Dog days on the Underground Railroad

The Pomeranian-Keeshound dog was dumped at the Los Angeles shelter by his drug addict owner, and left in a cage for the next few days, before the mentally unstable woman returned to demand the dog back.

As this unnamed woman was the original owner, staff at East Valley Shelter were obliged to hand the dog Sampson back to her, instead of letting animal rescue groups spirit her to a new life up in Canada.

But Sampson was saved from more years of abuse and neglect when the lady who took him to the shelter, high on drugs, failed to complete the required paperwork and threw a fit when shelter staff refused to hand him back, while adopters in Canada scored a golden chance to mount a rescue on August 12th.

Before he was returned we had an underground group looking to find him a home. We wouldn’t want him to go back to the drug addict as he’d go back into a life of misery and abuse,” said Dhyann Keller, who’s organized the rescue of dozens of dogs from American shelters, many of whom were in danger of being put down.

Keller posted pictures of Sampson on a Facebook message thread, and contacted Kindersley resident Tammy Francis, asking her if she would like to adopt him, and she at once agreed.

Within minutes he was pulled for adoption for Tammy by rescuer Cambria Hankin. We usurped the drug addict,” said Keller.

But for Sampson the journey north to freedom had only just begun. Pulled out of East Valley with two other abandoned dogs called Bugsy and Gerry, they needed a safe place to stay in LA while Hankin organized veterinary checkups, necessary travel documents, and animal crates for their flight up to Edmonton.

Quite often the dogs must be spayed, neutered, and given up to date vaccinations such as rabies before the vet in LA signs the paperwork that’ll let them into Canada and start their new lives.

Bugsy, a Beagle-Chihuahua crossbreed, was in particularly bad shape before he left LA, as his eye was popped out of its socket, either from abuse or a dogfight. As no-one Stateside wanted to adopt him, his photo was tagged by rescuers on Facebook and he joined the rescue flight.

It depends but usually if I pull the dogs on Tuesday and it’s not spayed of neutered they’ll usually fly on Thursday, as we like to give them a day’s rest when they come out of surgery, and it also depends on other people’s schedules up in Canada,” said Hankin.

Making her job slightly easier is LA vet Dr. Jones, who offers free consultations for rescued pets.

Dog trio Sampson, Bugsy, and Gerry flew up to Canada last Friday after being given the all-clear from the vet, but there was still the challenge of the plane ride itself, stressful enough for human passengers but a nightmare for dogs stuck in cargo.

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