2012 May 11--18
Dominica, in the eastern Caribbean
Nobody told On Wings Of Care that 2300 statute miles over open ocean was too ambitious a trip for a small plane, even for dedicated conservationists and experienced pilots. So we went. And was it ever worth it.
We went there to help biologists in Dominica working with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). (More about the good work they're doing there later.) In short, they want to understand the varieties and numbers of whales and sea turtles that inhabit the deep waters that surround this uniquely undeveloped and steep island. Said to be the only remaining island in the eastern Caribbean that Christopher Columbus would recognize, Dominica has cherished itself as the "nature island" of the Caribbean and resisted too much development. To scuba divers, snorkelers, and whale watchers, Dominica is a unique treasure. Because the ocean floor falls off as steeply as the rest of the island (at about 1000 feet per mile), one can find sperm whales, beaked whales, pilot whales, and huge leatherback sea turtles within a few miles of the shoreline. While it seems obvious that much of Dominica's surrounding waters deserves to be protected as a marine reserve, there are political and economical battles that challenge the accomplishing of that protection. On Wings Of Care was asked to come down and try to establish, through aerial surveys, the extent to which these species are present.
Barring bad weather, aerial surveys of ocean wildlife are work-as-usual for On Wings Of Care. But Dominica offered some unique challenges, over and above being about 2000 miles away with not much land betweeen there and Florida, USA. The island is not large -- oblong in shape, slightly smaller than New York City at about 188 square nautical miles with 225 nautical miles of coastline. But it is very steep with mountains in the center as high as 4,750 ft. Winds often come from the east and northeast, leaving waters on the eastern side of the island quite rough and difficult for aerial viewing of ocean life. But worse, these winds come over the island and down the steep western side, making the air quite rough on the west side. So the very place we wanted to look for whales and such -- on the western side -- was merciless in terms of air turbulence for much of the time we were there.
See the full article here, with lots of photos and videos!
2012 April 20 Friday
New Orleans, LA
(20120426) VIDEO NOW ADDED! See below!
The Navy Blue Angels gave a terrific show on Friday, April 20 at New Orleans' Lakefront Airport. The airshow had to be cancelled for the remainder of the weekend due to high winds and stormy weather, but those who could make it to the shores of Lake Pontchartrain on Friday got to see quite a show! Here are some photos and a video of some of the excitement.
2012 April 12-24
Gulf of Mexico
Chronicles of the Endeavor: A Look from Below
Reports from scientists assessing the Gulf from above and below
-- UPDATED April 26 with new information about the instrument and sensor packages! --
In April 2012, a large collaboration of scientists including many from Gulf Coast states of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida began a long-planned voyage to carry out in situ studies of the state of the ocean floor in several strategic areas of the Gulf of Mexico. All of these are places of known natural gas and oil seeps within 200 miles of the Macondo area -- site of the massive Deepwater Horizon semi-submersible Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (rig) fire and subsequent oil pollution disaster of April 2010. Maps of these places together with recent significant sightings of surface oil are shown below.
A large (approximately 60 m) vessel called R/V Endeavor operated by the University of Rhode Island set sea from Gulfport, Mississippi April 12 to study these seeps and the "state of the seabed." Another larger vessel, the NOAA Okeanos Explorer, has also been in the Gulf during April; they have been studying seeps in the Biloxi Dome area, 8-10 miles west of the Macondo well. (Photos of both vessels with discussion can be found in the article about our Gulf flyover April 18.) This article will report on the day-to-day adventures of the ship Endeavor, which left Gulfport April 12 and returned April 24. Scientists supporting the Endeavor include Gulf coast "local heroes" Drs. Samantha (Mandy) Joye, Ian MacDonald, and Vernon Asper, among others. Vernon served as chief scientist on Endeavor, and it is largely thanks to his regular reports that this chronicle is now available to the public.
