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Written my Mark Stover
South Portland, ME - June 2012 

When I first moved into my current apartment and realized that dogs would be allowed, I quickly went to the local shelter and looked into adopting a dog. Not having many to begin with and seeing as how I lived in an apartment on a busy street, I realized I would need to look elsewhere.  A friend led me to an organization called Labs4Rescue online and I began to search for a lab. After not having much luck with the ones that looked good to me, my adoption coordinator Ann asked if I would take at look at “Maxx”. She thought he would be a great fit for me if I was willing to work with him some and give it time. She suggested I foster him first before deciding whether or not to adopt and I quickly agreed.  

It was a frigid January day when I picked him up in New Hampshire and all the way home I wondered if I had picked up a dog or not. He was quiet and still and blacker than the night. When we got home to Maine some of my family was there to meet him and he seemed to know right off that I was going to be his daddy now and he sat with me the whole night, attached like Velcro, just like Ann had said he would. We had a quiet first night until he saw Taz the cat. It was instant chaos! For the first couple of weeks, it was much of the same, Maxx wanting to eat Taz, Taz wanting to scratch Maxx’s eyes out and I wondered if it would ever improve. It was almost a deal breaker for me. Ann and everyone else said to give it time, things would work out, so I decided to adopt Maxx permanently and hoped everyone was right. Fast forward over 2 years now and I am happy to say they all were. Through patience and perseverance the three of us have weathered the storm and Maxx and Taz are what you might call “buddies” now; I have even caught them on the same chair together at times! Maxx still gets excited and over zealous with Taz sometimes, but no harm is meant and Taz tolerates him to an extent, although a few well placed paw strikes to the nose get Maxx back in line rather quickly if he gets too rough.

Living on the busy city street that I do, it was always a challenge to find Maxx areas to run around in and play with other dogs. The local parks and beach became our hangouts during the times dogs are permitted, but we quickly grew tired of the monotony of the same place day after day. I needed someplace else to take him from time to time to get away from the same old.

One summer weekend I had planned a backcountry camping trip into the White Mountains of New Hampshire and decided to take Maxx with me to see if he would enjoy it. On that summer day, we found his true calling - my hiking partner. He seemed truly happy in the forest and explored everything he came across. We finally reached the summit of Mt. Moriah around noon time and we enjoyed a lunch break of Peanut Butter and Jelly (his favorite trail food!) and the views for a bit before heading off to find a good spot to set up camp. I wasn’t sure how Maxx would handle hanging around the camp and fire at night, but he loved every minute of it. He never wandered far and when it was time for bed, he knew the tent was where we slept and he never stirred the entire night. He even snuggled on top of my sleeping bag before I could get in, leading me to a very chilly night!   We hiked out the next day and Maxx was physically drained from the 2 days of hiking. He must have walked and ran 20 miles to our 10 with all his exploring. I knew then that this was a way to really get Maxx some good exercise and we would have to do it again soon. Life got in the way however and about a month went by before we ventured out on another hike.

During that month off I learned that the Appalachian Mountain Club has a list of 48 peaks in New Hampshire that are over 4000 feet high. A lot of people have done them all and many more are working towards that goal. I also found out that dogs can join the club too.  I decided Maxx and I would try and join that club. We started to get out on weekends more and more and each time we set off to summit a new peak. Each new mountain brought new scenery and challenges and Maxx has met them all with relative ease. As winter approached, I began to wonder if he could handle the conditions we might encounter. The White Mountains are famous for their notoriously bad weather, but to my surprise we didn’t slow down a bit. He handled winter with just as much ease as summer, and even seemed to enjoy it more so long a the winds were light and not blowing too hard.

It’s been just about a year since our first trip to Mt. Moriah and Maxx has 39 of the 48 peaks done. He has even stood on top of Mt. Washington – the highest point in New England at 6,288 feet.  Recently he completed his longest single day hike of 16 miles on a mountain called Owls Head. Maxx has 9 peaks left to summit before we can send in his application and he receives his patch and certificate, but I know he will finish because I truly feel that this is what he was meant to do. Something tells me that Maxx knew it too.


