Patricks Blog

Julie Burney

Wrapped in Love was started for my soon to be mother-n-Law Julie Burney.  It was not a brainstorm, epiphany, or some grand dream.  It was a way for one person "to do something".  A way for her to give some love to rescued dogs.
Last Year Julie entered into complete Hospice care and Jana and I asked her to come and live with us in the DFW area.  Being one of those tough, stubborn W. Texas gals she of course said no.  The reality of her situation soon stared her in the face and she agreed but only on her terms of course.  Off to W. TX. we went to  load up Julie, her pug Honey Bun, her things, and of course I chatted with her about dog rescue most of the way home.  Julie and Honey Bun settled in, and her life changed a lot.
Most weekends I traveled to a puppy mill a few hundred miles away and Julie was very interested in the rescuing of dogs.  During the week she would wait up for me to return home from work and want to here the latest news about the rescued dogs.  She started making a statement each night "I want to do something to help the dogs".
Julies wish to help goes hand in hand with an old dog rescue adage "everyone can do something".  Yeah, sure but I just could not figure out what her something was.  Until one day I was moving things to and from storage and came across Julies old cedar chest.  Noticing one of the hinges was damaged I set about to fix it and found that the chest was crammed full of yarn.  I later discovered that this is called a stash!
So after speaking to her daughter about it we decided to test the waters.  You see there were a dozen of uncompleted projects in storage. 
So one night after work, and after the dog rescue talk, and Julie asking to help I replied with a  question  the conversation when something like this.........does Honey Bun like her blanket?  Of course I made it!  Can you make more of those?  No not really in hurts to bad to sew or knit....but I think I can crochet!  And with that Julie had found her way "to do something"!

This next campaign has a deep and personal meaning to me and I imagine, to many of you as well. I guess I could leave it at that but please let me explain.

I was raised by two parents who made sure that early on I knew what and who I was meant to be: my father, CWO 3 J.L.P. Desjardins U.S. Army (Ret.) 26 years, 8 months and 3 days, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Granada; and mother, Pvt. Mary P. Desjardins 4 years, WWII, Korea. My lessons and training started as far back as I can remember, but took years, if not decades to be learned. To this day I remember my mother telling me that a life lived in service of others is a life well lived. I know those words were not original to her but they will always be hers to me.

At the age of thirteen I did not spend the summer at the officers’ club swimming. I spent it as a Red Cross volunteer working for and with Veterans at Kirtland AFB hospital. I did this 40 hours a week because “This is work ethic". The following summer when football try outs did not go in my favor, I came home full of self-pity. I was marched back to the football coach and was told I would be the water boy that season because "on a winning team every job matters". The following year I was the head trainer and the team went to the state finals.

MCJRROTC followed next and my parents refused to be involved. "You will stand on your own" and learn that leadership, respect, loyalty and duty are not just words. These lessons were taught by two Marine Corp Veterans. When I was sworn into the U.S. Army it was by my father, a Veteran.

Then, in the blink of an eye all I had worked towards was over with a head on collision. The words of a full bird Colonel ended my dreams. "Son, I understand you are to be an Army officer. If I was you I would start thinking about another career."

Honestly, I think I only did small things of service over a number of years including joining the Sons of VFW and volunteered to flip burgers at picnics for Veterans. I was lucky to begin my "paying it forward" anew when I joined The Cedar Hill Vol. FD. For 8 years I was a volunteer firefighter/EMT. As you may be aware, fire and police departments are filled with Veterans. I was fortunate enough to work with and be trained by some of the best.

After moving from that city I began teaching scuba first as a dive master, then instructor and finally Sr. instructor. Teaching juniors, special needs, and handicapped divers was a challenge but rewarding. In scuba circles I'm known as the DI, for those that do not know that’s Drill Instructor. Although I've not been able to participate in this arena recently, I'm proud to say that the scuba shop continues to be active in Wounded Warriors Scuba Project for Veterans.

Then came the last passion in my life, DOG RESCUE. I was first a cross poster, then foster, then a transporter and rescuer of mill dogs, and finally a member of Wrapped in Love. WIL, ours is a simple mission, a pure idea, showing love to rescued dogs. Along the way the hope is to inspire, educate and learn along with providing each frightened dog something that is his and his alone.

