Leech Lake Legacy believes that by working together and collaborating with a larger network of animal welfare organizations, we will be able to do more for reservation animals and pet owners (www.leechlakelegacy.org)
*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
When I arrived at the Leech Lake Impound in CassLake on July 30 to collect the dogs for the weekly transport to the Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley, I had no idea what drama would unfold in the following weeks with one of the dogs I was transporting.
I was scheduled to transport six dogs that day.Two of the dogs (Hickory and Holter) had been rescued from the Bemidji Impound by Nancy (a Leech Lake volunteer who lives in Bemidji).
The other four (Austin, DJ, Jake and Lobo) were brought in by Connie (a local animal advocate who spends her days assisting her neighbors with feeding and vetting their dogs and cats).
Connie arrived in her four-door sedan shortly after I did.I actually could not tell that Connie was driving since a dog was standing on her lap with his head out the window barking at me.And glancing into her car, all I could see was lots of dog parts – legs, feet, ears, smiling mouths and wagging tails.
Connie was somehow able to extricate herself from the pile of dogs and tumbled out of her car, barely able to shut the door before they were able to pile out after her.
Connie introduced her charges one by one:
Austin, a very sweet and skinny Shepherd mix
DJ, a beautiful young Shepherd mix with lots of energy
Jake, a happy silly boy who just wanted some attention
Lobo, a beautiful Shepherd mix with deep, soulful eyes
After a lot of hoo-hah as I tried to maneuver dogs and kennels into my car, everyone was finally loaded and I began the return trip to Minneapolis.
After I delivered all six dogs to the caring staff at AHS, I drove away, content in the knowledge that all of these boys were being given a chance at a better life.
A few days later, I was informed by AHS that Jake had a seizure and would not be able to be adopted through AHS.I immediately reached out to my dog rescue contacts (both locally and nationally) with a plea for someone to adopt Jake.
The stark reality of finding a home for a dog with medical issues quickly became apparent.A few people replied to my email and requested additional information but after my reply, I did not hear from them again.
On Friday, August 19, Jake had been in a kennel at AHS for 19 days.He was becoming anxious and stressed.This environment is not healthy for a dog to be in for an extended amount of time.Jake was my responsibility and I knew that I needed to think about what was best for him.
I then made the gut-wrenching decision to have Jake euthanized.As horrible as this decision was for me to make, I felt like I had no choice.I had emailed, called and reached out to so many people and rescues and no one had a spot for Jake. Jake was going to start to mentally break down if he was kept in the kennel for much longer.
Jake was scheduled to be euthanized on Saturday, August 20.I made an appointment for Friday afternoon to get Jake out of his kennel, take him for a long walk, and give him as much love and attention as I possibly could.My friend Marilou from Pet Haven met me at AHS and we took Jake outside.We let him frolic and roll on the grass.He sniffed and peed and barked.He was ecstatic to be out of his kennel.
Thankfully, he had no idea he was scheduled to go to the RainbowBridge the very next day.
My heart was sobbing as I shut Jake in his kennel and said good-bye for the very last time.I was distraught thinking that this sweet, lovable goofball was going to die.What a terrible tragedy.
Thankfully, this story has a very happy ending.
Marilou was as distraught as I was.On her way home from saying goodbye to Jake, she reached out to her new friend Tom, who owns Lucky Dog Pet Lodge in Bloomington.Tom and Marilou had recently discussed ways that they could partner in their never-ending quest of helping dogs.
After hearing Jake’s story, Tom offered to foster Jake at Lucky Dog until he could be adopted.Marilou then made many frantic calls – to AHS to stop the euthanasia, to Dr. Vicki with ACT V Rescue & Rehabilitation to get Jake in for a health exam and to me with the phenomenal news that Jake was not going to die!
Jake is currently residing at Lucky Dog where he is quickly learning how things work in an environment that is very different from the environment of the Reservation.He is a very smart boy who apparently learns by watching other dogs (he has already learned how to let himself out of the gates by lifting the latch).
Jake is available for adoption. If you would like additional information about Jake or if you are interested in adopting this sweet, smart, wonderful dog, please click on the link below.
Emmy was brought into the Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley on July 9, 2011 from LeechLake.When I took her out of her kennel at LeechLake to get her prepared for the ride to the Cities, I immediately fell in love with the big brown girl. I quickly discovered her soulful eyes and her very sweet, gentle personality.
Emmy’s three puppies (Ellie, Elsa and Eddie) were old enough to be weaned but still very much wanted to nurse from their momma.When I closed Emmy in her own kennel for the ride to the Cities, I would swear she gave me a grateful look before she curled up into a ball and fell asleep.
Emmy was a very timid girl and spent some time in a program at AHS specifically designed for shy/fearful dogs.Emmy did very well in the program and was then put up for adoption.
Emmy was on the adoption floor for almost a month where she was passed over again and again until one day last week, Emmy was chosen to be WCCO’s Pet of the Week.
She was featured on WCCO’s Pet of the Week on Friday, August 5.She was adopted the very next day! (Click on the link above to see the video of Emmy's TV debut.)
A big thank you to WCCO for helping Emmy find her forever home and to the Animal Humane Society for their ongoing efforts in helping the dogs on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation.