The crucible that is the Rez produces strong, smart and loving dogs. Generation after generation of RezDawgs face starvation, abuse and plain old bad luck. But nature provides and when a Rez dog faces a problem, they overcome adversity by depending on ancestral knowledge passed down by true survivors. Good mamas explain, “when you’re hungry, bees are an option but… Read more →
When we started this blog, we promised we’d “toss you over our shoulder and take you on a tour of Rez Rescue.” The mission is simple: to share information about what we do, how we do it, and introduce you to the amazing people who make it all happen. Carol Kuzdek, President of Whole Pets in Boulder, CO, is one… Read more →
Rescue requires a higher level of customer service than retail, banking or the restaurant business. In simple terms, rescues need to maintain a higher attention to detail because our clients are also our bosses – and because we have so many of them. We work for the dogs/cats we rescue and owe them the best possible experience. We’re directly responsible… Read more →
RezDawg is gearing up for puppy and kitten season and the only limiting factor on how many Rez Dogs and Rez Cats we can save is the number of spaces available in our foster network – now over 100 strong (and growing.) If we want to rescue more Rez animals in 2017 than we did in 2016 (and we do,)… Read more →
Continued from last week’s blog: I tried to meditate while waiting for Edgar to return so we could finish our interview. No go. Rather than popping the interfering thought-balloons that came to mind, my mental jujitsu made them grow quicker and stronger. OK, open your eyes then, Steve. Take a deep breath. Tendrils of stress clawed up the back of… Read more →
January wind blows cold at Canyon de Chelly. The gusts of January 4, 2016 blew particularly cold, driving mean clouds across the sky and sending locals and tourists alike to huddle around their fires in as many layers as mobility or fashion would allow. The threat of rain became a reality as the Park Ranger locked the Visitor Center and… Read more →
If you have a great dog (and we all do,) you can make great dog pictures. Here is the secret to great dog photography: be smarter than your dog. At my house this takes focus, hard work, a polished plan of attack, and a well-developed sense of humor. Here are a few tips, tricks and hard fought lessons that might… Read more →
Some outcomes hurt. With a heavy heart, we announce the death of Manny, a two-year-old-ish Rez Dog, resident of a waste area behind a construction site in St. Michaels, AZ. Manny died on July 6, 2016, following successful surgery to repair injuries sustained during a holiday weekend hit-and-run. Those that knew him loved him, and we hope the choice to not wake up from anesthesia was his to make.
Little is known about Manny’s early life. He was likely born in St. Michaels but could have easily been dumped there or conjured out of Rez Magic during 2014. His first success on the social scene happened early that summer when, after much sniffing, he was accepted into the Basha’s Dumpster Pack. At six months of age, he was the third youngest male to accept that honor since the pack was established in 1984.
Arthur, a ChinPin Rez Dog from Kayenta, associated with the Dumpster Pack while Manny was a member. He recalls, “Manny showed up alone one day, whip-smart but barely past weaning. Some dog already taught him the basics because he ate bees without getting stung and could damn near catch a rabbit even then. He caught some disease but came out of it eventually. Since he wasn’t a jerk, contributed resources and had a strong constitution, we didn’t kill him or chase him away. Good guy. Sad to know he’s gone.”
As he aged, exposure to the wider world of the pack enabled Manny to develop a range of skills needed for survival. As with all new pack members, he first worked to improve his scavenging and begging. He proved himself a quick learner with innovative ideas. Manny organized the first Swap Meet Feast in early 2015 – a cultural touchstone cherished by Rez Dogs to this day. The success of the Feast gained him promotion up the pack hierarchy where he learned a new survival strategy – outright thievery. Delivery trucks, ice chests and ice cream cones in the hands of small humans all became fair game. This has been proven to be a lucrative but dangerous path for many Rez Dogs and the result was no different for Manny. He thrived for almost a year before suffering a devastating heist-gone-bad.
Nobody knows what went wrong. Manny and a buddy left the pack one night to hunt domestic chickens and only Manny returned. He dragged himself into a culvert and tried to heal by lying perfectly still for three straight days. As Manny liked to say, “Real Rez Dogs can take a punch.” He proved he was a real Rez Dog by surviving his injuries and a smart one by choosing a new career. Manny quickly became an accomplished beggar. But he lost a step that night, and that step may have cost him everything.
Manny recently moved into the open area behind a construction site in St. Michaels with his new running buddy of four months. A strip mall (representing garbage, i.e. food) across the street and an adjacent small housing development dense with plants that need water regularly (water source) provided all the resources they’d need. As they settled into their new spot, the guys from the construction crew would watch them romp and play in the brush, envious. As a beggar, Manny knew to cultivate relationships with envious humans and the crew began to think of Manny and his buddy as integral parts of the jobsite.
But remember, Manny had lost a step. Traffic had not. The guys from the crew came to work on July 1, to find Manny had been hit by a car. He was laying half in the street, half in the gutter – unable to move. They picked him up, carried him to a shady spot under a tree and set him up as best they could. They brought him food and watered him from a gallon water jug sliced to size. For those that worry about the state of humanity, note that a sun-tough group of Arizona construction workers took ownership of a hurt and abandoned dog without a second’s thought. They showed heart. They gave Manny a fighting chance. But their patient didn’t move for two days and hope turned to worry. Something more needed to be done.
The crew talked to their wives and one of the wives facilitated the rescue. On July 3, Manny was moved from the jobsite to a foster home two hours away. He was fed, watered, lightly drugged and placed on a nest of pee pads where he proceeded to urinate for longer than I thought possible for any mammal. I’d like to think Manny let loose because he finally felt rescued and able to relax. Maybe it was the cool indoor air that did it, or perhaps he just couldn’t hold it anymore. It doesn’t matter. What counts is that Manny had made it to foster and he now had an even (better) chance of surviving. Morale rose.
The amateur prognosis was that Manny broke both legs or/and his pelvis. We kept him comfortable, rotated him every few hours to avoid pressure sores and gave him more human affection that he’d ever enjoyed. Manny proved to be an inveterate tail wager and a hand-licker of Olympic skill. His positive response to basic care caused hope to rise again but the amateur prognosis was still terrible. The x-rays would determine how Manny’s story ended.
Dr. Cook knows Rez Dogs and the next day he examined Manny and speculated that he’d suffered a broken tibia and dislocated hip socket on the opposite side. X-rays proved Dr. Cook correct. If you’d heard Manny cry when he was turned, you wouldn’t have thought this Rez Dog had a chance. Dr. Cook’s prognosis was great news and relieved the strain that accumulated as we worried about a really, really cool but really, really sick rez dog. This was fixable. Surgery was scheduled for the next day. Plans were made for foster care and rehab. The people rejoiced.
Manny died without waking from anesthesia. Godspeed, Manny. You touched hearts and you’ll be missed by a construction crew, their wives, a few rescuers and people who read through to the end of this blog (or simply liked your picture and didn’t read a word.) That’s a not-bad legacy. Better than most.
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Behind the Curtain Let’s look behind the curtain to see how RezDawg Rescue goes about the business of saving dogs (and cats!) on Native American Reservations – and whether or not we’re making a difference by working as hard as we do. Before we look, we should get some facts straight. When RezDawg Rescue packs up the volunteers and supplies… Read more →
Noteworthy things happen every time I set foot on the Rez. Inevitably, those things change how I see the world or live life. Last month, RezDawg let me out for a field trip (check out our photo album on Facebook) to the spay/neuter clinic in Pinehill, NM. On this trip to the Rez, The Drawer Puppies are who/what delivered. My moment of… Read more →