July 15, 2014

Be the Change for Animals: We Add Up - An Interview with Ruby's Rescuer

As the quarterly Blog the Change for Animals event approached, I knew I wanted to feature Ruby's angel: the woman who spotted her, posted her to a rescue network and pulled her from a dismal southern shelter. 

Photo credit Angie V. Heringer

Angie Heringer is the one-woman force behind Arkansas Angels for Animals and her job is one many of us would struggle to stomach. Day after day she visits what can only be called dog pounds, scours the dark, dank, dirty runs and posts their inhabitants to a network of rescues - casting a line out for hope - securing a foster, adopt or rescue commitment so she can return to bail the animals out. They don't have long.

Photo Credit Angie V. Heringer

Below Angie answers my questions about her work: 

Please describe a typical day in rescue: Every day is so different. Today there is a little girl with a broken leg, found on the highway. She will be put down (she's in a vet office) if no rescue is found. There is a momma and babies that need rescue. They will go to the pound if no rescue is found. There is a kennel with six dogs. One kennel has two beagles. The momma beagle has a huge, basketball-sized tumor. She needs rescue. We rescued a beagle from a pound - no one knew he was blind, so we pulled him. He's in a temporary foster and we are trying to raise funds for surgery. We have 27 dogs that live in a trailer. We've pulled 12 so far and there are 15 left. We did a fundraiser and raised enough to buy 130 beds (animal rescue aid) that we provided to the pounds that needed beds - my heart really goes out to those, because that is the worst environment. I have over 20 dogs in foster, so it's continuous to juggling keeping up with all. We have an adoption event this weekend, so there is preparation for that. Someone called and said they had some dog houses, (which we desperately need) but it's over hour away. I had two calls this morning, dogs that need rescue. People call me everyday needing rescue for their dogs. Rescue is juggling and trying to save who we can.

What is the specific plight of animals in your region of the country? The hounds in the pounds. So many sit there, sight unseen. Never heard. Never touched, never to get out of those pounds. Only two ways out: life or death, rescue or euthaniasia. It breaks my heart that this was almost Ruby's fate. 

Why should people consider adopting a rescue dog? Because we know that for every dog you "buy" one (or more) dies. If you adopt, you save that ONE, and open space up for another one that would have died if no space. So it's a 2-for-1: save a life, and really, 3-for-1, because they come into your life and save your life!

Photo credit Angie V. Heringer

What is the hardest thing about working in rescue? Sadly, the people. Angie sees the worst-case-scenarios, the most unimaginable cases of abuse and neglect, and yet she carries on and maintains a goodness in her heart that spills over in obvious delight when she unites an animal with its foster, adoptive, or rescue home. 

What is the most rewarding thing about working in rescue? The dogs. Seeing them change from lifeless to FULL of love. Amazing to see how appreciative, how loving, how giving, how "forgiving" these sweet fursouls are - amazing angels.

What are three things that people can do to help animals in need?
1. foster
2. transport
3. adopt (if you cannot adopt, sponsor)

Photo credit Angie V. Heringer

What do you remember about rescuing "Foxy Roxy" aka Ruby? The shelter where Ruby was at was one of the worst I've ever seen. Her eyes pleaded to please please get her out. Sometimes people will take the ones the sit in back and seem to have given up, but I also look at the ones crying, barking, pleading...please get me out. They see the ones who pass down that hall, they are not being adopted. Worse, some of the pounds I visit euthanize right there in front of the others - in the kennel, or right outside the door. Then they lay there. These dogs know. .. they are next. Ruby/Roxy was one of the Plain Janes - so many like her, jumpy - look! look! Luckily, she was a med/small and we had space for that size that day. We pull in hopes a  rescue will step up or if one has stepped up. We (Ruby) got lucky. Lisa with CAWL saw that love in her eyes, that something special and said "We'll take her." Ruby, a Plain Jane? THANK YOU Angie, THANK YOU Lisa. 