 
 
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Starting a Collection Drive, it all starts with one person!

For me it all started with asking....what do you need, what can I do, how can I help?

Let's help you get started!


1.  Find a shelter near you, one that you volunteer with, one that is dear to your heart or one that you know may need something.  Start by calling them or emailing them and speaking with their Shelter Manager.  Ask them how you can help and what ‘items’ they need.  I usually ask them to prioritize their ‘wish list’ items for me.

2.  Create that ‘Wish List’ and we’ll help you create a fun flyer to get circulating.

3.  Set a ‘target’ or ‘collection’ date and location.

4.  Reach out to everyone you know whether its thru email, paper flyers, co-workers, an upcoming birthday party or create this as it’s own special event.  Get the information out to everyone.  

What is nice about this is you are asking for 'gently used' donated items to provide ‘comfort’ to shelter animals in need.  You are not asking for money.

Here are some of the basics that we are finding that most shelters need or would like:

1.    Blankets (small), towels (all sizes), baby blankets and pillow cases
       (no blankets larger than a twin size bed)
2.    Cat and Dog Beds (clean, nothing too large)
3.    Collars, leashes, harnesses
4.    Toys (clean and safe)
5.    Bowls (ceramic and stainless steel, dogs can chew plastic)
6.    Crates - please only clean crates (wire and hard airline crates)
7.    Dry and Canned dog/cat food  (currently we do not take dog treats)
8.    Puppy Pads/Training Pads
9.    Cat Litter (clump forming, Yesterday's News or Pine Litter)
10.  Cat Litter Boxes
11.  Coats for dogs
12.  Newspaper
13.  Brushes for dogs and cats
14.  Tennis Balls
15.  Coupons

Shelter Cleaning and Office Supplies 
Bleach, Simple Green, Sponges, Mops, Buckets, Rubber and Latex Gloves, Paper Towels, Garbage Bags (small and large), Dishwashing Soap, Unscented Laundry Detergent, Postage Stamps, Copy Paper, File Folders, Note Pads, Pens

Get ready for your collection day....and remember to thank your friends and strangers who donate.  Thank all the people, big and small, who help.  Keep things very organized.  Check all the items as best as you can.  Items donated must be clean due to the safety and health of all shelter animals.  Take pictures and share those pictures.  Once people see how you help and what you’ve done, it will inspire others to reach out and do the same.  Keep all of your donations neat and organized and delivery your donation.  We had one little girl in Farmington CT who collected for her 8th birthday party and when she made her donation to Protectors of Animals in Glastonbury CT, she adopted a cat.  Happy Birthday to that cat and that little girl Rose! Thank you Rose.

Ready....Set....Go!
Let us know and we’ll help you find a shelter near you!
~Lisa~


 
 

The story of a very inspirational rescue....

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'Lizzie' on couch
'Lizzie' ~ written by Judy Brown, NH (her new Mom)
In October, 2011 local residents in Wakefield, NH started noticing a white dog running wild around the Lake looking for food and friends. The dog was very skittish around people, but would play look for and play with other dogs.  She would not let anyone close enough or touch her, but it was clear she was not wearing a collar.  With the weather bringing cold fall winds, local residents tried to lure her in by putting food out on porches and decks.  She was very skinny and it was obvious she was either lost or a stray.  She waited until people went in before she would eat, while constantly looking around in fear.  She stayed one step ahead of everyone when they tried to trap or catch her.  The Animal Control Officer and the Police Department tried daily to catch her, to no avail.  She'd let you see her, but not get close to her.  The Police Department had received so many calls about her they were now telling people not to call about the dog unless someone catches her.  They continued to try to catch the dog daily, but the calls were tying up the phone lines at the station.   People started referring to her as "Little Whitey".

