“There’s a Puppy at the Dump” – LightShine Canine: A Rez Dog Rescue

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Written By Jenny Pavlovic

They have today’s game plan mapped out. On the Pine Ridge and neighboring Rosebud Indian Reservations in South Dakota, this “boots on the ground” group, small enough to sit at the same picnic table, has a list of dogs to pick up from calls that came in over the past couple of days. The plan is in place to cover an area the size of the state of Rhode Island. The group knows that the plan can shift at any moment, and it certainly will if these words are spoken at the other end of the line: “There’s a puppy at the dump.”

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A day headed in one direction is now immediately headed in another. Sometimes the team’s conversation on priorities can be complicated when so many calls are coming in on a busy day, and sometimes the decision is easy. A puppy at the dump is Priority One. If the team hears of one late in the day and cannot find it before dark… sleep does not come.
LightShine Canine (LSC) has rescued more puppies (and even large dogs) dumped or stuck in the massive dumpsters after scavenging, than KC can count. Most of the dozen small dumps and landfills sprinkled around the Reservation have housing nearby. Many stray and free-roaming owned animals frequent them for scavenging, and even for socialization, as people come and go throughout the day. Pups follow Mama there, or get brave and head that way on their own, and yes, they are dumped there. On the Reservation, this is akin to putting a baby at the door of the fire station, the best bet they have for maybe, just maybe, someone finding it. On a reservation without an impound or a veterinarian, where many people live in remote areas, this might be the best they can do.

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KC Willis first arrived at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation five years ago to help change the lives of a small group of grandmothers. Since drugs and alcohol were stealing the lives of their grown children, they were raising the next generation. These powerful fabulous women in their 60s, rooted in their land and their culture and their people, became KC’s friends and family.
It was the grandmothers who first began asking KC for dog food…They explained to her how they fed the strays outside the grocery store or on the streets in front of their houses. It was a grandmother who held out a puppy to KC one day and said “Here KC, it’s sick can you help it? Please take it.” And so she did. And then another and then another, until one day KC found herself with a Lakota friend at her side driving the reservation looking for the ones who had no grandmother to pick them up and hand them off.

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KC didn’t originally go to the reservation to rescue dogs. But with the help of the grandmothers and their request that she do something about a great sadness that walked through their land – thousands of homeless animals who were suffering from over one hundred years of unchecked population growth – LightShine Canine: A Rez Dog Rescue was born.

When KC was criticized for shifting her focus from daily help for the grandmothers to daily help for The Sunka Oyate – The Dog Nation – an elder shook her finger in KC’s face and said “Do not let them tell you that helping the animals isn’t helping the people. You are removing a visible sign of hopelessness from our reservation. We never thought the dog situation could change and we are seeing a change and it gives us hope that if this can change maybe that can change.”

LightShine Canine, a 501c3 non-profit organization, brings the heart of the Lakota and the needs of the dogs together. Their goal is to rescue stray, abandoned, injured and abused dogs on the Reservations, provide them veterinary care, and relocate them to foster-based rescue groups around the country. LSC’s dog rescue work program is geared to ensure that the dogs they rescue and the Lakota who assist with this dream are changed forever. The majority of LSC volunteers and rescuers are Oglala Sioux Tribe members taking ownership of the crisis their animals are in. LSC also offers material and educational support to Lakota families who want to better care for their animals.
Every single day of the year LSC picks up stray dogs (and cats) on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud
reservations. They cover a large territory answering calls from communities that can be two hours apart. They visit the housing areas and the country roads and the dumps, taking into their care the animals that need help. They respond to Facebook messages, texts and phone calls from residents young and old who now have hope and help care for animals until LSC can get there. They respond to calls from the Tribe and from police officers about the locations of dogs in need. On their way to picking up strays they come across strays, dogs who were born not belonging to anyone and who would otherwise die not belonging to anyone.