For 30 years I have worked along side Veterans at UPS. Some of the very best fellow employees one could ask for.

Everything I am and have done in my life is because of the two Veterans that raised me. The lessons they taught me and the drive to succeed that they instilled. So, I’m sure all of you have figured out that WIL is going to be making blankets for Veterans and dogs. What you might not know is how many. The number is as many as we can. Enough Veteran rescues/service dog providers are lined up to keep WIL busy until Christmas. At Christmas many are forgotten or passed over with the intent to "get back to ya". I hope that’s not the case this year for the many Veterans and Veteran dog rescues. These men and women have given so much for us let's give something back to them and their dogs! Please join me in making blankets for rescued dogs and their Veteran owners and trainers. Let's Wrap them in Love!! 

People may wonder where our blankets go and what do they do.  Here are some stories that will help answer those questions.  Blanket stories are all based on fact. 

The Kennel Blanket Story: I’m a Kennel Blanket. You can call me KB.  I’m tough. Yeah, I’ve been around a bit, you know, but all my best friends are dogs and that can be a ruff life. These dogs I hang with are scared and nervous but I do my best to keep them calm. Sometimes I get chewed on, peed on or even used in a growly game of tug‘o war, but that’s okay. It’s all a part of my life.  When I get too dirty or stinky I get washed and dried and I start over again.  My favorite part is when a dog is scared and uses me for comfort. They squish me up with their toes just right and then snuggle in for a good long sleep, all wrapped in love.  I do good work because the dogs that take comfort get to go home with their new family and then I get to meet a new dog. 

Adoption Blanket Story 1: I was stored with a bunch of other blankets and riding around in the back of the truck of this a rescue director who had gotten a blanket delivery. Lucky I was there to help him out.  He saw this hitch hiker and dog at the side of the road and decided to give him a ride. When the hitch hiker got out, the guy gave me to him so I can wrap that road dog in love!  I wonder where I will end up. As long as it’s with my new best friends, I’ll go anywhere.

Adoption Blanket Story 2: My story starts in a shelter.  One day this scared, scruffy dog came in with her head just hanging so low. She was sad. Very, very sad. A nice lady decided I was the perfect blanket for this scruffy girl.  At first she didn’t even look at me, but eventually came over to me and sniffed, sighed a big sigh, and went to sleep curled up in a ball right on top of me. The next day another nice lady came along and said her name is “Foster Mom” and would be taking my scruffy pal. I was sad until they picked me up and let me go with her.  Scruffy was shaking and scared on the ride to the new house, but she and I cuddled and she did better. I heard Foster Mom say that Scruffy Girl was a puppy mill survivor. Now we both live in a warm house and Scruffy sleeps on me all wrapped in love every night. We even get to sleep on the couch! Foster Mom says if someone wants to adopt us both they can, but we are just as happy as can be right here for now.

Adoption Blanket Story 3: My story starts in prison. No, no, I’m not a bad blanket. I just have a very special job. I was just waiting until one day this dog showed up.  This dog was from a shelter and was kind of stressed out, you know? So this guy grabs me and puts me on the floor and the dog walked right over and sat on me! I knew we were going to be buds after that move.  Me and my dog were then introduced to one of the inmates and found out we have a job.  The dog gets trained for service and I get to stay with him. I’m the only thing the dog ever had in his life that belonged to only him.  I’m staying with this dog forever, all through the training program and in prison and then onto our new life out in the world.

Adoption Blanket Story 4: My story is a mix of happy and sad. My job is provide comfort to a dog who is terminally ill. The wonderful people in hospice rescue take care of these dogs and my job is very, very special. I keep the sweet, sick dogs warm and comforted until their very last minute.  Sometimes it happens very quickly,sometimes it takes longer.  It doesn’t matter. I wrap them in love every single minute and they know it.

