Posts tagged ‘rescue story’

Greta’s Story

This is the story of Greta, a German Shorthair Pointer that I have the privilege of caring for.  This story is told by her owner.

This is not my story, but it certainly begins with me. I was
born into a dog-less household and despite 20 years of pleading for a pup, my
effort fell on deaf ears. When I graduated college, I had a traveling job and
was never able to fill the need for a four-legged companion in my life. My next
stop was New York City, hardly the place to raise
an active dog so the opportunity was delayed further. When Jenn and I got
engaged and agreed to move west, it was the first time I knew I would have a
dog in my life; after all, Jenn came from a long family dog tradition.

Jenn and I agreed that we would get two dogs, and my first would be a puppy.
Jenn wanted me to go through that experience. We were waiting for Tyr, our
younger GSP, to enter the world when we learned about Greta. Greta came to us
through the Jackson Hole Animal Shelter and her
life prior to our adopting her was not one filled with love.


If you believe the limited documentation on Greta, today she would be at least
13 years old. The earliest records we have of her are from 2001. We adopted her
in 2006, meaning there are at least seven years unaccounted for. While we would
like to believe her first four years were happy ones, wh know the three years
prior to our adoption were down right tragic involving two owners, a foster, a
shotgun and a very benevolent veterinarian.

Despite her breed, Greta is not an optimal hunting dog. She was likely a litter
runt as evidenced by her much lower and stockier build than a standard GSP,
despite appearing to be a pure bloodlines. She has a great nose but her prey
instinct is incredible, meaning she has periods where her ability to listen are
mitigated by her desire to hunt small animals on her own. It was possibly this
combination of personality traits that led to Greta being shot and abandoned in
2004, potentially after a bad day in the field coupled with too much alcohol,
but this is merely speculation (save for the shotgun part). Luckily for Greta
her owner had wayward aim and the scared and wounded dog was able to escape
into the backwoods of Star Valley, Wyoming.

While it is unclear how long Greta lived as a stray, what is known is that a
good Samaritan scooped up the starving and wounded GSP and delivered her to a
veterinarian in Star Valley. The vet removed the majority of the buckshot from
Greta’s torso, legs and abdomen, some of the pellets remain in her today and
are readily identifiable. She was turned over to the Jackson Hole Animal
Shelter for foster and adoption. Unfortunately for Greta a scared, untrusting,
and injured dog is not a top candidate for adoption.

After a foster period during which Greta fully healed, she was finally adopted
by a local man and the team at the shelter could not have been happier.
Unfortunately, a year later that same man returned Greta proffering some
unfathomable excuse why he could not longer keep her; the shelter team was
devastated. Greta went back out on foster and waited for her luck to again
turn, but her age and circumstance continued to make her a tough case.

When Jenn found out about Greta’s situation, we immediately knew we wanted to
adopt her. We knew we were the right people to restore this dogs faith in
humanity and enable her to realize her potential. There were a number of
hurdles between our decision and the time we were able to make her part of our
family, but the wait was well worth it.

Greta’s transformation was slow and involved a lot of time, love and patience,
but today she is one of the most remarkable dogs anyone has ever met. Most
people put her age at 7 – 8 based on her appearance, strength and energy. In
short everyone loves Greta, and in turn Greta loves everyone. The addition of
Tyr was of great value to Greta, as Tyr had only experienced love all her life.
Tyr taught Greta how to play, manipulate her owners into feeding her more (I
didn’t say it was all good), and gave her a partner to chase furry rodents
with. With a partner in crime, so to speak, Greta reached even greater heights.

Tyr & Greta

I can’t image our lives without Greta and making her happy is one of the
greatest achievements of our lives to date.

July 11, 2011 at 7:43 pm Leave a comment


I have to share this story about one of the dogs I have the privilage of watching.  He’s a Bernese Aussie mix named Ringo and I’ve been watching him, along with the new addition to their family, a Bernese Golden mix puppy named Stella, while their “mom” is away helping her ailing parents.  Despite his missing eye and scarred face, Ringo is a beautiful gentle giant.  He’s so sweet and loving it’s hard to believe the life he had before coming to live in this loving home.  Here’s his story as told by the wonderful person who rescued Ringo.

Ringo’s rescue

Ringo came into rescue a week before New Years, after his owners were threatened with cruelty and neglect charges.

For four years, they’d allowed their intact, male Akita to routinely attack and tear up this Berner, and had never provided proper veterinary care.  Thanks to the intervention of a veterinarian and the local animal shelter, he was taken out of an awful situation and released to rescue.

He was in bad shape: his entire head, neck, shoulders, and right rump were extremely swollen from the numerous severe wounds received in the latest attack; grossly overweight; coarse wiry reddish coat; rat tail; blind bulging eye from a prior untreated injury; and absolutely filthy. The shelter workers said that the owners had claimed he was a purebred Bernese. When I first went to evaluate him, two things stood out: he was in such bad shape physically that it was hard to recognize him as a Bernese, and he had such classic Bernese behaviors that he had to indeed be one.

I looked at pictures the shelter had of him from 2 years prior. It was hard to believe that the young Berner looking at me from the photo was the same dog in front of me. We immediately named him Ringo for his extreme ringii markings. Two days later, he went straight from the shelter to the bathing parlor, and then to the vet. After three shampoo sessions, the water no longer ran black, and he smelled much better! Then he was off to the veterinarian for a blood workup and in-depth exam.

We suspected that he was low thyroid, and the vet agreed. He also recommended that the eye be removed since it could not be saved and was causing pain. The next day, the blood tests showed him to be extremely low thyroid, and medication was started. He was healthy enough to be neutered and to have the damaged eye removed. Bless the shelter vet who performed both surgeries! He did such a good job that Ringo didn’t have the bad swelling I’d seen with other eye-removal surgeries.

Ringo went to temporary foster mom Lisa for intensive nursing care while he recovered from surgery, and then to long-term foster mom Sandi for further rehabilitation. He blossomed under their care. Six months later, he looked like a new dog. He’d gone from grossly overweight to only mildly overweight, had begun growing a normal coat and you could see that he was indeed a Berner.

It took us a while to find him the right home. There weren’t a lot of people interested in a dog that wasn’t the classic Bernese beauty. Thankfully, his forever mom, Randi, easily saw beyond his slightly battered body and recognized what a loving affectionate dog he is.  Randi dotes on Ringo, and he has responded with absolute devotion. Ringo has shown amazing adaptability and trust of humans.  His favorite things to do are to cuddle and play with his squeaky toys.  He and Randi are attending training classes. Although he’s good with females and neutered males, Ringo has an understandable fear-aggression towards large, intact, male dogs.  With Randi’s support, he’s working through it. She has plans for him to certify as a therapy dog.

Beautiful Ringo

January 28, 2011 at 7:24 am Leave a comment