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Twin Pups in Desperate Need of Rescue

By: Janet Yeager

Part 1:  June 18, 2005-a plea for help

The story begins with a call to an animal control office in Northern California from a man reporting two puppies hanging out in his back yard. When he attempted to approach the dogs they ran away. Animal control investigated and was able to trap them. They estimated the dogs to be between 6-8 months old, alert and healthy but not socialized with humans. It wasn't long before these two young shy dogs captured the hearts of shelter workers and volunteers. They called them "the twins".

Alan Doyle, an experienced Siberian Husky rescue volunteer, was called in to evaluate the pups. While in the kennel, he observed the dogs cowering in the corner next to each other. They showed no aggression, only fear and kept as close together as possible. When he stepped out the kennel and watched them through a window, they played and behaved like normal, happy, husky puppies.


Alan believed the dogs could be rehabilitated and he was committed to saving them. He knew they would need a very special environment. He hoped to find an experienced foster home that would provide minimal exposure to strangers and maximum exposure to socialized Siberians, where they could gradually learn by example. He knew they would need to stay together during their rehabilitation and perhaps permanently. On June 18, 2005, he sent a plea for help to numerous rescue groups including Siberians Needing Owners.


As soon as I heard about the pups I wanted to help. I felt I had the the perfect environment for these dogs but was located some eleven hundred miles north in Washington State (20 miles below the Canadian border). After many unsuccessful attempts to find an appropriate foster home in California, Alan realized that transporting the pups up to me in Washington may be their only hope.

How and When was now the biggest challenge Alan and I faced.

Part two: June 25, 2005-the incredible journey

The prospect of transporting these two puppies  1,100 miles from California to Kettle Falls Washington was daunting.  Knowing that this would be the only chance for these dogs fueled our determination. One of our first thoughts was to fly the dogs. This plan was abandoned when we learned the airlines would not allow the two dogs to travel in the same crate. The dogs were so bonded to each other that separating them would have been too traumatic.   


Alan Doyle, of North Bay SHRRCA rescue sent out an e-mail plea to several rescue lists for transport help for June 25. Many people came forward to volunteer a leg of this transport.  Unfortunately we had gaps in the relay that could not be filled. At our lowest point we decided to abandon the hope of transporting on the 25-26th and try again for the next weekend. Suddenly some new people stepped forward and it looked like we would be able to make everything work for the 25th.

Thanks to Contra Costa Animal Services agreeing to open early. Alan planned a departure at about 8:00 for the first leg of the transport. Alan had completed the paper work the day before, but the task of getting these shy puppies  ready to leave took longer than expected. The transport crate was brought into the kennel area, the dogs were then vaccinated, and allowed to scramble into the crate to hide. The crate was then carted back to the truck. The entire process took about 90 minutes. Finally they were ready to begin the first part of their long journey.


Alan drove them to Medford Oregon where Sue, a member of Alaskan Malamute Oregon Rescue, took over the next leg of the shuttle. She drove the dogs to Salem where they met rescue volunteer Mary Arnold.


The previous day Mary had driven to Salem where she waited in a motel room for the dogs to arrive. They reached her about 7: 00 P.M. and she started out for Spokane.  My husband Jay and I left home at 10:00 pm for the long ride to meet Mary. We met  in Spokane at 1:30 am. After a few minutes to introduce ourselves to Mary and take a peak at the puppies in the crate we started the trip back to Kettle Falls. We arrived home at about 4:00 am. It was such a relief to finally have them here.


We were not about to take any chances on them escaping so we carried the heavy crate with the girls inside to the secure play yard before opening the crate door. They came out of the crate immediately and hovered together in a corner for a few minutes. We were pleased to see how pretty they both were.


Early morning e-mails that the pups had arrived were quickly sent out to every one involved. We then went back to watching  them from a window as they got acquainted with their new surroundings. They seemed eager to explore and a couple of hours later enjoyed every bit of their breakfast.

Alan’s dedication and love for this breed earned my admiration many years so I was once again awed but not surprised at the extreme effort he was willing to put forth. Alan worked with the shelter staff, put the word out and took the first long leg of the long  journey. Without Alan  these puppies might not have had the chance to live the life they deserve.  Contra Costa Animal Services Division staff, and particularly Lt. Nancy Anderson, manager of the Martinez facility, should get huge applause. Without their cooperation we never could have saved the girls. Also, a big thank you to Lisa Rook and Sandy Stewart, SHRRCA North Bay Group members, who also worked with staff. We really appreciated Sue from Alaskan Malamute Oregon Rescue who  took a critical leg of this transport. I am just amazed that Mary Arnold, whom I had never met, was willing to spend two nights in motels and hours of driving to help save these dog. We were all exhausted, but the  satisfaction of working with old friends, making new ones and successfully getting these dog transported made everything worthwhile.


Transports are never easy to arrange. Especially one involving such a long distance. Offering to help with transport  can be a wonderful way for people who can’t foster to help dogs in need. We are hopeful that the puppies will learn to trust people and one day be ready for adoption by a loving family.

