Cyndi Lauper~Adopted

Bernie, the Puppy Daddy!

Bernie, the Puppy Daddy!

My heart jumped when I saw this little girl at the shelter… I knew immediately she is deaf and blind in one eye.  I’ve been told she is a double dapple Doxie.  No wonder I fell in love with her, she is the equivalent to our double merles that we love so much.  She was flown yesterday from Alabama via Jeff Bennett/Pilots-n-Paws and what an adorable little girl she is.  She is affectionate, rolls over and shows her belly, gives kisses, and just wants to be near you.  She is only 12 months old, and has a lot of puppy joy in her.  She loves other dogs and was very interested in some kittens at the vet (they were not interested in her though).

Cyndi Lauper, adorable in every way!

Cyndi Lauper, adorable in every way!

I could see her going to any type of home, a home with children, or a senior home.  She is really a joy, and reminds me a lot of my Rosie with regard to the level of affection she displays!  This dog is a keeper!

You can see more of her photos on Facebook.

Run like the wind!

Run like the wind!

I posted two videos of Cyndi, one last night and one this morning. She hasn’t even been here for 24 hours yet, but she is a real joy!

Anne, the Puppy Momma!

Anne, the Puppy Momma!

Bernie and Anne wasted no time adopting Cyndi, her new name is Gidget, and she and her deaf dapple doxie, Gracie, are getting along just fine!

They were literally starting to teach Cyndi/Gidget sign language!

Anne works at the Hard Rock Cafe, so if you see her, tell her TDL Deafies ROCK!

Here’s their first video that they shared with me last night!

Lamb Chop~Adopted

shelter photo

shelter photo

This little girl is about 9 weeks old, and is believed to be a Great Pyrenees, however, her paws beg to differ.  She was found in a ditch by the side of the road, rescued by a good Samaritan, and brought to Hale County Humane Society in Alabama.  She was transported via Pilots N Paws to us on Saturday where Sarah White and our new volunteer transporter Jarrett scooped her up!

Visit Facebook to view tons of photos of her in her own photo album!

with Sarah White

with Sarah White

She appears to be very healthy, eating well, and being de-wormed.  For adoption information, please visit our Adoption Process.

02/19/14 Update: Lamb Chop stops traffic!  I took her to the vet today and everyone held her.  Dr. Oliver checked her heart, all good!  She is about 8-9 weeks of age, and I heard from many regarding her breed.  The list of guesses includes Poodle/Golden Retriever, Aussie/Great Pyrenees, Poodle/Aussie and many others!  Regardless of her breed, one thing is for sure, she is stinking cute!

Not all fluff, this girl has got brains!

Not all fluff, this girl has got brains!

But that’s not all.  She is doing very well in her crate, only crying for a few minutes, and she sleeps through the night without a peep… but by 6:30 AM, she’s ready to rumble!  She is awesome with the pack, and desperately wants to play with the other dogs.  She is also (get this) leash trained!  Yup, you heard me – she is one of the only puppies I’ve ever fostered that is ready to walk on the leash like a good girl!  She is going to make someone very happy!



02/20/14 Update:  Lamb Chop was adopted by Dean today.  Dean is a former adopter of TDL.  She will have two awesome dogs to play with, and she’ll need them to help her burn some of that puppy energy!  She will return to us after 2 months to be spayed.

I was Just a Kid

Waiting in the lobby, Lady Di makes herself at home

Waiting in the lobby, Lady Di makes herself at home

Yesterday was an amazing day.  I went to the Orlando Executive Airport to pick up two Alabama dogs, Amelia and Bennett’s Boots.  I was also asked to be interviewed for a documentary Tales In Flight.

Bennett's Boots

Bennett’s Boots

When I heard there was going to be a film crew, I immediately panicked, and asked my friend Irma to drive me there.  I was too embarrassed to let anyone see my van, which is rusted out and has missing parts!  Okay, so maybe my hideous van was a great excuse to bring a friend with me to keep my calm!  It worked!  Sarah White-Buxbaum also joined us, and what a blessing!

Once on the tarmac I was very comfortable-not nervous one bit.  Before the operation began, I re-introduced Jeff to my Lady Di.  Lady Di was the first dog Jeff ever flew to us, back in September of 2009.  He remembered her, and I’d like to believe she remembered him.

"I remember you!"

“I remember you!”

The number of dogs and puppies that poured out of Jeff Bennett’s plane was unbelievable.  As I watched rescuers receive dozens of puppies, I didn’t envy them.  Nor was I ashamed that only two dogs on this flight were TDL.  I’ve accepted the fact that our rescue is about quality not quantity.  If we want our dogs in foster homes, we refuse to board them, and we don’t have an actual shelter, our numbers will always remain small.

When Shaggy’s crate was carried out of Jeff’s plane, he was scared.  He turned and hid his head into the crate, and we gave him time to come out on his own.  Eventually, he did, and hid his face under my arm!  Shaggy was Jeff’s 2,000th save, and I informed Jeff that his new name would be Bennett’s Boots.



It took a while before Amelia was uncovered.  Jeff lifted her out of the crate, soaked in urine, and handed her to me laughing.  Poor thing was terrified.  We got the dogs into Irma’s car, left the tarmac and gave them some time to walk around and find their legs!  Then it was interview time.  I met with Director, Michael Samstag and Producer Josh Gildrie and they explained what was going to happen.

one more goodbye

one more goodbye

But before the interview started, Jeff said one more goodbye to Lady Di!

I thought that I would sit down with other TDLers, and an interviewer – but that’s not what happened.  Instead, I sat in a chair and  had a camera film me so close I had hoped that the lens  had a wrinkle filter.  I was completely alone, no one to my left, no one to my right, only a camera straight ahead, and my interviewer was not going to share the screen with me. UGH!

With Lady Di by my side, I tried to relax, but half-way through the interview, she fell asleep at my feet.  I realized as I was answering questions, that I’m a writer, and it’s very difficult for me to answer questions, and express my opinions verbally.  I was nervous and tense just like most of the dogs we rescue!

I hadn’t felt this way since I entered into my 3rd grade classroom, the new kid, in the middle of a school year.  I opened the door, felt dozens of little eyes staring at me, petrified I wanted to be invisible.

The interviewThe interview took place in the airport’s lobby, where electronic sliding glass doors continued to open and close as people went about their business.  I would answer a question, and the doors would shwoosh, and producer Josh Gildrie would ask me to say it again!  Many times, I forgot the question, or had no idea what I had just said!  I could never answer a question the same way twice!  This was not easy for me!

When the question was asked, why did I start to rescue, and where did my love for dogs come from, instead of answering by telling the story of my Reckless, I went off on a bunny trail to when I was about eight years-old – my first dog, Nelson.  Before I knew it, I was sharing stories about my life as a child, and how we moved often, and how many animals I had to leave behind.  I talked about the sadness coming home to an empty house.  I was asked about Lady Di, and because Nelson was also a collie, I explained when she was brought to me, it brought back so many childhood memories of my Nelson, and without warning, I was flooded with memories, and I began to tear up during the interview.  Trying very hard to be professional, and push my emotions aside, I knew I had stumbled onto something that I was not prepared to fully address.

Since Lady Di was fast asleep, and starting to snore, at the request of director, Michael Samstag, we woke Bennett’s Boots up, and brought him on the set.  I scooted over and gave the chair one tap… I didn’t have to ask him twice… and he was in my lap for the rest of the interview.  Having a dog to hold and rub on made me relax and not feel so self-conscious.

All in all, I think I fumbled through most of my interview.

When I returned home, there was a lot of work to be done.  All of my dogs had to be cared for, Claire Bear needed her Tofu and Lentils, and my new dogs needed to be introduced to their new temporary  home.  Too tired to cook for my own family, and too exhausted to go out to eat, we got pizza!