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The populations of the two vast Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations are among the poorest in this country, with no veterinarian inside their borders. The number of homeless dogs is beyond what the community itself can handle, with no animal impound. But last year LSC rescued and relocated over 2,000 dogs from the reservations. In the next decade that will represent tens of thousands who will not be born into suffering. LSC has already rescued over 2,000 dogs in 2016, and expects to rescue 2,600 by year-end. LSC knows they cannot save them all, but still pushes forward with love to make a difference for the ones who are close enough for them to touch.
So when LSC received a call at 10 o’clock on a very cold night from an animal lover who had rescued a puppy from the cold, even though a “no travel advisory” had been issued by the Tribe, LSC worker Pete headed out. With a desire to respond to the needs of his community and a mission to save puppies and dogs one at a time, he drove slowly and surely, and made a difference in one more life. Late that night, he sent out the text, “One male puppy on board… a happy camper”.

When LSC received a call about a pup stuck in a ravine, Pete headed out with a rope and rescued the pup.

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When LSC sees a desperate dog in the middle of nowhere daring to get close to the road to search for food, LSC stops to help the dog. Boots on the ground – Paws off the ground. The dog is safe that night, maybe for the first time in its life.

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When LSC is asked to help a large dog with a terrible skin condition, they pick her up and take her to one of the veterinarians who work with them to care for dogs who may have never seen a veterinarian before. Months later, a photo of this dog is posted on Facebook. No longer the miserable, hopeless looking dog with hairless patches and dull eyes, she shows off a glossy coat and looks straight into the camera with a sparkle in her eyes. You have to look twice to make sure this dog with the big grin is the same dog, and indeed she is. Then you see that her foster dad has failed as her foster dad and has become… her Dad. Her forever Dad. Another happy ending.

When LSC has a very dark day because dogs have been lost to car hits, to abuse, and even to parvovirus while being rushed to the vet, they hold the heartbreak close. And then they look into the eyes of the pup on the seat beside them who almost starved to death, and they know she is safe. They whisper farewell to the ones they lost, sit up a little straighter in their seats, and with determination and a glance at the face next to them, they say, “Paws off the ground.” Today is a new day.

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To quote KC, “If we as Rescue do not make a difference in the lives of the animals that cross our path…If we do not show the children what it looks like to step in for the innocent…If we do not honor the elders who fear for an animal’s safety…if we walk away from that because we don’t feel we can ever cross some kind of Finish Line…then we are running the wrong race and we have made it about us. It is not about us accomplishing something. It is about not turning away from something that must be done.” And to quote KC again, “The stray dogs of Native American reservations across this country are the invisible dogs of America. But they are not invisible to LightShine Canine, and now they are not invisible to you.”
With winter coming, LSC is working furiously to help as many dogs (and cats) as possible.
Follow the daily rescue efforts of LSC on Facebook at
https://www.facebook.com/lightshinecanines/?fref=ts and visit their fundraising page at
https://www.facebook.com/LightShineCanineFundraising/?fref=ts
LSC relies on donations to pay most of the gas and veterinary bills for the animals they rescue. You can donate via the following methods:
gofund.me/SavingTheRezDogs
 Checks can be sent to: PO Box 36, Whiteclay, NE 69365
 PayPal is lightshinecanine@yahoo.com
 “Donate” tab top of Facebook page.
Wopila!

 

Déjà vu – Could this Happen to You?

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Written By Jenny Pavlovic

The video showed houses submerged in brown water, with neighborhoods vacant and almost unrecognizable. A dog struggled to stay afloat in his outdoor run as a man in an LSART shirt reached in to rescue him. With the 11th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina just days away on August 29th, these images looked all too familiar. But this flood occurred in August of 2016, many miles inland from the Gulf coast. Continue reading Déjà vu – Could this Happen to You?

Training Your Horse

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Written By Walt Friedrich

Here’s some dialog between you and your horse. Does it seem familiar?

You: “I want to pick up your foot.”

Horse: “I don’t want you to.”

You: “I’m gonna do it anyway.”

Horse: “No, you won’t, I won’t let you.”

