January 1, 2015 – San Antonio
Photos: Deanna Vollano
San Antonio celebrates the New Year with fun and fireworks, which were lovely. But the aftermath for dogs can be disturbing. The fireworks tend to freak out dogs and displace them as they try to get away from the booming noises. This can mean stray dogs lose their way, owned dogs bolt from their homes which results in a higher number of dogs in the streets than usual. We met with Katie Boggs of Katie’s Roadside Rescue (www.krrtx.org) and rode along with her to see the fallout of the festivities.
Katie has taken on another full-time job, her non-profit Katie's Roadside Rescue, but it is a labor of love….for the stray dogs in San Antonio. After only a few minutes with Katie, it was clear to me how devoted she is to this cause. It was my pleasure to spend time with her and see her in action.
We drove through some areas known for loose dogs and they did not disappoint. After having seen a handful, we came upon 2 roaming dogs that didn’t run when we pulled over. One was a rather scruffy white dog that had clearly been traveling through very muddy areas, the other a black dog with tan and white accents. They both were quite interested in the treats Katie offered. We were in a neighborhood and the question was, are these dogs owned? Neither had a collar or tags but Katie scanned both for micro-chips; the black one had one. Micro-chips only work however, if the owner registers the dog. So Katie contacted the micro-chip company and gave them the number in hopes of learning who the owner was. Typically they give her information immediately; however for some reason this time, they needed to investigate and call her back.
Katie thought that the white dog could have been running for a while by his looks, but she left a note on the door of the house we found him in front of with her contact information, just in case they knew this dog. Both dogs were then loaded into crates in the back of Katie’s van and on we went.
We saw a handful of dogs in this area, but then headed to the “neighborhood from hell.” Katie had been watching a few different situations in this area and we were going to check on them. First, there was a gray dog that was losing his hair and in serious need of help. Katie had been trying to trap this dog for weeks to no avail as he would not walk into the trap, even for tasty wet food. We found him near some other intimidating owned dogs but since he knows Katie’s van, which means food, he followed us back to a parking lot where Katie could safely try to trap him again. There is a mama dog, with puppies under a house next to the parking lot, which has proven to be a distraction to the gray dog. Katie knew that she’d have to get mama dog a distance away and give the gray one time to contemplate going in the trap. The other key difference this time was that Katie put a soft blanket that gray dog could step on instead of the cold metal bars of the trap. This apparently made the difference and gray dog, now known as Droopy because of his eyes, went far enough into the trap to trip the trigger. It was an exciting and very satisfying moment for Katie because she now could give Droopy the help he desperately needed. New Year, new life for Droopy!
In the meantime, Katie heard from the micro-chip company who had determined who owned the black dog. She would be in touch with the owner and arrange for Kika to go home!
Now that Droopy was safe and sound, Katie and one of her volunteers, Heather, shifted gears to rescuing the puppies of the mama dog that was hanging out with Droopy. Was Droopy the father of the puppies? We’ll likely never know, but it is possible. The puppies live with their mama under a broken down mobile home, whose owners authorized Katie to remove the puppies. Just the evening prior, on her way home from work, Katie crawled under the house, in dress clothes, to untangle one of the puppies from low hanging insulation, but this disturbed mama so she was unable to remove any of the puppies. In the light of day, Katie was able to lure mama and her babies out from under the house with food. Katie was able to snag 3 puppies pretty easily but it took some time to get any more. Mama was in and out from under the house and very protective. Two of the puppies ventured out on their own to play in a stack of tires and they were secured then. Katie had originally thought there were 6 puppies, but there were a total of 7. Katie and Heather spent quite a bit of time trying to coax the puppies out, or catch them with a snare but nothing worked. Mama and the remaining pups had eaten their fill and it became clear they were not to be had that day. Katie wanted to leave 2 so that they could keep each other warm. Mama didn’t appear to still be nursing but had taken very good care of her puppies. So with 5 puppies in hand, along with the white dog, black dog and Droopy we decided to call it a day!
Kika’s owner’s niece had been in touch and our final stop would be to reunite Kika with her family – that is a success story! What we found out is that Kika had gotten out on Christmas Day when a family member accidentally left the gate open. Kika’s home was about 15 miles away from where we found her, and this was a week after she’d escaped. Thank goodness Kika was micro-chipped and she is now safe at home. Had she not been chipped or we had not found her, her future could have been a grim one as a street dog. This was a New Year’s Day reunion – I love happy endings!
We will see Katie again on January 6th to learn about a transport that begins that day. Katie has some dogs that are being taken to their new forever families; we’ll meet them and share their story.
Below: Katie and a volunteer, Heather with the rescued puppies!