*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

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Leech Lake Legacy Sep2014 Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic

Zeus .. one of our first surgery patients!
Leech Lake Legacy hosted a 2-day spay/neuter and wellness clinic on Sept. 12-13, 2014. We are grateful to the ASPCA for the generous grant and for sponsoring our September clinic. Many thanks also to the Leech Lake Tribal Police for partnering with us to host the clinic and for providing lodging and dinners for our volunteers. We are now in our 3rd year of hosting clinics in Cass Lake on the Leech Lake Reservation. In order to expand our reach  into more remote communities on Leech Lake Reservation, we offered a wellness clinic at Lone Eagle Community Center in Ball Club and offered transport of pets to Cass Lake for spay/neuter services. The following are the results of our 2-day spay/neuter and wellness clinic:

- 98 spay/neuter surgeries
- 1 specialty surgery
- 134 animals since through our wellness clinic (117 in Cass Lake and 17 in Ball Club)
- 55 animals surrendered. Animals released to the care of Leech Lake Legacy are transported and transferred to the care of our partner groups, who then spay/neuter and vaccinate the animals, evaluate them, provide any necessary rehab (whether medical or behavioral) and place them up for adoption. The surrendered animals at our Sept. clinic were transferred to the following partners: Animal Humane Society, Animal Allies Humane Society, Angel of Hope, Carver Scott Humane Society, and some were placed in temporary foster homes with Leech Lake Legacy.

Dog and cat food were also distributed to residents of Leech Lake and a car load of donated school supplies were given to Kathryn Fairbanks, Leech Lake elder and board member of the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig school.

Two Leech Lake pups (Gilligan and Louie) also came to pay us a visit. Gilligan (formerly Gilbert) was surrendered at our June event and Louie was a stray released to the care of LLL at our July clinic. Both pups were transferred over to Patriots Assistance Dogs and are in training to become service dogs.  We had visits from the Lakeland News, the Cass Lake Times and the DeBahJiMon papers.

A special thanks to our volunteer vets, Dr. Pierce Fleming of Plymouth Heights Pet Hospital and Dr. Dani Schwartzmann for volunteering at our clinic and helping with wellness and pre-surgery. We also had 4 vet school students from the University of Minnesota shelter medicine club volunteer on Saturday who were of great assistance to Dr. Pierce who was our only volunteer on Saturday! Thank you!

Chi miigwech to all of our amazing volunteers and to all of our supporters! We value our relationship with each and every one of you, and are truly grateful to be working together and making a difference in the lives of animals and pet owners of Leech Lake Reservation.

and for more photos from the clinic:

Monday, September 22, 2014

In memory of Karl .... RIP sweet boy

We received heart breaking news tonight from Karl's family (June and Cody) ... they sent an email to Sharon and Barbara Kinsmith who fostered Karl when he arrived into LLL's program at the beginning of the year (his story is below). Karl was adopted by June and Cody at the end of May, 2014:

"... I wanted to let you know with immense sadness that Karl passed away at the emergency clinic very early this morning. His stomach had bloated and twisted multiple times. Even with surgery, the vet and we, were not sure how he would recover. He went very peacefully on a nice big blanket with his head on my lap, cody petting him, and his puppy tucked in with him.

Thank you for putting him into our lives. We loved and still love him more than anyone could imagine.

Is it ironic that we had been teaching him to flip a treat off of his nose and catch it...and last night was the first time he did it successfully? He was never the most graceful, but always the most loving."

RIP Karl. You have touched the hearts of so many and you will be the brightest star in the night skies tonight. Let your spirit soar now .. and know that you will forever live on in the hearts of so many.