While the mission was an amazing success in many ways, it also fell short of expectations. This was due largely to adverse weather conditions throughout most of the two-week voyage and partly to a malfunctioning of the remotely-operated vehicle (ROV). However, because there was such a wide variety of instruments and an extremely resourceful and determined crew of scientists onboard, not a minute was wasted. Schedules were altered and other instruments were given priority. One of the most fascinating features you will note about this "reality" chronicle is the fast pace at which circumstances changed, and how flexible and clever the scientists had to be on almost an hourly basis. This is experimental science in the real world! It is no game for the uninitiated or the easily discouraged, for even the best-laid plans inevitably require back-up plans.
Read more here!
2012 April 18 Wednesday
Gulf of Mexico
This month On Wings Of Care has been supporting a large group of scientists who are carrying out a long-planned mission to study the state of the ocean floor in strategic areas of the Gulf of Mexico. These include places of known natural gas and oil seeps, as well as areas where persistent and significant surface oil slicks have been observed since the BP oil pollution disaster of 2010. Today, OWOC flew out to an area in Green Canyon, far offshore in the deep blue water about 180 nm south of New Orleans and 160 nm southwest of the infamous Macondo well, to meet scientists aboard the NOAA ship Endeavor.
We saw a fair amount of oil, some in expected places and some not. We saw no wildlife except a few sea birds near ships. Not a fin, not a spout, not a shadow. Not a dolphin, whale, sea turtle, shark, ray, or tuna. We're hoping that it's because we arrived too soon after the storms, or perhaps the weather patterns have contrived to change these animals' travel patterns, and we'll see them in these areas later in the year, the way we've seen them here in years past. But a flight over the Gulf without seeing wildlife is rare for us, and a disappointment.Read the article and see the photos and video here!
2012 April 12 Thursday
Gulf of Mexico
Today was supposed to be a simple reconnaissance mission and practice flight with scientist colleague Dr. Ian MacDonald from Florida State University in Tallahassee and some new photographic equipment we're going to be using in our aircraft. But its routine nature changed when word spread last night of a significant new oil slick in an area about 70 miles due south of the tip of the "crow's foot" of Louisiana, between the Mars and Ursa oil production platforms. Shell Corporation announced that they were sending oil spill cleanup crews and equipment to the site. Dread and despair was the response of many including our own. So that destination was added to our flight plan. And since that's probably what some of you are most eager to read about, we'll start our report with that one. The rest of the report will show the Taylor Energy slick (still!), many smaller slicks encountered on our way northward back to the mainland, an ugly slick in Breton Sound (before we even made it out of the muddy Mississippi waters!), and various vessels and platforms of interest in the Macondo area and elsewhere.
Here is a map of the waypoints correlating with the photos and video from today's flight:
The oil slick between the Mars and Ursa oil platforms are between the waypoints numbered 0227 and 0228.
The NOAA vessel Okeanos Explorer was studying the Biloxi Dome today at waypoint numbered 0223. The strange sargassum we photographed today was at waypoints numbered 0221 and 0222. The Taylor Energy slick was at waypoint number 0220. Several slicks on our way back to the mainland were seen, and by then we didn't even bother to photograph them all. (It's a terrible thing to become numb to pollution.) Some that we did photograph were associated with platforms in the vicinities of waypoints numbered 0229 and 0230. Waypoint number 0218, right next to Louisiana's eastern coastal wetlands, was one of those typical ugly linear slicks that is found regularly near oil platforms, this one about three-quarters of a mile long and 30 ft wide.
For many more photos, videos, and information, see the full article here!
2012 April 07
As tax deadlines approach for all of us, we've decided to post on our website the financial report summary we sent to many of our dedicated supporters earlier this year. Now that we're getting around to it, we realize we should have posted this at the start of this year. Like other lessons we're learning, we'll do that for 2012 promptly for you in January of 2013! With thanks to our resident genius and supporter Bo Astrup earlier this year, we've created a very efficient, thorough, and transparent bookkeeping system for all On Wings Of Care finances and activities. So by end of January 2013, all of you who have made any kind of tax-deductible cash or non-cash donation to On Wings Of Care in 2012 will receive a summary record of same from us, which you can use when you prepare your taxes. We'll also remind you of just what (or in many cases "who") your donations were used for. Transparency is our rule. We are a funnel for these volunteer services as much as we are the servants of those we are here to help -- domestic animals in need, wildlife, wetlands, coastal and marine habitat, wilderness, humans in need, our precious planet.
