Rescuing Ojitos and Gina
Each of us, I suppose, has those siren’s songs, those calls that we cannot ignore, those summons to duty or action that we cannot shirk. One of those, in my case, has always been the tears of a crying girl. A couple of days before last Thanksgiving, I came across a young girl sobbing, and I was powerless to resist. I asked why she was sad.
She was worried, she said, about a couple of homeless dogs. It turned out that she lived with her family in a dense and transient thousand-unit “manufactured home” community (think: trailer park, except the trailers have no wheels). A family across the way had moved out overnight, abandoning two dogs, and she had been feeding them on her way to and from middle school.
One of them was a Chihuahua. Houston had already had a couple of cold snaps, and she had noticed that the tiny girl had become weaker and weaker. The other dog was larger, a Labrador retriever mix. She was crying because she thought that the Chihuahua would die and that the Lab would be caught in one of the property manager’s frequent and deadly sweeps for abandoned dogs.
I’ll help, I said, at that moment crossing the line from being a rescue pilot and rescue adopter to becoming, also, a rescuer. I called Xio Rodriguz, a generous Houston rescuer, foster and transport coordinator for whom I had flown Pilots N Paws missions before.
She was willing to foster and nurse the Chihuahua back to health. The girl
and her mom dropped off Gina, and I loaded her into my car. The poor thing was shivering and weak, as I drove her an hour to meet Rogelio Quijano, Xio’s husband; I kept thinking that she might die in my lap during the drive. Xio and Rogelio took her in, and got Gina treated at a veterinarian, spayed and vaccinated.
That left the Lab, Ojitos, the little girl had named him (Spanish for “eyes.”) I drove to see him and got some pictures, which I sent to Kellye Sillivan-Robertson, a kind and hard-working rescuer, foster, transport coordinator near Dallas (also for whom I had flown PNP transports before.) Kellye responded that she could find an interim foster for Ojitos, but not for a week or two, given the holidays.
I called Xio, who suggested that I contact German Manzo, a groomer/boarder who had a soft spot for rescues and who dreamed of someday having a rescue/rehabilitation ranch for dogs. My vet, Friendswood Animal Clinic, which often boards rescue dogs at no cost overnight so I can fly them early the next morning, agreed to neuter, test and vaccinate Ojitos and board him overnight.
I picked the boy up (he turned out to be a young Lab-Pyrenees mix) and got
him to the vet. The next morning, I collected him and drove him to German’s place, until Kellye could find a foster in Dallas and I could fly him.
A week later, Kellye texted: she had found a foster near Dallas who could care for Ojitos until he could find a forever home. I made plans to fly Ojitos and Eddie, a terrier, from Pearland Regional Airport, outside of Houston, to Rockwall, TX. A couple of days before the flight, I heard from Kellye again: a friends of hers had decided to adopt Ojitos.
On Dec. 11, 2013, I flew Ojitos and Eddie to Rockwall, where Ojitos, now JoJo, was met by Debbie, his adopter. Jojo now lives with four other Labs, and has an acre of fenced-in yard where he can run and play with the rest of his new pack. That left Gina, whom Xio was slowly returning to health . . . . Right after Christmas. I heard from
Xio and Kellye: Gina had been placed with 3 Hearts 4 Paws Animal Rescue, a NJ Non-Profit Organization rescue group in New Jersey, and ground transport for her had been secured from Rockwall. So, on New Year’s Eve, Rogelio delivered Gina while foster Aracely Mejia dropped off two small pups, Nora and Rupert, to Pearland Regional at dawn for the flight to Dallas in N20223, my Cessna 177B Cardinal II. Upon touching down and parking, Rupert and Nora were picked up by their foster and Gina was met by Kellye, who drove her to make her ground connection for New Jersey. Two days later, Gina was in the Garden State.
Gina was just adopted, and is now at her new home in Pennsylvania. Thanks to the commitment, dedication, and self-less hard work of all involved in this holiday miracle, two homeless and imperiled precious pups were given the brighter and happier futures that they deserved. And it all started with the concerned sobs of a little girl . . . .
-Wade Roberts, PNP Pilot
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