Karl's story (from the LLL blog post in Feb., 2014:

Karl was found as a stray on the Leech Lake Reservation by one of Leech Lake Legacy's volunteers. He had been living in the woods for some time before he decided to jump into the volunteer's car who had been trying for some time to catch Karl. He was transported to the Animal Humane Society in the Twin Cities for vetting, vaxing, and evaluation. He spent some time at the Animal Humane Society getting lots of love and pampering and going through their process to get the sweet boy ready to be placed up for adoption. The vets noticed a mass on his leg and as they were preparing to get him ready for surgery, he collapsed. This led to further diagnostics and tests, and we soon learned that Karl has a heart condition. Leech Lake Legacy made the decision to transfer Karl to a temp foster home with Sharon and Barbara.

X-rays show a possible enlarged heart, but that may be just a reflection of how full of love and affection he is. He may also have a megaesophagus, a condition that's managed by having him step on a step stool to eat so that he's almost upright on his hind legs. He learned that trick in about a minute, which shows how smart he is, and how much he loves to eat.

He enjoys his toys and will bring every one of them, one by one, from the toy box in the bedroom until he has them scattered around the living room. He's an excellent tennis ball catcher, too.

Thank you to the residents of Leech Lake Reservation who left food out for Karl and worried about him until he was finally brought in from the cold to begin his new life in the Twin Cities.

And thank you to Sharon and Barbara (and your pup Moose) for opening up your heart, and home, and for loving and caring for Karl as we continue to explore and get some answers to so many unknowns.

But there is one thing that we know for sure, Karl has a BIG heart, and yes, it is full of love and attention!

And after several months with Barbara and Sharon, he was adopted by a young couple at the end of May who fell instantly in love with Karl.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Leech Lake Legacy's partnership with Patriots Assistance Dogs featured in Cass Lake Times

Leech Lake Legacy connects with PAD

By Allan Olson – Cass Lake Times (Sept. 17, 2014)

Teamwork, collaboration and networking are all very important tools for any organization to have, including Leech Lake Legacy, which donates hundreds of volunteer hours for the good of the pets in the Leech Lake community.

This year the network reached out to Patriot Assistance Dogs (PAD) of Detroit Lakes and helped connect that program with dogs that they are able to train for use in their veterans program.

According to Dennis Junker, a volunteer trainer and former Cass Lake resident and alum (Class of ’78), as well as a 14-year military veteran, 75% of the dogs used in the program are rescue dogs. He explained that they currently have two sources of dogs for their veterans’ program – Leech Lake Legacy and Second Chance Pups of Lincoln, NE.

The dogs are trained for veterans with PTSD; they help provide personal space for those veterans, Junker explained. They can help to interrupt a panic attack or calm a veteran waking up from night terrors. In the case of a panic attack in public (i.e., in a store), the service animal is trained to lead them to the nearest outside exit – typically toward a garden or park area or some similar peaceful setting. Additionally, they are trained about how to act on various modes of public transportation, and how to stay out of the way of traffic. They have experience with city buses, along with ambulance training – remaining poised in the presence of running lights and sirens and firemen running in and out in full turnout gear. Some dogs also have additional training for individuals with diabetes; their K-9 partners have the ability to detect low blood sugar levels, along with alerting to seizures.

Leech Lake Legacy has provided PAD with two dogs – Gilligan (formerly named Gilbert by LLL) and Louie; both are a black lab/mixed breed. “They both showed so much natural instinct, I had to take them,” Junker said. Gilligan was adopted by PAD in June and Louie in August. Both appear to have a natural instinct for such training. Another dog donated by a family living on the Leech Lake Reservation – Sadie – will be fully certified within a month and has already been assigned to a Bemidji veteran.

The entire training process can take anywhere from six months to a year, and the veterans getting the dogs must also have about a month of training with their future service companion. For most dogs, it takes approximately 18 months before their training is complete and they are mature enough to be assigned to a veteran. Before being put on duty, the dogs are given a complete physical with hip x-rays, along with an examination of their internal organs. “We want to make sure they have the longest service life possible; hip problems or others issues could shorten it,” Junker said.

