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2013 January 06, Sunday 
Devore Animal Shelter, San Bernardino County, California

The end of the weekend, the end of the day for adoptions, the end of the line for way, way too many dogs. That is how it is on Sunday afternoon at high-kill animal shelters all over the U.S. That's how it was here at the Devore animal shelter, located at the foot of the San Bernardino mountain range in southern California. Most dogs who enter this place have never had a loving home, good nutrition, a warm bed, or responsible care. What's worse is that many of them never make it out of here alive.  

Today was one of those days when we head out to save some lives, not knowing ahead of time whose it will be.  We went to Devore to check out several dogs for whom we thought we had some potential adopters.  When we arrived, we learned that a few of them had been euthanized the night before because they had become too ill. It's not surprising that animals coming into the shelter tend to come down with upper respiratory infections, especially in this cold damp weather and after wandering as strays before before ending up in the shelter.  A few others we had come to check out had been adopted that morning -- joy!  We decided to hang out there to see which dogs would not be adopted by the end of this day, and which of those probably would not be kept alive until the next weekend adoptions.  Sadly, there were many more in that category than we could pull. But today there were two whom we felt sure we could help and for whom we knew we could find good homes.

These two little gals had definitely seen better days, but probably not since they were very young pups with their own mothers. Neither of them had had good nutrition for a long while, let alone a bath or haircut. We're calling the dark one "Coco" and the cream-colored gal "Jasmine." How happy they were to walk outside on leashes and stand in the sunshine on the grass!  But even happier to get home and to sleep on soft, soft bedding in a warm living room, and snuggle on our laps in front of the warm fireplace!

But .... we soon discovered that Coco was pregnant!

A little networking quickly found us a home for Jasmine (with one of our own volunteers!), and a wonderful rescuer in Oregon offered to take Coco and her pups, if we would keep her until she and the pups could be transported. We were concerned, though, about how little Coco, who was just skin and bones and fighting kennel cough, could make it through a pregnancy. We took Coco and Jasmine to the veterinarian promptly on Tuesday morning. They were both good sports and enjoyed the loving attention, although they were never happier than to return home to their new warm beds and excellent food.* (See bottom of this article for a note about the food we provide.)  But the vet was also concerned about Coco and asked to see her again the next day to have a closer look at her health and the health of any developing pups. It was decided then that Coco should be spayed. So we won't be raising any pups, and Coco will be putting all of her energies into regaining her health and beauty.  As will Jasmine!

We'll keep you posted on these little beauties.  And we are still looking for a forever home for lovely Coco!  Additional photos from their first few days after being rescued are posted below.

Thanks to Dave, their wonderful foster! And to all of the tireless rescuers and volunteers who work so hard, every single day, to network the desperate dogs from Devore and other shelters in southern California. Someday there will be more of us, and there will not be another dog who is euthanized unnecessarily simply because there is no more room at a shelter and a suitable foster or adopter has not been found.

A note about rescue shelters and On Wings Of Care:
There is a large number of incredibly hard-working animal rescuers and volunteers who do all they can to find rescues, fosters, or adopters for these dogs.  The emails fly all day long, every day, showing photos and descriptions of the new dogs in shelters today, and the dogs who have been there for several days and who likely will not be there, alive, tomorrow. On any given day, these human angels send photos of fifty or so dogs (and often cats, too) out to the internet, desperately seeking refuge for these doomed dogs.

We at On Wings Of Care are one of several registered 501(c)(3) rescue organizations authorized to pull animals from shelters like this one in San Bernardino, CA in order to try to save them. After screening the dogs for health and individual temperaments, we place them with fosters we know and trust, or we place them with adopters we've pre-screened. We keep a careful list of people we know or have checked out who have asked us to look for certain kinds of rescue dogs they are looking to adopt -- e.g., a small senior, a young lab mix, a shepherd mix of any age, and so on. When we see or are told of dogs at the shelters who might match these requests, we check them out.  We also have a wide network of rescues across the U.S. who are able to take certain kinds of dogs, and when we can arrange transport, we go to these high-kill shelters and do our best to empty cages and transport these dogs to safety and good futures in the care of these other rescue organizations.

*We also offer and recommend a somewhat special, highly nutritious diet for your animals. For dogs, we grind fresh chicken (bones, organs, and all) ourselves, and feed it to them raw, with Missing Link supplement (or similar flax-seed based food we make ourselves) plus organic raw milk, butter, and eggs. We are happy to share advice on where to find and purchase an appropriate grinder, organic, humanely-raised chicken, and raw dairy products. We use Cabela's #12 meat grinder. We offer reduced prices on Missing Link supplements, thanks to the folks at Designing Health who appreciate our rescue efforts. Organic raw cow's and goat's milk, butter, and organic eggs can be found almost anywhere, if you look for them carefully.

If you are or know of people who are ready and willing to foster or adopt a rescue dog, please get information on how to receive emails about the available dogs at shelters like these. Or contact us, and we'll get you on those email lists! All responsible rescue organizations will want to screen you before they'll let you foster or adopt, but don't let that deter you. Would you want less? Join the ranks of millions of people who have rescued a dog (or two!), and found a love and joy added to their lives that they could never again imagine being without.