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Then Sheba -- her new name after she went to live with Bear and their daddy Dave in the southern Sierras?  

Cosette, June 04, 2011, San Pedro Harbor Animal Shelter (left).  Sheba, early October 2011 (right).

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And Remember Abbey and Dinozo -- the two chihuahuas who flew with Gunner and Cain from New Orleans back to Bakersfield?
Well, miracles never cease.  Abbey and Dinozo had lost their home and were headed back to the rescue in Bakersfield whence they had come two years ago.  We couldn't bear that -- and nor could Bear or Sheba or his daddy Dave.  Now, no promises here, but for the time being, Abbey and Dinozo aren't in any shelter.  They're at home with Bear and Sheba, and having the time of their lives.


Now Bear and Sheba have become quite a bonded couple.  But who would have guessed that Sheba -- Cosette -- had such maternal instincts?  We didn't even think to wonder.  But check out these photos of the happiest family ever! Bear adores his Sheba, and Sheba is glowing more than ever now, from the love of Bear and her enjoyment of the new kids!

Wonders never cease.  And Love never fails.  Enjoy these photos, and read the rest of the saga of Sheba below, from her start with us in early June as one of the most pathetic cases we have ever rescued. Against all odds, all medical and professional predictions and diagnoses, and all advice we received, and with the help of some huge hearts along the way including Christy her first foster and especially her ultimate adopter Dave, Cosette became Sheba and the healthy, strong, happy canine she was meant to be.  With a great home, a great love, and even some foster kids of her own!  Thanks everyone. Our eyes fill with tears of joy every time we look back at all the photos and then look at these.




THIS update on Sheba-Cosette is one our happiest ever!  She is doing phenomenally well! Even with all our love and optimism, we would not have dared to predict this kind of improvement with her.  She is hiking now with her brother Bear and human daddy Dave, regularly, happily, superbly, all over the southern Sierras.  Her arthritis has diminished and is kept in check with just baby aspirin.  She has been "wolfing" down her organic grass-fed raw diet with absolutely no junk food or empty calories, and she sleeps like an angel with that huge doting Bear ever near her.  Wait til you see these photos!  Almost enough to put US on that diet -- but not quite, not yet, please... (:-))  Here's a gallery of photos from August 2011.  We may have a few more, as WE get to babysit Sheba and Bear in September while Dave is on travel out of the country!  A hard act to follow, but we expect we'll learn a lot.  


(See previousUPDATES 2011 Jul 3, and Jun 26-27 below!  And more update photos Jul 16!

Her saga continues:  Help was needed, quickly -- and help was found!)
Additional updates are posted on On Wings Of Care's Facebook page here

2011 June 16

This rescue tells like a fairy tale.  The saddest life, almost an entire lifetime without love or care til old age set in.  But sweetness remained, and the hope and resilience of a heart meant for a life with peace and love.  And the humans who would give that life to her seemed to appear out of thin air.  Rescue work is a lot of work, but make no mistake -- the Universe is working too.


Thursday Jun 02:  On Wings Of Care first received an urgent email showing this photo of an emaciated, frightened, apparently very arthritic (at best) yellow female german shepherd.  She had been picked up in the Watts area of Los Angeles several weeks previous, and the folks at San Pedro's Harbor Animal Shelter had kept her alive hoping that some rescue might save her before they had to euthanize her.  And now her time was up.

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Friday Jun 03:  Our first visit.  The two-hour drive gave lots of time to think about what we might be able to do with her, since our time was limited, with a deadline to return to the Gulf by Jun 14 to help search for whale sharks.  We've seen what love and good nutrition and supportive rest could accomplish in a very short time, and we also knew that sometimes the universe has a way of putting the right humans together with the right animals at just the right time.  So we didn't let the nagging doubts and negatives stop us.

But what I saw energized me more than I had dreamed.   (See below for rest of this orginal story.)

(See Update Jul 16 below!)

