*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

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Caster ... another bright star in the night skies

Jenna giving Caster kisses :)
On October 28th, we had quite the transport arrive from Leech Lake Reservation with many injured dogs. We will share more about that transport on another blog post. For tonight, we need to honor a very special pup who touched hearts of so many, and in particular the heart of Jenna, an animal care lead at Animal Humane Society.

Cotton and Caster when they arrived
Caster  arrived on the October 28th transport. A huge thanks to Martha, a Leech Lake Legacy volunteer up north, who helped rescue two precious puppies (Caster and Cotton) whose face and bodies were filled with quills. We got a call from Martha on Saturday (10/27) evening and we reached out to our partner the Animal Humane Society/AHS. Our vet clinic in Bemidji was already closed and we desperately needed to get Caster and Cotton in to see a vet and the quills removed. They were in so much pain and absolutely terrified, and rightly so! Without hesitation, we were told by AHS to bring Caster and Cotton in. When the transport arrived on Sunday, Caster and Cotton were immediately taken into surgery .. they were sedated and the quills were removed. They removed over 200 quills from Caster and 75-80 quills from Cotton (including one on her tongue). There were quills over Caster's entire body ... his back, chest, legs, and face. After their surgery they were given time to recover and they appeared to be healing nicely physically. They were terrified of people, however, and would not let anyone near them. They would snap in fear if anyone tried to come near them. Our friend Jenna at AHS, however, did her usual amazing work with these 2 pups and she continued to work with them. She would take her lunch hours in the 'Q' ward (the quiet ward) at AHS sitting in Caster's kennel (she would alternate time with Caster and Cotton). She would share stories of her progress with Caster. At first he wouldn't even come near her and it would take very yummy treats to entice the sweet boy. Then he would come closer and sit on her lap. It was clear Jenna was making tremendous progress with Caster and he was learning to trust humans again, thanks to Jenna. Cotton was also making progress but was a little more leary. It was also very clear how much Caster had wiggled his way into Jenna's heart.
Caster right before surgery

After a week and a half at the shelter we realized that a shelter environment was not in the best interest of both Caster and Cotton and we needed to get them into a foster home and a shelter/rescue with a foster program with the ability to work with extremely shy and fearful pups. Arrangements were made for Caster and Cotton to be transferred to the foster program for Morrison County Animal Humane Society (another Leech Lake Legacy partner) and Jenna offered to foster either Caster or Cotton (we had another experienced foster lined up). The balls were set in motion and Caster and Cotton were spayed/neutered on Friday. We were planning on having them both transferred to their respective foster homes tomorrow/Monday.

At 7:00 am today I received a call from Jenna. She had just arrived at work. I knew when my phone rang at 7 am on a Sunday morning that it probably wasn't a good thing. These 3 heart wrenching words painfully came out of Jenna's mouth as she fought back tears, "Caster is dead."She arrived at work to find Caster's lifeless body. All I could feel was this incredible pain in her heart for a puppy who had wrapped his spirit around her heart ...  From the day he arrived on Oct. 28th, it was clear Jenna loved this little guy. She admits, she has a soft spot for the really shy ones and she adopted a very shy and fearful dog years ago and watched him come out of his shell and blossom. She was playing a key role in doing the same for Caster and Cotton. Every day when she was at work at AHS, she took extra time with Caster and she was committed to spending her lunch hours with them.

The AHS vet checked Caster out when she arrived at the shelter this morning. She was concerned at the time of Caster's original surgery of the number of quills in his chest and removed all the quills she was able to see. Today, she confirmed that Caster had quills in his heart, kidneys and lungs. Jenna spent time with Caster yesterday and he was doing great. He may no longer be with this us physically but his spirit will forever be in our hearts, and the love, patience and compassion he experienced from Jenna is one I have no doubt he took with him.

Jenna, thank you for all the love you freely gave to Caster; for giving him a taste of what is to be loved; of showing him that humans can be trusted; for showering him with so much love and attention and yummy treats and toys; and for simply sitting quietly with him in his kennel and allowing him to come to you, at his own pace ... and for napping with him and simply holding him and giving him kisses while he snoozed.

He will forever be in your heart. He knows you loved him and his spirit is sprinkled around us and with his sister Cotton. Thank you for taking Cotton into your home tomorrow ... as you watch her come out of her shell you will know that her brother Caster is nudging her along ;-)

You are a gift to all the animals who are blessed to be touched by your presence.

Caster ... you are loved and your will be sorely missed.

Caster and Jenna ... nap time at lunch hour :)
Cotton ... going home with Jenna tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, how horrible. Thank you Jenna and everyone who helped this poor boy. (I had no idea this could even happen - yikes!)