Rescue Tails

To Trapeze or Not to Trapeze?

One of the unexpected benefits of being part of the dog loving community is meeting people you would not otherwise have the opportunity to get to know. This is especially true when it comes to animal rescue. I have formed long lasting friendships and a virtual sisterhood with other volunteers as well as some of the veterinarians, groomers and veterinary technicians who have helped me rescue these little souls.

Just about three years ago my dogs and I were fortunate to meet our favorite vet tech, Leia McVicker.  Besides being a charmer of the four legged and having a huge heart, Leia it turns out, has all sorts of artistic talents hidden beneath her scrubs. One Saturday afternoon when she stopped by to inject our permanent foster dog Trixy with her monthly dose of Percorten, Leia mentioned she had just come from a class at the Trapeze School of New York on the Santa Monica Pier.

Trapeze School NY

I had to stop myself from being overly inquisitive about Leia’s class and I didn’t want to seem stalkerish by sharing my childhood fantasy of being a trapeze artist.  I was flooded with memories of  my numerous Easter vacations  to Las Vegas with my parents. I didn’t much care for Sin City but I definitely looked forward to the trapeze acts at the Circus Circus Hotel.  This was definitely the highlight of the trips for me. I loved it all — the daring and graceful performers, their glittery costumes and head dresses. I still vividly remember the dramatic sound of the cymbal as the trapeze artists completed their final and most treacherous feats.

In February, I took my Mom and my nieces to see Leia perform on the Silks at the Santa Monica pier. We were absolutely blown away by her performance to the Beatles, “Let it Be.” Her choreography was as exciting as the screams of the passengers on the roller coaster just behind us.

I was so inspired that on the way out I discretely slipped a class brochure into my purse. Back at home as I looked over the classes. I thought, “What is a chubby 45-year old woman like me going to do in a trapeze class?” I can’t even do one pull up. Alas.

When I found out Leia was teaching classes at TSNY, I couldn’t resist trying it at least once. After all she had already seen me at most vulnerable. Usually after a long drive to and from a shelter out in the high desert carrying a frightened, filthy dog pooping blood with parasites.

So Sunday was the big day.  That morning I found myself nervously parking in a structure on Colorado and Broadway.

“What am I doing?”

As I walked from the parking structure to the pier I tried to muster my courage. I reminded myself that at the age of 37, I trained and ran the Los Angeles Marathon. Then in the years following I also ran 26.2 miles across Paris, New York City, and Los Angeles one final time. I could handle hanging from a pair of silk drapes.


It turns out that for me at least, the silks are a far bigger challenge than running a marathon. It is not just a feat of upper body strength. It requires strength, flexibility, cardio vascular fitness and concentration.  Oh and a sense of humor comes in handy too.

Honestly, it took everything I had to hang from the silks for a mere 5-seconds. Meanwhile, the other woman in my class was a natural. Sadly I was not able to climb up the Silks but I kept trying and I did not give up. Not once.

This I believe was the true accomplishment of the day. Especially as we age, women are underestimated,  undervalued and if we are not careful, we start to buy into all the misogynist ideology.

For me,  the mere fact of trying something new despite my feelings about my body, my weight or my age was an important statement of self-worth.

Today my armpits of all things are killing me and my right wrist is a bit sore. Despite all of this, I am going back for round two in a couple of weeks and I am determined to climb those Silks.

Leia, with the greatest of ease.

Leia, with the greatest of ease.




Maggie got adopted!

The ladies meet for the first time!

The ladies meet for the first time!

Maggie in her new kitchen.

Maggie in her new kitchen.

We say goodbye to our little foster girl.

We say goodbye to our little foster girl.

Maggie is the 7lb Yorkie Terrier mix I rescued from Rachael Bohman at the Hesperia Shelter just over three weeks ago. With the help of Perfect Pet Rescue, Maggie found a wonderful new home on Saturday. Her Mom Harriet lives in the area and stopped by the event and she had an instant connection with Maggie.

It’s funny the way the adoptions go sometimes. Maggie has been there for weeks and truthfully gotten very little attention. She is so beautiful and sweet, I thought she would have had dozens of applications. This has not been the case.  My theory is that people who like Yorkies, want to rescue a pure bred Yorkie not a mix.

In any case, on Saturday, there were three people interested in her and fortunately Harriet was one of them.  I liked Harriet as soon as I met her. She seemed gentle and patient. She had also recently lost a dog to old age. Maggie was a little nervous with all the different people who were holding her but she was the most relaxed with Harriet.