My Nelson

My Nelson

I called Sarah White later that evening, and was able to share and process my unexpected melt down.

While I have mentioned Nelson in passing to friends, I never truly shared his story with anyone.  I actually named one of our rescued collies, Nelson, two years ago, but I still never really shared his story in detail.  Maybe it was too painful for me to share?

One of the first dogs I remember as a child was a purebred Collie named Lord Nelson of Baltimore III.  I don’t know where my Mom bought him from, but we got him as a puppy.  He was the most gorgeous puppy I had ever seen.  It didn’t take long before he was HUGE!  He was kind, gentle, noble, loving and easy to train.  He was my brother’s dog, however, once my brother left our nest to go into the Air Force, I made him my dog!  I remember laying on the floor and kissing his long nose and hearing his tail thump!  He loved the snow and he loved to run!

I remembered that warm feeling coming home from school to my Nelson.  I didn’t have many friends, moving around a lot prevents lasting relationships!  I only had one brother who was eight years older than me, and big brothers really don’t “play” with little brat sisters!  My parents worked and were always busy, but none of that mattered, I had my dog.  I guess my relationship with Nelson is very much like my daughter Sarah’s relationship with her China.  It’s tight!

I don’t know why I was surprised when my parents announced that we were moving again, this time back to Florida.  I never dreamed that Nelson wasn’t coming with us, but he wasn’t.  It wasn’t until just a few days before we were leaving that my Mom told me Nelson was going to Canada to live with my cousin, Victor.  But that wasn’t true.  Victor couldn’t have a dog, so Nelson was going to live with Victor’s Grandfather.  I didn’t know these people, but I was assured that Nelson would be loved and well cared for, and he was.

Despite my parents’ assurance, I protested but it had no effect.  I sat in the back seat with my arms crossed, pouting, crying, leaving my home, and knowing I would never see my dog again.

Just a few short years later, we got the news that Nelson had died of cancer, he was only five years-old.  I remember feeling angry that I couldn’t be there with him when he died.  I wondered if he knew that I didn’t want him to leave me.  I wondered if he knew how many nights I cried for him.  If he was in heaven now, surely he knew how I felt.

But how could I be with him when he died?  I was in Florida, Nelson was in Canada, and I was just a kid.  I must have been around 13 years old when I realized that I had never been given the pleasure or the honor to have a pet until it died of old age.  All of my animals were either left behind, or given away.  I tried not to grieve over the loss of Nelson, after all, he wasn’t my dog anymore.  But something happened yesterday, during that interview, and I cried.

Maybe this experience makes me a better person with regard to feeling empathy for owners who have to surrender their dogs to us.  Maybe because I have felt their anguish, their pain, I do not judge them, instead I assure them that their dog will have a good life, as was the case with Mic.  When Carol came to adopt Mic, I called Mic’s former owner, and gave him the good news.

I was just a kid

I was just a kid

Maybe Nelson is really the reason why I love dogs, and why I love to rescue.  Maybe after all of these years I’ve been working to right the wrongs.

This morning, I used a step-ladder to get into my closet, and I climbed up to where I keep very old photo albums.  I found it.  The album dates back to 1970, and it only contained a few of his photos.

I have finally given myself permission to grieve over his loss today.  Yes, life goes on, but I always missed him.  He wasn’t given up by me, yet I had to surrender him.  I protested, I begged, I pleaded, I got angry, but there was nothing I could do, because I was just a kid.


See all of the photos taken during this transport on Facebook.


Bennett’s Boots~Adopted

Bennett's Boots

Bennett’s Boots

All eyes were  on this little boy, who was named Shaggy.  Rescued from Baldwin County, Alabama, he was chosen to be Jeff Bennett’s 2,000th dog.  There were a lot of people wanting to pet him, a lot of cameras, and noisy airplanes flying around, but he did very well considering the chaos!  The documentary, “Tales in Flight” covered his rescue from start to finish, and they will continue to follow his progress until he is adopted.

I do not believe he was an owner-surrender, maybe, but he is covered in scabs, which makes me wonder if he was found as a stray.

You can see more photos of him on Facebook.

Bennett’s Boots is resting quietly, he’s been through a lot, and he was neutered last week.  He is very much a velcro dog and is very quiet so far.  Updates coming soon!

11/22/13 Update:  What a difference a day makes!  Boots has been very quiet and almost lethargic.  Sure he’s been through a lot, and neutered just a few days ago, but still.  He walks slow, and doesn’t have much expression.  But this morning, he greeted me with a leap, and kisses.  I can’t remember which dog we rescued a year ago, that every time she walked by me, she’d lick my feet!  Boots does that too!  He give me a wiggle butt (an Aussie trait), a kiss on the face, and he had a spring in his step.  His appetite is good, and is goes right into his crate!  I don’t hear a peep out of him until he needs to wee wee!

I know that his teeth are very white, but I’m wondering how old he really is.  He’s covered with scabs where the ticks were, yet his hair is not terribly matted.  He is incredible stinky, but he’ll be groomed Tuesday.  I really think Boots is a couch potato, but the next few days will tell.

Another major turn around, is that at first, he would growl at my dogs when they came close to his crate.  Today, he saw Claire Bear through the sliding glass window, and wagged his tail.  YES!

Mr. Boots

Mr. Boots

When a dog has been on his own for a while, you can’t push him into your world overnight.  You have to ease him into his new environment, and he has to feel safe before you can expect him to experience new things.  I think we’re going to have a great weekend with Mr. Boots!

11/24/13 Update:  Mr. Boots has found his wiggle!  He’s running around the yard and playing.  He loves Sarah, and loves to give kisses and hugs.  He does have one bad habit, he likes to talk with his mouth… he nibbles you out of love, but we are correcting that.

Boots is the perfect dog.  When it’s time to rest, he is as quiet as a mouse.  When it’s time to play, it’s game on!  He’s going to make an awesome companion dog!

Boots and Shannon

Boots and Shannon

11/26/13 Update:  Boots is now playing with other dogs.  He had a wonderful visit at the vet yesterday, where he entertained everyone, playing gently with Dr. Kim’s tea cup chi pup.  He played ball and frisbee with everyone!  He had a great bath, but did NOT like the blow dryer one bit.  He is heartworm negative, and very  healthy.  We estimate him to be 12-18 months of age.  Boots made a lot of friends, and Shannon, specifically, was madly in love with him!  This is one incredibly dog!  You can see more photos of him on Facebook.

Boots goes home!

Boots goes home!

12/3/13 Update:  I’m just now sitting at my desk for the first time since Friday, and grabbed my camera to see the photos that were taken while I was stuck in bed with a fever.  

Just as I thought, I LOVE the Van Dorns!  They came and adopted Mr. Boots on Saturday.  But wait, if I was out of commission, who did the adoption, and who snapped the photos?  My daughter, Sarah did!  Told you she’s got it!

I heard the knock on the door, and grabbed my daughter, Sarah.  I handed her his file folder, and told her she would have to do this adoption… and she did.  She remembered everything!

Alabama Bossie

shelter photo

I guess at the young age of 11, my Sarah has seen me do hundreds of adoptions.  She talked about our vet, his microchip tag, walked through every step of the contract, and yes… she remembered to take some adoption photos as well.  I was floored!

Mr. Boots is now lovingly known as Buddy Boots Bigfoot from Bama, adopted by the Van Dorn family, living in Orlando!  Welcome home Boots!

Click here to read more about Sarah.

Click here to read about her first solo adoption!

05/13/14 Update:  We receive regular updates about Mr. Boots, and he is doing fine, but his rescue was so impressive, it was published!  So while I’ve been rescuing hundreds of dogs for almost five years, my daughter’s first solo adoption, gets published in the Rescue Me magazine!  Amazing!

