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May 1, 2005

Happy Birthday To Me. Now I Need Your Help.

"When a man's best friend is his dog, that dog has a problem." -- Edward Abbey

A few months ago, I posted that in general I don't like people. And while sure there was some jest in that statement, there was also some truth. People lie. People steal. People borrow your money and don't pay it back. People back into your car and don't leave a note. People are selfish. People murder. People set dogs on fire. People force dogs to fight and then discard their shattered bodies like garbage. People suck.

On the morning of April 11th, a kind old woman in Belmont, North Carolina came across the crumbled body of what she thought was a dead dog on the side of the road. Expecting the worst, she took the time to look closer and was both delighted and horrified to find this female pit bull barely alive; shattered limbs unable to carry her body any further, blood seeping from maggot infested wounds, skin stretched taunt over exposed ribs, dull broken eyes looking up at her begging for relief. This dog didn't have the strength to lift her head as the woman approached, she could only offer a muffled whimper. Surely others had driven past this horribly wounded dog, but no one bothered to stop. Not until this woman did. Such is the nature of man, I guess. But, thankfully our Good Samaritan did stop, and she scooped this dog's limp body up in her arms and brought her to the Eastridge Animal Hospital.

There veterinarians examined her and came to the conclusion she should be saved, but it was going to require some pretty extensive (and costly!) surgery. Upon hearing of Gypsy's condition, Joann Hager of Tri County Animal Rescue immediately told the vets to go ahead with treatment -- she would find a way to pay for it.

As best anyone can guess, Gypsy (as she is now named), was used in dog fights. Her ears were cut away so her opponent would have nothing to bite on to and drag her to the ground. She had bite wounds all over her body and the tissue around the wounds was rotting and putrid. In fact, when the veterinary staff tried to feed her, she couldn't eat because of the bite wounds inside her mouth. Yes, I said inside.

As of this writing, Gypsy has undergone several surgeries over the past few days. The damage to her right front leg was so extensive the doctors were forced to amputate it. Dead and dying tissue was cut away leaving this lovable dog horribly disfigured. The stents that were sewn into her skin to allow her wounds to drain give this lovable dog a nightmarish look. As you look at her post-surgery pictures you may think Gypsy is baring her teeth or growling; she's not. The dead tissue around her mouth has rotted away; she no longer has lips to cover her teeth. And yet despite all this, she still managed to wag her tail after her first surgeries. That my friends, is why dogs rule.

Gypsy has taken the first steps on her long road to recovery. But she is not out of the woods just yet. Doctors in Tennessee will need to perform plastic surgery to recreate the portions of her face that have rotted away. These upcoming procedures, on top of the care she's already received, come at a substantial price. While Tri County Animal Rescue has received more than enough letters of encouragement, they have not received enough donations to pay for Gypsy's medical care.

When I spoke with Joann on Friday, she estimates they had received just over $6,000 in donations -- well shy of the $10,000 they estimate her care to cost. This leaves at least a $4,000 deficit, probably more when all is said and done. That my friends, is where you come in.

With Sean Schaefer debacle last week, I received many emails of people writing in and admitting they were guilty of the same thing - never having stepped up to help when they could have. Just brushing aside my requests and thinking, "Oh someone else will donate." Well now is your opportunity to make a difference and you couldn't ask for a better one. Kids, the only thing standing between this lovable three legged pooch and a full recovery is a few thousand dollars. Is the army of EHOWA going to let that happen? I think not.

So, as has become a custom here at EHOWA, this will be one of the two times a year when I will ask you, my faithful readers, for help. So I am asking you, I am begging you, to donate what you can to the Tri County Animal Rescue to pay for the remainder of Gypsy's medical costs. Five bucks. Ten bucks. Twenty bucks. Whatever you can spare.

And I don't want to hear, "Oh I don't have the cash right now." Sure you do. Five bucks - the cost of quick lunch in drive thru. Ten bucks - a round of beers. Twenty bucks - popcorn and two movie tickets. You can do it. I know we can knock this right out of the ballpark if we all pitch in.

Take a moment and look at your dog laying next to you. Try to imagine what it would be like if their leg were so horribly mangled doctors would have to cut it off. Think of them having so many untreated wounds that the flesh was actually rotting off their bodies. Now try to imagine if your dog didn't have you in their corner caring for them. That's what Gypsy is going through right now.

So crack those piggy banks. Make me proud. Please donate to Gypsy.

A human being visited unspeakable cruelty on this poor dog. Think about that for a second. A dog. Man's best friend. The fact that someone would do this to a dog tells me what kind of a person they are. What does that say about us if turn a blind eye?

May 4, 2005

Back On All Threes.

An email update from Joann Hager of the Tri County Animal Rescue...

Good morning Mr. Ernie.

Can I say again that I love you , Gypsy loves you, all of Tri-County loves you. You have some awesome friends and they are very generous...and by the way HAPPY Birthday!!!

