A homeless and injured cattle dog has a new fate.
On a sunny summer morning a young man was on his way to high school football practice and spotted an injured dog on a very busy country road. This compassionate young man took notice of this cattle dog and his struggles to walk, he called his mom and told her of the dog and continued on his way to practice as his mom promised to head out and try to help this homeless dog. Mom grabbed her stuff and headed down the road, she spotted the injured dog and with a handful of yummy treats she approached him. Little did she know that this injured dog that was dragging his front leg could run and run he did. Mom did not know what to do so she called a friend that is a bit dog crazy and volunteers with some pretty awesome rescues and animal control agency, which this injured dog happened to be in their jurisdiction. Now insert a crazy dog lady who calls the animal control agency to plot a plan. Crazy dog lady, mom, young compassionate football player (I bet you can guess his name, if not you will find out soon) and 2 amazing animal control officers arrive on the scene, about an hour has passed since the initial spotting of the country boy. This is where endurance, compassion and the need to help this dog kicks in. We thought we had a pretty good chance of catching him as he was operating on 3 legs and there was 5 of us, but we also had wide open ground surrounding us, no fences, no neighborhoods, no way to stop a dog if he really wants to get away from the crazy humans who are trying to help him.
The pursuit began, the dog who had 3 good legs and one dragging ran, he ran so fast that we could not keep up. He crossed one of the busiest streets in Fresno county and along with the flashing lights of animal control trucks, hazards that were on all of our vehicles that were parked on the side of the road, and all of us jumping up and down waving our hands to slow traffic so he did not get hit, he made it across to more wide-open ground. He continued to run, not sure how but he did. We all jumped in our cars, except for the compassionate young man who plays football, he ran and he ran with the intent to save this dog. How can we give up???? We can’t, we can’t let this young man down or his mom who were still giving it all they had to help... The chase took us through orchards and orchards, in and out of the cars trying to catch him when we got close and back in the car when he would gain ground on us. Finally, he ditched us… He was gone, no sight of him anywhere. It was a defeat we just weren’t ready to give in to. All 5 of us still committed to finding him drove around, walked the orchards. We have now been at this for 2 hours since his first sighting. When do we stop, when do we give up? “Let’s make one more pass” and holy hell, there he is… There he is down in a rocky ravine with giant stickers and rocks that fall away under your feet every time you try to step on them. Stickers that migrate through your clothes and burrow in to your skin, but there he is. He is tired, he is scared and there we are, tired and scared that he might get away again, he needs help and I wish so much he could understand that we are there to help him, but he doesn’t. His eyes were sad, his body was broken we could see his spirit was broken as well. The officer made his way down to this poor hopeless animal and slipped the catch pole loop around his neck, no fight, nowhere to run, he gave up. We managed to get a crate down in the ravine and get him in it, I bet he had to feel a bit of relief once he had the safety of the crate as he laid down and no struggle to get out. The officers made a plan to hoist the crate up the rocky, slippery and sticker infested ravine. One officer secured a very sturdy rope around the crate as the other chopped away with the catch pole at the giant and relentless sticker bushes. He made a path for the crate so no stickers would slip through the crate door as it was hoisted up the rocky hill and hurt our country boy anymore than he already was. Finally, our boy was safe and on his way to the emergency vet for some much-needed care. It was determined that the front leg injury was old and that there was severe nerve damage to the leg and that the only outcome for a recovery would be to amputate his leg. He had open infected wounds from who knows how long of dragging it around the country side of Fresno county.
Shelter life begins, and although the people who work at this shelter are caring wonderful people, this shelter is ran in a parking lot of a condemned morgue. No inside kennels, no air conditioning and temperatures that are above 100 almost daily make it a rough(ruff) place to work and to house approximately 150 dogs. 3 days is mandatory for all stray dogs brought in to the shelter and that does not count the day the dog is brought in or any days that the shelter is closed, so typically a minimum of 5 days for any dog who enters. 3 days past and despite countless social media posts on lost and found pages, no one comes for this scared, shy, timid, and injured boy. The shelter is packed and I mean packed with unwanted healthy, friendly, dogs. How does a shelter on shoestring budget justify saving a broken, scared, timid, shy dog that needs over a thousand dollars of medical care when they have 100’s of healthy, outgoing dogs looking and waiting for a home or a dog rescue to take them in. Well, they don’t justify it.
