*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

Monday, December 31, 2018

New Year's Eve 2018

New Year's Eve 2018.

Holidays are expendable when you work in animal rescue.  The calls and texts and emails requesting help for needy animals don't slow down because there's a turkey in the oven or Santa is coming down the chimney.

Today was no exception.

The buzzing of my phone alerting me to a text or an email or a voicemail went on steadily all day.  It was all in a days' work - all needed to be dealt with but nothing was an emergency.  That is until 2:45pm when I received a call about Jelly, one of our puppies who had become ill and needed to be transferred to get emergency medical care as soon as possible.  

I sprang into action - first thing was to pull the roast out of the oven and shove it in the refrigerator to be cooked later.  I quickly got dressed in my outdoor gear, grabbed the necessary supplies and started up the van.  Current weather was 22 degrees, snowing and windy.  The newscaster reported that the roads were bad and if we didn't need to go out, we should stay home.

My driveway is on a major highway and in order to get over the cliff of ice that has built up at the end of the driveway, I need to get a running start.  I prepared myself for the ride, checked that the road was clear and gunned it, and just as quickly, hit the brakes as a car without its lights on came up over the hill.  When the coast was clear and I attempted to move, I quickly realized that I was hung up on the ice and was going nowhere. 

I felt the panic start to set in as the wheels of the van spun and spun - Jelly needed to be picked up by 4:00pm and here I was, stuck in my driveway.  I took a deep breath and trudged to the garage to get out the shovel and the cat litter.  Twenty minutes and many cuss words later, I was more stuck than ever.  My heart was in my throat with worry about Jelly.  I took another deep breath and started making calls.  

And then it was over.  Fifteen minutes after I started making calls, everything was OK.  A volunteer was happy to make the trip to pick up Jelly and get her to the foster where she would get the medical help she needed.  My neighbor came over with his 4-wheel drive truck and pushed me out of the ice.

I came back inside and was overwhelmed with gratitude for the people in my life.  The tears started flowing as I thought about all the wonderful, generous, selfless people I have met since I began this crazy animal rescue life more than 10 years ago.

From today - Terri, who dropped everything on New Year's Eve to make the drive in crappy weather to get Jelly to safety.  Jean, the rescuer who did not hesitate for one second when I asked her if she could take a sick puppy on New Year's Eve.  Philip, who listened to my panicked voice and offered his always calm and soothing suggestions.  And Ed, my neighbor, who left his warm house on a very cold afternoon without a second's thought to help me get the van unstuck.

And beyond today, I am so very grateful for the wonderful people and partnerships that make Leech Lake Legacy the wonderful, caring organization it has become.  In no particular order, 

  • Our Board - Arlys, Craig, Dani, Philip and Terri - who work tirelessly on behalf of the needy animals on Leech Lake Reservation.  I am proud to call you my friends.
  • Our Volunteers - There are many and they are fantastic, loyal, passionate, generous, kind and give of themselves every day to make better lives for Reservation animals.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  I am grateful to you every single day.
    • A special Shout Out to Tom and Nancy O'Sullivan.  They live near Leech Lake Reservation and are always available on a moment's notice to pick up an injured or sick animal, to deliver food to hungry animals, to drop off a house to keep a dog from freezing, or one of the thousand other requests we make of them.  They are incredible humans and love all animals with an amazing passion.
  • Karen Good who has been an incredible mentor and friend since my life in animal rescue began more than 10 years ago.  Karen is a passionate, tireless voice for needy animals on Red Lake Reservation.
  • My Friends and Family - thank you for always being there to support me during the hard times and tough decisions, and to laugh and cheer with me on our successes.  You keep me going on those difficult animal rescue days when I want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head.
  • Our Donors and Supporters who make sure we have the resources and tools to help as many animals as possible.  Thank you for your generosity and your trust.
  • Our Supporters and Friends on Leech Lake Reservation who welcomed us almost eight years ago and who continue to provide us with necessary resources to help needy dogs and cats on Leech Lake Reservation.
    • A special Shout Out to Rory Haaland - he has been our contact and friend since we started working with the Tribal Police almost eight years ago.  He is the tireless caretaker and voice for our four-legged friends on Leech Lake Reservation.
  • Our Rescue Partners - Leech Lake Legacy does not adopt out animals.  We do not have a facility to house animals.  But our Rescue Partners do.  Thank you to our Rescue Partners for rising to the occasion when we have animals that need a place to call home.  We could not help as many animals as we do without all of you.  