After being fully trained, each dog is valued at $10,000 - $12,000, according to Junker. “At this time, we don’t charge our veterans anything,” he said. The dogs are also sent with a basic first aid kid, and the owners are trained on using that and some other basics to help offset any additional costs. The program will also train a veteran’s personal dog if it passes their temperament test and physical exam.

The program has been in existence for three and a half years. In that time they have placed 34 dogs, and have a few others pending. Their costs have all been offset by grants and fundraisers to date. The dogs are all trained in the Detroit Lakes area. Most of the dogs they use range from 45-80 pounds. They have been placed with veterans in South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota.

Barry Stephens, an Air Force veteran who served during Operation Enduring Freedom from 2004-07, is now the proud owner of Sadie. He is currently attending Bemidji State University, and Sadie attends classes with him. “Everyone on campus seems to know her name, but not mine!” he quipped. “There was a small hiccup when I first was planning to bring Sadie with me to campus, but I called PAD and they talked with officials at the college and explained the law, and then all was great. All the professors have been excellent to work with. I emailed them at the beginning of the semester and let them know, and there hasn’t been an issue. Sadie brings a different atmosphere to the classroom, and breaks the tension in the room.” Barry is working toward a graduate degree in English, and hopes to focus on writing.

“Sadie is an excellent dog, and PAD is a great program,” he said. “They set me up with leashes, toys, collars, medical supplies, hygiene needs, and basic first aid. With Sadie, I feel like I can be out in a crowd. She has my back so I can relax.” Barry shared that he recently went to a large campus event which he probably would not have been able to attend without her because his anxiety level would have been too high. Sadie provided the calming influence he needed.

Many veterans feel that they can’t go to their children’s school events, games or concerts because of the anxiety level created by the crowd, Junker said. With a service animal like Sadie – or someday Gilligan or Louie – they will hopefully alleviate enough of that anxiety to allow those veterans to attend those important functions and be able to participate more in their loved ones’ lives.

Junker hopes that eventually the VA will cover the costs associated with providing these service animals. “They do it for seeing-eye dogs and hearing dogs,” he said. “While these are still service animals and their owners can take them anywhere, they are still different in terms of VA acknowledgement of care. It’s still a relatively new concept. It takes time, but we are making progress.”

Occasionally they do run into a business that will not allow the animal into their building, but usually it’s because they are unfamiliar with the law, which states that a business can only ask the owner, “Is it a service animal, and what does it do for you?” According to Junker, they cannot ask what is wrong with the veteran.

This is a tremendous partnership,” said Marilou Chanrasmi, Leech Lake Legacy co-founder. “Dennis is great to work with, and we are thrilled about our partnership.”

My opinion is that Rez dogs rule!” Junker said.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dog houses being delivered ... straw needed for the dog houses

Thanks to the generous donation from The Alex Sterling Foundation and our supporters, we were able to raise $6,000 at our fundraiser in July to purchase dog houses for the outside reservation dogs of Leech Lake Reservation. This will be the 3rd year where we have been able to distribute dog houses.

Many thanks to ADMC Distribution and Chuck & Don's for partnering with us, for the second year in a row, to purchase outside dog barn houses at a substantial discount, AND for delivering the houses to the Leech Lake Tribal Police in Cass Lake.

The 120 dog houses we have ordered are on their way, and Leech Lake Legacy (in partnership with the Tribal Police) will be distributing the dog houses and straw on October 11th. We will be going through forms filled out by residents and contacting those who have requested dog houses. Leech Lake Legacy will work with the Tribal Police to prioritize who will receive dog houses.

We would like distribute a bale of straw with every dog house. A bale of straw will cost us $4.25. If you are able to contribute towards the purchase of straw for the dog houses we would greatly appreciate it, as will the dogs :)

Straw for Dog Houses

Friday, September 5, 2014

Gilligan and Louie: Rez dog to service dogs in training

In June of 2014 we kicked off a partnership with Patriots Assistance Dogs. Gilligan (formerly Gilbert), an 8 month old lab mix pup, was the first dog surrendered to Leech Lake Legacy at our June wellness clinic. To read more about how this partnership came to be, and about Gilligan, click here: http://leechlakelegacy.blogspot.com/2014/06/new-partnership-with-patriots.html.