Adoption Blanket Story 5: I was made ready. Ready for anything. So here I am one day at the shelter, just sitting there with my heart showing to anyone who looked, when this lady grabbed me.  I was all, 
“Yahoo! Where are we going?”   She carried me through the storage room, down the hallway, through a door and into this bright place with people and this wagging dog who was trying to get these two little boys to let him kiss them.  The lady told them that I was their dog’s very own blanket. YES!!!!  One of the little boys held the dog’s leash and the other one held me. It was awesome.  We went outside and posed for a picture – all of us!  This was the first dog ever for the boys and the first blanket ever for the dog! I’ll take good care of this dog. He’s a little nervous, but I’ve got this. Wrapped in Love, you guys!That’s where it’s at. I’m ready. Let’s go home.

Adoption Blanket Story 6: I have a great life.  I was sent in a box with some other blankets right to this senior dog house.  The lady that lives here takes care of all the older dogs that would not otherwise have a home.  She thinks she does it alone, but I and my other blanket friends know we help too. These older dogs have some sad stories they share with us, late at night when they can’t sleep.  They really want to be adopted but are so happy to have this forever retirement home where they get their own blanket and yard and a human that gives them all hugs and kisses and ear rubs.   I’m glad I’m here for these senior dogs.  The softness of my fleece feels good and they sleep well knowing they are Wrapped in Love.

Adoption Blanket Story 7: I saved a life today.  A scared little dog came into this rescue that never knew love before. He was so nervous, but the nice people picked me to give him warmth and comfort. They wrapped all around him and called me Blanket Therapy.  But then he got scared again and confused. I could not make him feel better right then and he ran away.  The people were worried and searched and searched until it got dark.  They put a crate outside and put me in it. All the people left but I waited for my new friend until he came back. He sniffed to make sure it was really me and then the best thing happened.  He walked right into the crate where I was waiting and fell asleep. He knew that wherever I am is his home now. He will always be Wrapped in Love.

Adoption Blanket Story 8: Although my story starts where everyone else’s does: on the fabric bolt at a store, I have been chosen for a most honorable distinction.  I was sent, along with a bundle of my friends, to a program that trains service dogs. I have seen my friends taken off the shelf and handed out to these service dogs in training and finally I am next.  These dogs are so smart and I can hardly wait to be his or her blanket. After training I will go with my dog into service. Will my dog and I help a Veteran? Someone in a wheelchair? Will we visit nursing homes?  Will it be a whole family or just one person?  No matter what the job, I know my dog and I will be ready. We will be a team. The people will train the dog and I will make sure my dog is warm and cozy and comfortable every single day, Wrapped in Love.  Wait. Here they come! Look at that wagging tail and happy dog face!  That's MY dog! Best day ever!

This wil be an evening series of post about my dealings with the Mill/Back yard breeder problem as I have seen it first hand in Texas. We wil be having some guest posts in the mornings from others that have stories about the puppy mill problem.

In mid 2008 I was like many others seeking my first dog as I had always been a kitty person, naïve, stupid to the realities of puppy mills. NO, I had not done my research, and like so many other Americans I just wanted what I wanted. An Australian Shepherd because I thought they were beautiful, and smart. So I found a ad in the paper, looked on the web site and believed everything I saw on-line. Called, made an appointment and one Saturday headed out to find my new best friend.

The front or the part of the ranch that most only see was fine. Lots of dogs, many different breeds, designer breeds, puppies and adults. A chat with the breeder as to what I wanted and I'm sure I fit the mold of a typical
uninformed, American consumer. As I perused the Aussie puppies of different ages and litters the "sticker shock" floored me. I asked about a runt or a deal and was told that we have older dogs that have not sold, were returned, or any other number of reasons were still living there. What followed was shocking to say the least.

I was taken to another part of the property. An area "in the back" the place where families seeking a new pet never see. Here were dogs filthy, water bowls empty, in stalls covered in feces, dark stalls without a ray of sunlight. Dogs that cowered, dogs that were hyper aggressive, some lay still while others paced. Pairs being mated, mothers waiting to give birth on the dirt ground as there were no blankets, hay or straw for them. Having never seen or not knowing the meaning of puppy mill I had no reference point for all this.

