*Leech Lake Legacy is a 501(c)3 tax exempt non-profit organization

Envisioning a world where every reservation dog and cat is well cared for

Thursday, July 28, 2011

AHS, MnPAW and Leech Lake – A Beautiful Partnership

I traveled for the first time to the Leech Lake Reservation on April 30 of this year, blissfully unaware of the challenges that lay before me.  I had no idea of the number of dogs that needed help.  I did not realize so many of the dogs would be in such terrible shape.  I could not have imagined the suffering that some of these dogs had endured.

I also had no idea how hard it would be to find places for all of these dogs to go.

Nine dogs were scheduled to be picked up on that first trip to Leech Lake in April:

  • ACT V was scheduled to take Buddy (a lab/St. Bernard mix with an injured leg)


  • Second Hand Hounds had agreed to take Lola (Shepherd mix) and Patches (the very pregnant St. Bernard who was renamed Madeline)
After a week of trying, I still had not found anywhere for the remaining six dogs to go - Andrew, Alexander and Annie (three-month-old Lab mix siblings), Bellie and Nellie (six-month-old Lab mix siblings) and Kane, a four-year-old Shepherd mix.

Kane - Adopted
 That’s when MnPAW (Minnesota Partnership for Animal Welfare) and AHS (Animal Humane Society) in Golden Valley reached out to me and began what has become an amazing partnership.

Before that first trip to Leech Lake, I had sent a request to many of the animal rescue groups in the Twin Cities asking for donations of food and kennels to bring with me to the Reservation.

Marilou with Pet Haven was one of the first people to respond.  We met on a Sunday afternoon so I could pick up the kennels Pet Haven was donating and we immediately hit it off.  We quickly realized that we were on exactly the same page when it came to animal rescue.

Pet Haven is a member of MnPAW (the Minnesota Coalition for Animal Welfare - a coalition of animal welfare organizations throughout Minnesota who are committed to working together to aid animals in Minnesota).

The Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley (“AHS”) is also a member of MnPAW.

Marilou contacted AHS and they immediately agreed to take in the six remaining dogs from Leech Lake.  Five of the six dogs they took in from that first trip were behavior tested, vetted and adopted out within a week.  One of the dogs (Andrew) did not do well on his behavior testing and was re-rescued by All Dog Rescue.  He went through some food guarding training and has since been adopted.

Since that first trip in April, AHS has taken in 47 dogs from Leech Lake.  Of those 47:

Felix - Adopted
  • 26 have been adopted
  • Four are currently up for adoption
  • One is in a behavior modification program
  • Three are on medical hold and being treated for injuries then will be placed up for adoption
  • Five were transferred to rescues
  • One puppy was adopted by an AHS staff member and unfortunately came down with Parvo and died
  • One puppy had Intussusception (an intestinal disorder) and died shortly after emergency surgery
  • Two had serious untreatable medical issues and were humanely euthanized
  • Four are currently waiting to be behavior tested
Of the 47, eight did not do well on their behavior evaluation.  Of those eight:

  • Three of the dogs were placed in one of AHS’s behavior modification programs (food and shy/fearful dogs) - two of them are currently up for adoption and one is still going through the program
  • Five of the dogs were placed with other rescues
Many of the dogs I have brought into AHS have come in with health issues including broken bones (pelvis, leg), lacerations, kennel cough, cherry eye and others.  Every one of them has been treated at AHS and once they were healthy, put up for adoption.  One of the dogs, Boots, was brought to AHS in May with a severely broken pelvis.  His pelvis was repaired and he has since been in an AHS foster home to recover.  He will soon be up for adoption.

Without AHS, these dogs would not have had a second chance.  The situation up at the Leech Lake Reservation is dire.  There is absolutely no way we would be able to help as many dogs as we have from Leech Lake if not for the partnership with AHS/MnPAW.

Every week, anywhere from 6-15 dogs are brought into AHS from Leech Lake.  Most of these dogs are adopted out within 5-10 days of when they arrive at the AHS shelter in Golden Valley.  My hope is that I as I get more volunteers to help with transport, and am able to get processes and structures in place, we will be able to bring back 25-30 or more dogs each week.

The animal welfare community in Minnesota is filled with passionate people.  By working together we truly can accomplish so much more.  I am grateful for the partnership I have with AHS/MnPAW and also for the Twin Cities rescue community and for those who have stepped forward to help out with dogs who have needed some additional training or behavior modification prior to being re-homed.

I will be traveling again to Leech Lake on Saturday, July 30 to pick up 10 more dogs, bringing the total number of dogs rescued from Leech Lake and brought into AHS through MnPAW to 57.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can help with the efforts on the Leech Lake Reservation, please email me at jennyafitzer@gmail.com.

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