Poochmatch and Founder Lydia Savala are featured in this disturbing yet very touching story from San Bernardino in The Sun.
Dallas, a three month old black Labrador Retriever, was picked up by a vet tech while at work; he was wandering around the parking lot of the vet and they put him in a kennel and contacted Poochmatch. He was placed in a foster home with Ariel and two days later he came down with parvo. The vet put a catheter in his arm and hydrated him and gave him the vitamins and steroids necessary to boost his immune system. Ariel spent six days making sure he was hydrated, giving him a lot of love and never letting him out of her sight. He made a full recovery.
At the same time, Ariel was fostering Freckles, an adult Corgi/German Pointer mix. Freckles and Dallas became fast friends, always playing and snuggling with each other. Freckles, unfortunately, was a long-term foster as anytime a potential adopter would show interest she would just stare at her foster mom; she never let a potential adopter take her on a walk away from her foster mom. Eventually, Dallas had a family who was interested in meeting him and Ariel decided to take Freckles along because the family had no other dogs. As luck would have it, the family’s younger son was able to take Freckles on a walk away from Ariel; the younger son fell in love with her! Dallas, of course, loved everyone right off the bat and Ariel knew this was the family both dogs belonged with. It took a couple of days of debate but in the end, the family decided they couldn’t split up Dallas and Freckles; so they adopted both!
Hank was rescued by a couple who witnessed him being tossed out of a car in front of their home in the dead of night. He came to his foster parents’ attention via Facebook on a post asking if anyone wanted him. He was filthy, underweight, and was also suffering from whip worm and severe allergies. Right off the bat, Hank was a complete gentleman. He was gentle with dogs a fraction of his size and blossomed in his foster home with Ariel and Eric. Because of his severe allergies, he could not eat regular dog food. Poochmatch had to switch him to a meat, fruit and vegetable diet. After which, his allergy symptoms disappeared.
While fostering Hank, Ariel and Eric took in another foster for Poochmatch, a deaf female Pit Bull who was passed around seven or eight times before finally coming to Poochmatch at three months of age. Hank took to Scout immediately. They would play together and snuggle together. We so hoped that we could find a way to keep them together. And we did! As luck would have it a family who had applied for Hank told us they would adopt a puppy in the future that could grow up with Hank. After meeting Scout, they could not resist!
I found a beautiful pit in distress at a field near a high school last summer. She was very skinny and walking on three legs. I had always been afraid of pits because of the stories you hear, but something drew me to her. I called her and she got so scarred she ran into the street and almost got hit by a car. She disappeared into a field. I felt so badly; I needed to help this dog. I returned the following day and saw her again, but she would not come near me. For a week, I would leave her food and water and attempt to catch her, but no luck. Finally, with the help of some wonderful people. we were able to finally catch her. My idea was to take her to the pound. I could not. It did not take more than 5 minutes to fall in love with her and for this pretty dog to get attached to me; she followed me everywhere. I named her Hope, in “hope” of finding a good home for her. Unfortunately, I could not keep her because of the other dogs I already had. Luckily, I was referred to Lydia at Poochmatch and this wonderful organization took responsibility for her veterinary care. The vet informed us that Hope was approximately 3-years old and had a very badly torn ACL on her hind leg. A very costly surgery was necessary. Poochmatch did not hesitate to cover the cost of the surgeries she needed.
One day, my niece brought over a friend that recognized Hope. We learned that this precious dog had been homeless for over a year and she lived off scraps neighbors would sometimes throw at her! This was so heartbreaking! It was also apparent she had been abused. We noticed she was afraid of loud voices and tall skinny men that dressed in dark clothing.
After her surgery, it took 4 months of recovery before she was finally well enough to be put up for adoption. It took another 6 months before someone became interested in her, as most dogs that get adopted are puppies and small.
Although it was heart breaking to give her up, I know we found the perfect family home. It’s been a week since she’s been gone and there’s not a moment that goes by that I don’t think about her. Fortunately, her new owner keeps me informed on her progress. Her first night away I was told she cried until 2:00 am. The second day she seemed very sad and confused. The third day she started coming around and is doing very well. Since the “Hope” of finding a good home for her has been accomplished, Hope’s new name is Bella. Her new family is so in love with her and for that I am so happy.
I think all of our dogs are lucky and once in a while, very, very lucky. Ziggy, a senior Pomeranian and Chihuahua mix with bad teeth was intercepted at the Orange County Shelter. He did not look healthy and although he was no more than 4 pounds, I knew he was destined for the soap factory or, at best, a rotten life with an unscreened adopter. His owner had moved to a non-pet friendly apartment. She said she had left Ziggy with relatives and acknowledged that they did not take care of him.
I offered to find a home for Ziggy and his owner placed him in my car. I knew someone would want him sooner or later, and it did prove to be later, about 8 months later. Ahhh… the gift of time.
Poochmatch Volunteer Lisa Jasso provided Foster care. (Many Thanks!) We had his teeth cleaned, blood tested and gave him medicine for a thyroid condition which was causing the loss of hair. Within a couple of weeks, he started to look much healthier.
One day, I received a call from Sheila, a Park Avenue resident in Manhattan, NY. She was enamored. She’d seen him on our website and it was love at first sight.
