We were forced to move from our original location, when a dispute with the landowner arose. They wanted to adopt all of the dogs, and allow them to run free on the property. While this may sound like a wonderful idea, there were many concerns that went against what this rescue stands for. They disagreed with our decision and asked us to leave. In the end it was a great thing for the dogs and for us!
I'd like to address some of the reasons we concerned with the option of adopting to them. First, some of their dogs had died from distemper, which is a terrible illness, and was likely contracted from interaction with coyotes. Their deaths could have been the result of a violent altercation but ultimately resulted in a painful and sad death that was drawn out. Simple vaccinations would have prevented this from happening and we were concerned because their dogs had not received these inexpensive and simple vaccines, which would have saved them.
A few of their other dogs had disappeared and never returned just prior to us setting up out there. Bodies were not located, so it is unknown if they were killed by coyotes, or were picked up by strangers and what fate they may have suffered in that case. It is our sincere hope that they were picked up by kind and caring strangers who have provided them with a loving home.
Interstate 80 runs less than a mile from the property, in addition to a busy country highway, and a major railroad track. There is no real way to confine the dogs to their land only. The larger dogs all live outside and were allowed to come and go at will, often crossing the perimeter of the owned property to hunt and explore.
Although in some ways it sounded appealing, it was a tough choice, but we elected to keep these dogs in rescue and continue with the rehabilitation so that they may one day live as pets with loving and caring families, despite meaning we must cut all ties with these people. We are, though, still grateful to them for letting us set up the kennels so that we were able to get the dogs here, saving them from certain death.
During this decision process, Zora, formerly Zorro, was moved to a foster home. She was a bit nervous at first, but she has developed a trusting relationship with her foster family, and is very excited to greet me when I visit them! She has a foster sister who was adopted from an affiliate rescue, HeRD of WY! She figured out how to use the doggie door and has only had one accident inside the home. Her foster mom takes her for daily walks and allows her interactions with other people, gently teaching her that people can be trusted and are not as fearsome as Zora once thought. She makes major strides, and then tiny ones, but continues to move forward at a steady pace. Zora is ready for a home that will understand she needs quiet guidance to become comfortable, and will adore her as we all do! A busy home would not suit her timid demeanor very well.
We finally made the move to the home of one of our new board members with the rest of the dogs in October! We constructed a sturdy wind break, and installed heaters in all of the houses. While we would prefer to obtain an actual shed structure to house them in, this will certainly do for now. Winter was fast approaching and we had find a solution! The dogs have so far wintered well, and are doing good. The energy at the new location is much more positive and peaceful, and the dogs display a whole new attitude! There are still horses, and other dogs, and they are successfully socialized to them. It is a bit windier than the other location, with a lot more sand to blow around, but they are secure in their houses, safely heated and stuffed with straw! We put down wood shavings to limit the blowing sand and to provide them with insulation when it snows, and they are thriving!
Fred, who was one of the more gregarious of the bunch, has since moved into a foster home as well! He has a large yard to run and play in, a variety of other friends, and he is enjoying rides in the pickup with us to and from caring for the other dogs! He is sweet, affectionate, and still very timid, but like Zora, he makes progress steadily. He too would be adoptable to a home that is willing to work with him to encourage his progress in a gentle and kind way.
So - update complete! I apologize for the lag in reporting developments, but now that we are becoming more settled and organized, we will report much more regularly!