Our Vet suggests: “Are you an idiot?”

Our Vet suggests:  “Are you an idiot?”

When a family adopts from I Could Have Been Adopted they sign a contract saying that if they can’t keep the animal, they will call us and we will get him back under the rescue’s sponsorship. This has happened several times in the course of 4 years but never have we gotten a call from a stranger who, after three weeks of feeding two stray dogs, finally traced one of the dogs back to our rescue.

As Karla described the dogs, my heart grew heavy because I was convinced they were littermates who ICHBA had re-homed to a family in KY just 6 weeks before.  “I could never get them to come to me so I could check the tag. I prayed that I could find who they belonged to because they still had harnesses on and I knew they were somebody’s pets.  I went out this morning and found a collar with the tag and a red harness lying beside the shed and my daughter traced the rabies tag to you” Karla informed me.

 Pumpkin & Sunny

      Pumpkin & Sunny

My fears were confirmed when I checked our records for the tag number Karla gave me….it was Pumpkin’s tag and he and Sunny were roaming the hills, being fed by  Karla, sometimes sleeping on her porch or in the middle of the paved road in front of her home.  Lost? Abandoned?

I immediately sent a text to the family who had adopted the pups and was informed that while they were visiting family in Russellville, KY, Sunny and Pumpkin had escaped from the fenced in yard and had been gone 2 weeks.  This didn’t add up since Russellville is about 90 miles from where they were found and they had been roaming the area around Karla’s for 3 weeks. Lost…absolutely not!

Abandoned…thinking they were going for a walk…left to watch the people they trusted drive away!  Words cannot describe the anger I felt toward  Peyton and Chelsea*, the sadness I felt for Pumpkin and Sunny, nor the gratitude I felt for Karla.

At 6:00 the next morning, Winfield and I drove some 30 miles west of Bowling Green, KY with the hopes of getting Sunny and Pumpkin…praying they had begun to trust Karla enough that she could get her hands on them.


    Karla and Mike Have Pumpkin

IMG_2049Karla, a feisty little woman who has the reputation of being the St. Francis of the community, took the day off from work to help as did her brother from next door.

After 3 hours, about two pounds of baloney, several tranquilizers, and while Winfield and I had gone to get more luncheon meat, Karla was able to coax Pumpkin onto the porch and Mike was able to get a leash around his neck.

Karla...So Close

           Karla…So Close

Another 4 hours passed while we tried to get our hands on Sunny but we left around 4:00 with her still on the loose. We drove back to Robertson County with Pumpkin, took him to the vet, and then returned him to the family who had fostered him for I Could Have Been Adopted.

The next afternoon, Sunny’s foster mom, a soft spoken strong lady who knows her pack so well that I think she is part canine herself, rode with me to Karla’s. We hoped we would have Sunny safely back with us today.  More tranquilizers wrapped in ham and baloney, more getting close, more Sunny running from us…there is no question that we would come as often as we needed to but how many trips to KY would it take?

Sunny, dopey but still vigilant, finally chose a weeping willow in the back yard as her resting place between forays into the surrounding countryside.  Mike and his girlfriend sat on the patio behind the shed where they could still see the willow but could also keep an eye out for Sunny if she took the route she had been taking each time she left the tree.  Karla and I sat on the back steps of her home where we could observe Sunny   under the tree and see the side yard if she took off that way. Christine positioned herself at the kennel housing two of Karla’s dogs and paid no attention to Sunny (or so Sunny thought). Each time dopey Sunny’s head went down Christine would crawl a few paces so that she could circle widely around the tree and approach Sunny from the side thru the low hanging branches.  After about 30 minutes we observed Christine softly addressing Sunny as “Honey, Bunny” as she got within ten feet of her….five feet…2 feet.  At 12 inches away, Sunny lifted her paw and gave it to Christine…the next thing we saw was Christine hunched over cradling Sunny in her arms!

Christine & Sunny

                  Christine & Sunny


IMG_2057Sunny and Pumpkin are safe now.  They were covered with fleas and with ticks the size of the nail on my pinky finger.  Pumpkin’s white coat has patches of black tar stuck to it. They both have hot spots on their skin, usually caused by stress, that required having the area shaved, cleaned, and weeks of antibiotics. They are each playing with their dog friends and being lovable and loved on by their previous foster family.

Pumpkin back with Judy

        Pumpkin back with Judy

When I shared this with ICHBA’s vet, I expressed my guilt about misjudging the family who re homed Pumpkin and Sunny and he replied that no matter how conscientious we are there is no guarantee that the people who leave his office or re-home ICHBA’s animals will be the way they presented themselves. He did suggest though that the first question on our adoption application should be…Are you an idiot?


*Peyton and Chelsea have been placed on the “do not adopt” national registry







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