“Random dogs at goatmans bridge,” the post read. The picture showed three mixed breed dogs sitting on a mattress. What the picture didn’t show was the freezing temperature. I saw this Facebook post on a Saturday and knew several animal advocates were going to try to catch the dogs. Two women succeeded in catching the mostly white dog on Saturday and put out straw stuffed dog houses and food for the remaining two.
The next day, a local dog rescue captured the brindle one. The black one was far less trusting and would come close but not close enough to the various strangers trying to help her. I joined the effort Sunday afternoon and met the women that had captured the white one, affectionately named Bridget because of the location, at Goatman’s Bridge. Whoever coined the phrase “middle of nowhere” was surely talking about Goatman’s Bridge.
My heart sunk when I saw the location and realized immediately, someone drove all the way out here to throw these three dogs away. They stood no chance of surviving and would either slowly starve or fall victim to a pack of coyotes or a bobcat. We got Bridget out of the car hoping the last black dog would come closer upon seeing her but she was too fearful.
Sadly, we had to leave her alone that night with the understanding that her odds of survival were greatly diminished without her two siblings. We told ourselves saving two is better than saving none and devised a plan to return with a trap in 4 days when the weather warmed as we didn’t want her trapped in the freezing cold.
All 3 Dogs Just Before Rescue
All 3 Dogs Just Before Rescue 2
Liberty Evading Rescue
The next day a kind stranger bought a trap on his own and caught the last dog. He brought her to my house and coaxed her from the trap. She immediately surrendered and allowed us to pet her. She took food from our hand but stayed as far away as possible in the corner of the room. Her savior named her Liberty.
By the next day, Liberty was coming up to me when I fed her, putting her head on my lap, and wagging her tail when I entered her room. A few more days, she was running to greet me and joining me in my office while I worked in the mornings. I took Liberty with me to my clinic each week where she met lots of people and dogs and though she was terribly shy, she allowed everyone to pet her and even began walking up to the gate for additional attention.
At home, Liberty found her voice barking at our horse, running the fence line with my other dogs, and accepting treats from my husband. After one week, Liberty was acting like the puppy. She was chasing leaves, carrying sticks and playing with toys. Her enthusiasm is contagious and she longs for attention even more than food.
Liberty Just After Rescue
Liberty Days Before Leaving
Sheila, the brindle, and Bridget, the white one, also did very well in their foster homes. Within a few days of capture, Liberty and Bridget had been accepted by our partner rescue in New York for our Underdog Express program, and Shelia was adopted locally. Instead of having to take these three girls to our already crowded local shelters or tie up a foster with a local rescue, we had the opportunity to ensure a wonderful homes here and up North.
The saving of these three lucky pups was the result of so many big-hearted strangers and three local groups. I shared Liberty’s progress on Facebook the 16 days I had her. I cried when she left and I anxiously await news of her arrival and her adoptive family. “I love them too much to foster” or “I get too attached,” I hear. My heart is just as big and just as soft as the people speaking these words. I don’t foster because it’s easy to say goodbye. I foster because the alternative is 3 dogs in the middle of nowhere starving to death. For 16 days, I got to help Liberty get ready for a forever home. I got to love her and be loved by her but by saying goodbye, I will be able to save another.
PETS Underdog Express program sends approximately 40 dogs every 3 weeks to our partner in New York. We pull dogs that are out of time at local shelters. We do this because of our fosters and donors. If you would like to open your home and be a part of this life-saving initiative, message us at PETS. 3 weeks of your life literally saves the life of a dog in need. If you can’t foster, please donate. It cost an average of $170 per dog. Last year, we saved 581 dogs from our area. Together, we can ALL make a difference.
Update: Bridget and Liberty have arrived in New York!
Update #2: Bridget has been adopted!
Update #3: Liberty has been adopted!
Update #4: Liberty in her new home with her loving family!