Photo credit Colorado Animal Welfare League

Here in Colorado we boast a 90% live-release rate overall from shelters, and that is what enables local rescues to bring in dogs from areas of higher need, which is just what happened with Ruby. Colorado Animal Welfare League saw her picture among the many desperate, pleading, endearing faces and had her transported to Colorado where she was fostered by a loving family and listed on their website. 

What can just one person do? Angie emphasizes that we add up and encourages spay/neuter, rescue and adoption. I can't thank her enough for what she does every single day, and especially for the day that was the first step on Ruby's journey to her forever home with me. 

If you would like to sponsor Arkansas Angels for Animals, PayPal donations may be made to spayneuteradoptrescue@gmail.com

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  1. We were happy to bring Foxy Roxy/Ruby into our home and even happier to find Lara to love her for the rest of her life. She has brought such light and joy into so many peoples lives now, she can no longer be considered a Plain Jane :-)

  2. This brought tears to my eyes. Tears of sadness for all those dogs that don't make it out and tears of joy for the ones that are rescued and live in loving homes now, like Ruby. Blueberry was rescued from the pound with her 7 puppies and it too, breaks my heart to think of her there and the fact that the pound was going to euthanize her and the puppies if a rescue didn't step up. I know they can't all be saved - but I love that people still work hard to help as many as possible and at least some of the dogs have happily ever afters.

    A thank you to Angie!

  3. Such a terrible, wonderful story. I know that Silas could so easily have been Ruby. Rural dog rescue is just so horrible; it takes someone really special to do it.

    I still believe, deep down, that the person who dumped Silas was doing the best they could--they waited until he was weaned (mostly?), and then put him out at the only house in the neighborhood with dogs in a fence. Knowing the neighborhood, I doubt they could afford spay/neuter, and there are just now starting to be local low-cost services. A horrible situation, all around.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this. Thank God for people like Angie! I know that I couldn't handle the job she does; my heart is breaking into little pieces just *reading* this. God bless her and everyone who helps these babies evade euthanasia! <3

  5. That's a good message...We Add Up...you do think that just little me can't affect much change, but - we add up! So glad Ruby found her way to you.

  6. What a great post! I am always flooded with gratitude for everyone that helped make my rescues journey to me happen (including the person who gave them up!) I can't imagine Ruby being considered a "plain Jane" either.

    1. Thank you! I do admire people that responsibly rehome animals when they know they are not the right match. Dumping at a high-kill shelter to a fate unknown is another story, but thanks to people like Angie they get a second chance, too!

  7. I'm a rescue and proud if it
    Edward (& Lily)

  8. What a wonderful happily ever after for Ruby. Angie must be short for Angel because that is truly what she is ♥ Thank you for sharing this incredible woman who is definitely being the change in so many animals lives.

  9. I love reading posts like this, it's not that often that you hear things from the rescues themselves. I adore the work that these people do. I love that they continue to do it in the name of hope and saving animals in need. It's so easy to get caught up in the negativity when you realize how many animals need helping, it's great that they're able to focus on the ones they can help now. I admire them. Thanks for sharing.

  10. A great post overall. I do have a bit of an issue with this part:'Why should people consider adopting a rescue dog? Because we know that for every dog you "buy" one (or more) dies.' I have both rescue dogs and dogs bought from responsible breeders in my home. I myself have worked in many rescue organizations for both pure bred and mixed breeds. I have had many elderly Italian Greyhounds live their life out on my couch because some irresponsible person thought they were no longer fun (after all they are old and sickly now), or they moved or got a new puppy or divorced or whatever...I am not ashamed to have well bred dogs from responsible breeders in my home. All the responsible breeders I know always take back their dogs for whatever reason at any time. Those same responsible breeders generally work hard in the rescue community to help save dogs as well as educate and mentor people. I think this is a great article with another point of view: http://www.showsightmagazine.com/#!Neither-Of-My-Dogs-Killed-a-Shelter-Dog/c8ca/B85E86E0-42A6-4E19-B75A-233FBBBE3A82


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