First Quarter 09

Rescue Report February 22nd 2009,   By Bruce & Linda Whiteside, Rescue Committee

                 Things were a little slower the last quarter, but still we had plenty to do. We found homes for Koda and Ripley, and took and placed Trina. We also lost several friends and got disappointing news about several others.

                 Good News first! Koda went to his new home with Ruthann Gnade and her husband Jerry in Okemos, MI.  Koda was the shy 5 year old from Traverse City. He has done very well with overcoming much of his shyness and has become a huge helper in his new home. Koda’s new parents are retired and Jerry is in his 80’s if I recall correctly. Koda will notify him mom if Jerry calls for her. He makes sure that she knows he is looking for her by going to get her, and barks, letting her know she is needed. So Koda has self appointed himself as a “service dog”! What a smart boy!!

                 Ripley, aka Rippy, Rippers, Ripster…… now lives in Traverse City with Lynda and Peter Starkel and their kids, John, Martha and Oscar (Oscar is their other Berner). They had very recently lost their other Berner, Polar, and had sent me a note that they would always consider rescues when they were ready. I knew it was too soon, but they were such a great home and we were so attached to Ripley, we could not send her to just anywhere. So I told them about Rippers. They came for a visit since they were in the area that week and saw how sweet she is, and decide she would be good for their family. Ripley has stolen their hearts and Oscar has a new buddy. She is super sweet and loves anybody she meets. Her only issues are a very stubborn bladder infection that is requiring several bouts of antibiotics with it just coming back.

                 Trina came to us on December 30th and was very, very shy. She started her life at an Amish farm (puppymill). Her owners got her out of there when she was about 5 months old, and much of the rationale for her shyness had already been engrained. She spent the next year living happy, but due to economic changes, her family had to take on more jobs and Trina was left alone. So they decided it would be best for her if she went to a home with more time for her.

                 Her first week here was a nightmare for her. When she first walked in the door, she got jumped by a dog we were babysitting for and she received a few small bite wounds. Then a few days later she got spayed, with issues. Her spleen was out of position so it got cut during the spay, and had bad bleeding that had to be repaired. All that on top of being scared, and hiding under our dining room table was not the highlight of her life. But she soon learned that our house was not going to hurt her and she started playing with everyone. She got to the point that others were hiding from her because they were tired of playing. Trina never had a playmate before so she was making up for lost time. It took about 3 weeks before she would come into the living room to join our gang. She allowed Linda to pet her right off, for me it took about a month to not be afraid of me, but we became friends too. We took our time evaluating her and decided that she needed a home with a secure fence, a quite home with few visitors and a buddy or 2 to play with.

                 That home came around mid-February. Brian and Karen Huggins in Linwood contacted us about Trina and things just seemed to fit both Trina’s need and the family. So they came to meet her and of course she was shy, but came out to investigate them. We decided it would be a good match, so we took her a few days later to Linwood to make sure everything was as advertised (we were gun shy after Lindy who’s story follows). All checked out and Trina actually was having fun walking around the property with their dogs, Lady and Chi-Chi, along with our Colin and Bob (her buddies).

It’s only been a few days but she is doing much better there than when she came her. We are keeping fingers crossed for her.

                 Now bad news. We lost several of our placements and learned that others have serious health issues. Chloe and Harley (Harley is not a rescue but comes here often) have cancer. We lost Hercules, Shiloh, Tia, Chester, and Lindy.

Lindy was just plain tragic. She was adopted with Toby because they did best together and then Toby killed a chicken and acted out, so the new owner turned him into animal control. We managed to save him, again, and he is doing great. But we had no contractual recourse to reclaim Lindy, but she seemed happy and was loved. Around Feb, 1st she ate a bottle of Motrin as many as 30-50 tablets, a very dangerous amount. Her owner never sought treatment for her even though she knew she had overdosed. At least not until she became symptomatic 3 days later. The vets told her the treatment would be expensive which she refused to pay, so she said give her back to rescue. The vet contacted us and thought they could save her because she was healthy and strong. So we agreed to pay for her bills if she was surrendered back to us. Unfortunately, Lindy turned for the worse. Her temp spiked at almost 108 degrees and was

having constant seizures. We had to make the decision that she was terminal and stop her suffering. We take responsibility for the poor choice of placement. We placed them without our usual home check because of the distance and we had 6 fosters art one time. So we reduced our standards, and Toby and Lindy paid for it. It will not happen again. We will enlist others to do home checks if we cannot do it ourselves. We are so sorry Lindy.

                 The rescue took a big hit of almost $1,000 and no Lindy to show for it. Bill Salbenblatt made a challenge to the yahoo group to help raise funds to replace the funds used to try and save Lindy. So far in just 3 days we have received $220.00!!!! Thank you!

                 On a better note, we approached the board with the “official” plan to make the rescue a free standing organization with the intent of making it a 501c3 charity. There are many advantages to doing this, too many to go into here. The board agreed. So with the help of John Stuive we are currently drafting up the letters of incorporation. We have involved members of the club to serve as the board of directors. Although the rescue will not be part of the club, it will tied at the hip on working together to keep saving Berners that need us.

                 Along with this, we started up a new web site for the rescue. It is at:

This way we can keep it up to date because things change so rapidly with the rescue and we won’t have to bother the web people to keep changing for us. The web site is still a work in progress as we are working on a logo using the artwork from when the club had the specialty here in Michigan.

                 The web site is thanks to Peter Starkel. When Peter adopted Ripley, (Oscar is also a HMBMDC Rescue) he made the comment, “if there is ever anything I can do to help the rescue, let me know”. Peter may have regretted saying that!! He had mentioned that he does web design, so with the door open, we walked right through it and asked about making a rescue site. Peter never even blinked and offered to do it… for free!! So Peter and I have been working on it, and he has patiently been tutoring me on how to update it. Thank You Peter, for giving so much time to help the rescue.

We had 6 placements at the BBB (Gus, Ripley, Lacy, Tasha, Zurich and Oscar), so we had a reunion with some of our old friends. We think all of them remembered us, especially Ripley, she was very happy to see us, but still wanted to go with her new family after the day was done, which we were very glad to see. She chose them, which is how it supposed to be. It was a great recharge for us.

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