We did not start out to run a dog rescue - it just kind of happened ............
In 1993, we began to look for a house after living in a condo and wanted to stay in the White Rock Lake area. After much looking, we found a house facing Flag Pole Hill. We were the 5th couple that put a contract in on our home and we ended up with a home that faces the park, is a stones throw from the lake and is on the street that crosses the bike trail. So we moved in with our 2 pets - Bridget Bardog, a Cairn mix, and Ginger Rue, a yorkie.
What an interesting part of Dallas! We are a couple houses up from a working stable and the neighborhood has a look and feel of being in the country but is minutes from downtown. There are deer, red fox, coyotes, peacocks, falcons, armadillos, possums, nutria, skunks and every snake imaginable in the park. People ride horses in this park daily. We like to sail and have a small racing boat at the White Rock Boat Club and can be there within 3-4 minutes after walking out of the house. At the bottom of the hill, the bike trail crosses our street and there is now direct access to the Lake under Northwest Highway with the improvements to Northwest Highway flood plane.
Anyway .......... within a few months, we started finding dogs in the park. Some were neighborhood dogs that had gotten out but some were not. A friend that was visiting took a jog in the park and found a litter of Boxer/Black Lab pups, we found 3 Chows walking up the hill, there was an 8 week Pomeranian puppy chasing his tail in the road and so it went. We would find their homes and if not, vet them and find homes for them.
On June 19th, 2001, at 3 in the morning a hound of some sort was howling in our driveway. After a couple of rounds of howling, Clay got up and tried to catch him and put him up for the night. It was a Bassett Hound that would come up to him and just as he was about to put a leash on him, would run down the hill about 20 feet. He led Clay down the hill until Clay gave up and went to bed. The next day, my neighbor called telling me one of my dogs was out. I ran out and found a small old, white dog laying in my neighbor's yard. I turned to him and asked him how could he possibly think this was my pet?? I scooped him up and took him to the vet. I called Clay and told him that I had found an old dog in dire circumstances and he advised me to take him to the vet and do "what needed to be done". This dog could not raise his head, had milky white eyes, NO HAIR and was dreadfully thin, just barely 6 lbs. The night that he was taken to the vet, the hound that was in our yard, appeared again howling at 2 am. Clay got up again, and this time, he let himself be caught very easily. He had been trying to lure us down the hill to help his friend!
The vet informed me that this was not an old dog but a 5-6 month old Shih Tzu puppy! They could not get an IV going easily and his blood was a dark, thick brick red. This was a Wednesday - we stopped by to visit him and he looked so dreadful, we honestly believed he wouldn't make to the weekend. We did not take any pictures of him because it was just too painful but with him being such a young dog, there was no other choice than to try to give him a chance. On that Friday, he made a turn for the better - he could eat and finally lifted his head! On Saturday afternoon, I got a call and the vet indicated that the dog had a staph infection in both eyes and in order to save his sight, he would need a graft in both eyes THAT EVENING.
Where do you find a veterinary eye specialist on Saturday at 5 pm? They had contacted the Trinity Mills Animal Hospital who has an eye specialist on staff, Dr. Robert Munger. He was out working on horses in Ft. Worth and agreed to come in on Saturday night to work on "Presley". Our niece and nephew named him .......... you know what they say, once you name them ...... He got double cornea grafts which required drops and a strip of medicine in both eyes every 3 hours for 14 days. Oh, he didn't have hair because he had mange and a skin infection which required a daily medicated bath for 7 days and then every other day for another 2 weeks. We took bets as to what color this little dog would be - he is mostly white with apricot spots! He weighed 6 lbs and his normal weight would be 13 lbs. The hound was a Basset also had mange but had only lost 50% of his hair and weighed 28 lbs. when we found him. His normal weight was around 50 lbs.
6 weeks out, this dog had gained weight, begun to get peach fuzz hair and the milky white film on his eyes dissipated and he could see! Once he gained 5 lbs., we discovered he had a umbilical hernia so off to surgery he went again. $4,400 in 2001 dollars later, he completely recovered, sleeps on my pillow and I often refer to him as "my reason for living". He is spry and full of personality - he is mistaken for a puppy and is now 13 years old. His best friend and running buddy, Blue Lou the Bassett, passed last year of stomach cancer. Oh ........... did I mention that June 19th is my birthday? This is the only birthday that cost me money but it was well worth it!
So, after this experience with Blue Lou and Presley, we realized that people dump dogs out at the Lake and with a little TLC, these dogs are fabulous pets and deserve a chance. We have worked with several rescues and fostered for the SPCA Pet Haven program. The dogs in the Pet Haven program are pets that need a foster because the owners are sick or are in transition. Some of these dog come from clients of the Genesis Shelter. Women in this program will not leave an abusive situation if they cannot take their pets with them - this program gives the opportunity to get back on their feet and keep their pets. Some dogs from this program stayed with us one or two weeks and others have stayed up to 3 months.
We continue to find dogs at the Lake and discovered that the average citizen does not get a lot of help if they find an animals. We started "White Rock Dog Rescue" to help animals abandoned at the Lake and will help anyone that asks for assistance. We can help promote the animal, get low cost vetting, training and possible fostering. Every personal pet of ours has been a foundling and could not be a more wonderful pet! Hannah, our big dog, socialized all the dogs that came into the house. Of our original crew, Presley was the last one left and passed away February of 2018. He lived over 18 years! and it was because of those original 2 dogs that this rescue effort was started. WHAT A LEGACY!!