The first dog brought out was a red merle that wanted nothing to do with me and showed me a lot of teeth to make his point. 
The next poor soul was so fearful that I really never saw much of her as she hid behind the breeder......."I have one more but he is rather ugly"
In front of me stood the most beautiful black-tri aussie I had ever seen, I knelt, turned my side towards him and out stretched a open palm.
Kiefer walked past my hand directly to my face and licked me....the breeder said five words..."I'll go get the papers" I sat and looked into the eyes of my best friend and wondered what his life had been like up to this point. I did not know it then but almost every part of my life had just changed!
to be continued.....

Continued from 2-2-2015

Kiefer and I started a journey that I was neither prepared for nor sure of myself in anyway. We over came fears together and supported each other 100% along the way. I have many personal stories of that time but I'm sure they would bore most. During that first year I suffered a dislocated knee and we were able to spend a great deal of time together which aided in his recovery from the puppy mill.

Pior to returning to work I had the bright idea that a buddy for him might help with the separation issues he had and still does have. Having kept in contact with the breeder (bragging on Kiefer) I started hinting to this and soon Hatch (the Green Chile Pearl) was part of the family. This time the breeder did not state that Hatch was ugly only that he had a misshaped head and she could not sell him. Again she was wrong Hatch is the most awesome blue merle ever!! I made several visits to the puppy mill before picking him up and each time would drop hints or comments as to what I thought would improve the dogs lives there. She didn't get mad even said that she would think about the ideas. Well it was a start!!

So here I was with my second rescued dog from a mill returning to a job and I started to visit Aussie rescue sites on the internet. You see the breeder had told me that if I knew anyone that would like a dog she would trust me to send them her way. So I started reading about rescue visiting sites, even did a few transports. All the while working with my new family. We had lots to do to over come the fear, stress, and psychological damage that they had endured, but we had each other and that was going to work.

I started to make a few friends in North Texas Aussie rescue and more than enough enemies as I started rescuing dogs on a regular bases from the puppy mill. More on that tomorrow night!

Continued from 02/03/15 - “LIFE IS GOOD“

Returned to work only to be right back out with another knee surgery. This allowed me plenty of time to spend with Kiefer and Hatch…life is good. 
I found a new way to rehab “Urban Mushing” with the boys…life is good. 
Visiting the local pub with the boys on the patio, a beautiful woman asked me “Can I pet your dog?” 
Conversations with the breeder revolved around down-sizing…life is good.
She began to clean up the puppy mill…life is good. 
I rescued a number of dogs from her and placed them with friends…life is good. 
I began making some friends in the North Texas Aussie community…life is good. 
Reached out to a number of Aussie rescues only to be answered with we don’t rescue breeder dogs, or does she have blue merles, or puppies or not answered at all….life is confused.
Returned to work…life is good.
Some great Aussie networking types help me place more rescued dogs from the breeder…life is good.
Each and every trip to the breed shows small improvements…life is good
The “back area” that no one every sees at the breeder is empty…life is great.
Back out of work for the third knee surgery and life is painful.

It was about this time that a net-worker of Aussies reached out to me with information that a red merle with golden eyes had only hours before euthanasia. You don’t have to keep him just grab him and we will have someplace for him in a few days she said. I kissed the boys, grabbed my cane and took of. Rio as I named him was my first foster dog. When I tried to walk three dogs at once and use my cane the next day I had to laugh as I was wrapped in leashes tripped and was looking up at the sky with all the dogs licking my face. Rio was here with the boys and I for just over a month. I was amazed how much easier he was to handle than my mill dogs. I found him a great home with Aussie lovers and a older brother wiggle butt.

I posted a few pictures of Rio and the happy fact that he was to have a fantastic life. Little did I know I had offended some rescues by crossing into their realm of rescuing shelter dogs. What happened next was heart breaking. I received a number of e-mails telling me I had no business in rescue that for every breeder dog that I had rescued one like Rio in a shelter had died. “YOU killed dogs” ripped through me like a chain saw. Breeders make their own mess you should NOT re-home or rescue those dogs. I read things like those dogs cant be rehabilitated, the vet cost are to high, you can save 3-5 more shelter dogs with the money. Sadly I was getting e-amil from all the wrong rescues you see I had no idea that puppy mill rescues even existed. I had been reaching out to the wrong people.

