It was one of those unseasonably hot spring days when I loaded up the Oregon Humane Society van with enough kennels and supplies to make a big rescue.
My name is Perla Ceh-CoCom and I work in the OHS Admissions department as part of our Second Chance team. My job allows me to be a part of many animal rescues and often, I am the first-person animals get to meet, but this rescue felt a little different, even from the start.
In Modesto California, 150 dogs, mostly French Bulldogs, were discovered living in tight, too small cages– in their own waste and in need of medical attention. The dogs were found during a domestic violence investigation and were likely a part of a puppy mill ring, bred and stored like merchandise without proper care or attention.
While the shelter in Modesto did what they could, 150 was a lot, more than they could adequately take on, so they asked OHS to step in and help. Thanks to the support of our OHS donors we were able to move quickly to make this rescue happen.
Once the kennels were strategically placed in the van, stacked floor to ceiling in order to fit, and filled with supplies like cozy blankets, cooling packs and fresh water, all thanks to the generosity of our donors, I hit the road. The 10-hour long journey would be the last hurdle these tired, worn-out dogs would have to endure, and it was my job to make sure that we made it safely back.
Luckily, the first leg of the journey went without a hitch, and I arrived at the shelter in Modesto where I finally got to meet our 42 new pets.
All the dogs were exhausted. Though they had been taken out of their previous living conditions, there was still a lot of work to be done to get them the help they needed. Each dog would have to be assessed by our admissions team, a plan for care established and of course, lots of rest, before they would be ready to be adopted.
I made sure all the dogs were comfortable, slid the van door shut and got ready to drive Chartres and the other 41 dogs back to Oregon. As each mile marker passed, I took a deep relaxing breath, we were edging closer and closer to their new beginning.
Even after living in dangerous conditions, without ever knowing affection from humans, there was nothing but love and hope in those big brown eyes. I knew that once she had time to heal there was a special new family in store for this girl.
It turns out that Chartres was swollen due to severe skin allergies that had gone untreated–a bath with medicated shampoo and a healthy diet would help her body heal. But there was another discovery, Chartres was almost entirely deaf. It was hard to tell for sure, but our medical staff suspect she may have been born deaf. Perhaps that is why her eyes were so expressive, desperately trying to tell us everything we needed to know.
Second chance rescues drastically change lives and bring people and pets together, it is what I love most about taking part in them.
The ability to rescue animals from extremely unhabitable situations is one of the ways we get to live our mission of creating a more humane society. There is so much that goes in to making rescues possible–supplies, resources, and transportation, all available to us thanks to our incredible supportive community. There are more pets out there, just like Chartres, waiting to make their journey to a new home, please give today and become a superhero to pets in need!