Monday, April 4, 2016

A-Z of #Dog Rescue: Catch Me (If You Can) — #AtoZChallenge


A fellow A2Z-er made the perfect comment on Saturday's post to introduce this one:
Mark Twain wrote: "No good deed goes unpunished." We must prepare for the bruises and wounds that come with helping the helpless. :-(
Thank you, Roland. (Hop on over when you get a chance and show him some love!) He's 100% right, you know. Sometimes rescue gets rough. Sometimes a dog that needs immediate help refuses to cooperate. For whatever reason—and variations are endless. But it comes down to this:

 How do you catch a dog that doesn’t want to be caught? 



CHASE & CORNER

This Hope for Paws video does a great job of showing what it's like. It's a happy, happy story, but if, like me, you cry with Pedigree commercials, you might want to turn down the volume. (Especially after the rescue.)


Cornering the dog is only 10% of the battle. Once s/he realizes there's no way out except through you, one of three things will happen—and you need to be prepared for all three.

S/he'll submit

A dog's surrender, especially of a street-born dog who's been self-reliant all his/her life, is one of the hardest things to see in dog rescue. They have no way of knowing you're their lifeline; at that point, you're the bad guy, the monster in the closet that came out and sat on their beds, licking its chops. And still they give up. It breaks my heart every time.

S/he'll make a run for it

That's what happened in the video above. You saw how quickly the rescuer had to act, how on the fly the snare leash went around the dog's neck. You need to be ready. And you need to be fast. At that point, it's all or nothing.

S/he'll fight back

Once a skittish dog feels trapped, especially once the leash goes around their neck, they will fight it. They'll thrash and howl and empty their bowels, and they'll bite at anything within reach—including you. 

It's horrible to see. And to listen to. But here's the thing. You can't let go

Let’s get our priorities straight. The goal here—the only one that counts, the thing that trumps every other consideration—is Getting The Dog. Everything else (getting bitten, getting hurt, looking stupid, whatever) is important only in the measure that it affects Getting The Dog.


I know someone who got dragged sixteen feet over sharp rocks by a feral dog she'd been after for weeks and had just managed to leash. She delivered the dog to the foster (me) with blood trickling down both her shins. I asked if she wanted the first-aid kit. She said sure, but let's first get the dog settled in.

Priorities.

And, while we're at it, let's get something else out of the way. There is no such thing as a vicious dog. What people see as "aggression" is either training or, especially within the rescue context, fear. A dog will attack as a last resort only, and then only because s/he honestly believes his/her survival depends on it. When you don't have time to engage in dogspeak conversation about how all this is for their own good, you need to be prepared to give some blood.

Come on. It's for a good cause.


The other thing they'll bite is the leash, which is why you'll need a sturdy snare leash instead of the cute purple and pink one you walk Fido with (check out the K post for more on the Dog Rescuer's Kit). I lost a dog that way once. Had her finally on a leash (after she bit me), and while we were waiting for someone to get the transport crate from the car—not even a minute, I swear—she bit her way through the leash and we had to start all over again.


TRAPS

If you can't get close enough to try anything else, a trap might do it. The trick is to use irresistible food as a lure (more about that in the Food post), and to be very, very patient. This rescue group did an amazing job here.



DRUGS

Rescuers hate using them. Not just because it feels like admitting defeat, but because they can end in tragedy. More on that at the Drug Dos and Don'ts post.



36 comments :

  1. I am so full of admiration and praise for anyone who gets involved in rescue at that level.

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    1. Thanks, Keith. I think I'm not the only rescuer who desperately wishes it wasn't necessary :)

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  2. So much preparation and hard work that goes into rescuing, what Keith said, much admiration!

    Mars xx
    @TrollbeadBlog from
    Curling Stones for Lego People

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  3. I think this where I'd definitely fail, I'm too soft for tough love!

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    1. I doubt it, Andrea... You're a teacher. Of kids. You're tougher than you give yourself credit for, I think ;)

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  4. My dog Partner was rescued by my dad. She was so wily, she could not be trapped by a cage. My dad fed her. He slowly led her food into my sister's fenced yard. He closed the gate. The dog went crazy. He let her out and did it everyday. Then she was content to stay.
    Because she probably had been abused, she was incredibly fearful of hands. When I moved her to the country with me, she would walk with my pack and lick the back of my legs. I just gave her a break. I didn't not put my hands on her but for the few times she had to visit the vet.

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    1. Ann, you're a woman after my own heart. I also have a rescue who refuses to be touched. We decided to keep her because of it... The family that wanted to adopt her kept asking when she'd be "ready" (meaning when she'd be a "normal" dog)... and, even though I kept hoping she'd relent one day, I decided she deserved the space to do it, if she was going to do it at all, on her own time. She comes to me now, two or three times a day, to ask for some loving, but it's still on her own terms. If I move too fast, if I get closer than what she's comfortable with, she's off. It's okay with me. I have no desire to make her into something she's not, or to force her to behave in any way other than what she feels like—but it's rare to find people who understand that. I'm doubly glad to have met you now :)

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  5. You have to be a special soul to do this work and not mind the physical and emotional pain both from yourself and the dog. I am so happy there are people out there who do this

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    1. I really wish it weren't necessary, Birgit.

