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Bark All About It!

Bark All About It!

The Hero (but don't call her that) Behind the Scenes at Old Dogs, New Tricks

Nov 26, 2014


I want to introduce you to an amazing, strong, inspiring woman. These words don’t do her justice. Read on. You’ll see just how special she is. Her name is Susan Call. An acquaintance called me up last week to ask if The Local Bark might consider assisting Susan and her dog rescue organization in Carmichael - Old Dogs New Tricks, http://www.olddogsnewtricks.org/ - by collecting donations in a can at our front desk. As I listened to Jen tell me about Susan, I knew I had to meet her. I arranged to visit her the very next day because we are planning our annual holiday food drive and I thought perhaps she could be this year’s beneficiary. 

First, I should say that I have first-hand experience in “rescuing” dogs. I’m fostering a couple at my house right now, and my training staff is fostering a few more. It’s hard work. Even on this small scale. This is why I am so awed by the people who have taken it up a notch and built rescue organizations from the ground up, many great ones right here in the Sacramento area. These people are fueled by a single passion: to help as many homeless animals as possible. They draw from seemingly bottomless reserves of energy and devote countless hours of time. But most of these rescues are run by able-bodied people--people who can walk and talk and attend large events and fundraisers, people who can physically work to train and rehabilitate the animals, people who can tend to the dogs’ daily needs of walking, feeding, and watering. This is what differentiates Susan. You see, Susan suffers from the debilitating disease Multiple Sclerosis. She must rely on the assistance of volunteers to do all of these things. Susan’s mobility is extremely restricted. She is able to get around with her electric wheelchair, but her limited strength prevents her from even being able to feed the dogs in her care. Her voice is extremely weak. I really strained to understand her. I think I did OK, and could improve the more time I spent with her, but I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for her to have lost so many abilities she once had. But she had such a lovely energy about her. Her personality is magnetic and her attitude humble. She told me she decided to start this rescue organization as a way to focus on something other than herself—that the dogs inspire her to be better. She knew I would be writing about her and she requested that I not make her sound like a hero, because in her eyes, she is not. It looks a little different from my vantage point.

I could go on about how wonderful it was to be in a room with several sweet, senior, rescued dogs. They had such a presence about them. Some of them had probably lived some pretty tough lives. Others may have been well-loved and cared for, but through no fault of their own, wound up at a shelter. Either way, they seemed to be grateful for the care and love they were now receiving with Susan. She says they seem to know. I believe her.

I decided immediately upon meeting her that I want to help her in any way I can. I want to amass an army of compassionate dog lovers whose hearts compel them to support noble causes for dogs in need. First people I thought of? YOU! The kind-hearted, empathetic and giving folks I’m lucky enough to call friends of The Local Bark. I know you can’t all adopt a senior dog, but I’m confident you can join me in pulling together some funds for the things Susan REALLY needs to keep giving the dogs in her care the safe and restful lives they deserve during their golden years. So here’s the deal: The Local Bark wants you to join us in raising $3000 for Old Dogs New Tricks. We’ll give half - $1500 - by matching your donations. Cash donations go directly to veterinary and daily care of the dogs at Old Dogs New Tricks. For example, one of the dogs is being treated for heartworm, which even at a discount is costing $900.

In addition to money for the dogs’ care, Susan needs people to help foster dogs and to socialize and train them. She needs handy-man type help around her house (which is where some of the dogs live). She’d love to find a mechanic who may be able to help accessorize her van so she can transport dogs herself, without relying on others to drive her. She needs people to keep the website updated and to help spread the word on Facebook.

Susan’s story has inspired me. I honestly don’t know if I could do what she does if I were in her shoes. So I’ll just do what I can. Hopefully you will too.

For the love of dogs,
Kristin Minnie


Category: Dog Rescue

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