The Dog Liberator™

The Dog Liberator rescues abandoned dogs throughout the Southeast. Based in Central Florida, this non-profit organization fosters all of their dogs in a home environment. Founded in 2009, all dogs are fully vetted, spayed or neutered prior to adoption. The Dog Liberator focuses in rescuing the herding breed, which consists of Border Collies, Shepherds, Sheepdogs, Aussies, Collies, and Deaf/Blind Dogs.

Lady Di Revisted

Lady Di Revisted
Goldie Hawn at the Shelter
Goldie Hawn at the Shelter

Four years ago today, Lady Di and Goldie Hawn were flown to TDL via Pilots-n-Paws.  I had only been in rescue for a few months, and what I learned from these two gorgeous collies I have carried with me.  I never realized that a dog that I rescued could die.  It just wasn’t something that I was prepared for.

Goldie Hawn

I didn’t have a specific vet at the time, and not knowing what to do, Goldie Hawn visited vets almost every other day.  One vet was closed on Wednesdays, one vet was closed on Mondays, and every vet had their opinion on how to treat.

Goldie would stay at a vet for a few days, and then come back home to me… only to get worse and repeat the journey.

Professional shelter folks from the outside knew that Goldie wasn’t going to make it, but I didn’t.  They watched as I tried everything to keep her alive, knowing I was not going to win.  It wouldn’t have mattered if I knew that I was up against the impossible, I would’ve still fought for her.

Lady Di 2010
Lady Di 2010

While I remained in a state of panic, trying desperately to get Goldie back on her feet, Lady Di took a back seat.  She too was just a pup.  At the time of her rescue, we assumed Lady Di and Goldie were mother and daughter.  But now that I look back, and realize how small Di was at the time, she must have only been six months old which means it was impossible for Goldie to be her pup.

I wonder sometimes if I had Goldie today, if she would’ve made it.  Knowing what I know about how to treat kennel cough, and pneumonia, would things have been different.  Obviously, our success rate, Bartholomew and Meredith, are two examples that would indicate that Goldie might have had a better chance if I were to rescue her today.  But maybe Goldie’s declining health was due to a genetic problem that couldn’t be seen, therefore couldn’t be diagnosed, and couldn’t be fixed.

Today I realize that you can only put so much responsibility on the shoulders of your veterinarian.  When your dog is sick, you have to be the Mom, and do what Mom’s do.  Medicine doesn’t cure everything.  Homemade stew, de-worming, and using the right medicine at the right time is paramount to bringing a dog back.

Princess Lady Di

I had promised a TDL volunteer that he could adopt Lady Di, but he never did.  After Goldie Hawn died, I decided to keep Di.  I only had Ozzie at the time, and I had always owned two dogs.  Even though I decided she would be part of my new pack, I never really bonded with Di.  I guess I was overwhelmed with not only grief, but utter failure.  Lady Di was a constant reminder that I had failed Goldie.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved Di, but there was a part of me that wouldn’t allow her into my heart.

Lady Di 2011
Lady Di 2011

Two years went by, and a friend who was visiting noticed how often Di would come to me wanting affection and attention, and he mentioned that it appeared that I wasn’t accepting her as my dog.

Di Di was always coming to me as if she was saying, “Pick me!  I’m your dog, pay attention to me, I want to be yours, give me your heart!”

That was a major ah ha moment for me, and I realized that I had to forgive myself and move on.  I looked at Di differently after that day, and she felt it!

I know now how people feel when they say to me that they are not ready to adopt.  Their heart is broken and they haven’t let go, and won’t give themselves permission to love again.  I’m confident that if someone feels that way, eventually, their new adopted dog will slowly work their way into their hearts and help them overcome their grief.

Lady Di 2012
Lady Di 2012

But you can’t lie to a dog.  They know.  They know the exact moment that you fall in love with them.

I see this a lot when a wife wants to adopt a dog, but the husband doesn’t have a say in the decisions, or a husband adopts a dog without the wife’s input.  It sometimes ends in disaster, unless of course, the dog wins over the disinterested person like Lady Di won me over.

Today, Di Di truly is my dog and she is amazing.  She is the alpha of the pack, she corrects the new foster dogs, she tells me if a dog is not balanced, she teaches new dogs to submit before allowing them into the pack.  Much like me, puppies annoy Lady Di, but eventually, she warms up to them.

Lady Di and China 2013
Lady Di and China 2013

For a while, two years ago, Di Di and China battled over Alpha position.  Being smart, China gave it up, and instead she follows Lady Di’s lead.  They are truly partners!

Today, Di Di is loved by many, and much like my Reckless who passed away in 2009, Di loves all people.  She is a horrible watch dog, and would invite anyone inside to sit and chat with her!

I don’t know how to thank this gorgeous girl for doing what she does for my family, for our pack, and for all of the foster dogs that she comes in contact with.  She is truly an amazing gift! She’s my Alabama girl!


Flash Back to 2009

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