Then it becomes an argument, then a fight as you apply force, and you finally walk away, disgusted with your uncooperative horse. You may even be hurtin’ from where his kicky hooves caught your hands as you tried to impose your will. You may even have smacked your horse on the butt for his recalcitrance. “Dammit, I need to see his feet,” you mutter. Continue reading Training Your Horse

Old Dog, Same Old Tricks

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Written By Jenny Pavlovic

I am ecstatic to report that Chase and I passed our Pet Partners therapy dog renewal test in June. It was by no means a slam dunk! Moving twice in the past year has not been easy for Chase. Since we moved the second time, at the beginning of May, he has been more on edge and learning the new neighborhood, which has more activity than our old neighborhood. We’ve had a few encounters with loose dogs at the park, which have made Chase wary of strange dogs. And his veterinary chiropractor reported last week that Chase’s back was the tightest she has ever seen. So we went into this test knowing it might be more of a challenge than in previous years. Continue reading Old Dog, Same Old Tricks

Nice Move

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Written By: Jenny Pavlovic

Last fall I wrote about moving my four-legged family from Minnesota to Wisconsin to be closer to my extended family. This first involved a move to live in my parents’ house while our Minnesota house went on the market and I started a new job. The dogs and I stayed with my parents for about six weeks until they went to Florida for the winter, then took care of their 17-acre place over the winter. We sold our Minnesota house in December and began the search for our new home in Wisconsin. Continue reading Nice Move

I Love You, But Let’s Not Get Too Cozy

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Written By: Walt Friedrich

We’ve touched on this subject in previous articles, but it’s important enough for an occasional revisit, just as a reminder. Our horse is not wired in the same way as we are, as he constantly demonstrates, but we’ve become so used to it that we rarely notice it any more. You put your favorite music on for him, playing quietly in the stable, because you enjoy it and you want to share the pleasure with him. A noble, thoughtful idea, but even when your favorite passages are playing and you might stop what you’re doing, lean up against a wall, and just listen, enraptured, he shows no reaction. Well, it’s disappointing, maybe, but we’re just not all music lovers, are we?

Continue reading I Love You, But Let’s Not Get Too Cozy

Natchez Trace Cayenne: The Rest of the Story

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Written By Jenny Pavlovic
The subject line stopped me in my tracks, “My Experience with Tony (“Mountain Man”) and His 31 Dogs”. Tony… Mountain Man. It had to be him! The first line of the article mentioned that Tony had been living deep in the woods of Natchez Trace State Park in Tennessee. My heart skipped a beat.
The email message was from Scotlund Haisley of Animal Rescue Corps, who said that in January they had completed five rescue missions in Tennessee. Scotlund remarked that he had found himself reflecting again and again on one rescue of the five that was not their usual case.

Continue reading Natchez Trace Cayenne: The Rest of the Story

Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis

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Written By: Annette McCoy, DVM, University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine

What is equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM)?

EPM is a disease of the central nervous system (brain and/or spinal cord) that is caused by the protozoal organism Sarcocystis neurona. The main host for this organism is the opossum and horses that are exposed to opossum feces with infective sporocysts can develop neurologic disease. Other hosts of S. neurona include armadillos, skunks, and domestic cats; however, these animals cannot directly transmit the disease to horses.

Continue reading Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis

Why Should Eggs Be Stored Pointy End Down?

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Written By Lisa Steele, Fresh Eggs Daily

storingeggspointedenddown

You’ve probably heard that eggs should be stored with the pointy end facing downwards, but often wondered why? Or maybe you’ve not ever heard that and you’re reading it here for the first time. Either way, it’s the truth. Eggs should be stored pointed end down. But why? Well, I’ll explain it to you.

Continue reading Why Should Eggs Be Stored Pointy End Down?

The Healthy, Older Horse

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Written By Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D.

Let me tell you about Bugsy. He was an Appendix Quarter Horse I rescued a few years ago. When he came to me, he was significantly underweight, suffered from an old stifle injury, and had a distrustful attitude. A few months later, he’d filled out, was running up and down hills with ease, and showed the curiosity and warmth of a youngster. How old was he? 25. Not old by today’s standards and yet, definitely up there. What made the difference? Nutrition played a big part in his improvement.

Continue reading The Healthy, Older Horse