“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.”

Puppy-at-Dump_Web

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.

Puppies-at-the-Dump_web
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.

KC-with-Pups_web

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.

Pete-+-Speckled-Pup-2_web

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.

Melody-when-rescued_web

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.

Minnie_web

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?

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

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

Old Dog, New Tricks

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Written By: Jenny Pavlovic

Senior dogs have a special place in my heart. This is the story of a senior dog who ended up in an animal shelter after her owner passed away. Trigger’s days were numbered until a caring person halfway across the country decided that she would not let this dog die. On October 26th, I received an e-mail message from Julie in Ohio. She’d heard about a 14-year-old female Australian Cattle Dog who had been surrendered to a county animal shelter in Arizona on September 12th. A euthanasia date was already set for this old girl, for first thing in the morning on Friday, October 30th, just four days away.

Trigger at the shelter_1

Continue reading Old Dog, New Tricks

Omega Fields Announces NEW Omega Smart Hearts Dog Treats

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Sheboygan, Wisconsin – Omega Fields, Inc. is excited to announce its new natural, nutritious and tasty dog treats – Omega Smart Hearts (https://www.omegafields.com/canine-products/omega-smart-hearts.html). These new treats are soft baked heart shaped with human grade NON-GMO ground flaxseed as the #1 ingredient. They do NOT contain corn or soy. The Smart Hearts come in four delicious flavors – Prime Rib, Roasted Chicken, Cheese & Bacon, and Roasted Turkey. It is also offered in a new preprinted pouch size of 2 lbs.
“Our Omega Smart Heart treats were tailored made from feedback and requests from our Omega Fields customers. They loved our Omega Nuggets but provide amazing suggestions that helped us formulate the new treat. The treat is soft baked – easy to chew for young or old dogs, small or large. It is our continued goal to provide our customers with the Omega-3 treats and supplements their animal’s deserve.” said Omega Fields President, Sean Moriarty.
About Omega Fields
Omega Fields® mission is to offer the finest quality, most nutritious products at fair prices, and to provide outstanding customer service. Omega Fields wants its customers to have exceptional experiences with their products, staff, websites and retailers.

Omega Fields is the first manufacturer in the animal health industry to use human-grade, non-GMO stabilized ground flaxseed, rich in fiber and antioxidants, and containing the optimum ratio of the full spectrum of Omega 3, 6, and 9 Fatty Acids for equine, canine, poultry and human nutrition. The innovative use of flaxseed milled with a unique stabilization technology ensures long shelf life and superior quality for Omega Fields’ products.

Contact: Allison Kuhl _ Director of Business Development, Omega Fields

Just Being

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Written By Jenny Pavlovic

Earlier this year I wrote about taking a therapy dog class with Cay, and how far she’s come since she first arrived here as a practically-feral adolescent 8 years ago. I had decided to enter Cay in the class because of the response she’d shown to my niece’s children, fetching the ball over and over for a 3 year old boy, when she had never fetched the ball for me. She came alive while playing with those kids, and I thought she might like to become a library dog, like Chase, and have kids read to her. Continue reading Just Being

8 Things I Learned from 8 State Hurricane Kate

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Written By Jenny Pavlovic

 

With hurricane and summer storm season beginning, I was recently invited to be on a radio show called ‘Heroes of Katrina: Ten Years After – Hurricane Preparedness for Pets’. To get ready for the show, I reviewed my classic post, ‘8 Things I learned from 8 State Kate’, the cattle dog who was rescued after Hurricane Katrina and who later came to live with me as she recovered and I looked for her original family. I found the information to be useful still, and added updates from what I’ve learned in the past few years.

8 State Kate Continue reading 8 Things I Learned from 8 State Hurricane Kate