UPDATE Jul 3 Sunday

Cosette is doing GREAT!  
She is currently also being called "Sheba" -- short for "She-Bear" since she is now living under the loving and protective attention of a four-year-old long-haired German Shepherd named "Bear" and his daddy Dave, and their two cats "Buddy" and "Phire."
She goes almost everywhere with Dave and Bear, in the car and out.  They don't walk long distances, as she's not up to that.  But they go to beautiful places, and she is loved and comfortable everywhere, with the finest of cushioned beds, lovely music, and all the fawning attention of Bear and Dave and their many friends.  
She has no 'bathroom accidents' at all.  She has learned to follow what Bear does, and she and Bear stay close to Dave and his friends, even all night.  She has a real family, a real pack now.  And it is making a huge difference for her. 

Dave has been working with her a lot.  She wags her tail often and waits eagerly for his expert loving massages.  Bear seems to understand that she needs this extra attention, and he's happy to sit by and watch, evidently quite happy to have the canine company and perhaps to have a friend of his own who needs him.  Amazing how dogs understand things!  We humans could learn so much that we do not yet understand.   

Thank you Dave and Bear, for giving Cosette - Sheba -- this home and sanctuary.  And thank you Christy for starting her off on this road to real recovery.  In a few weeks when Dave is making one of his regular visits to southern California, we'll meet up and bring her for a visit to some of her friends.  For now, she is living a routine of love and comfort and real family in the beautiful southern Sierras.   It was a long time coming, lovely Lady Cosette.  We are so glad that you never gave up, and that we found you just in time!  

The latest photos are at the top of the photo gallery below!  Here are just a few to warm your heart.

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First, here are a few more photos taken of Cosette --  or now Sheba -- taken this past week (Jul 01) with her new family Dave, Bear, Phire and Buddy.  After this short gallery, read her saga and see the past photos!  And thanks again to the many, many people who helped this lovely dog back to life.

Cosette -- I mean Sheba! -- is putting on weight, wagging her tail a lot, using her dog door to come and go as she pleases (always following or followed by her large canine pal and escort "Bear"), and getting stronger and happier every day.  When Bear and his dad Dave leave the house to go on their vigorous long hikes or kayak adventures, Sheba-Cosette walks them to the gate to say good-bye, then contentedly returns to one of her luxurious beds on the front porch or in the house to snooze until they return.  This beautiful old gal just never loses her poise, and for all she has been through, she has maintained such an even keel, it's as though she just understands everything that is going on!  Enjoy these photos of her taken this past week!

And one more thing!  We forgot to tell you all that Bear, Sheba-Cosette's new pal and canine bodyguard, was also an On Wings Of Care rescue dog!  See his story here!   

(No longer URGENT) UPDATE Jun 27 Monday

WE FOUND HELP!  Cosette is back on her way to joy, with a big smile and a big happy Bear by her side!   See story and new photos below!***

Thanks to all of you who responded so quickly.
With 48 hours to go, we found even better than the ideal, peaceful foster we were looking for! 

When Dave, a longstanding On Wings Of Care volunteer and animal-lover, offered to stop by and stay with Cosette for a few hours so that I could head to town and take care of some errands, he also wanted to meet her in order to help find her a foster or a permanent home. Dave has a three-year-old large long-haired german shepherd ("Bear"), who has been a loving but giant handful as his big body grew faster than his maturity.  We planned to be careful so that Bear didn't overwhelm fragile little Cosette.  Lesson number one! This lovely lady commands respect and can put rowdy suitors in line in a hurry!  One serious look from her and that 140-lb lummox returned gently to her nose begging forgiveness.  And so the friendship began. Dave is still shaking his head in amazement.  All the training tricks and devices, all the firm commands, none of it could quite teach Bear that jumping up on people in adoration was not the way to win friends.  But Cosette taught him all that and more inside of about 15 minutes.  He became the sterling citizen, and she the smiling queen.  Whoddathunk???