With the horrific October storm hitting New England as hard as it did, it sent the local residents into a panic of fear knowing Little Whitey was still on the loose, fighting the elements of the storm.  It was clear if she wasn't caught soon she would either starve to death, freeze to death or be killed by predators. The locals formed a network and kept each other informed as to her whereabouts.  At any given time, there was a group of people trying to catch her or lure her in.  As the weeks passed, she was getting thinner and thinner and more afraid.

I’m not a year round resident at the lake but I do have a house there and go up most weekends.  I'd heard about the dog several times, but had never seen her.  One weekend in late November, I was up at the lake putting things away for winter.  A local friend of mine came by to take me to the local pub for a bite to eat.  We noticed a crowd of people gathered on the dirt road.  They were looking at Little Whitey staying just out of reach, but visible in the woods.  We stopped and got out.  The people told us they'd been out there for about 4 hours that day trying to catch her.  I looked down and noticed they were trying to catch the dog with a collar and a leash.  Hmmm, I knew that would never work.  The dog was wild and scared and since the dog wouldn't let anyone close to it, a collar that needed to be slipped on would never work.  My friend had a rope in the truck and made a noose.  I knew I only had one chance with the noose so I asked for some dog treats from the crowd and told everyone to stand back and not say a single word.  You could hear a pin drop. I made eye contact with the dog and without breaking her stare I tossed one treat to coax her out of the woods.  She was hesitant, but came and got the treat. I took one step towards her and she bolted back into the woods, but still in sight. Crap! With only two treats left, I had to make this work. I tossed the second treat just in front of me.  She thought about it for a long while and without looking away, she came for it.  She was skin and bones and she was starving. She was close enough for me to notice she had one blue eye and one brown eye, like a Husky of some sort.  I’d think about that later.  She ate the treat and didn't move.   I had one chance left.  She was just out of reach so with the third and last treat I tossed it in the air with the hopes she'd follow it with her eyes and not notice the noose.  At the same time I tossed it up, I lobbed the noose and caught her.  She went wild trying to wiggle out of the noose. The harder she tried the tighter the noose got.  When she realized she couldn't breathe, she gave up and just sat down.  I quickly loosened the noose and hugged her.  She looked at me with her tired, pleading eyes as if to say OK, now what?  She didn't bite, bark or run.  She stayed by me and didn’t leave my side.  It was at that moment I realized she was just a puppy.  One of the people in the crowd ran home to get food and water.  Another person in the crowd called the police to say we caught the dog.  I just stayed and connected with her.  She seemed so lost and lonely to me.  She was infested with ticks and fleas and scabs.  She had dried blood on her neck.  She was filthy, scrappy and scared to death.  As the police cruiser showed up she jumped right in the back and looked for me to join her. I went to the window and was haunted by the look she gave me.  It was like she was saying "Hey I trusted you, why aren't you coming with me?"  We followed the cruiser to the dog pound.  What I saw next was life changing.

I was horrified to see the pound was a tiny cell with cement floors and walls.  The only thing in this prison was a broken small straw cat bed with no cushion.  It was cold and dark with just a doggie door leading out to a tiny fenced in area for the dog to go potty.  I was sick about it.  I stayed with the dog while my friend went back and got an old dog bed and boat seat cushion to put under the bed.  It was at that moment I decided to make, and donate dog beds for stray dogs.  After three days, the Animal Control Officer called me to say no one had claimed the dog and they were sending her to a shelter.  He said since I caught her, I had first dib’s.  Last March I put down my beloved 13 year old black lab.  I didn't think I'd ever get over her death and swore I'd never get another dog.  I'd wait for a dog to get me.  I called my brother and he said "consider yourself got".  I called my vet and my groomer.  They both agreed to see her as soon as I brought her home.  I went and picked her up.  She remembered me but was cautious.  Before I loaded her into the truck I took her for a walk to re-connect with her.  The Police told me she cried the entire three days they held her.  It broke my heart.  My groomer was so touched that she opened her shop after hours to bath and clean the dog.  We worked together to pull ticks and try to calm her.  She was wild and hard to control but we did it.  I held her while the groomer cleaned every orifice on her body from head to toe.  First thing the next morning my Vet saw her.  He gave her all her puppy shots, tests and we made a follow up appointment. The Vet said she was about 7 months old and she was ready to go in heat.  She needed to be fixed asap, but had to wait two weeks because she had just had all kinds of shots.  I made an appointment for exactly two weeks.  My Vet told me about different programs in NH that support people who rescue stray dogs.  I was able to get all her shots, spay and meds for free under different programs.  

