Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Our Hearts are Bigger than our Wallets

A couple of weeks ago we got a crossposting for several pit bulls in the Greenville County Shelter. Now, we get these crosspostings every day. We're always full and rarely able to take any off the lists. Sometimes, however, our emotions override our good sense. In this case, CARE president's husband Dan was the one overtaken.

Tara Haltiwanger is the President of CARE. She and her husband rescued a blue pit bull about 11 years ago. Blue is one of the most awesome dogs to ever live, and friends are constantly arguing about who gets him if Tara and Dan were to meet an untimely end. Recently, he was diagnosed with Hemangiocarcoma, a particularly aggressive cancer. Blue is doing extremely well considering that most dogs get the diagnosis just before they cross the Rainbow Bridge.

Dan felt moved to rescue 2 blue pit girls on the list in honor of his beloved blue boy who is bravely battling cancer. In the process, Greenville County Animal Services begged them to take another also. Other CARE members were recruited, and in the end we signed up for a total of 5 dogs! It seems our hearts are bigger than our brains sometimes, too.

After signing up, panic set in. Where will they all go? How are we going to pull this off? Somehow, it always works out in the end. With a dash of luck (we had some adoptions come through) and lots of planning and strategizing, we figured out a way to squeeze them all into foster homes. Tara and Lil made the trip to Greenville and picked up 2 of the pitties, Firefly and Star, and the lone non-pit Jenna. The blue girls who started it all had to stay behind a couple of extra weeks to be treated for kennel cough. They are making the trip again on Saturday to get them. On the way back, they will help another pit get out by transporting her to a rescue in Charlotte.

Phew! Lots of driving, lots of planning, lots of work to save these dogs. We are soooo happy we did. Star, a tiny pit at only 35 lbs., just waltzed in to her foster home and made herself at home. It was like she'd always been there. Jenna, the Hound who went to the same foster home, has all the other foster parents goo-goo eyed and dying to meet her. Firefly, the pit with crazy bat ears, is also a big hit. She even gels with the cats. We can't wait to play with the blue girls when they come on Saturday.

As an aside, we give mad props to the Greenville County kill shelter. They are lightyears ahead of the other kill shelters in S.C. For one, most shelters don't keep dogs and treat them for kennel cough before sending them to rescue. Usually, we get them and have to work out a way to quarantine them from our other pets ourselves. Secondly, no other kill shelter in the state is more successful at saving the animals. They really work it. On the crosspost sent out with the dogs we signed up for, every single one of them got rescue!

How does Greenville do it when others can't? Let me count the ways. Number one, they make it easy for rescues to pull from them. Rescues are always watching their money because there is always a shortage of it. GCAS sends dogs out fully vetted and microchipped for a very small pull fee. Some kill shelters charge double what GCAS does and provide less. Two, they crosspost like mad to find rescue for the dogs. Some kill shelters don't put the word out at all. If we don't know about them, we can't save them. If you want to know what dogs and cats are at GCAS needing to be rescued, all you have to do is visit http://www.noahs-arks.net/RESCUE/Greenville.html and there they are, always up to date. Three, they have no arbitrary restrictions on which breeds are considered worthy of saving and which aren't. Four of the five dogs we pulled are pit bulls. They will even work out transport to rescues far away to get the animals out of there alive.

Did you know that some kill shelters in SC automatically euthanize pit bulls and will not even allow rescues to take them? Some kill shelters in SC will not allow rescues outside of SC to take animals. They will put them to sleep rather than send them to rescue. Some kill shelters in SC will put to sleep any heartworm positive dog, even if a rescue is willing to take and treat them. If you want to help change this and end the needless killing of healthy animals, contact your local kill shelter and find out what their policies are. Demand change! If Greenville can do it, there is really no excuse for why the others can't.

Adopt one (or five) of the Greenville pits (and one hound)!



  1. Can't wait to squish the blue girls on Saturday. Wish i was able to make this trip too but hopefully have Jenna's adoption going thru on Saturday! Cross your fingers and toes!

    Hope they are just as awesome as Star and Jenna have been. You never know really when you pull them from the shelter what their personalities are REALLY going to be till you get them home. Star especially surprised me. The saying "Sometimes, big gifts come in small packages" fits her to a T. Shes not great with cats but otherwise is just awesome. Can't wait for her to find her forever home. Someone just needs to give her a chance.

  2. I am so blessed to know such a wonderful group of people. I am so glad that you were able to get these dogs. I find it discouraging that these other shelters do not do more to help the animals... perhaps the problem is that some people do not have their hearts in what they're doing. It's sad because it causes the animals to suffer. Thank you for all that you do! Keep up the AMAZING work!!

  3. Really great update this week =)

    Jenna, Star & Firefly have all found their new homes as of yesterday.

    And the blue girls Hattie & Haille are doing great in their foster home. They love to play with the other dogs. Then other times you will find them laying on a dog bed together grooming each other and taking a nap together. They are both very sweet!