What I did next was shameful on my part, and I have no excuse. I had been informed that the third surgery had not worked and that in short order I would go under the knife again for a full knee replacement at far to young an age. I used the upcoming surgery as an excuse to retreat, I did not fight for the mill dogs I simply faded away from rescuing any more. The two friends I had as net-workers had all the details and continued to help the breeder with the few remaining dogs that she would release. I allowed myself to be bullied. Including Kiefer and Hatch I rescued 9 dogs from that place and felt like I had killed 9 instead.
I walked (limped) away wondering if I was somehow responsible for a dog dying in a shelter somewhere.

To be cont.

Continued from 2-4-15

Day one of the knee replacement I kissed and hugged my dogs and left for the hospital.
Day two I woke to a leg that was turning black.
Day three I woke to the surgeon, Jana and a priest to discuss options as I had a major staph infection.
Day four I watched as pic-lines went into each arm so I could receive high doses of vancomycin.
A three day stay had turned into a week and I was transferred to a medical rehab facility on day ten for a one month stay. I had a good hour or two each day as Jana visited and never missed a day. I missed my dogs. On my birthday Jana got permission to bring Kiefer and Hatch to visit me. It was the birthday ever. Because of two puppy mill dogs!

Home life was horrid except for the time I spent on the floor with my boys.
The set backs were many. The vancomycin iv's three times a day tore up my body. I stayed off of face book, ignored the rescue chat rooms, and kept to myself.

One day while paying bills on line I noticed a message from one of my old friends that was a aussies net-worker. She was driving to north TX to rescue an Aussie from an area I knew very well. I called, YEP she was rescuing a dog from the breeder I had worked with and she had taken over for. I volunteered to drive north pick up the dog and drive south to her, that should save her a bunch of driving. Time to get off my butt.

When I arrived at the breeders it was weird. It was not the same place. It was clean, new kennels, puppy play pins, bedding. The breeder took me to the new lobby and proudly displayed her Texas state breeder License.
About the only thing I disliked was I thought she still over breed her females far to much for my taste. 
We talked for awhile and then she dropped the bomb! I need your help with something that I think is very bad. She knew an elderly couple that were in a bad way physically with far to many Australian Shepherds. The details were fuzzy at best. She had already asked one person to go by but did not know much about what the out come had been. Would I help, could I?
I left without a firm commitment on my part, finished the transport in a daze. Got home later that evening fed and loved on my boys. I grabbed a ice cold beer walked into my office sat at the desk. Took a deep breath and turned on the computer.
to be continued.

Continued from 2-5-15

I had been given very little information. Three names, two phone numbers, a partial address and a warning about the personalities of the couple living at the puppy mill. Have you ever done back ground checks and in-depth research on someone? I had not! It was amazing what I could find with just the name and phone number. If they had generated a paper trail at anytime in their lives I now knew at least something about it.

 The part you can’t get is the personality of the subject, but there was plenty to read that warranted the warning I had received. The research took several days and interviews took a few more. I spoke with the first person sent to this puppy mill and he had little to tell me other than the fact that 4 dogs had been rescued and two had already died. Be careful he said!

Did a lot of reading about puppy mills, and rescuing from them. What to look for, do’s and don’ts. Most of it made sense some things I didn’t understand or simply could not believe were allowed in this country. I started to realize that I had better speak with someone that knew and understood this issue. So I started visiting puppy mill rescue sites I made contact with NMDR and had a conversation with the Dir. Which was followed by many more conversations as I got ready. Again a warning to be careful.

Half way into the research I made the call to the breeder, introduced myself and tried to be pleasant. She was not happy as the prior individual that had been sent to help her had taken four dogs and was never heard from again. That first phone call was me getting an earful about someone else and not dogs. She ended it with a let me think about it and I might call you back. Damn!