2012 April 06, Friday
New Orleans, Louisiana
It has been five weeks since we last flew over the Macondo area, scene of the worst oil pollution disaster in America just two years ago. There has been a lot of violent weather here in the meantime, especially recently. From a scientific perspective, it might have been better for us to have waited a few days before assessing things from the air, since it takes time and calm weather for oil seeping from the ocean floor 5000 feet below the surface to appear in a stable form that is easily seen from an airplane flying by at 100 miles per hour. But we decided to jump at our first available day of fairly calm seas, great visibility, and time that we all could take off from work.
With cautious optimism based on this possibly premature aerial assessment, we were pleased to see very few of the surface oil slicks we've seen on every previous flight for the past nearly two years! Yes, there are still isolated lines and bands of sheen out in the Macondo area. Yes, there are still some activities at platforms in that area that we wonder about, such as significant discharging into the water of unknown substances. Yes, the chronic oil polluting Taylor Energy site just off the southern tip of Louisiana is still causing a seriously ugly and large slick. And yes, there are many more slicks off the southeast shores of Louisiana, not far from the Taylor Energy site and in almost every direction you look. Some are associated with platforms and some not, some short narrow lines and some more extensive in nature. No one seeing this part of the Gulf from the air could ever deny that the oil and gas industries have literally littered this marine ecosystem with navigational hazards, and pollutants, and eyesores. But -- starting about 15-20 miles off shore, we found blue water, some of it no longer visibly tainted with oil. And that was a relief.
And while we'd like to stick with the optimistic tone, we must add one very puzzling and concerning fact.
On this entire flight of nearly four hours, the only wildlife we saw were a few pelicans. Not a dolphin, not a ray, not a shark, not a whale, not even a baitball. Nada. Nothing. And we were three pairs of experienced eyes locked on the water the entire time, looking for any sign of a fin, a shadow, a movement. Seas were 2-3 ft, lighting was excellent and skies were clear. We saw nothing. We need to do some investigating about this. We're hoping to learn of some reassuring explanation such as a change in the loop current that brought warm waters and prey and plankton to other areas, to which the marine life has gone.
Read the full article and see all the photos and videos here!
2012 April 01, Sunday
Today was our third day of searching for basking sharks off the coast of Florida, between Pensacola and Panama City.
We were fairly certain we had seen one near shore last Thursday, and quite certain that we had seen some mako sharks. So when the fog finally lifted and gave us calm seas, we went out with high hopes. But today brought more questions than answers.
Hundreds of dolphins were hanging out very near the beaches, relatively stationary around the second sandbar. Farther from people but still in the shallows were several schools of cobia and some large "bait balls" of small fish. Farther offshore but still within about five miles of shore, we saw manta rays and sea turtles (mostly leatherbacks). But nowhere today did we see a single shark of any size. The water visibility was good and we were flying "low and slow," so if they had been there, we would have spotted them. Unfortunately, the offshore fog was too dense for us to fly much more than about five miles offshore. Next weekend we'll search again, this time along a strategic route follows the ridge that surrounds DeSoto canyon, starting about 20 miles off shore.
2012 Mar 28-29
Destin to Panama City, Florida
Scientists in Florida were very excited about some recent unusual sightings of large basking sharks near Panama City, Florida. Since we have been so successful at finding whale sharks for them the past two years, they asked us to fly over from New Orleans and try to find these basking sharks. Unlike another large plankton feeder, the whale shark, basking sharks are not a familiar site in the Gulf of Mexico, and little is known about them. Sharks are never easy to find from surface vessels, since they don't need to come to the surface to breathe. The best way to find them is from the air, when seas are calm and visibility in the air and through the water are good.
