Back in the Summer of 2010 I was a new mother and had also just become a widow. My husband died when our son was 3 months old. Lawrence and I both knew we had to make changes in how we did things. It was during that time we were at 154 dogs. We knew we could keep taking in until we were blue in the face but it wouldn't matter unless we had a spay/neuter program. So in the summer of 2010 I approached out county judge during the time and asked the county to go in half with us to bring SNAP out to Atascosa county.I was will to use the life insurance money I had gotten when Elton died. We would put in $12,500 and we wanted the county to put in $12,500. Well, the response was no that we didn't have a overpopulation problem and the county judge in 2010 told us that she didn't want the vets in the area to think we wanted to go into competition with them. Competition Really. yeah sure right. We just wanted to save lives. So in September 2010 we brought SNAP out to the county and payed for the visit ourselves. It costs us $2200 and guess what 85 people showed up. That is when I knew we needed to do something. We provided more clinics in December 2010 and April 2011. We started to write the grants for more clinics. Finally in 2013 we got the funding we needed. We were able to bring SNAP out in March 2013, July 2013 thru November 2013 and Also January 2014 thru June 2014. 12 clinics in all. More work is needed though we know this. We are trying our best for more grants.
Five years later we now have new leadership in our county. New County Judge with the same vision we have. Also we are now down in the 60's with dogs. Our numbers are down and adoptions are taking place out of state. We hope to have our numbers down even more this next year. We are pushing to be under 40.
Five years since Elton died and I love watching our son play with the dogs and learn as I learned as a child.
The other day I received a phone from a person who worked for the State of Texas. They were a supervisor and they needed help. As she explained the situation to me I started to think of other situations similar to this. So I was expecting the worse to be honest. Let me explain. We have dealt with 3 situations concerning the elderly. The first one was a elderly couple outside of Natalia ( October 2013) who had 13 Pomeranian's The dogs were in horrible shape and as you got to the ramp of the house the stench of ammonia hit you. The dogs had . very long nails and matted hair. Right away we got the dogs groomed, raised funds and started to transport the dogs to new homes. 2 went to Lubbock, 2 went to New Mexico and one went to Memphis "Tennessee. Then the rest were adopted out in this area. Then in May 2014 to December 2014 we removed 96 dogs outside of Pleasanton. A lot of these dogs were kennel crazy. They kept reproducing. The elderly couple never got them spayed or neutered. Then in January 2015 we removed 24 dogs from outside of Pleasanton where the dogs were in their own feces, matted hair, and we even found a dead dog in the dog house decaying. The older man in this case was in a Nursing home and was a breeder. His wife had severe dementia and their daughter was trying to sell the dogs as bad as they looked.
Now the difference. The first case were breeders, the second case was a rescuer who never spayed or neutered, the third case was a breeder.
The new case is really different. This was a elderly couple who loved dogs and they dedicated their lives to care for these dogs. They were rescued the streets. They were spayed/neutered and vaccinated. The husband passed away 6 months ago and the wife is now in a nursing home due to their health declining. The family called for help and then the supervisor called me. We are helping. There are 9 dogs total. It is very easy to get overwhelmed in rescue. I could have said to this current case but where would the dogs go. Our county has nothing at the moment as far as a shelter. Things are being worked on but that is a different story and down the line. Now they need help and not later. This couple are heroes in my book.
The first 3 cases I mentioned above aren't. They were breeders. The 3rd case well that one put a sour taste in my mouth. It affected me, Mike and Tallis. That one really really hurt us alot.
Just some thoughts. Please if you have pets have it wrote down where they go in the event you have to go to a nursing home or if you pass away. I have seen it too many times where family won't do the right thing and they will dump the animal. I have seen this way too much. I applaud the family in our current situation for reaching out and asking for help.
Smokey was his name. I loved this boy. He was my constant companion when I was growing up. Smokey passed away during the summer of 1986 I was in South Carolina during the time. My dad called and he was crying on the phone. That is how I found out Smokey died. He passed away in his sleep. I took it hard we all did. I still think of this boy and the joy I had with him. The neighbors in our neighborhood might have been afraid of Smokey cause he was a German Shepherd but to this girl he was my best friend. I even know where he was buried. Fast forward lots of years. The house I grew up in was up for sale and to reminiscence about the past I had to visit the house. Too many memories but when I got outside to the back I remembered where my swing set was and my childhood friend Virginia who lived next door. Yes, I visited Smokey's grave and the other dogs/cats that passed on when I was growing up.
I am now a mother to a very active 5 year old. What I was taught as a child about respecting the animals I am now passing on to my son. The joy I get is seeing my son outside playing in the sand with our dogs or my son in the pool playing with Indy or even throwing the Kong to Tuff. Kids should grow up with animals.. Whether it is a dog, cat, horse, snake, goats, chickens, llamas etc. It is about respecting nature, life, and the animals.
gLawrence and I first met in the spring of 2003 and our friendship grew. Together we shared our dreams and hopes. One day while driving on Stevens Road outside of Somerset we found a dog roaming the street with no hair. I mean absolutely no hair. We got her our new hairless friend and took her to Dr. Schmidt who was my vet. Dr. Schmidt just looked at me and shook his head. Well, Precious was heart worm positive and also had severe mange. We dipped her in Mitaban dip and as time went on we discovered that our hairless dog was actually a Springer Spaniel. She was a beauty. The time came that Dr. Schmidt did the Heart worm treatment. I was expecting a $300 or $400 bill but I ended up with a $47 bill. I was shocked I told Dr. Schmidt that this must be a mistake. I was expecting a bigger bill. He looked at me and said " I have met very few people who would have done what you did. So this is my gift to you. The only thing you are paying for is for the vial of Heart worm Treatment". Now those of us in Atascosa county remember how Dr. Schmidt was. He was awesome and I miss him. I need to look through my pictures and find one of Precious. She was beautiful. A liver and White color. She was one of our original dogs before we started the sanctuary and she died a few years ago.
Then I got the dare one day from Dr. Schmidt. He tells me I dare you to start a rescue. I looked at him and said "why did you just do that." He just smiled. Well ,Tri-city animal sanctuary was born. There are times though I wonder why in the world did I do this. Then I remember cause it is our mission. Our life. It isn't easy. There are good and bad days. There are days of tears and days of laughter. I tell people I always knew my life was going to the dogs. With that said I live in a kennel; What was I thinking and I say this with a smile. This is our life.