Parker County Today September 2017 - Page 64

our pets: SAVED BY THE VOLUNTEERS Haller’s Lucky Dogs: Local woman leads the charge to save urgent-list canines BY MEL W RHODES S 62 ometimes, when things come down to the wire, all that stands between destruction and reprieve is selfless intervention. A pack of lucky dogs on the urgent list at Weatherford/Parker County Animal Shelter recently escaped death because volunteer Deborah Haller rolled up her sleeves, and worked tirelessly to get them out. The 40 to 70-pound pooches, various mixed breeds, were picked up Thursday, Aug. 10, the culmination of an inter- vention that began July 29.  “These dogs had to be out imme- diately,” said Haller. “We were so full that we had no space left, and we had a bunch of dogs, really nice dogs, that hadn’t been adopted out. And I had an hour to find a place for them.” Haller posted photos of the dogs and via Facebook connected with a Pennsylvania woman, Alana Hoffmeier, who is awaiting non-profit status for her rescue operation, and wanted to pull the animals before E-Day (Euthanization Day). Hoffmeier decided to adopt the dogs outright, said Haller, paying for all the associ- ated costs. But this interstate rescue was not as simple as it might sound. “Because we didn’t know her, and it was her first time to do it through our shelter, the shelter manager had to limit her as to how many dogs she could take,” Haller explained. “So we had to go through another rescue group, and use their nonprofit status. So she adopted eight of the dogs, and two she pulled as rescue animals, through another rescue group.” As the rescue mission played out, Hoffmeier was busy finding the canines homes. But, because she was a one-person rescue operation and in Pennsylvania, she did not have anyone local to collect the dogs and put them in foster homes or with boarders until she could come for them. They had to be out of the shel- ter. “I had to figure out a place for every dog to go to here locally until she got a transport van or truck to come pick them up and take them to Pennsylvania,” said Haller.  This meant Haller had to take each dog to the vet for a health certificate and vaccinations they needed to travel to the Northeast. Three of the dogs tested heart worm positive and medica- tion had to be administered before they could travel across state lines. Ultimately, she found two foster homes and boarded the rest between three kennels. She said Ring Leaders Kennels was especially helpful — “phenomenal.” “I have six dogs,” Haller said, “so I couldn’t keep them myself. Actually, I had one dog at home for an hour, and my husband was getting pretty nervous that the dog might not leave.” Another shelter volunteer, Kristi Tilghman, drove one of the dogs, Sly, to an adopter in Kentucky. At length, after much effort and nail-biting, and even pickup time Deborah Haller setbacks, the dogs, six of the seven transported being pit-bull mixes, were collected at Holland Lake Park and carried away to the Quaker State and new lives. One animal, Peyton, stayed behind, having been adopted locally, and a vet deemed another too elderly to travel and recommend- ed euthanization.  “I had a lot of sleepless nights worrying about this,” Haller admit- ted. “This is normally something that a rescue group takes care of them- selves.” Haller coordinated the opera- tion and five other volunteers assisted her in various capacities. Asked why she went to such lengths for these ownerless animals, Haller said, “I have a tremendous love of dogs. I feel like they are