*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, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year ... and the launching of Leech Lake Legacy's new tag line.

Guest blog contributor: 
Craig Berdan, LLL Board member/treasurer and volunteer extraordinaire!

“Saving cats and dogs…because they matter.”

These words may have inspired you to become involved with Leech Lake Legacy.  We have a generous donor base and volunteer contingent due in no small part to big hearts and soft spots for cats and dogs.

Since our humble beginnings with transports in 2011, we’ve found more ways to help more animals.  Consider how our core programs have changed since then:

• Spay/neuter clinics have grown from none to eight clinic days per year, and include transport service from remote reservation communities
• Wellness clinics have grown from none to 12 clinic days per year
• Transports now occur at least once per week, and we have monthly surrender events; animals from White Earth and Red Lake reservations and surrounding communities are being served as well

But we know that spay/neuter and wellness clinics and transports and surrender events can go only so far in improving the lives of reservation animals.  While we will not stray from those core programs, we need to be open to new ways of reaching reservation animals and residents, earning and keeping reservation residents’ trust, and providing what we can to further improve the lives of reservation animal.

As communities in general struggle with issues like poverty and violence, we can see direct impact on the animals in those communities.  Healing and help is needed by both people and animals, and so you’ve seen additional efforts provided for reservation residents by Leech Lake Legacy like:

• Transport and distribution of donated pet food and cat litter
• Fundraising for and distribution of dog houses and straw
• Volunteer staffing at the Leech Lake impound
• Delivery of donated clothing and school supplies

Of course, healing and help is needed far beyond Leech Lake Reservation.  Look for Leech Lake Legacy to continue to reach out to the remote communities of Leech Lake Reservation and to assist at White Earth and Red Lake reservations.  As we work with Native America Humane Society, we hope to make Leech Lake Legacy a model organization to be replicated on other reservations.

The work we hope to do will require substantial financial resources.  Unfortunately, when people needs and animal needs compete for funding, people needs usually “win.”  We need to be mindful of the people-impact of our work by asking these questions,

How can we help reservation animals in such a way as to also improve the lives of people in the reservation community?   

How can we help people in the reservation community in such a way as to also improve the lives of reservation animals?

And so, after much reflection and discussion ... we are changing our tagline to words that more accurately reflect what we do and what we hope to do as we move forward into 2015 and beyond:

“Serving reservation animals and the people who love them.”

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

2014 End of Year Letter

Cici gave birth to Gabby on Dec. 20, 2014
We would like to extend our deepest thanks for supporting us in our efforts to help the dogs and cats of Leech Lake Reservation and the surrounding communities. We would not be able to do what we do without your support.

[Photo on left: to read more about Cici's story .. click here]

Because of our generous supporters, 2014 was an amazing year for Leech Lake Legacy:

We transported and re-homed over 1,000 dogs and cats.
We hosted four spay/neuter clinics on the Reservation where 363 dogs and cats were altered. We also provided wellness checks and vaccines for another 512 dogs and cats.
We held 12 surrender events where more than 491 animals were surrendered and transferred to our partner rescues and shelters in Minnesota.
We provided emergency medical care to countless dogs and cats needing immediate attention.
We distributed 289 doghouses and bales of straw for outside Reservation dogs as a part of The Yukon Project. We also distributed cathouses for feral and community cats.
We distributed more than 50,000 pounds of dog and cat food to pet owners.
In partnership with The Native America Humane Society and other partners, we collected and distributed over 6,500 winter wear items (hats, gloves, scarves and coats) and over 1,000 school supplies for the children of Leech Lake Reservation. A special thanks to the Helen Woodward Animal Center for securing a majority of the winter wear donation.

Our goals for 2015 are even greater. We will host eight events at Leech Lake Reservation offering spay/neuter and/or wellness services.  Every month, we will host a surrender event, which provide an opportunity for residents to surrender animals for which they are no longer able to care.  We will collaborate with Red Lake Rosie’s Rescue to offer two spay/neuter/wellness clinics at White Earth Reservation.  We will continue our weekly transports of dogs and cats from the Leech Lake Impound, and will be working on education and outreach programs in partnership with the Leech Lake Tribal College. And inevitably, there will be injured animals on the Reservation who will need immediate and often expensive medical care.

In order to continue the transports, the clinics, and provide emergency care to injured animals and shelter for outside Reservation dogs and cats, we need your support. If you would like to contribute to Leech Lake Legacy, you can make an online donation at www.leechlakelegacy.org/donate or send a donation to:

Leech Lake Legacy
PO Box 385454
Bloomington, MN 55438

On behalf of the Reservation animals, we wish you Happy Holidays … and with your support, we commit to serving reservation animals and the people who love them.

