Tag: Christmas

Full Speed Ahead for Pet Retention Assistance

Well, here we are releasing the 5th edition of our “Out of the Box” e-newsletter and I still haven’t run out of things to tell all of you! In fact, each day brings more voicemails, emails and text messages presenting TASP with more requests for help of every sort. I have to admit, 2018 has been one heck of a challenging year for our little organization, with the loss of Mitch and the exponential growth in the number of requests we’re receiving. But we’re a sturdy, stubborn bunch and we keep our noses pointed into the  wind, moving one foot ahead of the other, one project after another.

These days at the Plasse ranch, when I’m not working at my paying job or tending to TASP matters, I’m caring for a number of my own and TASP’s hospice dogs and cats. Dear old Otis, our 24-year-old hospice cat, finally passed over to the other side less than a month ago. Meantime, Guidry, the Catahoula puppy I brought home from Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina is now pushing fourteen and losing control of his back end. I thank God every morning that he’s able to get up with assistance and walk just a bit on the farm he so conscientiously patrolled all these years. And I thank God I have a job that allows me the privilege of being able to care for his needs at this stage of his life, and a husband who is kind enough to hand-feed Guidry when I’m not home and to help me rearrange our home’s entire basement level to accommodate this beloved old dog’s condition. I know there are people who love their animals as much as we do, but who aren’t as fortunate as we are. My heart goes out to these people because I know what it feels like when an animal leans its head up against me asking for help. How would I feel if I couldn’t afford to respond?

Believe it or not, I still occasionally encounter people who give that “deer in the headlights” look when I tell them what TASP does. And I can understand why some folks might not readily relate to the concept of helping animals and their owners through tough times. If you were fortunate enough to be born into a secure home and have not experienced the loss of your security up till now, it might be hard for you to wrap your head around all the changes a person is subjected to when their life is interrupted by a health issue, a divorce, the death of a spouse or loss of a job.  Those changes can be more readily comprehended and rationalized by a human, but what about their pet? A conversation I had recently with a nice lady on the phone illustrates this perfectly, I think. The tearful call came one night while I was working through the day’s voicemails and emails while simultaneously choking down a bowl of soup for my dinner.

This woman from a county about an hour and a half from my house was sobbing that she’d been sent to us by her local shelter.  She had contacted them looking for help for “Hennessey,” a female pit bull she’d rescued from a neglectful home two years ago. The dog was very weak, not eating for the past couple of days. When she originally took the dog in, she had her spayed and vaccinated by a local vet hospital and Hennessey had been healthy right up until this problem occurred. But between then and now, this lady had endured four surgeries; and what had been a financially secure home turned into a place where there was barely enough to go around even when things were all running smoothly. With Hennessey suddenly becoming ill, there was no emergency fund left to treat her at a vet. I listened as Hennessey’s Mom told me her story, and then my heart sank when she said, “And then the guy at the shelter told me, ‘People who can’t afford to care for an animal shouldn’t have one.’ You know, when I rescued Hennessey, I COULD afford a dog! I never planned on getting hurt and I never dreamed I’d be begging for someone to help me get her vetted now!”

These are the situations that deserve “out of the box” consideration. It’s an adult pit bull that is loved and that has an owner who wants to keep her. Should we send that dog into the shelter system and hope she finds another home where her owner won’t someday get sick and have trouble paying a vet bill? Or should we just help this pet owner through the current crisis and let the family resume life together, not overburdening the shelter with another pit bull? After all, Hennessey’s Mom was able to afford the day to day care of this dog and would probably even be able to afford vetting if this need hadn’t just occurred at the same time she was healing from her last surgery.

More and more of these crises are being brought to our attention now because we’ve been making happy endings for at-risk pets for over ten years….and good news is contagious. We’ve done our best to offer whatever help we can remotely over the phone and internet to these distant counties. Proof of financial need can be texted to us; payment of a vet bill can be made over the phone in most cases. We’ve mailed pet store gift cards to people needing supplies where we can’t reach them and we’ve had supplies shipped directly to needy animals from places like chewy.com. We’ve shipped first aid supplies to the cat whose rearend was ripped up by the new family dog and we’ve helped explain in layman’s terms things like abcess care, second intention healing, tapeworm, flea prevention, kidney failure and amputation to worried pet owners facing big and small decisions. We’ll keep on fielding the requests from wherever animals are at risk in the Capital region and do our best to respond with enduring solutions. If we can’t be there personally, then we’ll work with those who are there……like the man in Amsterdam who requested help for an injured cat belonging to his neighbor who speaks Ukranian fluently but has trouble with English. I have strong faith that TASP will find ways to grow support in the areas farthest from our reach through partnering with other individuals and groups, so if you know someone who might want to team up with TASP in places like Fulton, Montgomery and western Schenectady counties, please have them contact TASP through our website, or call me at 518-727-8591. After all, TASP can’t be everywhere all the time, but with so many caring animal lovers in our region, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t work together to prevent an animal’s suffering when their owner hits on hard times.

Thanks from the heart from all of us at The Animal Support Project for caring enough to open and read our messages, and for supporting our mission. We wish all of you and your families: two-legged, four-legged, furry, hairless, scaled and feathered, warm-blooded, cold-blooded, old and young, a very beautiful holiday season and a new year that fills you with joy, prosperity and gratitude. Will be back in touch in the spring with more good news for y’all.