Here it is!

The Dog Liberator's Bennett's Boots published in Rescue Me Magazine  The Dog Liberator and Jeff Bennett


The Dog Liberator's Bennett's Boots Published in Rescue Me Magazine


Amelia, a future therapy/colmpanion dog!

Amelia, a future therapy/colmpanion dog!

Amelia was adopted last night, by a family who lives in Deltona. They have a lot of property that Amelia will need to run! Dawn and her husband have been looking for the right pup for their daughter Audra who suffers from Aspergers Syndrome. The moment I put Amelia in Audra’s arms, Amelia melted! I couldn’t separate them if I tried! Amelia will be Audra’s companion for many years to come!

poor baby

poor baby

This little girl landed yesterday at the Orlando Executive Airport, thanks to Jeff Bennett and Pilots n Paws. It was quite a day for this little one, and she was terrified. Once she met Lady Di, she loosened up quite a bit. She is resting quietly, and will be taken to the vet today to be bathed (she has ticks… very big ticks) and will be fully vetted tomorrow.

She comes from the same shelter that Boo Boo came from!  You can see more photos of her on Facebook.
Cutie Patootie!

11/24/13 Update:  Amazing that Amelia does not care for kibble.  She enjoys a raw diet.  She barked in her crate this morning, even though she had puppy chow… I gave her a raw chicken neck, and she’s sleeping like a baby.  I guess she’s made up her mind.

No more scabs and smells!  She's all pretty now!

No more scabs and smells! She’s all pretty now!

She is incredibly affectionate.  She went to the vet, and boy does she smell good, and she is so soft!  She was spayed, had all of her shots, fecal was negative, and micro chipped!  Amelia is ready for her next voyage – HOME!


Billy Ray is now called Bama

Billy Ray~Adopted

Jeff Bennett Flies Billy Ray to TDL!

Jeff Bennett Flies Billy Ray to TDL!

A desperate email was sent to Becky, and she forwarded it to me, asking for our help.  It read:

Hi Becky,

I was wondering if you might be able to help me, I wondered if Gisele might have room for these babies, which I was told look very border collie…… the male that we think got the mama pregnant looks like a full blooded border collie and is black and white.

They are part of a mama and four puppy stray family I have been trying to catch in a very bad neighborhood in my town; the local kids were shooting at them with BB guns and the adults were throwing things at them to try to chase them off. One of the puppies was run over before we could get them and there is still one puppy and the poor mama at large, I have been going every day for about 4 hours after work trying to trap the mama and the other pup but I am losing hope.



I did manage to catch two of the pups on separate days last week and I need somewhere for them to go as soon as possible. They are very scared of people but have come a long way, they still hide under my bathroom sink alcove when we go into the bathroom but they let us pet them and will tolerate us holding them short periods too. They are obviously depressed and even more scared without their mom and I feel horrible at having to had to separate them from her, but they were sure to die out there in that neighborhood.

I would be willing to drive them to Gisele if she will take them but I need to be sure they are going somewhere where the rescuer will understand their past and work with them, they are not like most puppies that are bubbly and silly and all, they have had a rough life and will need someone who understands and will give them that patience. I have only ever heard great things about Gisele and wondered if she might have room.

Enjoying human contact

Enjoying human contact

I am still going out there daily to try to catch the mama and other puppy until I think there is no chance, but in the last three weeks we have had no luck for them.

I would be so grateful if you could talk with Gisele or anyone else you think might be able to take them in and bring them on out of their shells, they are having to live in my bathroom 24 hours a day and I know they are bored and unhappy there, just want what is best for them.

Thanks for any help you can give them.  ~ Melissa in Ozark


So this little boy comes to us from Melissa from Ozark, Alabama.  He appears to be VERY healthy, but he is shy.  Much like Brittney’s Mystery, once you hold him, he feels safe and secure.  So is she really shy, or just unsure?  He is really enjoying the little Aussie pup that joined him on transport.  I want to thank our Sarah Buxbaum for bringing him to us from the airport yesterday, and Jeff Bennett for his life-saving flight!

I need a hug!

I need a hug!

At first we thought he was like Shy Sharon, a fear biter, but that’s not the case at all.    Once I put a leash on him, and he saw the puppy, he wagged his tail, and felt comfortable to come out.  I picked him up without any issues.  He did hide a lot in the back yard, under furniture, and then he wandered off to the shed where he sat and watched us.  My son Ryan, picked him up, and he immediately relaxed.  He didn’t try to wiggle out of his arms, he was very content to be there.

This little boy is going to find his self-confidence really fast!  He’s going to be an awesome little Border Collie.  For now, he does have an achy breaky heart, so after tossing around some name ideas we decided to name him Billy Ray!  For while he’s sad today, it won’t last… he’ll be TDL star soon!

Check out his photos on Facebook.

Lisa and Billy

Lisa and Billy

10/21/13 Update:  I received an email from Lisa who was interested in knowing more about Billy Ray.  She shared with me photos of her former Border Collie, Baja Boy.  Baja Boy was adopted from a Border Collie rescue while they lived in Arizona.  They moved here, and embarked on adventures on the beach, teaching Baja Boy to paddle board!  When on one day at the beach, Lisa shared with me over the phone what happened.  A man was walking back and forth on the beach, Lisa would waive at him, being friendly and trying to say hi.  The man didn’t waive back.  Baja Boy was minding his own business enjoying the beach when it happened.  She wrote in one of her emails:

He was poisoned while we were on vacation. He never got more than 25 feet from us and was in our sights the whole time, and we saw it happen (didn’t know it at the time), but it was too fast acting. He died in our arms as we rushed to the vet. Our vet did an autopsy and found a hole the size of a golf ball and said whatever it was, it was very toxic and nothing we could have done different.
Lisa's Baja Boy

Lisa’s Baja Boy

He was the only one we brought that trip because we wanted him to have special time, and he paddle boarded with whale sharks, slept in between us, and played with his Frisbee until he was exhausted. He had a wonderful last weekend, we just regret going to the beach that last day..

Billy Ray is now called Bama

Billy Ray is now called Bama

When I read her words and called her to talk, I was horrified with what she shared.  A few days later, she came to meet Billy Ray, and it was truly love at first sight.  So while Billy is still fearful and unsure, he has big paws to fill!

Cathy’s Snuggle Puppies~Adopted

Cathy's Snuggle Puppies

Last Friday, Jeff Bennett personally delivered three puppies from Chilton County’s Humane Society in Alabama. They are cute, healthy, affectionate and ready to find their new homes! Cathy reports how some shelter puppies are fearful and afraid of the human touch, but not these butterballs! They want to be held and cuddled, which is a great sign.

They are the vet right now, being vaccinated, spay/neutered and micro chipped. Dr. Oliver will evaluate them from head to toe and give us his opinion with regard to their breed identification.


I just got off the phone with manager, Melissa, and she says Aussie! They have big paws, so they won’t be mini Aussies, that’s for sure. I suspect that they will hit the 45 – 55 pound mark when they are full grown.

As we have shared in the past, litter mates can have different fathers. When Holly saw these puppies, she reminisced about the M puppies, and the C puppies.



We will be providing updates as we get them, but in the meantime, I really want to share with you Cathy’s Snuggle Puppies!  Special thanks to Sarah White-Buxbaum for meeting the transport and taking these awesome photos for us!

Do I know what breed they are?  No, I have not DNA tested them, but I don’t need a DNA test kit to see that they are Stinkin’ Cute!  You can see more photos of Samson on his photo album on Facebook.  Click here to see Snicker’s photo album on Facebook.  Click here to see Sunbeam’s photo album on Facebook!


Fonzie, the Australian Cattle Dog (Blue Heeler) ~ Adopted

Happy days are here again for Fonzie, the Australian Cattle Dog (Blue Heeler)!