Days went by and I thought I had failed before I had begun. Then one day she called and I got the law laid down for me. She had concerns about a great many things non of which were the dogs in question. She would rarely even allow them into the conversation. When we did discuss her dogs it was usually accompanied by mention of money. Yep, I was talking with a person that saw the animals as only a commodity. It was hard to understand but I was learning on the fly!

 Important lesson taught by my mentor never, never, never be late. A breeder might just decide a bullet is easier than dealing with you. Never be late. To make sure this would not happen I made two trips to the puppy mill before I had a firm date of rescue. I had multiple routes and I knew the lay of the land. I was able to see some of the animals on the mill property from a great distance. A few days later and after a half dozen phone calls I was invited to visit, it was also decided that I could bring a friend to help and that I would get at least one if not more dogs. Only one promise was made during these calls, that I would transport the dogs to a Aussie rescue of my choosing and they would get fully vetted and placed in good homes. I thought I was ready, little did I know I was far from it!

to be continued.

Continued from  2-8-15

So, there I was borrowed truck, dependable friend, water buckets, dog crates, towels and a few blankets. I'm ready, yeah right! We arrived early and honestly were a little frightened. Ok, may be more than a little! We were greeted rather warmly by the breeder and rather rudely by the "boyfriend". Both in their mid 70's and with plenty of physical issues.

Upon exiting the truck I saw 3 old Great Pyrenees that were under wt. by at least 20-30 pounds, heavily matted, sick eyes. while petting them I slipped a peek at the teeth, not good and gums starting to turn white. Two aussies that appeared to be in even worse condition chained under a couple of trees in front of the house and an OLD black tri mini aussie that I would learn was the breeders personal dog. If her personal dog looked like this what would the rest look like. I was already having a fight within myself to not scream out loud.
The breeder was not interested in showing us her dogs she was lonely and wanting conversation. The old man grumbled something rude and left to his work shed. We talked for an hour and learned that she wanted us to assist her in moving some fence post and could we help with some weed eating around the dog kennels and the nursery. Not much choice so we agreed and went to work. The "nurseries" were really old horse trailers that were full of wood chips and feces' the water buckets were filthy with oily film on top, dead bugs and black. two litters were being house one still young enough that the fear of humans had not set in yet. Well feed along with mama who cowered rather than defend her pups. Part of the other littler was already in fear of humans and the rest would soon be. No mama in sight.

We found the Great Pyrenees breeding dogs (4) confined to kennels that were 8x10 feet. What should have been proud, happy, powerful dogs were fearful, malnourished, sickly, ghostly looking shells. The breeder made it VERY clear she had no interest in giving up any of them.

Finley there is was the Australian Shepherd kennel. 8 runs with massive over growth of the nastiest weeds I've ever seen. 2-4 four dogs in each run. Every dog was grossly under wt., Again the water buckets were full with the blackest water I've ever seen. Not one sign of food any where. Every dog matted, some with open wounds. The most disturbing thing was that there were obvious signs of inbreeding, and mating of blue merle on blue merle. The biggest no-no in Aussie genetics is mating two blue merles, This produces lethal whites, blind and deaf.

Vet care was discussed, none other than dewormed twice a year. I asked about heart worm prevention and heard something that I almost laughed at "we don't have mosquito's"! The conversation got around to which dog I would rescue that day and she floored me yet again. Four were to go and some puppies "but first I need to dock their tails". The breeder took out a pair of tree pruning clippers and proceeded to dock the puppies tails right there on the picnic table. Nothing sterile, no prep, just snap! Could I have stopped her, sure but I was on private property, and the dogs still belonged to her until I got them out. Going to jail would not help the dogs.

The breeder lead us to a horse barn where she said two of the ones going with us were housed. As we got close to the barn she said something that I will never forget as long as I live. "You know I did you a favor today. It's feeding day and I didn't feed the ones your getting so they should not poop in your crates" I asked the obvious question. "when is feeding day"? With out missing a beat the reply came "every third day".

 to be continued.

I left off at feeding day is every third day.