Chi miigwech/Many thanks,

Marilou Chanrasmi Jenny Fitzer
President/Co-Founder Co-Founder/Program Director

Flash was surrendered to LLL on 12/13/14. He is in a temp foster home recovering from a wound.
He apparently is pretty comfy in his foster home :)
Where's Waldo ... no, Where's Flash??

Monday, December 22, 2014

A special Christmas gift from Cici

Cici's story is yet another example of how we can do so much more for the animals when we all work together.

Here is Cici's story:

From Karen of RLRR:

"Initially Red Lake Rosie's Rescue/RLRR got a call from a lady in Rice Lake, a community on
the White Earth Reservation that a female dog would need to be taken or would be shot. Our friends Bill, Teresa, and Cassie responded and brought CiCi to the RLRR shelter."

Karen then reached out to Jenny (Leech Lake Legacy, Program Director) about Cici. We suspected she was pregnant so we reached out to our amazing temp foster, Heidi who immediately agreed to take Cici until she had her puppies.

Cici had been with Heidi for a few weeks and on Saturday, 12/20 we got a call from Heidi that Cici had given birth to one puppy ...

and here is the rest of her story in Heidi's words:

"I felt like a kid waiting for Santa to come on Christmas night!  I was filled with excitement waiting for Cici, my first mother, to have her babies.

Cici is just one of the many precious reservation animals who made her way into our teams helping hands and open hearts.  Originally from White Earth reservation Cici ended up with Karen at Red Lake where her future began.  Cici is wonderful, a gentle soul and a sweet spirit.  What a great girl she is, having her around is a treat.

Saturday, December 20th, around 2:00am she woke up and I knew it was time.  Shortly before 8:00am a beautiful baby girl was born.  Her name would be Gabriella, Gabby.  I was overwhelmed with emotion.  It was just magic; that's the first birth I've ever seen!  More then excited I was just in awe.  Well one hour goes by, two hours go by and no more babies.  Long story short with the guidance and advice of Dr Vicki (of Act V Rescue & Rehabilitation), Jean (of Carver Scott Humane Society), and Julie (of Secondhand Hounds) Cici was going to the vet.  An x ray showed an empty uterus.  Cici had a litter of ONE!  Didn't see that one coming!  However, relieved we went home to rest.

Cici is a mother in every sense of the word.  She is caring, watchful, diligent.  She loves that little girl, and I wonder if having just one increases her nurturing or if she is just naturally a great mother.

It is my absolute pleasure to be apart of Cici, and of course Gabby's story. 

From Cici, Gabby, and myself a big thanks to everyone!


Congrats Cici, and welcome Gabby ..... a big thanks to Heidi, an amazing network of animal welfare groups working together to help the animals.

Gabby, you are without a doubt, a special Christmas gift ....

"Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean." ~ R. Satoro

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

In memory of Terri Neumann

Terri with her dog Windsor
On December 9th, Leech Lake Legacy lost a dear friend and supporter, Terri Neumann. Terri's sister Vicki has been volunteering with Leech Lake Legacy from our early days and got her sister Terri to also get involved with Leech Lake Legacy :) Terri helped in so many ways ..... She would also temp foster cats/kittens for LLL. We send our deepest condolences to Vicki and her family. We asked Vicki to share a few words about her sister ..... RIP Terri Your spirit will continue to live on through your sister Vicki and the work she does with LLL ...

"Terri has always been an animal lover and owner. The dog she leaves behind is Windsor and the cat is Cleo. Cleo came from Leech Lake Legacy. Terri helped foster some kittens from Leech Lake, as well as the feral kittens we trapped in our yard. She never did a transport, but I think I could have eventually convinced her to ride shotgun with me to Motley."

Terri's obituary was in last Sunday's paper.

From Terri's obituary:

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Terri's honor to Leech Lake Legacy.

By clicking on the Donate button below, your donation will be made
'In memory of Terri Neumann'

A celebration of Terri's life will be Thursday, 12/18/14, 4-6pm
Buca Di Beppo
7711 Mitchell Road
Eden Prairie

Eddie ... the will to survive

Eddie at the impound
One of our dedicated volunteers, Nancy O'Sullivan, is a tireless advocate for all animals. She informed us that Eddie's time had run out at the Bemidji Impound ... could we help? I asked Nancy to share Eddie's story:

"We don't know much about Eddie's past, but I told him several times we were leaving it behind him anyway and moving forward onto new and better things. Eddie was diagnosed with FIV at his vet visit in Bemidji, but Amber (a Leech Lake Legacy volunteer) was more than happy to take Eddie into her home to foster.   