Fonzie and his transport buddies, Casey Rose and Rusty all came from Alabama where they were fostered by Deb Gaylord. Fonzie was pulled from the infamous Athens Dog Pound, a notoriously high-kill rural shelter. Our boy was lucky to make it out alive and we’re so happy he did!

Fonzie and his pals were flown to us by Jeff Bennett, a volunteer for Pilots-n-Paws.  All three of the dogs have awesome temperaments, relaxed, calm, and happy to meet everyone.

In the short time he’s been with us, Fonzie has demonstrated that he is a calm and affectionate fellow who wants nothing more than a human to call his very own. He’s also very good with cats and other dogs, is crate- and house-trained, walks very well on a leash, and enjoys riding in the car. We were told that Fonzie is around a year old, but we think he may be closer to 2-years-old after looking at his teeth. That, or he was tied outside on a chain for much of his young life and chewed on the chain from boredom, causing some wear to his teeth. In any case, Fonzie is a complete joy who — given the opportunity — will make someone a devoted and loving companion indeed.

Fonzie is neutered, up-to-date on all his vaccinations, and heartworm negative. He currently weighs around 45 lbs., but could stand to lose a pound or two. But, hey … who among us couldn’t?!?

Fonzie is being fostered in the Ocala area, and updates will be coming soon!  In the meantime, you can view his photo album on Facebook.  If you are interested in adopting Fonzie, please review “How to Adopt From Us” and email your information to me at

August 4, 2011: ADOPTED! Fonzie was adopted on Sunday by Mike and Belinda Visnich. Mike and Belinda have had a difficult year of loss, including the passing of their beloved cat and their 17-year-old border collie, Neiko. We hope gentle, loving Fonzie will help their hearts to heal. Longwood, welcome your newest Dog Liberator dog! ~ Amy




1/5/15 Update: Fonzi became a big brother to Tuesday, and it seems that he is welcoming her into the family with open arms.



10/30/15 Update: It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to Bleu, (TDL’s Fonzie). Our thoughts and prayers are with his loving parents, Belinda and Mike, and his doggy sister Jetta (TDL’s Tuesday) as they mourn the passing of this smiley boy.




Rusty, Calm and Cuddly~Adopted

Calm and Cuddly

Rusty is a gorgeous fluffy two year-old  red Border Collie.  He’s everything a great dog should be, intelligent, affectionate, and playful.  He is good with cats, plays with other dogs, great with kids and is very gentle.  What Holly really loves is the way he rides in the car!


Rusty and his transport buddies, Casey Rose and Fonzie all came from Alabama where they were fostered by Deb Gaylord.    Rusty was pulled from a kill shelter, heartworm positive.  Dale Parrent sponsored his treatments, and he is heartworm negative!  Thank you Dale!

Rusty and his pals were flown to us by Jeff Bennett, a volunteer for Pilots-n-Paws.  All three of the dogs have awesome temperaments, relaxed, calm, and happy to meet everyone!

Rusty is being fostered in the Windermere area, and updates will be coming soon!  In the meantime, you can view his photo album on Facebook.  If you are interested in Adopting Rusty, please review “How to Adopt From Us” and email your information to us at


Update:  Melinda, Rusy’s foster is keeping Rusty!  She writes:

Ok, drumroll…

We want to adopt him 🙂 He is an absolutely lovely dog, and a perfect companion for our dynamo Taz. They are happily wrestling on the floor in front of me as I write this!

I am entirely confident that we will quickly resolve the marking behavior. In fact, Taz is helping with that already by herding him around the house and preventing any opportunity for Rusty to mark! I’ll be checking at Walmart today for the spray, Petsmart didn’t have anything. I’ll be watching him like a hawk and providing well timed corrections as you both suggested. Thank you for your wisdom in dealing with this issue!

This week I’ll be getting him checked out by my vet, and professionally groomed. Can’t wait to see how gorgeous he’ll look! I promise to send before and after photos 🙂

Casey Rose, the Comedian~Adoption Pending

the Comedian!

It must have been way back in February when Dale Parrent asked me to take Casey Rose. It seemed no matter how hard we tried to transport her to Florida, schedules just didn’t jive. I asked Becky Harshman, the miracle worker of rescue, if she could help. Jeff Bennett, a volunteer Pilot for Pilots-N-Paws was coordinating a transport, and our dogs luckily got on board!

Case Rose is a delightful dog, with calm energy and a friendly disposition. She, and her transport buddies, Rustyand Fonzie all have awesome temperaments. Casey comes to us from Alabama where she was fostered by Deb Gaylord.

Who's Ready to Play?

Casey is one of those dogs that can be happy living in any home. She is great with kids, other dogs, and ignores cats. She flips the frisbee in the air and entertains herself, loves to play ball, but what she enjoys the most is the baby pool.

It's hard work being a good dog!

Everyone who has met Casey describes her as a comedian! More details on Casey Rose will be coming soon!

09/25/11 Update:  I had the pleasure or meeting Casey Rose last night, she really is a gorgeous dog.  She was with my pack, and had great manners with the other dogs.  Within ten minutes, she and China were playing.  She is incredibly obedient, has awesome recall and was very affectionate to everyone.  This is one great dog!

In the meantime, you can view her photo album on Facebook. If you are interested in Adopting Casey Rose, please review “How to Adopt From Us” and email your information to us at


Cream Puff, the Corgi ~ Adopted

I apologize in advance for these short posts, but we’re a little short on time! Cream Puff is a tiny little love muffin, who was rescued by Amy Benz and flown to us by a volunteer pilot. She is currently being evaluated here in Deltona, and more information about her temperament will be shared soon.

She is approximately 2 years old, and is heartworm positive. We will being her slow-kill treatment this week, and she’ll be ready to go! Details coming soon!

Cream Puff’s photo album can be viewed on Facebook.

I promised you an update, here’s a Foster Update!
I am Crème Puffs “fairy god mother”… J

Crème Puff is a very sweet girl. She is affectionate and extremely laid back. When she first got to my house, she was possessive but that was gone within 24 hrs. She is not aggressive at all but is not afraid to stand up for herself either. After a day, she was sharing food from the bowl with the other dog and was fine. They are sharing a crate together as well…. The first few nights she preferred to sleep at the foot of the bed with my 14 year old. She went to the vet the other day and that night did not want to be alone, so I put her in the crate with Spike and they like to cuddle together to sleep. When I woke up this morning, they were “spooning”….so cute! Spike (the other dog) gets on her nerves because he likes to play rough – he is still a pup and she does not like rough play and puts him in his place.

She is excellent with the kids (I have a 14, 10, and 7 year old). She plays very gently with them and I have yet to see her nip, etc.  She didn’t like my cat at first but she has gotten used to her. I taught her “leave it” so she would stop chasing her…. She also knows “load up” which is the command to get in the car. She LOVES going on car rides. I was starting to teach “sit” but I am trying to teach 2 to sit at the same time, which is nearly impossible for me. Too much distraction….  I am certain that if her new owner starts “sit” first, she will pick it up in a day or 2. She is certainly smart enough!

She walks VERY well on a leash…there is always slack. I do have a yard and when I take the dogs out to play, she stays right at my side. I would rarely say this but I don’t think this dog really needs a yard. She is not very athletic at all and when I do take her out back, she either walks alongside me or sits at the door and waits to go back inside. She prefers to be in with the family and ONLY wants to go out for potty breaks.

I cannot say this enough – she is the most mellow dog I have ever met. She is quiet and does not bark unless you give her a reason. Even when she is playing, she is calm. She has lots of love to give and is very eager to please her humans. From what I have seen, she is not afraid of anything, including strangers. She will bark if someone comes to the door but I have taken her to the baseball field and she let all of the strangers pet her without hesitation.