I know this sounds horrid to many but many rescuers have seen the same and much worse. Before we left that day we also saw the physical abuse. As the breeder was no one the dogs wished to be near she would corner them kick them to the ground or knee them into a wall to catch them. This was where I asked her to PLEASE let us catch them. It took to long for her taste but was less damaging to the dogs. We got loaded and left that place happy that we were getting the ones we had out but at the same time feeling bad about the ones left behind.

After that first visit I made the trips to the mill alone mostly on weekends as I had returned to work during all this. One weekend I would get a dog or two after helping the old lady with a chore, fixing a fence, patching a barn. Other weekends there were no dogs, so I would do things like rake out the stalls so the dogs would not have to walk on a solid floor of feces. Then a few weeks later another dog and a pup. I had a conversation with the breeder one night after work and set up a Saturday when the old man would be away to give baths, scrub water pales, and feed the dogs. It went great until he showed at the end of the day and through a fit because I had wasted water cleaning pales that were caked in algae, mold, and dirt. I kept my mouth shut took a dog and left. 
Each trip was planned on a non feeding day for the breeder to get an extra day of food to the dogs. I had plenty of food as I had told the every three days story to a manager at a local pet supply and he now would save me all the damaged bags I could haul off.
There was the trip when I found my first angel dog. Sitting in the middle of the dirt road leading up to the puppy mill. Skinny as a twig, almost to weak to care I was driving towards him he just lay there as I pulled the SUV to a halt ten feet away. After a bowl of food and two bottles of water, and conversation about trust he was in the car. An "angel dog" is a unexpected dog that steps right into your path, needing your help and love to find a home. They are mostly found while intending to rescue other dogs, and in an unexpected place.

During this time is when Julie had entered into total hospice care. Jana and I brought her to live with us. She very much wanted to help in dog rescue but I had yet found a way for her “to do something”.
Also during this time the reports from the earlier rescued dogs were hitting me like a ton of bricks, heart worms, Ehrlichiosis, ticks, fleas, worms, rotted teeth, aborted fetuses in a female that was grossly under wt. and far to young to breed. I made the decision to speak to the breeder about a small part of it. The heart worm issue took an entire day to get through but she agreed to let me pay for some testing in the future. Baby steps.

A week later I arrived at the mill and hopped out of my car to see the old mans dog wondering lose. I approached him, did everything right and he came right to me, just as the old man was yelling “that dog wont come to you”. Of course this made him mad to say the least. The day went on with feeding the dogs, treats, petting and trying to convince the old lady to give me one dog that day. You see many weeks before as I was driving out to the mill I was texting with a fellow rescuer and mentor that told me one thing “if you don’t get any at least give them hope that you will be back” Little did I know that I would never return after that day.

While speaking to the woman the old man walked up and started complaining about something. It was nothing big or important but we both listened. As I’m prone to due because of my leg I will shift my wt. from side to side when standing in one place. As I did this the old mans dog was sitting beside me as he had followed me everywhere that day. I stumbled over him, caught my balance and checked that the dog was OK. The old man stepped forward and kicked the dog as hard as he could in the ribs which made a unmistakable sound of breaking bone. IF you remember Teri’s post about “bite your lip” “bite your lip”. I had done it up until this point. Auto reflex kicked in I stepped forward between the man and the dog. We where now nose to nose and I only said one word “DON’T”. The intent on my part was clear. He simply turned and walked away to the house, he had won. I knew instantly what I had done. Apologizes to the woman were made but I already knew the outcome. I would not be asked back.

I will conclude the story on Sunday evening.
and tonight I wil share with you a video about one of the dogs rescued albeit for a short time from this place.

To conclude my story I wish to tell you the out come of both breeders that I rescued dogs from.

Breeder one has a clean, well run boarding business, Kuranda beds in every kennel, with agility, rally, and obedience classes on site. She is the Vice President of the new dog club in the local town. One of the dog clubs main purposes is to educate and provide activities to reduce neglect and abuse in the county. The vast majority of her breeding dogs have been retired, spayed or neutered and re-homed. Does she still breed? Yes. On a limited basis and has begun to retire the females after 2-3 liters.