We have gotten over $5,000 via paypal since you put Gypsy's story out there. Gypsy is going to UT @ Knoxville on Monday 5/9/05 at 11:00am to begin her surgeries. She will be there for about 5 weeks. I made the arrangements yesterday for one of our volunteer couples to take her up on Sunday, spend the night and be there ready to go on Monday morning. We are all so excited. Gypsy is at the vet now getting more puppies for her. She is truly a miracle dog and we appreciate all the help from everyone. If we have any money left over, we are putting it towards on-going care for her after the surgeries are all done....and any other unfortunate babies with vet needs...we get about 30-50 calls a day asking for help and we do all we can.

New Pics of our baby girl are attached! She looks so happy and is acting just like a puppy.

Again, thank you and your friends, SOOOO much!


May 9, 2005

Off To The Plastic Surgeon.

An email update from Joann Hager of the Tri County Animal Rescue...

Gypsy has arrived in Knoxville and was scheduled to meet with the vet at 11:00 this morning. They may start their procedures as early as today! While it was sad to say good-bye to her yesterday, we are happy that she will soon have a fully functioning mouth and nose!

Enclosed is a picture of Gypsy recovering on her bed (with all of her babies). She went to visit the Gaston County Boys & Girls Club and she was a big hit with all of the kids! Through the efforts of 11-year-old Tre Williams, over $200 was raised to help with Gypsy's surgery. With kids like these, maybe the world won't go to h*ll in a handbasket!

The other picture is of Gypsy's arrival in Knoxville. She was greeted by members of Animal Rescuing and Fostering Networks (ARFNets). A couple members of the group have volunteered to be Gypsy's "parents" while she is in Knoxville. They will visit her and take pictures of her so that we can all share in Gypsy's journey toward wellness!

Again, we can't thank everyone enough for their donations, prayers, best wishes and supportive e-mails. Gypsy is a wonderful dog and with everyone's help, we are going to make sure she has a wonderful life!

Tri-County Animal Rescue
Alexis, NC

May 25, 2005

Back From Tennessee.

An email update from Joann Hager of the Tri County Animal Rescue...

She is back from the University of Tennessee vet clinic for reconstructive surgery...she doesn't mind just having three kisses, plays, runs, and rides in a car. The stitches are out so she doesn't look like FrankenDoggie. She isn't angry or bitter and loves the life she fought so hard to keep. She'll look even better when her hair grows over her stitch lines and scars.

Gypsy attended the First Annual Tri-County Animal Rescue dog show on Sunday, May 22. This show was the idea of several sixth graders from Gaston Day School in Gastonia, NC. These kids are regular volunteers at our shelter, but when they heard about Gypsy, they decided they need to do something to help raise money.

The dog show was very well attended. They held classes for largest dog, smallest dog, best mutt, best trick, best dog/owner look-a-likes, etc. Tri-County dogs were available for "rental" to anyone who didn't have a dog, but wanted to enter a class. One young boy took second place in the best mutt class with Angel, a borrowed dog. He told us to make sure we let the people who adopted Angel know that she is a prize winner!

The pictures I'm enclosing today are of Gypsy doing something she loves to do--roll in the grass! She snorts it and then wiggles in it--she just plain loves to lay in the grass!

Gypsy's stitches probably will be taken out this Friday. Wish her luck!

Tri-County Animal Rescue
Alexis, NC

June 9, 2005

Running On All Three Cylinders.

An email update from Joann Hager of the Tri County Animal Rescue...

Gypsy is wonderful! All of her stitches have been removed and her face is healing beautifully. She has started to bark! She is quite the spoiled rotten girl! We are in the process of building her house and I think she wants a flat screen TV and a wet bar so she can entertain all of her friends!

Gypsy has put on weight and no longer looks like she was starved. She can run as fast on three legs as some four-legged dogs. We are working on housetraining and she is doing great!

Gypsy's stitches probably will be taken out this Friday. Wish her luck!

Tri-County Animal Rescue
Alexis, NC

June 14, 2006

Gypsy, One Year Later.

Ernie; this what our girl looks like one year later. the southeastern pit pull association had a meet/ field trial at the hickory nc fairgrounds about a month ago and wanted us to bring her up there. they had donated a good bit of money for her surgeries last year. they wanted their members to see how well she was doing. they made her honorary best of show and gave her this big trophy. she is really rotten now! thought your horde might like to see how good she looks. ya'll are the main ones that made this possible. thanks again.

there is a problem with the north carolina dept of agriculture coming down on no-kill shelters (like us) with over whelming regulations. these rules are financially impossible for most rescues to meet and have enough funding left over for the animals. the largest private shelter in nc (the haven - near fayetteville / ft. bragg area) has been issued a 'cease and desist' order by the ncdoa for non-compliance. we know that we are on their hit list too. we don't want any money but do you think your legions would be willing to send e-mails or letters to the ncdoa and/or the nc governors office to express support of groups like us? joann or i can give you more details if you are interested.

again.........this is not a request for any funds. it is just a request for a public outcry against an unnecessary situation brought on by some beauracrats with 'high-minded ideals'. i only ask because i saw what an outpouring you got for gypsy and i don't know any other way that could generate as much response.

again much thanks,
doug hager
tri-county animal rescue
alexis nc

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