A previous flight ten days prior by other people had found nothing. Just two days after our arrival back in the Gulf, we were eager to attempt the challenge. We hoped that previous failures had more to do with the weather conditions and limitations of the aircraft than with the presence of marine life in the area, but there was no way to know that for sure. We face every one of these challenging kinds of flights with the knowledge that we might give it our very best effort and still have no successful sightings. The flight eastward from New Orleans to Destin, Florida on Wednesday was delayed by weather until midday, and seas were choppy. I was more than a little concerned about our chances for success.
But experience and determination are a powerful combination. And the spotters who joined me lacked nothing. Mike Sturdivant from Destin knows the local surf spots and the local marine life, and his skill with a camera matches his sharp eye and his enthusiasm. With Mike on Wednesday came a new spotter, Justin Wildhaber; and on Thursday, Mike brought John Cross. With all of our sharp and determined eyes, and some "low and slow" flying, we could at least say with certainty that if there were animals near enough to the surface to be seen, we would see them!
2012 March 12, Monday
Saucier, MS to Los Angeles, CA, and on to the Philippines
This was not your typical dog or cat rescue transport! Two prized young female Nubian goats -- "Jewel" and "Harmony" -- are destined for a pampered life of peace and plenty in the Philippines. But to get there, they first they had to get from their home farm in the scenic green hilly pastures of Saucier, Mississippi to Los Angeles, California. Their human caretakers knew of On Wings Of Care's work, and they asked us if the goats could fly with us together in one large comfortable crate and be well tended for the entire flight. Well, of course! That's what we do for animals. The only hitch was how to get them from Mississippi across Texas, which was beset with dense lines of thunderstorms all week due to a very slow moving cold front.
2010 March 5, Monday
Mobile Bay, Alabama
Last week, we heard from local fishermen near Mobile, Alabama about some very peculiar and unusual behavior by pelicans and other seabirds. They said that while the birds always like to follow their shrimp boats, lately the birds have become very aggressive and are literally storming the boats, the nets, and the decks, in their frantic efforts to eat the fish. We were told that "the birds are behaving as if they are starving and desperate for food, to the point that they seem to have little regard for danger to their own lives. They divebomb us, our work tables, the boat, the nets, everything." We also spoke with folks who run a seabird rescue center near Mobile, and they said that they've been receiving an enormous number of adolescent pelicans who are almost starved. Apparently they are unable to catch enough fish for themselves, although other than being undernourished they seem healthy enough. We contacted a few journalists and invited them to join us out on the water with some of these fishermen to witness this for ourselves. We were treated to a very interesting day on the water with Captains Michael Paul Williams, Pete Zirlott, and Sidney Schwartz, coordinated by our friend Zack Carter.
We did indeed see this behavior by the pelicans, gulls, and loons, although the captains told us that the birds were "better behaved" today -- perhaps because there were so many people on the boat all pointing cameras at them? These captains are third and fourth-generation fishermen here, and they all say they have never seen behavior like this. It is not unusual for fishing to be sparse in the winter, but the birds have never acted this desperate nor been this aggressive in trying to take fish from the boats. Another peculiar feature of today's boat trip was that we saw not a single dolphin. The fishermen were very surprised at this, as the norm for them is to have dolphins all around and crossing their track frequently.
Read the full article here!
2012 February 29, Wednesday
Gulf of Mexico
Our first flight over the Gulf since late December 2011, for over two months! It was great for us to see it again from the air. But all is not so great with it, unfortunately.
Long before we reached the tip of Louisiana, we noticed that the overall amount of marshland seemed significantly less than had been here this time last year. We also saw quite a bit of marshland that was blackened, as if by fire. We had barely begun to discuss what else it could be other than fire, when we spotted not one but two marsh fires ahead of us! No sign of human presence anywhere near either of them. What causes these? Lightning, perhaps? It was sad to see, for the strong southwesterly winds were sure to burn all of that land northeastward until it reached water. Indeed, on our return four hours later, both fires were still raging strong.
