Saturday, August 20, 2011

Working together to save another dog's life ... Jake shines on!

[Reflections by Marilou Chanrasmi, co-director Dog Division for Pet Haven, and board member of Pet Haven and MnPAW]

As of 5 pm last night, today was going to be an incredibly sad day ... it turned out to be a glorious day ... here is Jake's story:

Pet Haven is a member of the coalition Minnesota Partnership for Animal Welfare ... MnPAW... ( In early May MnPAW got involved in an effort to save dogs up at Leech Lake Indian reservation, 3 hours north of the Twin Cities. [To learn more about these efforts visit the Leech Lake Legacy blog.] To date 83 dogs have been given a second chance. All have been adopted or transferred to rescues with the exception of one dog, Barry who is still up for adoption through Animal Allies in Duluth (a MnPAW member). Of the 83, two (Cass and Pepper) had serious medical issues that were not treatable and were humanely euthanized. They are bright stars up in the night skies and will always be remembered. Jake (photo above) arrived on the July 30th transport from the reservation. He arrived at the Animal Humane Society (also a MnPAW member) that Saturday, was vetted, did great on the behavior assessment and was placed up for adoption on 8/3. A customer witnessed what appeared to be a possible seizure and Jake was pulled off of the adoption floor and unfortunately due to possible epilepsy was no longer placeable through AHS. We reached out to MnPAW members, after which we then reached out to other rescues, sanctuaries and shelters not only in Minnesota but across the country. Would anyone consider taking in Jake, a gorgeous 1 - 2 year old lab/shepherd mix? Email after email came back with heart felt apologies ... in the end the answer was always no. After three weeks of reaching out, a decision was made yesterday to humanely euthanize Jake. Pet Haven, like many other groups, didn't have any open fosters to take him ... let alone a dog with 'possible' seizures. I arrived at AHS late yesterday afternoon with Jenny Fitzer (the volunteer leading the effort to save the dogs from Leech Lake reservation). We spent an hour and a half with Jake ... took him out for a long walk, let him feel the sun on his back, let him roll around in the grass... it was a heart breaking afternoon with our hearts so heavy. This is the heart ache of so many on the front lines of animal rescue. The reality is we know we can't save them all. But Jake? He was full of life, of joy, of sweetness. We both left AHS at 5 pm with tears in our eyes. I was going to return the next day to be with Jake as he got euthanized. I was there for both Pepper and Cass when they were euthanized ... as painful as it was I knew in my gut it was the right thing to do for Pepper and Cass. For Jake, my gut was screaming out to me that it's not Jake's time .. we don't have enough information about his condition and whether or not he really has epilepsy. They were only 'suspected' seizures.

As I drove away, an idea popped into my head ... earlier in the week I had the good fortune of meeting Tom Morehouse the owner of a brand new doggie daycare in Bloomington, Lucky Dog Pet Lodge. We discussed ways that we could partner and Tom offered to foster a dog for Pet Haven at no cost. He gave me a tour of his facility which was extremely impressive ... 18,000 sq ft of outside romping room and loving, caring, compassionate and knowledgeable staff. I called Tom as I left AHS and filled him in on Jake's story. He indicated that even if he has seizures that he was prepared to deal with it and he was happy to foster Jake. I said to Tom, "You were truly my last hope. I would've completely understood if you couldn't but I just had to try. I just need some time to get him checked out and further evaluated by a vet. By saying yes to Jake you have essentially saved his life." Last night was a flurry of phone calls to ensure that Jake would no longer be euthanized, that he got in to see a vet (thank you to Dr. Vicki of Act V Rescue & Rehabilitation, for squeezing Jake in this morning) and that I had everything all lined up for Jake on his next stop .... Lucky Dog Pet Lodge!

There isn't confirmation that what Jake had was really a seizure on 8/3 on the adoption floor at AHS. He's been great since then, and last night and today has just been super! He stopped by the Pet Haven medium/large dog adoption event today after his vet visit to meet a few of the other dogs and did great at the adoption event with the other dogs, adults and kids. At Lucky Dog Pet Lodge he acclimated very quickly to the other dogs and within 10-15 minutes was romping around with them and getting much needed exercise after being in a shelter environment and a kennel for 3 weeks. The staff at Lucky Dog Pet Lodge have already fallen in love with him. They say he's a really smart boy. If you are interested in learning more about Jake contact me at He will not be available for adoption until August 30th.

Today the night skies will be less one bright star ... it's not yet Jake's time and he will continue to shine down on earth .... this amazing spirit is touching the hearts of so many. Despite all the neglect and abuse he endured up at Leech Lake reservation (his body still carries scars from many old wounds) you wouldn't know it by how sweet, gentle and kind he is ....

Thank you Lucky Dog Pet Lodge for partnering with Pet Haven and for giving this boy another chance. Thank you for making today a beautiful day .... tears that fall today, are simply tears of joy .... Thank you for giving Jake another chance!

For more photos of Jake click here.

Jake goes for a walk with us
right outside Lucky Dog Pet Lodge

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