So Dave offered to foster her himself.  He and Bear and their two rescue cats Buddy and Phire live in a lovely place (with no stairs!) with a large wonderland of a yard (and no obstacles!) up in Kernville, CA.  I could just see her in heaven walking around smelling all the wildflowers and shrubs in his yard, napping under the fruit trees, and  ambling back onto the porch and into the house at will to drink water or eat.  Since she acts more like a cat than a dog anyway, this sounds like a perfect living arrangement.  And with a doting huge Bear dog to keep her company!  Dave is also a massage therapist, and he had Cosette in hypnotized heaven inside of about 10 minutes when he lay with her on the floor and did what he described with some technical words I don't remember, but it convinced me that he already knew more about her ribs and muscles and tendons and other things than the vet did with all his x-rays!  

When he asked if he could call her something besides "Cosette", I said "Sure, whatever you and Bear want to call her."  Are you ready for this?  "SHEBA" -- short for "She-Bear"!  Hey, seemed like a keeper to me.  She certainly holds her head high like a Queen, and she sure has commanded the respect and devotion of her Bear.  So Sheba Cosette it is for now.   And stay tuned for later.   I have kind of a hunch... but we'll see.  One thing is for sure -- when Dave leaves for Japan for six weeks in early fall, I think I'll get to dog-sit both of them for a while!  And since they both absolutely love riding in the car, we'll make a point to go visit Christy, so that Sheba Cosette will know what Bear already believes with all his heart -- that human beings are the most wonderful things on the planet for dogs, and that once they love you, they always love you.

Whew, this rescue really tested my faith in the Universe.  Maybe we shouldn't resist changes so much; maybe they bring gifts that are needed, to all.   

*** Enjoy these photos, taken yesterday and then today and as Sheba-Cosette, Bear, and Dave drove off to her new home in Kernville!
The ones at the top (except the first, where we hiked out of the San Gabriel mountains this afternoon) were taken this evening, Monday Jun 27.  See her new home in the southern Sierra.  And Bear sneaks a kiss!  :--)))



URGENT UPDATE 2011 Jun 26 Sunday

To Friends of Cosette!

Cosette has had a wonderful home since we delivered her to Christy's home and family nearly two weeks ago.  She has put on some weight, rested well, and been loved and tended.  They bought her an orthopedic bed and tasty treats and other accessories and helpful items.  They gave her freedom, security, comfort, space, and affection.  She has come a long ways in many ways.  This was almost her forever home.  But now not!  Events have conspired to give her a bit more time and 'training' to perfect that very special canine art of understanding and trusting humans.  And for the short term, that means she urgently needs a caring foster home until early August, if we cannot find the perfect forever home for her!  Please read below and respond if you can help in any way, even with suggestions or networking!  

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(The two photos above photos were taken Sunday 20110626, in the San Gabriel mountains north of Altadena, CA.  Not the luxurious house and yard she shared with Christy and family, but surrounded by nature and its beautiful sounds, and all our love!  BUT we are only here for one more day!  Cosette needs a foster home urgently, as we can't take her with us to work out of state and our current deadline for departure from California is Tuesday morning June 28!)

Christy contacted me sadly last Thursday to say that because of a few things that have happened, they are concerned that their youngest toddler daughter could be at some risk with Cosette.  I was very concerned and returned from New Orleans Friday to retrieve Cosette.  But my fears were allayed almost instantly when I saw Cosette and spent time with her and the family at their home.  When I heard of what had happened, I was even more relieved.  I am more optimistic for Cosette's future as a happy and wonderful human companion than I ever had been.

While the concern was understandable, Cosette's behavior was even more so.   
She had gotten out of the yard about a week ago when the adults weren't at home.  The babysitter enlisted the help of several workmen in the area to corral Cosette and bring her back in -- yes, you can imagine what kind of memories and fears that must have triggered for her!  As a result, Christy said that Cosette was quite 'touchy' for several days afterward, and she threatened to nip and actually gently nipped some of the adults in the house.  That, plus the fact that Cosette doesn't see or hear well from her right side, contrived to make for a frightening situation one day recently when a man was standing at her back right and their young toddler daughter was between him and Cosette.  Cosette apparently flinched when she noticed his presence and started to present her 'fierce face'.  That is not a sight one can ignore!  Christy said that since then, Cosette has been relaxing and becoming her gentle self again; but her husband understandably lay down the law and requested that Cosette live elsewhere.