05/03/11 Update: Cream Puff has left the building.  Kimberlee Goodson has adopted this little doll, and named her Emmie.  Kimberlee is a school teacher, and did her homework about heartworm disease and treatment options.  She consulted with her vet who is anxious to meet her and discuss the options.  Kimberlee is very confident in Dr. Prather of Winter Garden Animal Hospital, and I’m anxious for updates.  Maria, Cream Puff’s foster was thrilled.  Kimberlee and Cream Puff (Emmie) look so gorgeous together.

This is the first time that Maria DeRosa has fostered for us, and she did an outstanding job.  None of Kimberlee’s questions went unanswered!  I was really impressed.

So welcome our new adopter, the first for this month, and we’re anxious to updates!

Fly Boy, the Border Collie

Fly Boy, appropriately named, because he was flown to us by a volunteer pilot after Amy Benz rescued this boy from a high-kill shelter. He is a wonderful dog, submissive, yet sure of himself, not shy at all. He greets everyone with love, regardless of age, size, or gender! He is wonderful with my pack, wanting to play, and I bet he could be trained to do just about anything you’ve ever wanted a Border Collie to do!

Fly Boy is maybe 2-3 years old, heartworm negative, and a little on the thin side. He’s a keeper!

Thank you Amy!!!

Flyboy’s photo album can be viewed on Facebook.

Update: FlyBoy was Adopted on April 30th! Updates coming soon!

Pilots N Paws

As you know, most of our dogs come from rural kill shelters in Alabama and Georgia. It isn’t easy getting them here. So many people are involved:

  • the folks who first let us know about them;
  • volunteers who physically go to the shelters and pull them;
  • locals who open up their homes to foster until transportation is arranged;
  • transportation coordinators;
  • drivers;
  • so much more

It really is a huge effort. The dogs are usually driven to us in cars, 10 legs each driving about an hour. You can just imagine what all is involved!

And then every now and then something simply wonderful happens: Paws N Pilots!

Paws N Pilots is a loose-knit group of pilots who volunteer to give rescued animals a lift. They can turn a multi-day transport into a matter of just a few hours. They are amazing!

Today we were supposed to get a litter of Border Collie puppies driven to us from Alabama. Instead, Jeff Bennett of Paws N Pilots flew them and several other dogs the distance. We were just one rescue and one stop along his way.

He told me he was a bit surprised to find 9 more dogs for pick up than he was told to expect (he puts things so mildly!) but he took it all in stride. Watching him pull the dogs out of his plane was like watching Mary Poppins unpack her carpet bag!!!

The night before the plane headed our way, I was asked if I could overnight a beagle who was destined for a rescue in Tampa; that stop was canceled and drivers were arranged from Orlando, but not until Saturday. Sure! What’s one more dog? Ya gotta be flexible in rescue!

Thank you, Jeff, Paws N Pilots, and all the volunteers who make this and other transports possible! You are the best!!!

Dee’s White Fluffy Puppies are Here! ~ Adopted!

The White Fluffy Puppies are a litter of puppies that we rescued Dee Sullins, director of the Hale County Humane Society. This is one of the most beautiful litters we have ever seen. Dee referred to them as his “fluffy puppies” and was so happy when we took them. We understand from him that their mother is an Australian Shepherd who lives in the woods near someone’s home. This gentleman has been unable to catch her (she is very smart) but has successfully rescued her puppies.

Pogo, Skate, Lexie, Skye, Pi, Austin, Aspen, Logan

This is a fascinating litter: 1) They are all white with various markings; 2) There appears to have been more than one father; 3) Just 9 weeks old, they are already crate trained; and 4) They come in sets of

Austin and Aspen both have blue markings; Austin, a boy, looks to be a Border Collie; Aspen, a girl, looks more like a Catahoula.


This is Austin. He is the largest in the litter. His eyes are a soft gray. He likes water and is very playful. Austin’s photo album. Austin was adopted on June 9th!


Update 09/14/10: Here’s a new picture of Austin (now Stanley) at the beach.

This is Aspen. She looks like she is wearing a blue coat over a white outfit. When you look closely, you’ll note the darker gray spots on the coat ~ very fashionable! She always comes running when she sees people. Aspen’s photo album. Aspen was adopted on June 21st.


Lexie and her brother Logan look like tricolored Border Collies with a curled tail ~ maybe a touch of Pomeranian or Husky? At 6 weeks old, they are so crate trained that they wake me up at night if they have to potty. During the day, if in their large puppy run outside, they’ll bark when they have to go because they prefer to go on the outside of their enclosure. I’m very impressed!


This is Lexie. She has a lightning bolt down her face. She likes to curl up in the water bowl, water and all! Lexie’s photo album. Lexie was adopted on June 28th.


This is Logan. Like his sister, he has an amazingly soft coat. And like his sister, he loves water. I frequently find him lounging in the little puppy pool! Logan’s photo album. Logan was adopted on June 17th.


Pi and Pogo are white with eye masks, and appear to be Catahoulas.

This little girl is Pi. Beautiful blue eyes. She is the alpha female of the litter. Pi’s photo album. Pi was adopted on June 19th.


This is Pogo. She has soft gray eyes. A bit more easy going that her sister Pi, but not mousey either. Loves to stand in the puppy wadding pool. Pogo’s photo album.Pogo was adopted on June 25th.


Skate and Skye are mirrors of each other ~ all white with merle patches on opposite eyes; with longer fur, they appear to be Aussies.

This is Skate. He is the most laid back of the litter. He loves the water and has been known to fall asleep in the puppy pool, with the water just below his nostrils. If a littermate were to make a wave, he’d be sputtering!  Skate’s photo album.

Skate was adopted on June 17th.


And this is his sister, Skye. When I crouch down in the yard with them, she dives between my feet and rolls on her back so I can rub her belly. Skye’s photo album. Skye was adopted June 13th.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun it is fostering these puppies! When I let them out to play, it is a mass of white fur rolling around in a ball. They have a wonderful time with my two Basset mixes, Gus and Ralph. An energetic crew, no doubt, but very sweet and loving!

~ Holly

4 June Foster Update:

Water Dogs ~ Seriously, I think these puppies are part fish. I can’t keep water in their water bowl. They either doggy paddle all the water out or just climb in and go to sleep. This is a photo of Lexie in the water bowl. Seriously??? I made a little puppy pool for them that they are just nuts about. These puppies are a hoot!!!

Logan, like his sister Lexie, is quite a bit smaller than the other puppies, but he doesn’t know it! He is always jumping on the other puppies wanting to play and wrestle. These two are little diggers, so beware! They like to give me suggestions as to where to plant shrubs by pre-digging the holes for me! They’re so little and round, they remind me of the gopher in Winnie-the-Pooh. I always picture them wearing mining hats and work belts, “Big job! Big job! Two weeks, maybe three!” OK, if you haven’t watched Winnie-the-Pooh and the Honey Tree lately, that might not make sense…

Aspen is probably the smallest of the litter of six and the most unique appearing with her blue coat. Like Skye, she often gets pushed to the back when the puppies swarm me, which is unfortunate because she is the first to come running. I always make sure she gets her one-on-one time! She likes to play in the water too. I love this photo of her and Skate falling asleep with their heads in the water bowl! How cute is that????

Austin has been adopted. He may be the largest in the litter, but he is a gentleman. He doesn’t push the other puppies around and, after getting the attention he wants, will move to the back of the puppy swarm to allow the rest their turn. He sits there watching, wanting more, but being willing to share. Wow! He is really a neat pup. And is anyone surprised to learn that he loves water. Yesterday I filled up the puppy pool and he immediately climbed in and went to sleep! I love this guy ~ sweet, attentive, but gentle.

actually sticks her face into the water over her eyes. I’ll bet she’d dive for stones in a creek! I love this photo of her in the “puppy pool.” She was pulling the grass out with her mouth. This could really come in handy. I mean, who needs a pool skimmer when you have a Pogo???