And I want to save my last thank you for the Animal Humane Society.  They have been a generous, stable, loyal, wonderful partner since Leech Lake Legacy came into being almost eight years ago.  We could not ask for a better partner.
In 2018 alone, AHS took in more than 1,200 dogs and cats from Leech Lake and Red Lake Reservations.  We work closely with AHS to make sure that all of the animals we send them are able to be placed up for adoption.  In the cases where our animals are not placeable, AHS works with us to help us find a suitable partner to take the dog or cat.

And as much as we would hope that all of the dogs and cats that come into our program are healthy, the truth is that many of them are not.  Here is an amazing list of maladies and injuries to animals that AHS took in from us JUST THIS YEAR! 

Abscesses, Amputees, Anaplasmosis, Anemic, BackWounds, BulletsInTheirBodies, BiteWounds, Blasto, Blind, BrokenFemur, BrokenFoot, BrokenHumerus, BrokenJaw, BrokenLegs, BrokenPelvis, Burns, Cataracts, CherryEye, ChemicalBurn, ChewedTail, ChronicDiarrhea, Coccidia, DeglovedTail, DislocatedHip, EarInfection, EarMites, Emaciated, Entropian, Erlichiosis, FIV+, Frostbite, Giardia, GunShotWound, HairLoss, HitByCar, HeartMurmur, HeartWorm+, Hernia, HipDisplaysia, Incontinent, Infections, IngrownNails, InjuredEye, InjuredLeg, KidneyDisease, Limping, Lumps, Lyme+, Malnourished, MangeDemodex, MangeSarcoptic, Mastitis, MissingEar, MissingEye, MissingToes, Parvo, PectusExcavatum, Pregnant, Quills, RenalFailure, Ringworm, Semi-Feral, SevereMatting, Starving, Strangles, Terrified, ToothInjuries, TornEar, Tumors, UnderdevelopedEyes, URI, UTI.

AHS worked w
ith us on all of these animals to make sure they were loved and cared for and brought back to health.  Thank you, Animal Humane Society for helping us provide healthier, happier lives for needy Rez animals and for helping them to find their forever homes.  You are an amazing partner and we are grateful to you each and every day.


Together this year, our village provided resources to thousands of animals, which allowed them to live happier and healthier lives.  Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen.

And here's to a Happy and Healthy 2019!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Zoilo - The Escapee

I have driven hundreds of transports, carrying thousands of dogs, cats, bunnies and other critters from northern Minnesota. Never, in my six plus years of transporting animals, has a dog escaped from their kennel during transport.

Never, that is, until this past Saturday.

When I met Nancy in Motley for our weekly swap of clean kennels for dogs and cats, we noticed that the gate on Zoilo's crate was bent inward. Being the responsible transporters that we are, we reinforced the front of Zoilo's kennel with two bungee cords and felt quite certain there would no issues.

I was about 45 minutes from my first stop in Buffalo when I heard an odd noise from the back of the van. I glanced in the rearview mirror and to my surprise; I could see Zoilo's head sticking out of his kennel.  Before I could even react, he had fully escaped.

Zoilo had a look of joy on his face as he walked back and forth across the crates of the other dogs and cats, and stopped to investigate each one.  Hisses and growls met each sniff but Zoilo wasn’t deterred.  He was obviously quite proud of himself that a silly old crate couldn’t hold such a determined canine.