The Next Chapter – Project Outcome Followup

Update on Bria

If you follow our facebook page, you know Bria returned home to live with her family back around January. As soon as she went home, Bria was enrolled with her family in Basic Obedience training through Crawmer’s Animal Training, courtesy of TASP, just to give her a leg up on moving back to home life. With three active kids, Dad recovering from major surgery and Mom adapting to her new job, it was extremely gratifying to know that the whole family was so devoted and committed to bringing Bria back into their lives.
The nicest update about Bria just came from her Mom!
“It’s been a whirlwind of a year but this is us and we got this… we are settling in and as I write Bria is laying by my bed. I would take a pic but she is a girl always in motion! Allana graduated yesterday and she will be off to St. John’s University in the fall to study Bio with a concentration in pre-med. We will never forget your kindness and would love to visit before she leaves! You are so special to our family!”
This family is still struggling to make ends meet since the fire took their home nearly two years ago. They are STILL waiting for the insurance companies to settle. But they’re a family of survivors and they’re all working hard to move on with life. They are an inspiration to everyone who knows them and it has been a joy to play a part in their recovery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update on Copper and Charlie:

Who says two giant old dogs can’t find a home together? Well, if this happy ending doesn’t make you believe in Santa Claus, I don’t know what will. You met Charlie and Copper in our last newsletter. On their way to the euthanasia room, these two bonded senior dogs made a detour to TASP foster care with Kat. And not long after that, just in time for Christmas, BOTH of these old guys hit the lottery and were adopted by Allison and her wonderful family. Used to giant breed dogs, the family’s home was ideal for our old buddies. And what a great way to start the new year: loved and safe with folks who treasure them for the gems they are!
At their ripe old ages, there is no telling how many Christmases Copper and Charlie will see. But knowing they will spend the rest of their lives being loved and spoiled is enough to make anyone want to celebrate. Thanks to everyone who had a part in this miracle!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update on Bucky:

Three dentals, two leg surgeries and TWO YEARS in foster care! That’s what it took for Bucky to find the home he was meant to have. Although the little cowpoke was always a hit at adoption clinics and events, he never seemed to get the followthrough from potential adopters, and those who DID apply to adopt him had other animals who didn’t care to have Bucky in the family portrait. But that all changed in July when JT came into the picture. With a circle of friends who all own dogs, JT was looking for a little compadre who would work out well in her apartment and who would get along with the rest of her friends’ dogs. Circle Bucky for that! Living in Boston near a wonderful network of parks, trails and dog-friendly businesses, JT and Bucky now are seen frequenting all the best spots for reading and posting p-mail. And since JT works from home, the Buckmeister has his very own full-time relationship; the kind of lifestyle we think he always dreamed of and deserved. From a discarded, crooked-legged waif to a healthy, beloved companion with a real live bedfella and a social life to rival that of any Boston bachelor, this little Urban Cowboy is finally home!


Update: Will Bria Be Home for the Holidays?

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Hi again, everybody! It’s me, Bria! I’m still in foster care with TASP, and pretty soon it will be a whole year that my family and I have been apart. We’re still keeping tabs on each other and the rumor is, we might have a new home by Christmas. It seems like so long ago that the fire wiped out our old house and put me here in foster care. Ever since then, Mom and Dad have been working their hearts out, trying to save up enough for a down payment on a house while they’re still waiting for the insurance companies to stop arguing with each other. I love them for keeping their promise to Allana and me to reunite all of us again for good and forever, and I’ll wait patiently until they are ready to bring me home.

This is Allana’s first year in college and I have been praying for her to be as successful as I know she can be. It must be hard to concentrate on your studies when you’ve lost your home and your BFF isn’t beside you to keep you smiling, don’t you think?

While I’m waiting, I’ve got a nice young fella to play with here at my foster home. His Mama has been very sick so while she is getting better, Nicholas the German Shepherd puppy lives in my zone. When he first showed up, I thought he was kinda goofy….all feet and ears and always jumping on everyone and chewing anything he could fit into his mouth. But now, he’s been here for a few months and he’s been growing into a handsome young dawg. He’s become my favorite playmate and best friend (next to Allana, of course).

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Nick and I like playing Capture the Wubba and Steal the Antler outdoors in the yard and we wrestle like a couple of Olympians for hours on the kitchen floor. At night, after last outs, we like chillin’ with our peanut butter Kongs while Mom and Dad are finishing up the day’s chores. Thanks to all the exercise and play with Nicholas, I am staying in great shape and losing some of my own goofiness, gaining some more manners and maturing into an adult Lab Lady.

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I still spend most of my day carrying things in my mouth….old habits are the hardest to break. But heck, we all have our fetishes, right? And at least you always know where to look for the Kong Wobbler: it’s right here, in my mouth!

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You don’t have to worry about me because I am safe in TASP foster care. But would you please pray for Mama and Dad, Allana and the kids? They have lost so much but they still keep trying to rebuild their life. If our prayers come true, this Christmas, I’ll be sleeping next to my Allana again.

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