Desert Animal Companions of the Navajo Nation

Blackhat Humane: August Progress Report

Dogs take wing! (continued)

The four dogs took wing and began their flight to New Jersey. They spent the first night in Denver. On the second day of the trip, there was a huge blackout in the Midwest and on the East Coast, the largest blackout the U.S. had ever seen! Instead of flying to Ohio, the pilots diverted to Ft. Wayne, Indiana, arriving late at night with the four dogs.

Plane landing
Finally on the third evening, they landed at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey.

Chris Taylor, Director of RBARI, Louise and Vince Rooney, and Patricia Klemick were there to greet and welcome the pilots and dogs from RBARI. Joseph Banaghan, Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter Program Manager, and Chris Begbie were there to greet the dogs from Mt. Pleasant. Thanks also to Nick D'Amico for his invaluable help, and Alison and Jeff Lynch, Castle-of-Dreams Animal Rescue, for contributing their video expertise.

What a relief it was to finally have the dogs on the ground and on the East Coast! How great it was to see them run around, and how sweet they were. Seeing Cheyenne's toys in a little bag sent by her foster Mom brought tears to Patricia's eyes. It was obvious these animals were loved. There was even a crew from Cablevision to interview everyone for a future documentary. What a success!

Mac and Patricia
Mac and Patricia, on the tarmac.

Sky Ark Plane
Sky Ark plane.

In coordinating the meet at Teterboro, Patricia learned of a working dog, Turbo, who clears the runway of birds. She got to meet Turbo that night.

Cheyenne at RBARI shelter.

Yes you can rub my belly.

Kisses at RBARI
Kisses at RBARI.

Kisses at RBARI
(Photos courtesy of Patricia Klemick.)

Mac with Joseph
Mac and Joseph at Mt. Pleasant.

Mac at Mt. Pleasant
Mac at Mt. Pleasant.
(Photos courtesy of Joseph Banaghan.)

Cheyenne and Kisses, who were both adopted within their first week in New Jersey, are now "Jersey Girl Neighbors," having been adopted by two families that live right next door to one another! Sophie and Mac, who went to Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter, were also adopted to good family homes within one week of being put up for adoption. Thank you to the families who have opened their hearts and homes, and strengthened the ties between New Jersey and the arid lands out West.

Read an article published August 27, 2003, in the Mahwah Suburban News about this rescue effort, entitled Strays won't go to the dogs, by Melissa Meisel. (requires Acrobat.)

Patricia Klemick, who basically set this whole thing in motion and was involved throughout, is now undergoing rez dog withdrawal. We suspect her dreams are full of Heelers, Aussie Shepherds, Border Collies, and dogs with two differently colored eyes. She may find herself back on the rez before she knows it.

It felt like a miracle. Not only the dogs getting to fly to New Jersey, but also the experience of the humans all pulling together on behalf of the animals. Many of us had never met face to face, yet we profoundly braided each of our strands of help, relying on each other. The animals got our attention, and fueled our sense of mission. Tamara in St. Johns, and Patricia in New Jersey, Jean in Kanab, UT, Mickey up in Colorado, Rose in Santa Cruz, CA, and those are just the hubs. There are all these other people, like the foster tribe, Patricia's shelter network, the wonderful people down in Phoenix we have been relying on, etc. It's pretty amazing, and feels like a miracle.

So... we thought we were rescuing the dogs. But, perhaps they are helping us, too.

There are definite highs and lows. Working with rez dogs means dealing with suffering and heartbreak, diseases, tough decisions, and many crises. It also means the satisfaction that comes with saving lives, changing the fortunes of animals who might not have a chance otherwise. One may get a chance to witness the profound transformation of animals moving from pain, fear, and confusion, to trust, loyalty, and joy. Getting to participate in that transformation is a privilege.

Watch out!

If you happen to be traveling through the rez, and hear the call of the dogs.... watch out!! Your life could be profoundly altered.

Desert Animal Companions wishes to extend a very big thanks to all of the groups and individuals who are pitching in for this effort to help the animals. It will take all of us to make a difference.

While every effort has been made to insure reliable and accurate information, any errors or omissions are the sole responsibility of the webmaster, Rose Z. Moonwater.