car. Based upon her extremely fearful demeanor when Kenan picked her up, I would say it was the former. Now we had to wait until her rabies vaccination was 6 months old so she could get a second rabies vaccination (per Bermuda Animal Import Regulations) and then wait 30 more days before we could apply for her import permit.
The next problem in this long saga was the heat. Now it is June in Bermuda and none of the commercial airlines will fly pets into the country. Fortunately, I used to be a professional pet shipper and was even President of the International Pet and Animal Transport Association. I prevailed upon one of my fellow pet shippers, Worldwide Pet in New York and she was able to find a cargo flight out of Newark that could take Holly to Bermuda. Wonderful, but, I was flying out of Boston to Bermuda so as to meet her there and spend two days with Pell to assure she would have a smooth transition. I could not do that and also get her to Newark. Since all of Rosemary's drivers were booked, I called my friend Sally from Airborne Animals in New Jersey and she arranged for one of her drivers to pick up Holly from me on June 27th and then tender her to the cargo airline on June 28th at 6am while I took the 10am flight out of Boston. At this point I was a wreck! So many pieces of the puzzle to come together, so much time and effort and cost. I was thrilled when the driver sent me confirmation that Holly had been tendered to the airline, even more thrilled when Rosemary confirmed that the cargo flight was on its way to Bermuda with Holly on board and ecstatic when I met Pell at the Bermuda airport and he confirmed that she arrived in good shape. I was such a "Nervous Nellie". How had I ever been a Professional Pet Shipper who would always calmly assure my clients that everything would be just fine! Holly, Pell and I spent two happy days together acclimating Holly to her new home, new person and her property to wander about and protect when she feels she should be the watchman. Here are some photos of her with Pell and under her tree from where she carefully watches over "Interlude", the name of Pell's home.
How gratifying it is to watch Holly run about her forever home and feel glorious. How grateful I am to the WFF for their support of Holly.
Gale Young - Starwood