Mighty Proud of Himself
Thankfully, I was in a location where I could immediately pull into a parking lot to deal with the escapee.  I quickly placed a slip lead over Zoilo’s head and attached the other end to the passenger seat in an attempt to keep him somewhat controlled.  I then moved the other crates beyond the reach of Zoilo’s leash.  Before we got back on the road, I placed a second slip lead on Zoilo thinking it might be a good idea should he somehow escape one of them.

Zoilo was less than pleased to be leashed, which became obvious when in 10 seconds, he chewed through one of the slip leads and started work on the second one.  Thankfully, I was able to deter him from fully escaping again and the rest of the trip was pretty uneventful.
Enjoying the Sights
We are not sure what Zoilo’s life was like before he came to us, but I’m pretty sure he may have spent some time with Houdini’s dog.

Destroyed Gate

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Litter of 7 orphan pups arrive on emergency transport

On Wednesday, April 29th, Rory (Leech Lake Reservation Community Services Officer) received a call regarding a litter of 7 orphan pups in S. Lake on Leech Lake Reservation. The mama of the pups had not returned and the litter of 7 orphan pups (approximately 4 weeks old) were surrendered to the Leech Lake Tribal Police.

The pups were immediately taken to Animal Care Clinic in Bemidji where they bottle fed the pups as Jenny (LLL Program Director) began making phone calls and arrangements to find placement for these pups and to arrange for transport. Jenny reached out to our partner Animal Humane Society and we are extremely grateful their foster program was ready and able to  bring 7 orphan pups in and fosters ready to bottle feed the orphan pups every 3 hours! The wheels were set in motion and LLL volunteer Eileen picked up the pups from Animal Care Clinic in Bemidji and met Jenny at the half way point to the Twin Cities (Motley). The pups arrived at the Golden Valley Animal Humane Society/AHS a little after 6 pm on Wednesday, 4/29 and were immediately checked out by AHS vet techs ... weighed, de-wormed, microchipped and their foster care kits and crates prepared to send them off to their foster homes!

Thanks to a wonderful network and a caring village, these precious 7 pups will receive the necessary care ..... and when they are old enough to be spayed/neutered and vaccinated, they will be placed up for adoption through our partner Animal Humane Society. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

March 20-21, 2015 Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic

Leech Lake Legacy hosted a spay/neuter and wellness clinic on March 20-21, 2015 in Cass Lake on Leech Lake Reservation. A big thanks to our sponsors who made this clinic possible: Pet Haven Inc. of Minnesota, Pause 4 Paws, A Kinder World Foundation, the Terri Neumann Memorial, Leech Lake Tribal Police Department, and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe (special thanks to Steve White, District II representative of the Leech Lake Tribal Council).

Dr. Pierce checks out a furry friend who came in for a wellness visit
The clinic was hosted at the Boys and Girls Club .. a huge thanks to George, lead custodian who provided support throughout the entire clinic to ensure the gymnasium space at the school was ready for our clinic!

In addition to hosting the clinic in the Cass Lake area we offered transport service for residents in a remote community (S. Lake) for animals needing spay/neuter surgeries. We will continue to offer transport services for residents in remote communities for our spay/neuter clinics which are held in Cass Lake.

It was a very busy weekend and we are truly grateful for all our amazing volunteers ... a special thanks to our volunteer veterinarians: Dr. Pierce Fleming, Dr. Laura Kiehnbaum, Dr. Sara Williams and our vet techs and vet assistants. Many thanks also to Dr. Meghann of Kindest Cut and her team who worked hard, and long hours, to complete 102 spay/neuter surgeries.

The following are stats from our March clinic:
  • 102 spay/neuter surgeries
  • 50 on day 1, 52 on day 2
  • 48 cats and 54 dogs
  • 57 spays and 45 neuters
  • 13 specialty surgeries
  • 139 wellness exams (54 on day 1 and 85 on day 2)
  • 27 surrenders (10 dogs, 6 puppies, 10 cats and 1 guinea pig)
  • 94 Seresto collars distributed
  • Grooming was also available
We will be hosting a wellness clinic and surrender event on Saturday, April 18th at the Tribal Police Garage in Cass Lake.