They know in their hearts that they have to try and the crazy dog lady knows that something has to be done to help offset the cost of the surgery, but first a temperament test of the dog has to be done. A temperament test is sometimes a deciding factor in the outcome for these dogs. If a dog shows extreme aggressiveness towards other dogs, has an injury that will cost over a thousand dollars and may not be really fond of people, the outcome for that dog is most likely not what we strive for. Let’s just stop that conversation now, to many people have a love for this dog, so he MUST pass the temperament test, that is the only option. Here we go, into the kennel to bring country boy to the play yard for his assessment, who at this time gets a new name, all dogs get a name after their stray hold is up, they are loved by the staff who care for them daily, even if they don’t love the staff, they deserve to have a name. So, everyone meet JAKE!!!!!! What else would we name him? Jake is our hero, Jake is the young compassionate football player who brought us all to this point with a phone call to his mom about an injured helpless animal on a country road in Fresno county.
Jake (the dog) is fitted with a collar and is cautiously taken from his kennel, remember he is still injured and still very scared of the people who love him and want to help him. He is led to the pavement play yard, no grass because the shelter operates in a parking lot. He enters and the crazy dog lady offers him some yummy hot dogs, she had been coming to visit Jake through the kennel door with hot dogs prior to this outing in the play yard, she wants so badly for him to like her, she needs to see a glimmer of hope in his eyes and a kindness to his heart. Jake explores the yard and all the smells and within a few minutes he cautiously makes his way to the crazy dog lady who is kneeling down with yummy hot dogs in hand and he takes one and then another and then she gets to touch him, just briefly and he backs away. He comes back again, he can’t resist the bribery of smelly yummy hot dogs. This time it is victory, she gets to actually pet him and she sees a little tail wag signaling that he may actually like her and she proclaims that he is now her friend, but will he be friendly with another dog? Here we go again, crazy dog lady is a little stressed out as the staff brings in a super friendly and happy male Pitbull. We don’t know how Jake is going to respond and this can be the moment where heartbreak sets in or extreme happiness overwhelms us. Jake greets Mr. Pitbull with some caution, but that is normal behavior for a scared injured dog. We all stand back and hold our breath as the two start to interact, hallelujah, Jake passes his assessment with our wonderful Pitbull and we all breathe a sigh of relief, but we are going to bring in another dog just to solidify our assessment. In comes a big beautiful female German shepherd. Immediately Jake approaches her with so much interest that he is now trotting around the play yard with happiness in his eyes and kindness in his heart, Jake loves her!!!! We love Jake with an open heart now, our hearts have to be guarded in these situations as I am sure you understand.
Now all that crazy stuff of pursuing Jake, emergency vet visit, sitting in a shelter kennel for his stray period, meeting people and accepting them as his friends, meeting new dogs and accepting them as his friends brings us to his surgery and the cost of that surgery. First, we have to let Jakes fan club know his assessment outcome, they had been checking in with the crazy dog lady regularly to see how their country boy was doing. Jake the human and his mom are thrilled at the news and offered a donation towards Jakes amputation surgery. That is where the crazy dog lady had an idea, lets fundraise for his surgery since this not something that this little shelter who does amazing things for animals, from a parking lot has in their budget.
Fundraising began via Facebook. Jakes story was shared on Facebook and Fresno Humane animal services was the designated receiver of the donated funds. Oh my gosh, the response was crazy and the hearts of the community opened and the funding for Jakes surgery was achieved within 2 days. We could not believe the response and it kept coming. The community of animal lovers was hugely evident in the response, the donations, well wishes, and prayers for Jake flooded in. Over 2,000.00 dollars was raised for a homeless country dog with a bum leg. Jakes surgery was set and we all were hoping for the best possible outcome. Great news, Jake’s surgery was a success, and he is now on the road to recovery as I write this. He had his surgery on Wednesday July 25th and is resting comfortably at an offsite facility with air conditioning and blankets. Most dogs recovering from surgery are housed at an offsite location as you all know by now; the shelter is in the parking lot of a condemned morgue with no air conditioning and that is not a place that is conducive to very comfortable recovery. Thank you everyone who took part in Jake’s Journey and are still cheering him on for a great recovery and soon a forever home where he will be loved and cherished the rest of life.
A big thank you to Fresno Humane officers Jose and Mike for not giving up in the pursuit to help Jake. Thank you Jake the human for having compassion for a dog that many others had passed on the roadway. Mom, Ginger who has a heart of gold and joined forces with us in the pursuit of Jake and the donation towards his surgery. Thank you everyone that donated, sent good thoughts and prayers to Jake. You are all amazing humans. Any funds not used for Jake will be used to help the endless amounts of dogs and cats that our entering Fresno Humane Animal Services. There are many more everyday who have a need for help. By donating to Jakes surgery you have made it possible for Fresno Humane to help other dogs in desperate need of a hero..
Crazy dog lady