I didn’t think it was plausible, but since I would be attending a wedding on the other coast at the end of November, I told her that if she could wait until then, I would deliver Ziggy to her. Realistically, I did not think the adoption would materialize – surely she would lose interest or find another dog, but it was meant to be. His new mom paid our adoption fee and covered the cost of his airfare.
Initially, Ziggy was very scared, but he quickly evolved into a loving, playful, and well-mannered dog. He’s now enjoying life on Park Avenue in mid-town Manhattan. He has a view of the Empire State Building plus a terrace he will surely enjoy when the weather gets warmer and Sheila adores. Who would have guessed!
The moral of this story… While Ziggy may not have been valued in the Inland Empire or Orange County, he surely had value outside of our geographic area!
PS… Check out the photos. I hid him in my travel bag before entering the building to avoid taking the ‘Service’ elevator. It was a hoot!
I was traveling west on 40th Street in San Bernardino on my way to Gwen’s grooming to drop off a couple of small rescue dogs when I spotted Redd traveling east. I recognized his ‘aimless’ strut – that of a lost hungry dog, sniffing along the sidewalk. I said to myself, “if I see him on my return, I’ll pull over and try to pick him up.” This was my excuse to not pull over immediately.
I could tell he was young, but not a puppy, so he would not be an easy catch. The rescue would require time and patience. I also thought about the challenge of taking in a larger dog to the current rescue pack. Caring for a smaller dog is so much easier, but I decided it wasn’t right to rescue only small dogs. So sure enough, I pulled over and tried to coax him to my car. He wasn’t about to get close me to or allow me to approach him so I enticed him with a small roll of dry dog sausage. I threw a small piece to him from a distance and it caught his attention as a first step toward rescue. I began tossing the pieces of sausage across the street, shortening the distance until he was just a few feet in front of me. He was wary of the slip leash/rope destined for his neck.
I made the sausage pieces smaller and smaller because it had to last long enough for me to get him eating out of my hand so I could slip the loop of the leash over his head while he focused on the food in my hand. He finally succumbed to his feeding frenzy and did not notice my left hand pulling the tightening loop over his head. Bingo! I said to myself, “you’re mine now”. Knowing I had absolutely no room for him at my home, I took him to my neighbor’s kennel. He would be kenneled outdoors instead of the local Shelter which with a 73% euthanasia rate –was not an option. At least he would have a dog house with a heavy blanket, food, water and access to a back yard with plenty of space to stretch his legs when my neighbor’s 14 cats (yes 14) were inside her home. Redd was a wonderful house guest and found a great home with Adam Lantham, a professional photographer in Los Angeles. He is one very lucky dog!
Maggie, a young Corgi-Shepherd mix was rescued as a stray and adopted in spite of a pelvic fracture in 6 places. Although we received a deeply discounted surgery, it still cost $2,060. Here’s Maggie’s story…
One afternoon, from my kitchen window, I noticed Maggie walking along the street on 3 legs as she followed or appeared to accompany a young woman walking her personal dog on a leash. I thought Maggie might be a stray. They were moving at a fast pace, so I jumped in my car prepared for another rescue. I caught up with the trio, and Maggie was capturedt with a little coaxing. Walking on 3 legs at rapid speed, my suspicions were confirmed… another San Bernardino stray.
This was to be her first rescue. Several days after Maggie got adopted, she escaped when a garage door was accidently opened. Her new family saturated a 1 mile radius with ‘Lost’ posters. This time I feared the worst and thought she might be doomed with little hope given a chance encounter with coyotes near the foot of the mountains. Good Fortune struck when Maggie’s family received calls as she was spoted traveling on a busy street. Traffic was stopped on both sides of the street for a safe rescue. Maggie recovered in a permanent loving home… She would have been doomed at the Shelter.
Valentino was abandoned, tethered to a tree in a backyard, with no food or water when noticed by kind neighbors next door who called a Poochmatch volunteer for help. We went to get him, but could not put our arms under him to pick him up because he had at least 100 stickers stuck to his belly, with another couple hundred on his legs, chest, face, and even inside his ears. He immediately went to receive professional grooming and he cleaned up SO well afterwards. To our amazement, he was not the least bit traumatized. He emerged from his ordeal a sweet, friendly gentleman of a dog. He got along well with any person or dog he met and it didn’t take him long to find his forever family who’d love and pamper him for all his life.
Grace was rescued by Julianna Brown, a volunteer filled with compassion and love for bully breed dogs. When found by Julie, Grace was clearly emaciated – it’s a wonder her organs did not shut down from starvation. Nevertheless, Grace Survived.
She is now healthy and has been adopted.
This little guy was brought to my attention by a neighbor who drives people to their medical appointments. Hercules had no shelter and was living a miserable life with a heavy chain that rubbed his neck raw. With no roof over his head or blanket to sleep on during bitter cold and rain in San Bernardino, we provided a crate and covered it with a tarpe. Within several days, Hercules was taken for neuter and given his first bath, never to return to the rotten miserable life he was living. Hercules now a beach dog and resides in South Beach, San Diego County. Oh what a life Hercules now has!