When I read Harriet’s application I knew she would be a fabulous Dog Mom for Maggie. She is a lifetime dog owner who has always given the best to her pets.  In that moment I was grateful I had cancelled an adoption we had earlier approved. This was the adopter who propsed transporting Maggie to Portland via a long haul trucker.

After Harriet had filled out the application we took a leisurely stroll to her house. She said something so profound to me. Harriet told me she was at an age where she was no longer responsible for anyone but herself and she found she didn’t like it.

It was a very emotional moment for me as we walked along. In all of these years of rescuing and fostering I have always known I was in service to the dogs. I didn’t realize until that moment that I am also helping people who are looking for a dog to love.

It was a magical moment.

Maggie went to her new home on Saturday. It’s always bittersweet but I already received good news from Harriet. They had a fun girls night in and have several errands to run together today.

Thank you to everyone at Perfect Pet Rescue, West Coast Cocker Rescue and Rachael Bohman who helped bring Maggie and Harriet together.


Hesperia Animal Shelter

I don’t know that I’ve ever met a shelter tech quite like Rachael Bohman at Hesperia Animal Control. I met her a few years ago when I adopted my own dog, Ruby, a gorgeous and sweet Terrier mix from her. Rachael was so accommodating and made the adoption happen. The shelter is about a hundred miles from where I live so I couldn’t pick Ruby up until Saturday which happened to be when the shelter was closed. Rachael was there waiting for me so I could pick up my little one.

Since then, we have partnered on the rescue of maybe thirty or so rescues. We have done it one dog at a time. On one occasion, we were able to take a pair of Cocker brothers both at the same time. Rachael is always cheerful and hopeful. Some days when I’ve gone out there she will report that she has 18 dogs going to rescue that day and another dozen the next day.

Anyone who has ever been to an animal control shelter understands how grim and depressing those facilities can be.Understandably, the shelter staff are quite often bitter and impatient. What else can you expect when they spend their days watching people abandon their dogs for digging, barking or because the dog is just too much of a responsibility. It’s amazing to me that Rachael remains so positive and never loses her commitment to saving lives. I know that I could not do her job for one day. Even one hour.

Hesperia is out in the Mojave desert off Highway 15 on the way to Las Vegas.  I’ve made the trip several times and this month, I went two weekends in a row. Rachel lobbied hard for the rescue of that seven year old female Cocker Spaniel. By coincidence, thanks to West Coast Cocker Rescue, she is going to her permanent home today.  Rachael had another special project, an 8 pound female Yorkie mix named Maggie. She had contacted rescue after rescue after rescue with no luck.

Finally, she enlisted my help. Once I saw the picture of Maggie and her hopeful little face, I was determined. I networked her picture on Facebook, sent cold emails to rescuer organizations who don’t know me and I even emailed rescuers who don’t like me.

It was a miracle when Perfect Pet Rescue here in Los Angeles responded positively. After seeing Maggie’s picture and confirming she was not aggressive, Nancy Sarnoff the founder, agreed to take Maggie. I was so happy to call Rachael and give her the good news.

It was another exhausting Saturday but worth it once we had little Maggie with us. I can’t explain the feeling of knowing you are helping save an innocent little life.  Maggie is doing great. She is happy little soul. She already went to her first adoption show on Montana Avenue and will be going back this weekend.  IMG_0567IMG_0607Maggie



Our recent trip

On Saturday, I took my whole crew plus a few guest dogs to the high desert on a dog rescue mission to Hesperia Animal Control. We went out there to save one dog. I haven’t been out there to pull a dog since April. It’s about 100 miles each way and we are gone all day. Honestly, I was a little grouchy about the drive and giving up a whole day.


Once I made it out to the shelter, and the shelter tech brought the precious little soul out to me, I was so grateful for the opportunity to save her. Despite her fancy haircut which a volunteer groomer was kind enough to give her, little Ruby was completely terrified. The most frightened of any dog I’ve ever rescued.


Elyse the tech was nice enough to bring her out to the car for me so she could meet everyone. She was comfortable with the other dogs so we loaded her up and off we went!


This was the maiden rescue voyage of our Prius Wagon which we bought in July. We love the car so much. We had 2 Labradors and GoldenDoodle, 2 terrier mixes, 1 cockapoo, 1 Cocker rescue and 2 humans riding comfortably in the wagon.

At point, I looked at the Trip Odometer and we had gone about 100 miles on one bar of gasoline. Hard to beat that. That would have taken half a tank in my Highlander.

Ruby the dog we rescued flew to Canada early this morning to the rescue. She arrived safely and is meeting potential adopters tomorrow.

In the meantime, Rachael Bohman, the shelter tech at Hesperia is looking for help with a little Yorkie Terrier Mix. I am trying to help her get a SoCal rescue interested in her.