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02/11/2007 Archived Entry: "Frosty the rescue dog/"I'm from the government and ...""

THIS IS FROSTY, AN AUSTRALIAN CATTLE DOG PUP who spent her first six months shut in a horse trailer on a Midwestern farm. When temperatures plummeted into the minuses, neighbors who'd been sneaking in at night to feed the 15 or so dogs confined on the property (as I understand the story) took the responsibility of spiriting away the puppies and getting them into shelters. Later, neighbors and rescue groups persuaded reluctant "authorities" to confiscate the rest of the dogs. Many of the mother dogs had been chained in the open with freezing rain and snow falling on them.

The tale of how Frosty got from the bleak Midwest to the hills and forests of Cabin Sweet Cabin is one of small miracles performed by real human angels. The story was marred by the intervention of one demon -- whose name and evil works will be familiar to you.

In all my years in rescue, I don't think I've seen so many people working so smoothly and professionally together to benefit a dog. (Unsocialized dogs and dogs that have gotten used to living in their own urine and feces present special problems. Thus the need for an interstate transport; Frosty and her siblings are considered "unadoptables" until major problems are overcome. And yes, indeed, this is an unusual week for long-distance doggie dealings at Wolfesblog.)

Once out of the hands of the human beast who imprisoned her, Frosty's story is mostly one of those angels -- the woman who decided that four unadoptable puppies in a kill shelter should live -- the breed-specific list whose members stepped up to answer her pleas -- the shelter whose managers not only released the dogs without fees but also provided free crates, spays, vaccinations, collars, leashes, and food -- the shelter worker who happened to be driving a long way to a city with a big "hub" airport -- the "overnight" foster home in that city that turned into a three-day stay -- the rescue-transport coordinator and her airline-pilot husband who pulled strings to get Frosty a free flight -- the donors who stood ready to pay for that flight, had they needed to -- the ad hoc group that will fund some of Frosty's vet care -- and finally my ACD-rescue friend in a nearby state who spent her entire day picking up Frosty and driving her to me from the nearest major airport.

But there was one moment -- one long, frozen moment (the one that resulted in that "overnight" stay turning into several days) -- where that demon stuck his irritating little pitchfork into the arrangements. That demon -- no surprise -- was the *&^%$ federal government.

No, we didn't have masked SWAT thugs swooping down to commit puppycide with flash-bangs and MP-5s. We didn't even have bureaucrats telling us we forgot to dot our "i's" in triplicate. No asset confiscation squads tried to cook up a case of "U.S. v One Puppy, Crate, Leash, Collar, Tag, and Ziplok Baggie of Science Diet Kibble." Nothing so dramatic. In this case, the government's role was passive and mostly off-stage. But it brought things to a grinding halt.

The donors stood ready to fund Frosty's flight. But unless they paid their money to a 501(c)(3) organization, they wouldn't get their tax deductions. The woman who got the ball rolling for the poor four puppies was willing to front her own money for the flight, then collect from the donors. But she was worried the appearance of extra "income" would give her a tax liability. I could arrange for the donations to go to a 501(c)(3), or at least for the 501(c)(3) to send official, IRS-approved thank-you letters, no matter who actually collected the funds. But that 501(c)(3), though totally willing to help, had no credit card to pay quickly for the flight and would in any case have been reluctant to put out its own money until donations were in hand. Yada yada yada.

So the whole rescue ground to a halt -- over taxes. Over *&^%$#@ing, g-ddamned taxes.

Thank you so much for your assistance, fedgov.

That's when the transport coordinator and her pilot husband swooped in with a free flight and saved the day. Once they flew into action, Frosty was here in less than 24 hours. (Don't tell the IRS; they'll probably decide that Frosty owes taxes on the dollar value of her flight. And believe me, this poor pup has troubles enough already, without facing a tax audit.)

I roll my eyes when New Age acquaintances prattle about invisible "angels in our midst." But I know for sure that there are human angels. I roll my eyes when Christian friends speak of the unseen devil and his minions. But I know for sure that there are human equivalents. Frosty's "owner" was one of those; may he rot away the rest of his life on a chain in the snow. And the "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you" crew is no damn better than a cretinous puppy abuser.

But get thee behind us, Satan-on-the-Potomac. The angels overcame.

And welcome to your new foster home, Frosty. Your travels and travails are over. Now, we'll see about repairing the damage those human devils have done to you.

Posted by Claire @ 10:46 AM CST

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