After all the hub-bub and it was just her and I, it was time to think of a name.  I didn’t want to keep the name Little Whitey for I didn’t want to be reminded of her ordeal in the woods for 7+ weeks.  I kept looking at her and decided, for no apparent reason, she looked like a Lizzie.  I named her Lizzie.

Lizzie and I have completely bonded.  She does have some trust issues, but she trusts me.  She tends to bark at tall males and she is very protective of me.  The Husky in her wants to run fast and free all the time and for a while she was making great escapes.  When not at the lake I keep her on a leash.  I live in a neighborhood with cars, concrete and kids.  When at the lake I let her run free.  She knows every dog up there and now she lets all the people who tried to catch her, pet her.  I’ve gotten to know a lot more people up there as I’ve become sort of a local celebrity known as “the lady who caught Little Whitey”.  It seems my quest for peace and privacy has been foiled by a dog, but I’m OK with that.  The people at the lake still fondly call her Little Whitey and I never correct them.  Lizzie never responds to Little Whitey so what’s the point in correcting them?  She goes up to their hands nudging for treats and they’re just happy to be able to pet her know.  She’s everyone’s dog.

I’ve been cooking three meals a day for her since I brought her home and I continue to do so to ensure she’s getting all the nutrients she needs to make a full recovery.  Her white coat has changed color to a caramel coloring now.  Her eyes are brighter and she’s even filled out some.  It’ll take a while until she’s 100%, but she’s well on the way.  I walk her three times a day and play with her at night.  I get little else done for the moment I get home from work, it’s all about Lizzie.  We hike every weekend and she gets to run wild and play with lots of dogs.  I continue to work on her issues with the hopes they will go away completely.  She’s a great dog and although it may sound like I saved her, she really saved me.  I never thought I would love another dog like I did the last one.  I was wrong.

Judy Brown.

 
 
For a while now I have been collecting donated items for shelter animals....so I decided to actually do something a bit more with it and take it to a new level.  Here it is...a group of volunteers who reach out to others and ask people to look in their closets, constantly looking for shelters to help, gathering, organizing and making the donations happen.  So here is what we were able to accomplish for our first month, January 2012.  Our target of 100 items, about 175 items!  Below are the groups we were able to help. We received many blankets, towels, bowls, collars, leashes, toys, doggie coats, brushes and nail clippers, cat food and toys and a cat litter pan.
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APEA, Mississippi ~ couldn't wait to spell that out.  We were able to send down via a rescue transport truck 6 bags of donated blankets, towels and toys to our friends in MS at APEA between December and January.  A really great group of people who we admire a whole bunch.  Keep up the great and incredible work and we will do our best to keep helping!

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Stamford CT Animal Shelter ~ we were able to provide just over 30 blankets and towels and a wonderful cat litter pan filled with individual prepared cat toys and treats by one of our volunteers.  What a nice group of people, totally dedicated and some wonderful animals.  Please visit their website and adoptables.

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The Meriden Humane Society, Meriden, CT~
Yup, we got to meet them, tour their shelter, meet some great people and wonderful animals and a very special puppy, Joey Pepper....What a great group of totally dedicated people with a love for the animal. Thank you all for all that you do.

I would like to extend a big Thank YOU to all of our friends and families who have been so very supportive in so many ways.....we are looking forward to making this really work. ~ Lisa ~
PS ~ our Non-profit status is in the works!  Thank you!!!!