JUMP TO: Part I   -   Part II   -   Part III   -   Part IV   -   Part V

Part three: First Few Days


The two puppies spent their first hour here timidly exploring their surroundings.  After breakfast they retreated to the inside of the log lean-to we had built. We have found that dogs love hanging out on the tops and inside of these shelters.  I was very glad we had the lean-to since it gave the girls a little safety den to retreat to but would still allow them to watch us and the other dogs.  Part of their rehabilitation involves them watching how our well-socialized dogs interact with us.


After their nap they started exploring again.  By early afternoon they were relaxed enough to enjoy lounging around on the top of the lean-to. They did not seem to mind my watching as I long as I did not approach too close.


The temperatures climbed up to the 80’s inspiring the girls to go for a dip in the pool.


It was wonderful to see them become more relaxed with each passing hour. They startle easily but the fearful look in their eyes was diminishing.  I am very hopeful that they will eventually lose their fear of people.


Like most Siberians  the girls are extremely curious and that curiosity will be a big help in their recovery.

In spite of their fear, both girls could not resist coming up to me and sniffing my hand.  When working with fearful dogs it is important that you allow them to come to you at their own comfort level.  Trying to approach them or pet them to soon only increases their anxiety. The key is patience and spending lots of time with them while letting them progress at their own pace. I plan to spend a lot of hours just sitting in their yard with a good book letting them get used to my presence.


They don’t appear to have been physically abused.  More than likely they were left in a back yard  with almost no contact with people. They did not seem to have ever had a collar on before arriving at the shelter.   They do seem to want to make friends and have shown no signs of fear aggression.  I am anxious to see what changes we will see in their behavior over the next few weeks.

Part four: First Few Weeks


The girls have been here almost a week and it is clear that they are enjoying their new life.  They start the day at about 4:30 ready to play. Of course this wakes all of the other dogs up so we have become very early risers.  I am trying not to think of all of the years it has taken me to teach my dogs to sleep in that has now been undone.


The girls play rough and rowdy but when playtime is over they are still best friends. After all, they are sisters.


After play time they have breakfast.  I sit in a lawn chair with a bowl on each side of the chair. This helps with getting them more comfortable with me and also keeps them from steeling the other’s food (one is much thinner than the other). After observing them eat during the first few days I could see that one of the dogs was driving the other from her food.


I was sure that they really wanted to be part of our family when I caught them peering in the windows.

On their third day here I knew they were really wanting to be part of the family as I watched them take their first tentative steps inside the door.  This was a very exciting moment.


In the last entry I promised that the new names for the girls would be reveled.  My husband and I decided that it was time to stop calling them red collar and green collar.  The smaller of the two will be Kiara, which is an Irish name meaning little and dark.The larger will be called Tavie, a Scottish name meaning Twin. Even though they both look very much alike it is easy to tell them apart.  Tavie is larger and has a splash of white on her shoulder.


Tavie and Kiara have made friends with the other fosters here and found a big brother in one of my older dogs, Iko.


The girls have made great progress and we are excited to see what changes will occur over the next few weeks.  We will patiently continue our efforts to win their trust.  The important thing right now is that they are safe and happy.

Part five: First Few Months


The girls have been with us for a month now. They are always glad to see us and run up right away to sniff our fingers.


As they say “everything is relative”. We were thrilled one day when Kiara dashed into the house and ran out the door with the tv remote. A wonderful sign that they were becoming normal huskies. Both dogs are now comfortable in the house and love exploring. Kiara will let me pet her all over when she is in the house. She is a little more skittish outside. Tavie remains more shy than her sister and will only allow me to pet her while she is eating.  


They have made friends with all of the dogs here.  They spend a lot of time playing with our other fosters Rusty and Foley.  


We keep them in a large play yard right next to the house so they can come in and out of the house easily and have as much contact with us and the other dogs as possible.  It helps them a lot to see the other dogs enjoy getting lots of pets and hugs.


We live in an open range area which means we have cattle visit us now and then. Tavie and Kiara weren’t sure what to think the first time one of the cows wondered into our yard.  It didn’t take them long to get comfortable with the cattle and they even made friends with a few of them.


The only big problem with this arrangement is that  they are eating our house. Even worse than that they start eating the house at 4:30 am. Our house is a cedar log home. The girls have decided that it is great fun to claw at the house and pull off pieces of the wood to chew on. I have started to teach them what no means, but all corrections for them must be very very gentle. We tried every thing we could think of , including spraying the side of our house with bitter apple. Nothing was working. As a last resort we have had to staple chicken wire along the entire side of our house. For the first week or so they spent a lot of time trying to take down the wire. Much to our relief they finally seem to have decided that it is just to much work now to eat the house. The house is ok but the door will never be the same again. It is a good thing that they are both so adorable.


Tavie and Kiara still have a long way to go and progress will continue to be a slow process of giving them lots of love and patience. Unless there are some major changes it will be several months before I post another update. I still have hopes that Tavie and Kiara will eventually feel secure and confident enough to be adopted by some lucky family.

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