Pi is very friendly and rather vocal. A very playful puppy, she likes to play in the water and will wrestle with anyone! But when you pick her up, she just leeeeeans into you with no wiggling, just wanting love. Very playful, very energetic, very loving, very beautiful, that’s my Pi!!!

Skye is really coming into her own! Her ears are starting to stand up, making her more adorable than ever. Her eye color seems to be settling out to be one brown and one blue. Her coat is lushious, medium length, a bit wavy, soft as can be, white with hints of fawn when wet. Wet? Oh yes~ this little girl loves the water! She is a splash machine. Very affectionate, she isn’t really pushy and, like Aspen, is often pushed to the back when I get swarmed by the puppies. That’s okay; I always make a point of picking her up and giving her special love. Who can help it? She is so sweet!

I think Skate might be deaf. It doesn’t seem to affect him at all ~ he is a laid back and cheerful as any of the other puppies ~ but he doesn’t respond to loud noises. I’ve created this page devoted to this discussion.

6/13 Update:

Well, I’ve been up since 4am thanks mostly to Logan. All I can say is that it’s a good thing he’s so cute. He needed to go out so he started barking. That woke up Lexie. Which woke up Possum. Which woke up Austin. Who woke up everyone. *sigh* By the time I got them all outside, I was wide awake so decided to get in some prayer and Bible time. So maybe I should thank Logan!
I sat outside in the predawn with a cup of coffee (my wonderful husband got up and made it for me!), praying, reading, and watching puppies. They were being especially adorable. I had put an airline crate and a crate lid into their pen thinking they might fall asleep in them. Silly me! Instead they used them like homebase in a game of tag. Aspen started it. She began to run around the pen (it’s really big), circling the crates, with Pogo hot on her tail (verses “trail”). Soon most of the others had joined in. Clever Aspen would occasionally duck into a crate and watch them zip by. Meanwhile, Pi and Logan were playing king of the mountain on the crate lid. Little Logan was more than happy to “do battle” with much-bigger Pi. Every once in a while, one of the other puppies would jump up but be quickly pushed off by a united effort. After about 90 minutes of non-stop play, dawn was kissing the sky, and the puppies had fallen back asleep. Pi and Logan, joined by Lexie, were curled up together on the crate lid. Aspen, Pogo and Austin were inside the airline crate. Skate and Skye made a neat little ball under the crate lid. Possum, of course, had missed all the chaos by whining until I had let him sit with me. He fell asleep under my chair. It will be too hot today for them to be outside much, so this has been good for them.

I love moments like this (I’m not sure my neighbors do….). This little pack will be broken up soon as they all go to their new homes. Almost half of them are already spoken for. But for now, they are a family, and they take joy in one another. Did I mention how I love fostering?…..

~ Holly

14 June Update:

I have had a growing concern about Pi‘s hearing. It hasn’t been anything big, just that a couple of times she kept sleeping when the other puppies were having a ruckus. Today I had my opportunity ~ Pi was sleeping next to Austin, Skye and Skate, who is deaf. I took a pot and banged it with a ladle. Austin and Skye immediately lifted their heads and looked. Pi and Skate kept sleeping. Three tries, each time the same result. I believe Pi is either deaf or hard of hearing. However, she is extremely functional! I have had her for almost three weeks and I didn’t realize it. She cues off of the other dogs very well. Now that I think about it, she is very big on watching me as well, probably looking for indications of what I want. I think that an owner who will train her, using such tips as those available at, will have an amazing dog. Pi is smart and she wants to please. She’s going to be great!

20 June Update:

I saw something this morning that made me a bit sad. After eating their fill, Pogo picked up pieces of kibble and tried to bury them for later. Dee had told us that this litter was born in the wild and was in really bad shape when he got them. I’ve had them for over three weeks and yet Pogo still is haunted by the fear that she will not have food when she needs it. She is such a playful and light-hearted puppy in all other areas…. I look forward to the day she has her own family to love her and infuse her with trust so that she never has to worry again.


 The Puppies And Their Families


The best part of rescue is when you find the right home for the right pet.

Here is little Aspenwith her new parents Di and Rich. And do you see that beautiful brindle girl sitting in front of Di? That is Willow, a purebred Catahoula that I fostered as a puppy two years ago. Di and Rich adopted her at a Pet Rescue By Judy event, not knowing she was my foster. Why would that matter? Because they live right behind me! My dogs were so confused and excited that evening when they ran up to the chainlink fence and saw “their baby.” Ever since then, I’ve had my eye out for the perfect companion for Willow. I thought Aspen might be it, and, boy, was I right! Now both my girls will be living next door, and my dogs will be more confused than ever!

Here is Austin, now Stanley, with his new family, Charles, Chris and Meagan. They drove all the way from Vero to meet him.He will share a home and a pool with three Papillons! Given how he love the water, I see a lot of splashing going on!!!

Here is Lexie with her new mom Joanna. It was a real squeaker for this match-up! Lexie has several meets that either didn’t come together or ended up with a different puppy being adopted. Oh my! But then along came Joanna and everything worked out perfectly. Joanna is looking forward to spending lots of time with Lexie! I’m so happy!!!


Logan couldn’t stop wiggling as he headed home with Blake, Dara and Jeff. Blake and Jeff were so happy to have a puppy. Dara looked a bit numb by the prospect ~ first time with a dog. lol! I whispered into Logan’s ear that he really had to shmooz her! Imagine how surprised and excited 11-year-old twins Logan and Olivia were when they arrived home from camp and saw their new family member for the first time!
Imagine how surprised and excited 11-year-old twins Logan and Olivia were when they arrived home from camp and saw their new family member for the first time! I love this photo of the twins meeting Logan. It is remarkably tender. The first thing the family had to do was rename Logan. After all, with a son named Logan, it just wouldn’t do to tell people that “Logan had peed on the floor.” So, the verdict is….. Bandit! I’m so happy!

Here is Pi just before she left with Dee, Marie and Fran. Fran drove down from Gainesville just to meet this little one. I was amazed at how Pi responded to her. Pi has always been good with eye contact, but with Fran she was the most relaxed I have ever seen her! Fran is looking forward to training Pi using the techniques shared on And I am looking forward to getting updates!

Here is Pogo with her new family, Kelly, Linda, Lindsey and Jim. They came to meet Lexie but surprised themselves by falling in love with Pogo. There was no doubt that Pogo thought they were the cat’s meow too! Pogo is going to love to be sharing a home with Mica, a sheltie, but she’ll probably have to the pool to herself!

Here is Skate with his new family. Skate has been renamed Ludwig after the famous compose Beethoven. Chris and Maja work with the deaf community teaching American Sign Language. They hope that Skate will help connect and inspire some of their friends. They will be using tips from to develop their training program for Skate. What a great match!

Here is Skye with her new mom. She waited a long time to go home. Although adopted on June 13th, Mildred wasn’t able to get her until July 23rd. We never hold a dog for someone that long, but Mildred had just suffered a tragic loss of their dog Blue, and then her husband had to go out of town. I agreed to keep Skye for them until he came back. It was worth it. They are a wonderful family and I know that Skye will be loved!!!


Goldie Hawn Doesn’t Have to Fight Anymore

Collie Pup, Goldie Hawn Travels to the Rainbow Bridge:

It is with deep regret and sorrow that I inform you that Goldie Hawn lost her life-long battle today at 12:20.

The entire morning is a blur to me, but around 2:00 AM I received a phone call advising me that fluid was being removed from the chest cavity, followed by a 3:00 AM phone call indicating that her lungs had collapsed, and I gave permission to insert a breathing tube. At 4:30 AM her heart stopped, and they successfully resituated her, however, permanent brain damage was suspected.

