FOR EVERY SIBERIAN,
THERE IS A HOME . . .
Text and photos by Cheryl LentzRescuing Siberians is truly a labor of love. Our group started in December 1998 when I came across a very ill and abandoned husky named Cinnamon at AHA who had been hit by a car. That night, I went home and cried. I got on the Internet and emailed every Siberian Husky Rescue group in the country. Mary Ann from TX, helped me rescue her. I was convinced that Cinnamon wasn't going to make it, and that she would at least know love in her final days. For two weeks I had her covered in blankets and slept by her side. She was so sick we had to spoon feed her baby food. Even my Sibes, Duchess and Thunder, knew she was dreadfully ill as they lay by her side, never far from her.
Cinnamon was our Christmas miracle. Within several weeks, she started recovering. Little by little she finally returned to a healthy and thriving Siberian. She now resides in Colorado in her forever home.
I still keep track of our first angel and was recently rewarded with her picture. I cried when I saw her. It was hard to believe it was the same Siberian! Seeing that picture is the reason we do rescue. We made a difference in Cinnamon's life-little did we know she was the first of many.
Our motto is "Saving Siberians…one life at a time". It is a very difficult journey. Many times we do not have enough foster homes and must prioritize. It is hard to turn away even one. We have rescued over 70 animals since our humble beginnings. We are short on everything; money, supplies; sometimes even faith, especially in humanity as the abuses continue.
In January, I received a call from Animal Control about Nala, a highly energetic Sibe who was turned in BY HER OWNERS with a beaver trap STILL attached to her leg. I was horrified! The vet told me she had pictures. I couldn't look. She had open puncture wounds and injuries. It just broke my heart. Nala was quiet at first, recovering patiently. As she improved, her true Siberian personality took over. She broke out of every locked kennel and dog run we had. One afternoon, she escaped from a locked crate. She did quite a bit of damage-to a few shoes, the toaster, even the remote! We finally had to board her just to protect her injuries and allow them to heal. Nala wasn't a bad dog; she was just relishing in affection she had probably never known. Just recently, we were able to place her. It was so amazing how she adapted. Five minutes in the house, she promptly flopped on the couch, smiled and called it home! I truly believe that for every Siberian there really is a forever home—it just takes time.
Because we are affiliated with National Siberian Husky Rescue, we do require contracts to be signed for all our rescues. It provides legal transfer of ownership, and requires us to make sure they are spayed/neutered and current on all shots. It also protects the animal if it doesn't work out—protecting them from going back through the system.
Rescue is an emotional heartache. Sometimes I lose faith in humanity after countless abuse stories. Those presented here are only the tip of the iceberg. We exist because there is a need to speak for the animals who have no voice, to step in where humanity has failed, and to make up to many of these animals for the horrific lives they have lead. I keep pictures of them all to remind us of those we saved, as a reminder to keep the faith, when we couldn't get there in time. I pray for the day that our services will no longer be needed.
If you're looking to place a specific breed, there are organizations for virtually every one. They can often give you pointers on placement or may have a network of possible homes of someone wanting that breed. Go to www.akc.org/breeds (http://www.akc.org/breeds) to find a regional group which can then help you find a more local group.
Cheryl Lentz is President and Founder of Siberian Husky Rescue of New Mexico, Inc. She established this group officially in August 1999, having placed over 120 Siberians since inception.
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