I saw how Cosette's eyes followed Christy with love, I saw how comfortably she lay in her luxurious 'orthopedic' bed in their living room, I saw again how gentle their young son was with her, I saw the comfortable nose-to-nose friendship between their cats and Cosette.  I saw all of the special things they had provided for her, how much they had given her that few dogs are given.  I could see what a tremendous blessing this family has been for Cosette, and how fearful Cosette would be to be taken away from them, but I could also see huge potential for more progress with her.  Her sweetness and gentleness are amazing considering the lifelong deprivation and fearful experiences that have caused this gentle spirit to become so insular.  At times of fear, she reminds me of an autistic child.  At times of peace, she is an angel incarnate.  At times of joy -- and yes, there are those for her now! -- her entire face opens to a smile that melts my heart.

As for her threatening to nip after that chase experience, and that she would protest by biting the leash, these are reasonable and good signs in my view, for they tell me that her spirit is not completely broken, she wants to live as she should and she still has her dignity. She does not want to bite anyone, that is clear, because if she did, she just would! She just reached a point in her life where she preferred to die than to ever again put up with abuse.  Well, I say "Bravo!" to that!  Now she has to learn how to recognize kindness and then to expect it.  And to give affection back. She will learn all of this, and more.

As we drove off, her eyes were focused on Christy and her son so longingly that we were all choking back the tears.  Once we were off and driving, she clearly remembered the car and perhaps also the happy times in it, even the same music that was playing the last time she was with me (I think Cosette now likes the Whalin' Jennys!).  She finally started to smile a little as she sat in the center of the back seat with her paws forward and I put my right paw on hers.  :--))  We went to a friend's yard where we had spent time when I first pulled her from the shelter, walked around and picked some lemons.  She was unsure and did not follow very well without me urging it; I knew she was frightened about what would happen to her next, but at least she was with the only other human in her recent world she felt she could trust.

She came in to Petsmart with me and did surprisingly well despite the slippery floor.  I bought her a gentle choke collar, so that a quick little upward pull could replace a potential tug-of-war with her nylon collar.  And we proceeded to the next challenge -- to get her to my home in the San Gabriel mountains.  It is a long and arduous hike in to my home, especially for an arthritic old gal who has little or no muscular development.  Fortunately, a longtime friend and strong, animal-friendly man was there to help us.   Larry was ready to carry her where necessary, but that didn't prove necessary for long.  Once we got out of the direct sun and to the more-or-less downhill part, she came along on her own -- slowly, but surely.  Larry was superbly patient, stopping to take a break with her several times while I went ahead and took all our gear to the house.  I put down her lovely orthopedic bed and unpacked my groceries and some of the goodies Christy had given me for her, then headed back up the hill to bring water to Cosette and Larry.  I found them taking another break just outside the yard fence, in the shade.  She welcomed the water, and it seemed to revive her, for she then followed us both into the yard and then into the house.

As Larry put it, she 'got her color back' quickly.  She clearly smiled when she found her familiar bed, and she quickly found the dog water and kibble bowls in the kitchen.  We sensed that she approved -- or maybe she was just relieved that we had reached our destination, and it was friendly!

She and I have been having a quiet bonding learning time since then, 24 hours now as I write this update.  The two photos above are of her, one out on the outside porch where we were reading together this morning, the other up in my office a few minutes ago.

As I see it now, this little change was meant to happen. Christy and her family gave Cosette much freedom, respect, and space; they didn't want to 'train' her, only to reassure her.  That is wonderful, but in her case, the freedom and space were also letting her hang on to her fears and automatic responses.