I held her in my arms, and talked to her, until she died, but I’m not sure if she was fully aware that I was there. She was slipping into a coma.

They have requested that I allow an autopsy to identify why. Two teams of doctors, six weeks of unanswered questions, and still no one knows why. The lungs were suspected, then ruled out, and the trachea was suspected, and ruled out, the esophagus was suspected, and ruled out.

When I spoke to Holly Ryerson this afternoon, she comforted me by saying that Goldie experienced a wonderful life here with us during her last six weeks on this earth. She slept in my bed every night (until the pneumonia prevented that), she had a few days of wonderful puppy play, and was happy to greet everyone. Her two favorite things was sleeping with her head on my tummy, and lying on the grass in the full sun. Without people who can foster and rescue, Goldie may have passed away on a cold cement floor, never having the chance to experience joy.

I miss her terribly, and her loss has greatly reduced my enthusiasm for rescue. Hopefully, this will pass.

I named her Goldie Hawn before her transport with Pilots N Paws, because I thought she would be a mischievous and comical pup. This was not the case. Instead, she was quiet and weak. No matter what we did, it was always 2 steps forward and 3 steps back.

Last night we were preparing to take her to the teaching hospital in Gainesville. We were excited.

I have received donations, and I want to thank you. We are still in the process of totaling all of the bills and I will post this information on this blog when it’s available.

I don’t regret the expenses incurred for giving Goldie a chance. She deserved to be supported by a group of loving people who cared enough about her to give her a chance. Considering how horrible her first few months of life were, she sure had a great team behind her during the last few months.

Again, thank you.

Gisele Veilleux

To donate to Goldie’s medical expenses please use my paypal button or send a check directly to Dr. Susan Wayne, Murphy Vet Clinic, 2620 Orlando Dr., Sanford, FL 32773

Read about Goldie’s Flight by Pilots and Paws

Read about the Canine influenza, or H3N8 in the L.A. Times

Izzy Gets Picked Up by Pilot Jeff Bennett, from Key West to the Dog Liberator – Adopted

What a gorgeous young female. Izzy will spend the next few days being evaluated and temperament tested so that we can find her the right home.

Izzy was adopted last night by John and Karen Dondey. The Dondey’s lost their Border Collie, and wanted another to keep their Border Collie Duke more active. They have a perfect Border Collie home, but more importantly, they have a pool! I don’t think Izzy will stay dry for long. They are both experienced and dedicated to the breed, and I can’t wait for updates and photos!

Pilots N Paws, Lady Di, and Goldie Hawn by Mitch Stacy – A Paw and a Prayer

Just read this awesome story written by AP Reporter Mitch Stacy about Pilots N Paws and their recent rescue, which included my Lady Di and Goldie Hawn.

A paw and a prayer: Pilots save shelter animals
By MITCH STACY, Associated Press Writer Mitch Stacy, Associated Press Writer – Tue Sep 15, 5:47 am ET

TAMPA, Fla. – Lady Di is a lovely purebred collie with a pleasant disposition, just like lots of other dogs dumped at shelters in areas that lack anywhere near enough would-be owners. Unlike all but a lucky few of those animals, she got a plane ride away from death row.

Along with one of her sick, emaciated pups, Lady Di recently was brought to a shelter in the central Alabama interstate town of Clanton by a man who first tried to give her away in a Walmart parking lot.

The small shelter north of Montgomery was already heaving; healthy dogs and cats are euthanized by the hundreds every week because there’s just no more room.

Shelter workers knew the collies stood a better chance somewhere else.

That’s when Lady Di met private pilot Jeff Bennett, a volunteer with Pilots N Paws, a group that moves pets from overwhelmed shelters to communities, often ones with higher median income, where they’ll stand a better chance of adoption. The pilots donate their time, planes and fuel.

This week, Pilots N Paws is seeking to transport 5,000 animals to safety in a flurry of flights designed to raise awareness of the charity and draw attention to the importance of spaying and neutering.

Bennett, 50, is a retired Florida Keys businessman with a soft spot for homeless dogs. He’s got a Cirrus SR22, a zippy little four-seat plane, and is always looking for an excuse to get above the clouds.

So he flew to Montgomery recently to bring the collies and a dozen other dogs and puppies back to Florida, where rescue groups stood ready to take them in until homes could be found.

The “mission,” as Bennett calls his rescue flights, brought the number of animals he’s transported for Pilots N Paws to 124 — including snakes, lizards, a chicken and a potbellied pig — since signing on with the charity about a year ago.

“It’s a great feeling to know that you’re saving some animals and hopefully finding some good homes for them,” says Bennett, noting the millions of dogs and cats euthanized in U.S. shelters each year. “What I’m doing is pretty small, but you can only do what you can.”

Pilots N Paws got its start in February 2008. A Knoxville, Tenn., pilot named Jon Wehrenberg had offered to fly his friend, Debi Boies, from her home near Greenville, S.C., down to Florida to pick up a Doberman pinscher she wanted to adopt from a rescue group. Wehrenberg asked Boies if there would be a regular need for such a thing.

“I said, ‘Oh Jon, you have no idea,'” Boies recalls. Rescue groups have long moved animals from high-kill shelters around the country, she told him, but it usually involves long, exhausting car trips.

The Web site for Pilots N Paws now serves as a forum where shelters and rescue groups can hook up with pilots. Boies says more than 680 pilots have already transported thousands of animals all over the country. Many were plucked from death row at overpopulated, high-kill shelters in Southern states, where people are less likely to sterilize their animals.

“A rescue animal that’s had a living hell for a life and now has a warm and loving home, they look at you differently,” Boies says. “It’s just hard to explain.”

On Bennett’s recent two-hour flight from Montgomery to Tampa, he carried Lady Di and her pup, plus nine squirmy Lab-mix puppies, a red mix-breed called BBQ, a terrier-mix named Roscoe and a female mutt so pregnant she looked as if she might explode any minute. Fourteen dogs in six crates stacked into a cargo area no bigger than the back of a Honda Civic.

The droning of the plane’s engine seemed to subdue the dogs, but the puppies made sure the air in the cockpit was pungent. Blasts from a can of air freshener provided temporary relief.

“They’re a little anxious to start, but once you fire up the engine and start taxiing, a lot of times they settle down,” he says. “Most of them go to sleep during the flight, and when you start descending it’s almost like they know what’s going on and they start waking up and making a little bit of noise.”

In Tampa, volunteers with four different rescue groups were waiting.

The nine pups went to Mid-Florida Retriever Rescue. Last weekend, they met potential new owners at an adoption event at an Orlando pet store. BBQ and Roscoe went to The Humane Society of Sarasota County, where BBQ was adopted Thursday by a family whose dog had died recently.

The pregnant female, who was named Summer, was taken by a Saving Animals From Euthanasia chapter north of Tampa.

Lady Di and her pup got a ride to a foster home north of Orlando, where the younger dog is being treated for malnutrition and kennel cough. Lady Di, though, is energetic, housebroken and is being taught some basic commands. Gisele Veilleux, who is caring for the collies, says people have already applied to adopt her.

“She was sweet but didn’t have much personality,” Veilleux says of the dog, which she guesses is about a year old and was bred for profit in her first heat. “I don’t think she’s had that much human contact. She had no joy in her eyes. She’s getting that joy now.”

Pilots N Paws

Mitch designed this awesome slideshow that includes actual interviews with volunteer Pilot Jeff Bennett. I guess some people sky dive for thrills, we rescue dogs for thrills, and Jeff Bennett has made such a difference in the lives of so many animals, their rescuers, and the people who have adopted them.
Mitch’s SlideShow

Goldie Hawn, Lady Di’s collie pup, and her journey’s end.