Then at our July clinic, Louie (a 4 month old pup) was transferred over to the care of Leech Lake Legacy. Louie had been picked up by Rory, Leech Lake Community Services Officer in Onigum on Leech Lake Reservation. Dennis Junker of Patriots Assistance Dogs came to our clinic to make the transfer of Gilligan/Gilbert from Leech Lake Legacy to Patriots Assistance Dogs official and to get him neutered and checked out by our vet! While waiting for Gilligan, he evaluated dogs/puppies who had been surrendered or turned over to LLL by the Tribal Police after their stray hold period had been completed. He noticed a small energetic little pup named Louie being carried by a volunteer and within 30 minutes it was clear Dennis felt like Louie would be a strong candidate for service dog training! As Dennis couldn't take Louie right away, Leech Lake Legacy volunteer Paula, offered to temp foster Louie until Dennis was able to take him. Louie was officially transferred over to Patriots Assistance Dogs at our August clinic and like fellow rez dog Gilligan, he is going through service dog training!! Both Gilligan and Louie are doing phenomenal in their training and we just got some updates from Dennis from their training visiting firefighters and EMTs.

From Dennis:

"Here are a few photos from today's training!!! Suited up fireman didn't fool Louie at all!! Gilligan just hesitated for a second!! Gilligan assessing the open stairs saying "really dad"!! LOL Louie didn't miss a beat on the stairs!!"

Dennis meets Louie at our July 2014 clinic

Gilligan and Louie meet firefighters!
Gilligan assesses the open stairs!
Gilligan - EMT training

Louie - EMT training
We are so grateful to Dennis and Patriots Assistance Dogs for giving these 2 amazing rez dogs not only a second chance, but a chance to become service dogs and to provide service and companionship to veterans who have served our country.

Gilligan and Louie, we are so proud of you!! Keep up the great work!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Leech Lake Legacy School Supply Drive

Today kids are returning to school .... and for many, they had the good fortune of shopping with parents to purchase and select all their needed school supplies.  Unfortunately, for many of the Leech Lake Reservation's kids and youth, there was no shopping excursion for school supplies.

After three 3 years of partnering with the Leech Lake Tribal Police to help the animals of Leech Lake Reservation, we have built wonderful relationships with the residents, community members and elders of Leech Lake Reservation. At our last spay/neuter clinic in July Ken Washington, Leech Lake Tribal Police Chief, thanked  me and Leech Lake Legacy for all the work we have been doing for the animals. As we continued talking it became so clear to me how our work up at Leech Lake was about community, and how grateful I was for all the amazing relationships we have built over the years. Our work is about both the animals and people.

Ken then asked, "Would it be possible for us to get donations of hats, glove and mittens for the children of Leech Lake?" He continued to share how so many of the kids go without gloves, hats and mittens in the bitter winter months. A week later, I was requested by Steve White (Dist. II representative of the Tribal Council) if we could help in obtaining school supplies for the children.

So we/Leech Lake Legacy have decided to do what we can to help raise donations of school supplies, hats, mittens and gloves for the children of Leech Lake Reservation. For the first two weeks of September we will focus on school supplies. For the last two weeks of September we will shift our focus to gloves, hats, mittens and coats for the children.

We are grateful to the Animal Humane Society (and to Grand Avenue Veterinary Clinic) for partnering with us to help raise donations. Donation bins are set up at all 5 Animal Humane Society sites, Now Boarding and Grand Avenue Vet.

Feel free to contact me at mchanrasmi@gmail.com if you have any questions.

chi miigwech,

President/Co-Founder, Leech Lake Legacy