So while she is with me, I am 'training' her by being a constructive pest, insisting that she rest in close proximity to whatever I am doing.  During brief breaks she will get hugs and ear rubs, and I will tell her what we're doing and talk to her as I would a child.  We go outside regularly with her on a leash to do her bathroom business (or not).  If I miss her request and she pees on the kitchen floor  (as has happened twice now; bless her, she does give warning and look for some direction, I'm just not always fast enough to respond), I just quietly clean it up and we go outside to try to do it again, properly.  I leave the choke collar and a soft lightweight lead on her most of the time.  That way, when she comes toward me (as she does whenever she wakes up and doesn't know where I am), she can't back far away when I reciprocate, and we have no chase scene.

The way I see it, dogs are naturally sane, and unlike many people, they WANT to be happy and at ease, and they want to trust.  The more she gets the stuff that dogs love -- simple affection, straight talk, regular outings, good food (all the stuff that we humans really need and love, too), the more those will become her mind's vocabulary and her emotional responses.  The reasons for being afraid don't exist anymore -- the mean people, the scary and harmful situations.  They're gone now.  Period.  She will learn to trust her brain and real-time senses better to discern what is coming toward her, and to decide more intelligently about what is a threat and what is not.  Including  large mirrors -- which panicked  her no end the first night I had her with me, but today when she saw her reflection, she was just slightly curious.  (Thank you Christy, did you give her mirror training?  :--))  )

We had another hugging session again this morning, and this time she actually started to act like she liked it.  We both sat in her bed outside, I was literally body-hugging her while I read my book.  She had to endure kisses to her head and being touched everywhere, ears pulled, legs and toes played with, you name it.  She played aloof until I would stop or get up, and then she'd give me the big eyes -- "Hey, why'd you stop?" This is progress.  Sometimes we just need to be coaxed to admit we like and need what we should like and really do need.  Don't get me wrong,  I'm not saying that all dogs should like being hugged and kissed and all that.  (Nor that I like to kiss and hug all dogs!)  It depends on the dog's nature, their responsibility and role, and the environment.  But all dogs need love and respect.  Cosette needs a fair bit of physical affection from kind humans for a while, until she becomes accustomed to how trustable humans move and act. What she is and really wants will reveal themselves in time.

When I needed to get up and get to work in  my office, I first just left her out on the porch.  Within minutes, she was staring through the doorway up to where I was. But of course when I walked out to her, she started walking back out to the outside porch.  I stepped on the leash and reminded her sweetly that I am the one who decides where we're going in this family, and that I will lead the way.  We went and got her bed and brought it back to my office, with her in tow.  She doesn't like the few steps up to my office, so I just picked her up.  Yes, she started to protest.  I just put my head behind her ears as I picked her up and told her "Cosette, let's get to work.  I'll carry you this time, let's go."  And we did, and now she's smiling again from her bed.

Here are some photos from today of this little prisoner of love.  I will do all I can in the next couple of days for her.  But my job and my other two dogs are back in New Orleans and will be for the next six weeks or so.  I'm not sure that crating her and putting her on two commercial flights to New Orleans would be good for her.  And even if we survived that, in New Orleans she has lots of stairs everywhere we go to contend with.  And she would have to stay with friends there while I'm working and flying.  It's possible that it could work, but I don't know if that's the optimal life situation for this gentle old gal.

Perhaps another foster could continue her education and care for a bit?  Maybe eventually she could even go back to Christy's home?  Or is there another out there who could love her forever?

Will any of you with ideas or the heart and abilities to continue her education please contact me right away?

Many thanks to all hearts who have brought this lovely lady to love and life forevermore.

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2011 June 16

This rescue tells like a fairy tale.  The saddest life, almost an entire lifetime without love or care til old age set in.  But sweetness remained, and the hope and resilience of a heart meant for a life with peace and love.  And the humans who would give that life to her seemed to appear out of thin air.  Rescue work is a lot of work, but make no mistake -- the Universe is working too.