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  6. wow she was bleeding!! It's a tough job ... so happy to see that the dog rescuers have got their priorities right. Such dedication!! Thanks for sharing the tips.

    Visiting from A to Z Challenge
    Pam's Unconventional Alliance Team
    A Whimsical Medley
    Twinkle Eyed Traveller

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    1. It gets to a point where all but the most severe bites (the ones that need more than a couple of stitches, for instance) are a non-issue... Not sure everyone would agree that a rescuer's priorities are "right"—but I'm glad you do :) Thanks for the visit, Rajlakshmi!

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  7. Great Blog. And thanks for dropping by http://cazgreenham.blogspot.com earlier C for (Cocker Spaniels)
    @CazsBooks

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  8. Dog rescuers certainly do "take one for the team" at times!

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  9. What an outstanding idea for A to Z and your blog topic generally. Very moving. Filled with gratitude for people like you in this world.

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  10. It would take incredible strength, both physical and mental, to keep hanging onto that leash while being dragged. A cornered dog can be very scary.
    Mary at Play off the Page

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  11. Guilie, this is an amazing series. Those Paws for Hope videos were fantastic. It was heartbreaking to watch the first one and see all those fleas on that poor baby. But what a change afterward! Dogs are so resilient!

    Great post!

    Michele at Angels Bark

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  12. I've seen the Benji video. Initially heartbreaking, ultimately heartwarming.

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  13. Each of your posts is so interesting to read. Such dedication!

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  14. Each of your posts is so interesting to read. Such dedication!

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  15. I had seen the Benji clip on another site and it is a good one! It is interesting the lengths you have to go to helping these cunning canines.

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  16. These videos get me every time! I was so happy to see Benji and Dorothy were such sweet characters once they realised they weren't going to be hurt
    Debbie

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  17. I'd love to say I can trust dogs, but I've been attacked on two situations. Both when a dog got out of it's yard. Once when I used to deliver papers as a boy and another time when I was riding my bike down the street. The dog kept running after me growling and barking. I wasn't fast enough and he jumped up and grabbed my pants leg. Finally the owner came running up and saved me.

    I think the rescue video above would have been better without the music.

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  18. You must know your business for sure when you try to catch a scared animal dog or cat! Once again, Mark Twain comes to the rescue with a smile on this: "He who picks up a cat by the tail learns something he can learn no other way." Isn't that the truth?! :-)

    Thanks for quoting me and leading folks to my blog where the ghost of Mark Twain wages war with the ghost of Sigmund Freud!

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  19. I thoroughly enjoyed finding and reading your blog! I too have too many pet rescues under my belt to count - dogs and cats. We once had to live-trap our cat back into the house and you wouldn't believe what we caught in the meantime. You gotta love animals - they are awesome! Keep up the good work! www.dianeweidenbenner.com http://dianeweidenbenner.com/maine-or-rac-coon-blogging-from-a-to-z/

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  20. One trick we use often is to have treats in your pocket and move in slow (when possible). Mi Vida once chased a wild puppy all around a barn, rather late at night, he'd just about given up after slipping in rooster poop and sat there shaking his head and laughing when the puppy came (slowly) to him:-)

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  21. I confess that the first two videos made me cry. Well, the first one made me cry. I was just "primed" already for the second one. It takes a very special person to be willing to do this sort of work. To see the change in a dog (homeless to loved) is just beyond words... wonderful.

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  22. Such good information. It doesn't look that way on the shows about dog rescue, but if it did, I'm sure they'd not get the support they're after. So sad, the horror they've seen.

    Happy April 4th!

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  23. Oh my God, that video of Jordan! I will never understand how people, no matter how they've been damaged, can turn their rage onto defenseless animals.

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  24. The transformation of these dogs are amazing!!

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  25. I have a whole 'nother layer of respect for our shelter team--thanks for thid

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  26. I have to admit I couldn't watch the first rescue video because I knew it would make me cry.

    Rescuers are very dedicated!

    Yvonne

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  27. Visiting on the 3rd day of the #Challenge. Only on my of my Pinterest Boards named, If I Had A Dog, the closest I can get to having an animal in my life now. While you have been preparing these interesting posts, I have been writing about historic hotels and inns. Not sure you can bring a dog to any of them. Sorry. Come se me if you have time or interest.

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  28. Caz, thanks for stopping by. I come from a family of animal lovers so your theme is a real treat.

    I’m exploring different types of dreams and their meanings during the #AtoZChallenge at Stephen Tremp’s Breakthrough Blogs

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  29. These are amazing posts. We lived in the country and people would drive by, stop, throw a dog out, and drive on. I think they saw the kids playing and thought "oh, they need a dog." Well, we always have four dogs - that's the max I can really take care of. I always find home for the others.

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