Tuesday, June 28, 2011

two new barn dogs - two heroes

Nearly every dog who comes to us seems to have one or more people in their very recent past who went out of their way to stop their suffering and help them to safety. The barn has hosted a number of dogs attached to just these kinds of heroes. Right now, we're celebrating the fast work of these two ladies: Alicia Pato and Rebecca Yuen.

You may have read about Officer Pato on our facebook page. She brought this puppy in to Antioch Animal Services when he was at death's door then refused to accept a veterinarian's warning that he would likely be dead in the morning. Cold to the touch and unable to lift his head or walk, she kept him going on tiny rations of food and fluids round the clock until the life returned to his dried up shell of a body. It doesn't seem to get much worse that this (photo below) - but don't let yourself get too focused on how bad he looked. That's done.

Instead, look at that brilliantly alert spirit he's broadcasting in the photo above. That's the dog Alicia refused to let go of. Once named Brutus, he's been re-named Mr. Jiggs - or Jiggy for short. He's doing fine, by the way, getting acquainted with barn life and sorting out new games with the girl below. He's a tiny fellow, full of excitable puppy energy. It's going to be a lot of fun having him in our circles.

Mr. Jiggs, Before:

Little Lulu, Before:

The little girl pictured above has an Oakland teenager to thank for saving her life. We learned through an email that Rebecca Yuen has a reputation for helping animals at Skyline High School. When she was asked to take in this stray that wandered on campus, she correctly inventoried the fresh wounds and skin condition and knew the news wasn't good. Experience had shown her that her poor health would likely cost her her life at the local shelter. So she wrote this email that got our attention:

A little voice that needs to be heard.

Hi Donna or Whom it May Concern,
My name is Rebecca and I am 19 years old who can't afford to take in a pocket pittie I found today today at Skyline High School in Oakland, California where teachers spent some time trying to catch her at 5am. They succeeded and was able to keep her in an enclosed area, and that's when my sister who is a student there called me knowing I am a pit bull lover. She looks like she is about a year old, and she is not in good condition. She has an infected right eye, her right ear is all dried and scabby, and she has patches of missing hair through out her body, looks like mange. She also has a few fresh sores on her paws and what not. I do NOT want to take her to Oakland Animal Services, because last time I found a pit bull she got put down. I even took her into my home for a night, fed her, bathe her, and they still put her down so I am scared with what may happen to this little girl. I cannot keep her as I have three dogs of my own, I called rescues who will not take her because they all told me to take her to OAS, and you guys are my last hope even though I know you guys have a bunch of pit bulls of your own to care for. Please, please, please -- I am desperate for help. She is the sweetest little girl and if you guys can't take her in she will have to go to OAS.

Rebecca Yuen

We weren't sure if "the little voice that needs to be heard" belonged to Rebecca or the dog. Maybe both.

Fate sent us another email the same week we heard from Rebecca. This one came from an acquaintance who was offering her home to a new dog -- preferably a small young adult female. Bingo! That kind of luck can't be ignored, so fast forward to today and 'Little Lulu' is now safe in the barn. Her stray hold is up and her wounds and skin are healing nicely (right), and we're happy to say she's a week away from moving to foster care.

While she waits, she and Jiggy are doing what young dogs do best: romping, rolling, wrestling, and generally reminding all of us that they have a whole lotta life to live. With many thanks to Officer Pato, to the teachers of Skyline High and to Rebecca for your brave, determined hearts.

UPDATE: Happy News! Lulu is now named 'Ivie Lu' and is living the good life with her new family. Photos here.


  1. Great job to both women! I must say as a parent to a 20-year old, I am so impressed by Rebecca! It's young people like her that give me renewed hope in the world.

  2. These kinds of storie are why I love (and sometimes hate) reading the blog. The before pics just tear me up, but it makes me happy to know there ARE people out there who care about these poor misused animals (and MY pittie loves when I read these - she always gets some extra lovin'/play after). Thank you Rebecca, Officer Pato, the Skyline High teachers who found poor Lulu, and of course BADRAP!

  3. Wow! what a turn around for both beautiful pups! Again, your work continues to inspire, daily! :)
    ~Shannon P

  4. Amazing stories. A hearty thanks to these women and the many other folks devoted to saving animals in need! - Emily

  5. Outstanding! Two wonderful young women and to beautiful dogs! Makes my day! I better get my goodie box in the mail fast!

  6. I never cease to be surprised by how many vets give up almost immediately on severely malnourished dogs without even trying. Thanks to Officer Pato's dedication to her job, this little creature survived. That's not high-tech medicine, that's just basic care and concern.

    And to Rebecca, thanks for taking the time to send out a letter that saved an abandoned pittie's life. You are the future generation for these creatures.

  7. Justine - Saratoga Springs NYJuly 15, 2011 at 5:45 AM

    Heartfelt thanks all the way from here on the East Coast for stepping up for Little Lulu! Know that your efforts continue to inspire others and do make a difference. While Rescue efforts can often make us feel overwhelmed because its like emptying the Ocean with a teaspoon, it remains action in the right direction. Huge thanks to Rebecca's efforts, BadRap who responded & all those people who facilitated in between!

  8. Thanks for the note Justine. The teaspoon seems much bigger when I remember that it's the dogs that are trying to change the condition of people rather than the other way around. :-)

  9. What great stories and great work! Dogs (just like people) will blossom with love, compassion and great care!


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