Barely 10 miles off the tip of Louisiana, the chronic oil leakage from Taylor Energy's Ocean Saratoga platform, sunk by Hurricane Ivan in 2004, continues in what looks to be full force. We followed an ugly, quarter-mile-wide line of fresh oily sheen that stretches from west to east for more than 10 miles. The buoy we photographed there in early December remains, but there was not a work vessel nor any other type of vessel anywhere in the vicinity.
We proceeded to the Macondo prospect (vicinity of the Deepwater Horizon disaster of nearly two years ago). Since we have not flown the Gulf since late December, and we have seen no reports from other pilots flying this far offshore, we had no idea where to look for oil. So we decided to return to some of the places where we have been seeing appreciable amounts of surface sheen consistently since last summer. That proved a good strategy, as we found oil and surface sheen almost immediately. And plenty of it.
Read the full article here!
2012 January 21-30
Taiji and Wakayama City, Japan
Wearing another hat, as a Board Director for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, On Wings of Care's "Dr. Bonny" flew to Taiji, Japan last week. We came because one of Sea Shepherd's volunteers and long-time chief engineer on Sea Shepherd's flagship the Steve Irwin was arrested and put in prison in December 16. His trial begins today, January 26, in Wakayama City. Read more about those details at seashepherd.org, including our updates and blogs and press releases about the activities in Taiji. Erwin was set up by a dolphin trainer, who lied to the police and claimed that Erwin had pushed him. Having no witnesses to disprove that, the Taiji police took Erwin into custody. It has been a horrendous case of unjust arrest, detention, and cruel isolation of Erwin from all communication with the outside world, including his own family.
Here I (Bonny) would like to share some personal thoughts with our On Wings Of Care supporters. Many of you may be unaware of Sea Shepherd's activities to protect marine life, though you may have heard about the controversial TV series Whale Wars which documents activities in Antarctica to stop illegal poaching of whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Another activity that has received worldwide attention in the past decade is the capture and slaughter of thousands of dolphins each year off the coast of the small town of Taiji in southeastern Japan. A couple of years ago a courageous and vivid documentary titled The Cove was produced about this horror by a small group of activists from the United States. Most of the world's captive dolphins are caught from the wild, right here in Taiji. Virtually all of the dolphin meat sold freely in markets and restaurants in Japan is also caught and butchered here. I wrote the following early this morning from a borrowed computer in Wakayama City, sort of a venting to a few friends. it was hurried and is therefore stream of consciousness. But I think that all of you will understand what I am feeling and trying to convey.
2012 January 13 -- Jeremiah comes home to us!
We received an email earlier this week advising us that his adopter in Arizona was ill, and would we consider taking Jeremiah back? Oh My! She didn't have to ask us twice! When we flew him to Arizona last May, it was against our hearts but he had already been spoken for. We knew he would be loved there, but there were so many other dogs there already, and his extraordinarily loyal and previously broken heart seemed to us to need constancy, not more change. Well, all's well that ends well! Our plane was back in New Orleans and we were in California, but we didn't waste a day. We borrowed a plane and flew to Arizona the next day and retrieved him.
Jeremiah recognized us immediately. The people in Arizona clearly had loved him very much, but still, I was looking at a dog who looked older and more stressed than the Jeremiah I had handed over to them last May. His hindquarters trembled with nervousness, his hair had never grown back well, his eyes and coat looked dull and his muzzle whiter than we remembered. They handed us his paperwork and a bag filled with bottles of medicines -- anti-anxiety, anti-pain, anti-arthritis, and so forth. Oh how I wished I had a nice raw steak to give that dog right then and there! They explained to us that the trembling had begun a few months back, and he also had developed a habit of uncontrollable barking when left alone or around a group of dogs he didn't know. I'd heard enough. I walked him back to the plane, lifted his thin body easily into the plane and he was happy to settle into the luxurious warm dog bed there for him. He remembered good things about the plane and being with us. Hugs and kisses done, we took off promptly and headed back to home in California.