Thursday Jun 02:  On Wings Of Care first received an urgent email showing this photo of an emaciated, frightened, apparently very arthritic (at best) yellow female german shepherd.  She had been picked up in the Watts area of Los Angeles several weeks previous, and the folks at San Pedro's Harbor Animal Shelter had kept her alive hoping that some rescue might save her before they had to euthanize her.  And now her time was up.

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Friday Jun 03: Our first visit.  The two-hour drive gave lots of time to think about what we might be able to do with her, since our time was limited, with a deadline to return to the Gulf by Jun 14 to help search for whale sharks.  We've seen what love and good nutrition and supportive rest could accomplish in a very short time, and we also knew that sometimes the universe has a way of putting the right humans together with the right animals at just the right time.  So we didn't let the nagging doubts and negatives stop us.

But what I saw energized me more than I had dreamed.

This poor gal could not stand up.  Her back right leg went stiff and straight out each time she tried to put any weight on it, and she could not and would not summon the energy to try to walk more than a few steps.  She held her tail tightly and protectively around her rear end, and when a vet tech took advantage of the opportunity of our taking her out of her kennel to inspect that part of her, this weak old gal put on her most fierce face and attempted a growl. That made both vet techs warn us that if she bites anyone, that's it for her; and I overheard one of them ask the volunteer who was helping us why we didn't rescue one of the other 'great dogs' instead of this one who had so many 'issues.'  I told the volunteer, who later introduced me to those other great dogs (and they ARE great!), that we usually answer the calls only for the ones that nobody else wants.  We'll spread the word for Jake and Sparky and those other great dogs because they are ready to be wonderful dogs right now for someone; but we were there to help this one whose chances had run out.

The kind volunteer (Vicki) who helped us was very excited that a rescue was coming to pull her, and she told me that she had just that morning given her a name:  "Cosette".  She chose that lovely name very carefully, because she wanted this poor dog to have a beautiful and special name.  (You can read more of the daily updates on our Facebook page here.)

To make a long story short, Vicki and I half-dragged and half-carried Cosette out to the sunshine.  We didn't make it to the grass but did get to some plants and dirt, where Cosette immediately peed and pooped as if she had not done either for a long while.  Hmm, the sweetheart has good bathroom manners!  The poor dear sat among those trees and plant gazing around with a look on her face that started to melt into a smile, as she sniffed and stared and made sure she was safely backed into the tree and corner.  The change in her demeanor within 20 minutes was enough to remove all reservations from my mind about whether to try to rescue her.  Check out these photos from that first day in the sunshine!

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From watching her behavior, it was pretty clear that she had never received human affection, and that she had been confined to a small space for a very long time.  She was covered with scabs and bug bites and dirt, and her ears were filled with very thick black stuff.  But there was an unmistakable sweetness about her.  And after that first visit, she never again even came close to showing me a fierce face.  She knew we were trying to help, even when we were pulling hard and insisting that she pull her hindquarters up and try to walk with us.

Saturday Jun 04:  For my second visit, I brought her chopped up raw organic bison heart and raw butter.  She stood up in her kennel and wagged her tail when Vicki and I came to her kennel!  We walked outside again, this time without so much effort, and made it to the same place under the trees, where she gobbled up the bison heart and butter eagerly.  This time, as she gazed all around and smiled, she became comfortable with me softly rubbing behind her ears and gentle stroking all the way down her back.  Later I took her farther, out to the 'get acquainted' yard.  Here are photos from our hour in that yard.

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I drove down again on Monday Jun 6, only to discover that the shelter was closed.  Knowing that it would have been two full days since she had had company, I decided that somehow I would find a way to pull her out of there the next day and care for her until I could find a foster or permanent home for her before I left for the Gulf on Jun 13.  Or else she would just have to come with me in the plane, with my own two dogs!

