In 2006, our daughter Brenda used to volunteer at Maple Lanes Kennel, near Alliston. It was from that kennel that Molson, the most gentle of Golden Retrievers, came into our lives. He trained as a therapy dog himself and is father of three COPE service dogs. Now my friend and coworker Irene, is awaiting the imminent birth of a litter of his pups being carried by a dog named Lyric, and she'll be choosing one of them to share her life. Today here's the story of one very special dog from Sherri's kennel and then a link and video about COPE.
Back in 2006, Brenda recorded the details related to various litters of puppies on the computer--where the puppies went, to whom and for what purpose. The pure-bred dogs go all over the continent, some as far away as Yellowknife, Alaska, and some are trained for such unusual jobs as detecting bed bugs or termites!
One dog's name struck her as unusual; her registered name was "Maple Lanes--You'll Have to Tri Harder"--and her "call name" was Tri.
"Ah, now there's a story," Sherri, the kennel owner said when Brenda asked her about it.
Something had happened to one of the puppy's legs after birth--it was swollen and bruised and Sherri thought that maybe its mother had stepped on it. The puppy was put on antibiotics to try to save the leg.
Sherri's aunt--who was like a big sister to her--was dying of cancer, and the call that she'd been dreading came from her mother to say that it was time--her aunt was close to death. Sherri left to be with her mother and her aunt.
When she returned after three days, an awful smell of rotting flesh filled the house. Even though the puppy was otherwise healthy because of the antibiotics, the leg had died and was already decaying. Needing to make the arrangements for her aunt's funeral, Sherri took the puppy to a vet she doesn't usually use, to be euthanized--no-one would be likely to buy her and it just wasn't practical to keep her. Her heart was heavy as she dropped off the puppy, full of grief for the loss of her beloved aunt. She said she'd come by later that week after the funeral, to pay the bill.
When she returned to the vet's, just expecting to write a cheque, to her surprise, she found the puppy was still alive! A new, inexperienced but enthusiastic vet just out of veterinary college had taken it upon herself to amputate the leg and save the puppy, paying for the surgery herself. The other vets in the office told her she was crazy. She had put drinking straws into the stump where the leg had been, for drainage.
Sherri was a bundle of emotions but mainly overwhelmed. Still grieving the loss of her aunt, she took the puppy home, knowing that for the next eight weeks she would require intensive care.
Every three hours, around the clock, Sherri took the puppy to suckle at the mother dog, keeping all the other puppies away and preventing the mother dog from licking the site of the operation.
Thanks to a determined vet and Sherri's commitment the puppy survived. And the puppy, whom Sherri named Tri after she survived against all odds, has a very special job. She is now a St. Johns Ambulance therapy dog--with children who are amputees.
It seemed that God had a purpose for this puppy who seemed to have no place to belong--and he made sure she survived. Tri the three legged dog has a bond with the children she works with that no other dog could have.
COPE, the organization we became aware of through three of Molson's pups being sponsored by McDonald's to become service dogs does amazing work in supporting people with service dogs.
You can follow this link http://youtu.be/sn42gxNcFuw to watch a video about COPE or view it below. On You Tube there are many more videos on the work of these wonderful partners in life. I love the fact that they include "at risk" youth in working with the dogs.