In my opinion. While this kind of turn around is almost unheard of in the commercial dog breeding business it is possible. Those rescuing dogs from her opened a discussion to help the change along. She received a great deal of assistance from rescuers, rescue groups, and those willing to do what it took to re-home the dogs. I believe feedback about the dogs and their improved lives might have had something to do with the change.

Breeder two. After my ability to rescue dogs had ended do to the conflict with the elderly male on site I did proceed to the next level and filed a report with an agency that could apply legal pressure in the matter. Contrary to my advice they informed the local sheriff of their investigation and he did what he had done in the past. She was given a phone call to inform her that they would be out in four days to check on things.

Shortly after the inspection her health turned sharply downward, her son moved home, kicked the old man off the property, and cleaned the property up. He obtained veterinary care for all the dogs and has taken very good care of them cense. This was purely luck for the dogs that her son turned out to be a good person. I have taken more than a few drives into the country to confirm this is on going.

In the end 26 dogs and a number of puppies were rescued from the 2 mills with the help of many others. I learned that rescue is not a solo passion and there are many different things that must be done for it to succeed and that takes many people with one goal, THE DOGS. I learned that knowing the law as it pertained to dog breeding in my state would have helped me make less mistakes during these rescues.
I made mistakes along the way the biggest being that I let myself stop doing rescue for awhile and that was time that Henry could have had, had I not stopped. I learned that without Jana my fiancé by my side I never would have made it. During the confusing and saddest of times she gave me the best advise. “follow your heart”. 
For now WIL is the way I choose to assist in rescue. Plans are being made to start a Aussie Mill Rescue.

What I believe is this and my believes are I mine and only mine and in no way reflect the views of the WIL membership.

I hate the fact that money/greed and ego seem to have a way of working their way into dog rescue.

I believe in supporting animal rescues that are 100% VOLUNTEER. No one should need to be paid to save a dogs life. Animal rescue is a passion of the heart not a pay check.

I believe ANY one involved in the commercial breeding of dogs for profit is in the wrong. There is no such thing as a good puppy mill. I do believe there are reputable breeders but I also believe these same reputable breeders should be far more active in the war on mills/BYB’s.

I believe that any rescue organization that receives dogs from a commercial breeding mill/byb should hold themselves responsible to report said mill if and when they witness illegal activity. Yes the dogs lives are paramount, but not reporting illegal, abusive and negligent activates to keep a relationship with a breeder only empowers the wrongdoer. I believe it is the rescuers duty to use every means possible to change, persuade, or educate the breeder into changing.



So often post are done to thank the spokes-dogs. Thank you's to Benji and DOG BY DOG for shares. Thank you's go to many others, from photography to grapic artist. Thank you's are sent to the Admins for so much extra work.
But without YOU, the active WIL member none of this would need be done. ...

Thank you is said so much and so often I wonder if YOU the active WIL member, the person making WIL work, making blankets, belly bands, diapers, sweaters, tag's, vest and bandana's know of the deep admiration, and appreciation that is felt for YOU? Do YOU know the awe and wonderment brought by your actions in rescues across the country?

The vast majority of WIL members have other interest. I know this because I'm friends with almost everyone of you. I see the volunteering at shelters, animal transporting, fostering, WIL type work for your LOCAL rescue. YOU have a family other than WIL, your personal one that does and should always come first, and still you return time after time to pledge a blanket for a rescued dog or cat. Do YOU know that because of your dedication to the WIL mission that YOU have never missed a pledge mark. Not one of almost 40 campaigns has ever come up short and almost all have been over pledged.

The core, active, true blanket making WIL member. These are few among the 1581 membership but YOU are the best of the best in my humble option. These are the members that know their blanket can mean the world to a scared, frightened, cold and stressed animal lonely in a shelter some where. That those bandanas and tags could mean the difference between an adoption or not.
Is THANK YOU enough, no it's not, but other than a picture of a members blanket and a pup once in while that's all there is. Yes I'm friends with almost all and I know this... this group DOES believe that everyone can do something, just find your something. If you were not here making WIL what it is you would be somewhere helping a rescued animal and now I know why this group works! It is ONLY because of YOU that WIL IS!
Thank YOU!!!