I came down again the next day and visited her a third time.  She was a bit shy, sleeping in the back of her kennel.  But when I went in and spent a few minutes with her, she relaxed and was willing to make the giant effort to get up and walk outside with me.  Seeing that she could walk better the more she tried to walk, I thought I could almost rule out a neurological problem.  It looked like plain old arthritis, and plenty of it.  But an x-ray and thorough veterinary exam was in order.  I made arrangements for that to happen the very next day, and that morning I took her out of her kennel at the shelter forever.  The Shelter gave us a lovely thick blanket to lay down on the front right seat of my small car, and Cosette let us lift her into her seat of honor.

We weren't in that car five minutes before she started to smile the sweetest happiest smile I had seen yet!  We had to establish that the gear-shift knob was my territory, and we compromised when she decided to put her paw on top of my hand, and that's how we rode all the way back to Pasadena.  Look at this happy girl in the front seat of her old BMW!


I felt almost like I was betraying her when I took her to the vet.  She let me carry her from the car into the waiting room, and I could tell she was wondering whether I had already rejected her and was returning her to another shelter!  Ohhhh that was a terrible feeling.  But she made it through the afternoon, and when I picked her up the next morning, she was a much cleaner-looking lady!  The vet said that indeed she does have a lot of arthritis, but no neurological problems and nothing that a bit of prednisone won't make feel better.  And her underweight would respond well to good nutrition.  A mild dose of antibiotics for all those bites and scabs on her body, and because she received a good dose of steroids to give her some long-needed comfort.

And home she came.  She met my dogs and that was easy, as they are immensely friendly and laid-back seniors themselves.  That seemed to help her forgive me, and she lay in the back of my Ford Explorer with Ford and Tilly.  They rode around with me most of the day, running errands and working on my plane at the airport, getting ready to fly it to the Gulf.  She came in with me (as my dogs always do) to get my haircut, and my haircutter just loved her.  And she had an idea.   She made a few phone calls, and the next thing I knew, a woman came in ... who also saw right into Cosette's lovely heart.  Now I already had two possible fosters lined up for Cosette, but they both had several other dogs and were very clear that they could only care for her for a matter of two to three weeks until I returned.  This woman, on the other hand, offered to try to give her a home!  I suggested we make a visit the next day to her house and see how things went.  (That way I could see her home and family, the usual things that rescuers check out before adopting animals out.)  Check out these photos of Cosette riding around town with her new friends Ford and Tilly.


So that is how Cosette has come to have a home, and what a lovely home it is.  The yard is made to order for her -- green grass shade trees, roomy but secure, no challenging obstacles or stairs.  A husband and wife and two children who are all sensitive and kind with her.  They haven't decided what her final name will be, they alternate among Honey, Lady, and Cosette, and they think she's beautiful like Lauren Bacall!  Does it get any better than that?  I could not have written a better ending for a rescue.  The next morning I delivered Cosette plus a good supply of raw food, Missing Link food supplement, and Innova EVO kibble, which I had been feeding her.  And I went from there to the airport and left for the Gulf the next day.  We'll post photos of her new home and family in the coming weeks!

Christy has been sending email updates on Cosette regularly.  She says that Cosette loves to sit outside under 'her' tree, even in the evenings; sometimes they need to coax her to come in or she would choose to stay out all night.  We are guessing that this could be the first time in her entire life that Cosette has been free to do as she pleases, surrounded by nature and love and all the care that she needs.  There is no greater kindness in this world than the kindness these humans have shown to this pathetic arthritic old gal, who in their eyes is lovely Lauren Bacall and has the right to be free, safe, comfortable, and loved.   Thank You for showing us all what rescue really means!


Here is a note we posted to our Facebook page on Friday, Jun 10:

20110610 Friday

Update on Cosette:

It has now been one week since I first set my eyes and gentle hands on this girl.

And what good changes in her!  She has been with us 24/7 since we pulled her from Harbor Animal Shelter in San Pedro, CA.  We stayed in town with her, since we doubted she could make the necessary difficult hike into our cabin here in the local mountains.  She loved riding around in the back of our Ford Explorer with Ford and Tilly (our two seniors -- Ford is the long-haired shepherd, Tilly is the small terrier mix).  She has eaten well, and thanks to some anti-inflammatories and comfortable rest and good food, she has been feeling steadily better.  She now loves to walk on grassy flat areas (not so much the slippery surfaces like wood floors yet!), and she is getting around really well!  Rarely does that back right foot fold under, and except for looking a bit bow-legged, her walk is looking quite good.