Eddie weighed in at 6.5 lbs when he arrived at our home. We discovered he was a huge chow-hound and loved his meals.....and he especially loved it when we laid next to him, petting him while he ate.   
Eddie in temp foster with Nancy and Tom O.

I hope Eddie hangs in there.   His heart and lungs and his tummy were checked out by Bemidji Animal Hospital and all were in great working order.......he was skin and bones though when we picked him up but I believe he gained a bit of weight with his foster care here for 10 days. Still, I
worry about the FIV and if he is strong enough to live with it.  I think he has had a very tough life, but he obviously wants to live and become a great addition to a loving family for the rest of his days.   He was cuddly and affectionate with us and followed me around when I could sneak him in a
larger room without our dogs.  He was nose-to-nose with our chocolate lab once and it resulted in a 'duh!' moment, so Eddie is just a laid back kind of guy. 

It didn't take long to fall in love with Eddie......his eyes melted my heart, and his sweetness
touched my soul."

Eddie will continue to need medical care and is definitely not out of the woods. Please continue to send lots of positive, healing energy his way.

A big thanks to Nancy for all you have done for Eddie .. and a big thanks also to Amber for your willingness to take a special needs cat into your home and for providing the necessary care.

Eddie - one week later

Monday, December 15, 2014

Holiday Gift Certificates - Avoid the crowds and help a reservation animal in need

Looking to avoid the crowds at shopping malls? Can't think of what to give your friend or family member for the holidays?

How about giving the gift of warmth and medical care for a reservation animal in need? And who says you can't send a gift, or multiple gifts to yourself! :)

We will mail a gift certificate to your friend or family member .....

You can pay online (be sure to provide the name and address of where you would like the gift certificate to be mailed in the memo field), or send us an email at info@leechlakelegacy.org. Orders can also be made by check (Leech Lake Legacy, PO Box 385454, Bloomington, MN 55438). Please email us your order, however, so we can begin preparing your gift certificates.

LLL Gift Certificates

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Wenda: The journey of a regal cat

Wenda was surrendered to Leech Lake Legacy at our Oct. 12-13, 2014 clinic. Unfortunately all of our partner shelters and rescues were at capacity with cats and kittens so we had nowhere for Wenda to go. Wenda ended up having to go back to the Cass Lake impound (on Leech Lake Reservation) where she spent the next month. Many thanks to our amazing volunteers up north who would visit the cats at the impound (and Wenda was one of many) .. they made sure she had the appropriate care and took time to also play and socialize them.

On Nov. 14th, Wenda came down to the cities with all of her fellow cat friends at the impound. There were also Red Lake reservation cats that were on transport ... a big surgery (spay/neuter) clinic was scheduled in partnership with the University of Minnesota SIRVS (Student Initiative for Veterinary Services) group and 26 cats were scheduled to be spayed/neutered and vaccinated by vet school students under the supervision of vets. The surgery clinic was hosted at Silver Lake Animal Hospital in Oakdale, MN. That day one of the vets volunteering was Dr. Karen Lopez. That day Dr. Karen fell in love with Wenda, an older gray cat with lots of personality!! :)
Wenda at the surgery clinic ..
not quite ready to wake up :)

All 26 cats, after surgery, were taken to the Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley for temporary lodging until we could figure out if any of our partner groups could take these 26 cats into their adoption program. We lucked out .... all 26 cats were placed with either the Animal Humane Society or Angel of Hope rescue. Wenda, ended up going to a foster home with Angel of Hope rescue.

A few days later we got an email from Dr. Karen indicating that she couldn't stop thinking about Wenda and was interested in putting an application in for Wenda. We put Dr. Karen in contact with Angel of Hope Rescue. Not long after, we learned that Wenda was officially adopted by Dr. Karen. Today, we got an email from Karen:

Hello all,
   I am happy to report that Miss Wenda has settled into her new home very nicely.  She is affectionate, playful, very neat, and just a little nervous.  She loves to be brushed and has slept in bed with me every night since she came home on Sunday.  She particularly likes playing with a little white mouse toy that a friend of mine sent to us.  I am thoroughly enjoying her, completely in love with her, and she has brought the warmth back into my apartment.  As I type she is lounging in her pink bed on my bed. I've attached some pictures of her.  Feel free to share with others.


Congrats Miss Wenda and Karen!! We are so happy for you both :) And many thanks to all who helped care of Wenda along her journey to finding her new forever home :)