Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

New lease on life for abused pooches

Dogs rescued from Gull Lake head to rehab

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Two months after being rescued from unspeakable filth in a Gull Lake home, seven dogs are preparing to head off to one of the best canine-rehabilitation facilities around.

The lucky seven -- Rose and Oliver (golden lab mixes), Missy, Annie and Spirit (shepherd crosses) and Viv and Hammond (labs) -- are scheduled to board a chartered plane on Sept. 25 bound for Kanab, Utah, home to Dogtown, a 2,000-acre sanctuary for canines.

"This is great news for us, we're all very excited about this," said Bill McDonald, CEO of the Winnipeg Humane Society.

The canines have a variety of issues, ranging from not being house-trained to being skittish around humans, butMcDonald is optimistic they'll have made sufficient progress over the next three to five months that they'll be up to adoption standards.

"These dogs didn't know what people were, what a leash or food bowl was and hadn't seen green grass," he said.

McDonald said sending the dogs via a commercial airplane would have involved nearly 20 hours of travel -- about 10 hours less than driving them non-stop -- so he decided the best option was to charter a plane. Now all he's got to do is find $10,000 to pay for it.

"I need 100 people to put up $100 each. No muss, no fuss," he said.

Even if the dogs don't make sufficient progress to be adopted, they'll live out their days at Dogtown.

The facility made headlines several years ago after taking in the dogs rescued from the home of Michael Vick, the National Football League quarterback who spent several years in jail for operating a dog-fighting ring.

Of the 64 dogs seized in July, 34 were euthanized for medical and health reasons, six were adopted, five were taken in by Darcy's Arc, another animal shelter, and McDonald hopes the rest will have new homes by next month.

He said every would-be owner of a Gull Lake refugee will be told about their dog's history and potential challenges.

"We're very up front about it. These are dogs that aren't going to know what it is to get in the car. The adopters are very special people. Some of them are saints. Not everybody wants an older dog that isn't house-trained," he said.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 9, 2010 A2

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