(Host) Commentator and socially responsible Burlington business man Bram
Kleppner recently learned that there’s a lot more to any new mutt in
the neighborhood than meets the eye.
(Kleppner) I took my dog
for a walk in Burlington the other day, and along the way we met four
other people out with their dogs. I don’t know what breed my dog is, and
I was surprised to learn that three of the four people we met didn’t
know what breed their dogs were either.
Ditto the two dogs that now inhabit the back yard of our new neighbors. Ditto two of the dogs at the dog park last Saturday .
Like our new puppy, all these dogs of unknown breed were rescues.
many years, the only time I heard the word "rescue" applied to dogs was
with greyhounds that were being rescued from the racetrack.
there are rescue dogs of all sorts all over Vermont , some rescued from
abusive homes, some from illegal dog fighting operations, some from
natural disasters like Irene and Sandy, and some from being euthanized
It’s great that there are so many dog lovers who
are willing to open their homes to dogs of unknown origin and unknown
levels of emotional and physical trauma, but even more impressive is the
story of all the good people behind those adoptions, who actually
rescue the dogs.
A vast network of rescuers, rescue services, and foster families connects these animals to their new homes.
volunteers keep an eye on the kill lists at shelters across the East
Coast. Whenever they can, if a dog is slated for destruction, a
volunteer jumps in his or her car, drives to wherever the dog is, and
brings it back to Vermont .
In the case of our pup, the rescuer
drove 17 hours to a shelter in South Carolina to save her from being put
down – then turned around and drove right back.
I’ve also heard
of a rescue group here that runs a rescue bus on long sweeping trips
through the South, picking up dogs along the way until it’s full, before
returning to Vermont .
Once a dog is rescued, it goes to a
foster home, with foster parents willing to open their home to a needy
dog, potentially fall in love with it, and then a few weeks later say
goodbye and move it on to a permanent home, making room again in their
own home and heart, for the next dog that needs fostering.
network of shelters, rescuers, foster homes and adoptive homes is like
an Underground Railroad for dogs. Vermonters can be proud of the fact
that our neighbors work hard to keep this train running. And
notwithstanding the fact that our puppy has chewed her way through a few
pairs of our shoes, it’s a very worth while effort.