Most of our family is still back in New Orleans, so for now it was just Jeremiah and me. And that was good. He ate his organic grass-fed raw beef and bison and chicken, his raw eggs and raw butter, all with relish. Oh he got some quality grain-free kibble as well. He wanted to eat all he could have! He has not had a pill since. He has barked only once -- to alert me that someone was at the front gate! He slept and slept and slept the first few days, and the first time I invited him to come along for a ride in the car to run some errands, he looked frightened and ran back to the living room couch, as if to say "Please don't take me away, I love it here!" I left him there that time, but never again. After that, he wanted to come everywhere, and so he has. The more places we went and the more people he met, the more he began to believe that he was not being abandoned, that he was starting a real life here, as a loved dog and companion. And he has.
Jerry's coat and eyes are getting shiny again, and he eats so well he is filling out like a stout fire plug! But he can run again, and he smiles all the time. We'll send new photos and videos after our whole pack is reunited! Stay tuned.
Jeremiah and I will fly back to New Orleans in a couple of weeks and reunite with the entire pack who first brought him out of the shelter in Hazlehurst, Georgia last May, and with us he will stay. Jeremiah was indeed a true friend, and we are his true friends.
Read more about Jeremiah's update here.
Jeremiah in Georgia where we picked him up May 15; in New Orleans where he spent a week with us, learning to smile and laugh and sleep and eat with joy again; and meeting his new mom Kunzang in Arizona May 22.
With thanks to Three Dog Night for the great song about Jeremiah and apologies for messing with the lyrics, here is the version we couldn't keep from singing when we were with him:
Jeremiah was a true friend,
He was a true friend of mine.
No matter what the troubles even til the end,
I'd look at him and all was fine.
They said his ol' heart was broken,
They said that he had reached his end,
But he disagreed inside and kept his love alive,
And his world came 'round again!
Read more about Jeremiah's update here.
2012 January 01, New Year's Day
New Orleans Lakefront Airport
The airport staff tried for hours to drive the dog away, thinking he would go home where they hoped he belonged. This was very early in the morning on New Year's day. Maybe he had run away because of the noise of all the fireworks last night. But this thin but gorgeous intact male boxer was dirty and covered with callouses, and his ribs were sticking way out. So maybe he hadn't been home for a good while. He was as gentle and well-mannered as a dog could be. But he wouldn't leave. Sunrise came and passed, a beautiful balmy southern day unfolded, and he had no intention of going anywhere else. They called us, and we brought food and tools to clean him up and made an appointment at the local emergency animal care facility so that they could see if he had a microchip ID in him.
See the video and read his story here!
2011 December 31 Saturday
We still love making the short road trip over to Mississippi from New Orleans to visit our favorite farm and play with the goats and chickens and geese and get our dose of the great life. And of course we make sure we buy some fresh goat's milk! Janet Cooper's farm is so clean, the animals are so healthy and happy and free, even the roosters don't fight with each other! Today she had a mama goat in labor, due any hour. That poor dear looked like she could have four babies inside her huge belly. Janet told us that last year she delivered five, all healthy and good-sized. Oh, my thoughts were with that sweet mom, there's no greater task than that when it's time to give birth. There were also several 'kids' a few weeks old, playful and sociable. And Dumbo (named for his very long ears) is an eight-year-old male. He is still fathering babies, but Janet keeps him away from the younger males, as they are eager to jump on him and let him know he's got some serious competition now.
Others might prefer shopping or watching sports, but our dogs and we thought this road trip, with a stop at a local wilderness area for a fun walk, were just a great way to close 2011 and prepare for the new year! Enjoy the photos and video. We did!
See the video and rest of the photos here!