She smiles a lot.  She wakes up a little spacey, sometimes forgetting that before she went to sleep she was coming up to you and wagging her tail and happy to let you pick her up or touch her anywhere.  So a reassuring re-introduction was necessary in the morning or after she had been enjoying herself out in the sunny yard with the other dogs, but she remembered quickly enough and she was sweet, even apologetic.  She is no spring chicken, but with the progress we've seen, I think  that with good nutrition, warmth, and love, this gal is going to revive quite a bit more!   She can be a very sweet an gentle senior family member for another two to three years, maybe even more.

So here's the happy ending for today!  A kind woman from Palos Verdes who runs a specialty dog grooming facility in Long Beach offered to foster her for several weeks until we return from the Gulf.   And more wonderful folks have emailed offering to be part of "Team Cosette" and help out with visiting, exercising, and watching her occasionally.  But the real blessing came unsolicited on Thursday, from a chance encounter with a gal who was getting her haircut right after I got mine cut.  She met Cosette (and my two seniors Ford and Tilly), because they come inside with me and hang out there) and we all sat around with the dogs chatting for a while.  After seeing Cosette and hearing her story, Christy wanted to help her and give her the love and security of her family and home.  I had to act promptly, as I have to leave to fly to the Gulf this Sunday or Monday, so I "reserved" the foster possibility in Palos Verdes and brought Cosette to Christy's home yesterday afternoon.   Their young son was absolutely wonderful with Cosette, sensitive and gentle.  They have two cats, and cats are no problem for Cosette.  Their yard is perfect, their home is perfect, their animal-savvy nature and kind hearts are made-to-order for Cosette.

I dropped off lots of organic raw butter, bison heart, EVO kibble, and Missing Link to help get her started, and Christy reported today  that Cosette slept really well, enjoyed lots of love and attention with the family last night, and that she has found some places outside in the yard that she loves.  Imagine, this may be the first time in her life that Cosette has been free in a lovely grassy area that smells good, given good food, been surrounded by nothing but love and kindness, and allowed to do as she pleases.

Here are photos from before I dropped her off at Christy's -- riding around with Ford and Tilly in the car, spending time at the airport and running other errands.   Didn't have camera with me when we dropped her off at Christy's, but we'll send photos when Christy can get them!  And I'll visit her again when I return.


Thank you Deborah and Vicki and  others at Harbor Animal Shelter for letting this girl live, for giving her a name to keep her special, for keeping her so comfortable with nice blankets and good food.

Thank you all for networking this gal and for getting me the note on her before it was too late.

She has been an extreme example of how the desire to live remains in a dog, even after horrible, extended (maybe even life-long) abuse and deprivation.  It's hard to look at Cosette now and remember those extremely dirty ears caked with thick black gunk, skin literally covered with scabs and insect bites, legs that spasmed and held out stiff while the feet curled under as she tried in vain to will them to move.  She is back!  Back to the life she was meant to have.

Whew.  On to the next rescues, folks.  Remember -- never give up on these 'unadoptables.'  Yes I know there are a lot of adoptables getting killed every day at Devore, Fresno, and thousands of other shelters across the country.  To save them, we need to do more than just pull them from the kill-shelters, though that's the first step.  We need to network seriously, across state lines, to match rescue animals with fosters and adopters.  And make use of On Wings Of Care and other groups and individuals who can help transport. The rescues aren't complete until the animals are in homes, real homes.  For those folks who feel they can't do the initial pulling or fostering, please consider helping with the next step of the problem -- networking for the animals' care and adoption.  It isn't enough to establish sanctuaries or hospices or no-kill shelters.  We need to match humans with animals and get them together!  That's when the rescues are complete.