Pilots-n-Paws Delivers to The Dog Liberator

On September 3, 2009, the Pilot-n-Paws Volunteer Program transported several pets to the Tampa International Airport where several rescues anxiously awaited their rescued animals. Pilot Jeff Bennett flew for 12 hours, from the Florida Keys to Montgomery, Alabama and then, to Tampa.

Dog Liberator Volunteer Writes to AP Reporter Mitch Stacy who covered the transport:

Once I was able to catch the mother Collie from running loose on the tarmac, she settled down nicely for the ride to her foster home in Deltona. She and her pup are doing just fine resting today and will be pampered and loved there by Gisele while their permanent homes are found.

It is the mission of the group of volunteers with The Dog Liberator to foster, rehabilitate and re-home these two Collie’s quickly as has been the case with many. She has an amazing success record in such a short time with dogs that were either surrendered to her or rescued at the 11th hour and transported to her by such wonderful rescuers in Alabama like Rebecca Harshman and Denise Hoyle. I just help transport but it is such a rewading experience I cannot begin to tell you. The Pilots-n-Paws experience was a new one for me.

We will keep you posted as to their re-homing and let you know when and where they are placed. The stories of these Collie’s, like so many others placed by Gisele will be posted on a few different web sites. These will tell you more than I can begin to say.”

We will continue to update this story about the rescue of Princess Lady Di, a beautiful young Rough Collie, and her pup, Goldie Hawn. At this moment, Goldie Hawn will need time to rest, and recover from illnesses. Goldie is emaciated, and until she can get back on her feet, she will not be able to be spayed or available for adoption.

Goldie Hawn, the Collie Girl – Rest in Peace

Goldie Hawn will arrive here on August 29th. She is 4-5 months old and gorgeous! I’m anxious to see her interact with my dogs and my family so that I can evaluate her personality.

Update 09/21/09: I almost lost Goldie this morning. I noticed she was having a hard time breathing, but it was alarming. She has been on antibiodics for a while for Kennel Cough, and last week Doc Wayne changed the medication, and felt she had pnemonia. Even though I did not hear her cough last night, she scared me today. As I was on the way to Doc Wayne in Sanford, knowing it was at least a 20 minute drive, Goldie’s gums turned grey, then white, and she could not breath at all. I turned back and went to a vet that is very close to my home. Within minutes, I was seen.

They informed me that Goldie should undergo testing to identify what is wrong with her, identify the type of infection, undergo a series of xrays, be hospitalized with fluids, and a host of other procedures. While I agreed with the vet, I simply asked for an immediate breathing treatment of oxygen and medications that would open up her airways. They were not interested in treating her immediate problem. I believe they were asking me to approve thousands of dollars worth of expenses, something that I knew could happen, was not prepared to do at that time. At that time, I just wanted her to breath, and not die on me.

After I called a friend to go with me, I waited in the parking lot for him to arrive. At first, I drove and he held Goldie. Then, it happened again, she was going to die, she could not breath. I pulled over and sat in the backseat with Goldie, lifting her up, putting her paws on my shoulder and putting her body in a position where she could breath. Then… it happened again. I screamed outloud that she was going to die. Somehow, I managed to keep her under control. She calmed down, I maintained her body in a vertical position, and when Mike and Doc Wayne saw me pull into their driveway, they ran out and grabbed her from my arms.

Before I could enter the exam room, Doc Wayne had administered a shot, and the Vet Tech was giving Goldie Oxygen with other medications. Then, Goldie did it again, gasping and turning white, I held her over my shoulder while the Vet Tech continued the oxygen. Within an hour, Goldie was resting, she had eaten, she was on IV fluids, and xrays were scheduled after a few more oxygen treatments could take place.

Doc Wayne agreed that all of those medical procedures should be done on Goldie, but only if she survives and only if we can get her breathing again. What good is an xray if the dog dies on you? You give the dog an xray after you make sure she can breath and live to have an xray.

I am not sure if Goldie will stay with Doc Wayne tonight or not, or if she will be able to come home. I will be able to borrow the oxygen and administer it to her if she does come home with me. I appreciate Doc Wayne’s common sense approach. If I would’ve continued, and not turned around, I believe Goldie would’ve died in another block or two in my car. Because I turned around, was not given the emergency treatment I needed for Goldie to breath, and waited for a friend to help me, she made it.

Close… too too close.

10/06/09 Update:

Collie Pup, Goldie Hawn Travels to the Rainbow Bridge:

It is with deep regret and sorrow that I inform you that Goldie Hawn lost her life-long battle today at 12:20.

The entire morning is a blur to me, but around 2:00 AM I received a phone call advising me that fluid was being removed from the chest cavity, followed by a 3:00 AM phone call indicating that her lungs had collapsed, and I gave permission to insert a breathing tube. At 4:30 AM her heart stopped, and they successfully resituated her, however, permanent brain damage was suspected.

I held her in my arms, and talked to her, until she died, but I’m not sure if she was fully aware that I was there. She was slipping into a coma.

They have requested that I allow an autopsy to identify why. Two teams of doctors, six weeks of unanswered questions, and still no one knows why. The lungs were suspected, then ruled out, and the trachea was suspected, and ruled out, the esophagus was suspected, and ruled out.

When I spoke to Holly Ryerson this afternoon, she comforted me by saying that Goldie experienced a wonderful life here with us during her last six weeks on this earth. She slept in my bed every night (until the pneumonia prevented that), she had a few days of wonderful puppy play, and was happy to greet everyone. Her two favorite things was sleeping with her head on my tummy, and lying on the grass in the full sun. Without people who can foster and rescue, Goldie may have passed away on a cold cement floor, never having the chance to experience joy.

I miss her terribly, and her loss has greatly reduced my enthusiasm for rescue. Hopefully, this will pass.

I named her Goldie Hawn before her transport with Pilots N Paws, because I thought she would be a mischievous and comical pup. This was not the case. Instead, she was quiet and weak. No matter what we did, it was always 2 steps forward and 3 steps back.

Last night we were preparing to take her to the teaching hospital in Gainesville. We were excited.

I have received donations, and I want to thank you. We are still in the process of totaling all of the bills and I will post this information on this blog when it’s available.

I don’t regret the expenses incurred for giving Goldie a chance. She deserved to be supported by a group of loving people who cared enough about her to give her a chance. Considering how horrible her first few months of life were, she sure had a great team behind her during the last few months.

Again, thank you.

Gisele Veilleux


Update 10/12/09: The day after Goldie passed away, the L.A. Times reported a new strain of influenza that mimics kennel cough. I wish I could’ve and would’ve done more for her.

L.A. Times Article

How You Can Help by Volunteering


Count the ways you can get involved and volunteer!

Identify and create low-cost spay/neuter programs for your community.

Foster the dog of your choice, even if it’s one at a time, you’re still saving a life.

Personally volunteer at a shelter, pound, or for a rescuer.

Collect used blankets and towels for shelters.

Cruise websites like Craig’s list and Freecycle for affordable used crates for your favorite rescuer.

Scout garage sales for dog-related items, like used crates.

Offer to be a adoption screener, and screen adoption applications.

Offer to conduct home-visits before and after adoptions.

Offer to become a volunteer transporter for your favorite rescuer. This is a huge help that is desperately needed.

Offer to groom dogs for your favorite rescuer, especially before adoption day!

Offer to answer the phones, one day a week, or one hour a day. Everything helps.

If you’re a great organizer, offer to organize a special event, like an adopt-a-thon.

Offer to pick up dogs and drive them to and from the vet or spay/neuter clinic for your favorite rescuer.

Design innovative fundraising ideas.

Support your favorite shelter, pound or rescuer on your Facebook page.

Sponsor a dog that’s on a Pet finding website on your Facebook page.

More TDL Articles

National list of No-Kill Shelters


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