2011 Dec 30 Friday
Gulf of Mexico
Late today we flew out over the Gulf to do some recon and give current coordinates to a boat crew headed out to collect some surface oil samples tomorrow. Too late to make it to the Macondo area, we focused on a site of chronic oil leakage near aTaylor Energy platform destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004, about 12 miles south of the Louisiana Delta. We quickly found a long line of surface oil, about 0.5-nm wide and 7 to 8 nm west-to-east. The west end is marked bya small orange float and a larger white buoy with an ominous-looking cross on top. Near the east end of the slick, where it widens some, there is a platform labeled "NKOR Energy." Enroute there and back we saw two marsh fires and some very dirty beaches, but we also enjoyed the sights of the wetlands, more white pelicans, and a memorable sunset.
All of this and more is documented in our flight log provided below and in the photos and videos below. The NRC incident report we filed for the oil is also appended at the bottom of this article; the NRC incident number is #999320. And as always, you may download our entire GPS flight tracks and see our position every ten seconds along the route; see today's flight under the main menu item Flight Tracks on this site.
Read more here!
2011 December 26
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Read more about how Lend A Wing™ can save your company money through fuel discounts, donations, and tax benefits while you save many lives and provide this desperately needed charitable service!
2011 December 23
From all of us at On Wings Of Care, and all of us whom YOU have helped to rescue and protect,
We Thank You!
We are fleshed, furred, feathered, finned, fanged, and more.
And we are all grateful to be alive and well, on this beautiful planet, with you and because of you.
Here are some photos from this year of our joy, our hardship, our beauty, our work, our hearts.
Thank YOU for taking care of yourselves and your kindred beings.
May you have a wonderful close to this year, joyful and meaningful holy days, with many more to come.
-- The On Wings Of Care family
A rainbow this morning at our home airport in the Gulf of Mexico, New Orleans' Lakefront airport!
2011 September -- December
Abby and Dinozo are brother and sister chihuahuas, almost three years old now. Orphaned at an early age, they both were rescued by an organization called H.A.L.T. ("Helping Animals Live Tomorrow") in Bakersfield, CA. These folks found them a lovely home with people who moved to New Orleans, LA. Abby and Dinozo lived happily with that family until this past September, when multiple family problems made it impossible to continue to care for them. On Wings Of Care fostered them for a while in New Orleans and then flew them back with us to California. When we learned that H.A.L.T. was going to have to board them until new adopters could be found, OWOC Board Director and volunteer Dave, who lives in the mountains above Bakersfield, offered to foster them. (Yes, that's the same Dave who has adopted Sheba-Cosette, and who is currently also fostering Yolo!).
See more photos and read their full story here!
2011 Dec 20
Somehow Yolo found himself out in the cold at Big Bear Mountain, high in the San Gabriel Mountains of southern California. Just a teenager at about nine months of age, his heart longed to be at some playground letting all the local children run after him and pull on him and play with him. But instead, he was behind bars at the local shelter, and his time was out.
We don't usually answer the calls for dogs who sound adoptable; we leave those to other rescues who have kennels or a ready supply of foster homes. Our email IN boxes are set for those subject lines that read like "RED ALERT" or "BEYOND URGENT" -- and even with those, we sometimes have to sigh and just pass them along to others with a silent prayer. But Big Bear is an out-of-the-way place, and the shelter said this really was the end for this boy, as much as the staff all loved him. The only On Wings Of Care volunteer available at the time was Dave, who would have to drive all the way down from his home in the southern Sierra Nevada in order to help. And that meant he would have to bring along his own two dogs (Bear and Sheba-Cosette) and would be driving the high desert and mountain roads during a winter wind storm. But "No" was not an option for Yolo, so it was not one to Dave, either. Before that day was over, Yolo began what no doubt was the adventure of his young life.
Yolo is some nondescript mix of yellow lab and german shepherd, maybe a small pinch of pit bull; and to be honest, he doesn't share the finest features of appearance of any of those breeds. If it were up to looks or structure or such trivialities alone, Yolo's "adoptability quotient" was probably low. But soon after Dave freed him from the shelter and introduced him to Bear and Sheba, we knew otherwise. His sweet, playful, and gentle nature actually make him most adoptable. But how would he handle the immediate adventure that lay ahead of him?
See Yolo's photo and full story here! Could YOU be his forever family?