A Dramatic Rescue - Why not 1,000 More?

Posted by Pia

Last week the nation watched on pins and needles as a stranded dog was saved from drowning in the overflowing Los Angles River. Nature doesn't discriminate among those she affects, and thankfully, neither did the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The dog rescued in that brave effort has become known in the many follow-up stories in the media as Vernon, after the area where he was found. Over 1,000 people have inquired about adopting Vernon, who still remains unclaimed.

Back
1 of 11
I got to wondering why so many well-intentioned people are not lining up at the shelter to adopt animals in equal need of rescue. Like beautiful and loyal 3-year-old Colby. You can find a link to Colby's profile and the other pooches in this gallery at the end of my post.

1 I got to wondering why so many well-intentioned people are not lining up at the shelter to adopt animals in equal need of rescue. Like beautiful and loyal 3-year-old Colby. You can find a link to Colby's profile and the other pooches in this gallery at the end of my post.

I concluded that people DO want to help -- they want to make a difference and are willing to make space in their homes, and most importantly in their hearts -- when the urgency is called to their attention. Above is Angel (Sterling, VA) who is awaiting the help of an Angel she can call her own. She is known to dispense kisses to everyone she meets!

2 I concluded that people DO want to help -- they want to make a difference and are willing to make space in their homes, and most importantly in their hearts -- when the urgency is called to their attention. Above is Angel (Sterling, VA) who is awaiting the help of an Angel she can call her own. She is known to dispense kisses to everyone she meets!

But most people simply do not know of this urgency and do not witness the play by play for each animal as their time is running out and danger is imminent. This sweet but terrified and emaciated pooch has only

3 But most people simply do not know of this urgency and do not witness the play by play for each animal as their time is running out and danger is imminent. This sweet but terrified and emaciated pooch has only "A1086713" as a name and awaits urgent rescue at The Los Angeles South L.A Shelter.

Ironically Vernon’s tragic circumstances may ultimately be what will save his life. Without the media attention he received he would likely be like sweet Grange (above) -- simply hoping to stand out among the many other needy faces at the shelter and to be chosen by just one kind soul. Grange is in Washburn, Missouri. She is an intelligent pooch and loves everybody!

4 Ironically Vernon’s tragic circumstances may ultimately be what will save his life. Without the media attention he received he would likely be like sweet Grange (above) -- simply hoping to stand out among the many other needy faces at the shelter and to be chosen by just one kind soul. Grange is in Washburn, Missouri. She is an intelligent pooch and loves everybody!

Like Vernon, each animal has a story. Sweet Paco here just stood silently, sad and confused, when he was seized with 66 other abused animals in a California raid. Some did not make it, but thankfully Paco did. He is long overdue for a safe home (fine with other dogs and people) and has so much love to give.

5 Like Vernon, each animal has a story. Sweet Paco here just stood silently, sad and confused, when he was seized with 66 other abused animals in a California raid. Some did not make it, but thankfully Paco did. He is long overdue for a safe home (fine with other dogs and people) and has so much love to give.

Perhaps if each of Vernon's 1,000 potential adopters could learn the story of another

6 Perhaps if each of Vernon's 1,000 potential adopters could learn the story of another "Vernon," they ‘d happily rescue him or her. Loyal Benny (New York City) here recently retired from the security team of a high-profile commercial property in Manhattan. Although trained to protect, he is a very loyal, obedient, and lovable guy!

How tragic it would be if the compassion elicited by Vernon's story were to lay dormant in his thousands of potential adopters. Amazing dogs like Gypsy (Hamilton, Montana), who was dumped at a neighborhood business, would do anything for the love engendered by Vernon's story. Sweet Gypsy is 10 yrs old, loves kids, gets along with cats. She would be great company for a senior.

7 How tragic it would be if the compassion elicited by Vernon's story were to lay dormant in his thousands of potential adopters. Amazing dogs like Gypsy (Hamilton, Montana), who was dumped at a neighborhood business, would do anything for the love engendered by Vernon's story. Sweet Gypsy is 10 yrs old, loves kids, gets along with cats. She would be great company for a senior.

Thankfully Blondie here (Burney, California) is no longer living on a chain -- where she was discovered and rescued along with 20 other chained dogs, all living outdoors with little or no protection from the weather. Blondie is ready to leave her unfortunate past behind. She is eager to receive the love she so deserves!

8 Thankfully Blondie here (Burney, California) is no longer living on a chain -- where she was discovered and rescued along with 20 other chained dogs, all living outdoors with little or no protection from the weather. Blondie is ready to leave her unfortunate past behind. She is eager to receive the love she so deserves!

Roscoe and Boscoe (Memphis) are brothers who were rescued from a sad situation in which they never had space to run around, grass to walk on or even natural light to absorb. They have since developed beautifully and are full of warmth. They have not given up hope, though, of one day finding a happy home together to call their own!

9 Roscoe and Boscoe (Memphis) are brothers who were rescued from a sad situation in which they never had space to run around, grass to walk on or even natural light to absorb. They have since developed beautifully and are full of warmth. They have not given up hope, though, of one day finding a happy home together to call their own!

Icon, from Acton, California. A rescue group saved Icon when his time was up at a local shelter. This 4 yr old is now one happy (and house-trained) dawg! The only thing missing is a family to call his own!

10 Icon, from Acton, California. A rescue group saved Icon when his time was up at a local shelter. This 4 yr old is now one happy (and house-trained) dawg! The only thing missing is a family to call his own!

The shelter has kept the stunning Jake here (Dallas) as long as they can. He is in desperate need of a home. And he would definitely appreciate a soft bed on which to rest. He is seeking a single person who will treat him as his/her only 'child.'

11 The shelter has kept the stunning Jake here (Dallas) as long as they can. He is in desperate need of a home. And he would definitely appreciate a soft bed on which to rest. He is seeking a single person who will treat him as his/her only 'child.'

While I am truly heartened by the public outpouring of support for Vernon, my mind naturally drifts to the millions of "Vernons" whose lives are equally endangered on any given day in city shelters. Each has a story of his or her own, and each hopes to survive long enough to end up safe and happy. But without the kind of drama and attention like that surrounding Vernon’s plight, they don't have hundreds of potential adopters lining up to take action.

As I continued to catch clips of the rescues coverage, I was pleasantly surprised- and again proud- that in the reporting of this lucky guys rescue, the officials involved were also mindful of the many other shelter animals in need.  They did not neglect to mention these other “Vernons” awaiting adoption and directed viewers to consider opening their hearts to one of them.  I feel deeply grateful that these ‘public servants’ do in fact view L.A.’s 4-legged residents as among those they serve.

Vernon's story reminds me that there are many kindhearted people out there willing to help -- if only they could remain motivated to do so. How remarkable it would be if each of those 1,000 newly identified potential adopters would "airlift" just one of these worthy, needy souls into a loving new home. They are each desperately awaiting their own version of a 'river rescue.'

In Kinship,
Dr. Pia Salk

P.S. Sadly, the follow-up stories also forced the fire fighters to defend their actions, as some people complained that city resources were "wasted" on a dog. I find this so very bizarre and tragic. Not only were no additional resources called in (beyond those already being funded), and no resources diverted from human protection, but the people complaining were watching the exact same story unfold as everyone else: a living, breathing, feeling creature in grave danger and visibly in fear for his life.

This response angered me initially, but that anger has quickly been replaced by sadness and pity for those who have likely never come to know the love of a furry friend.

The narrow focus and irrelevant arbitrary assessment of which lives are worth protection and which are not, only serves to divide. The connection we feel for our companion animals is one I know my readers understand well. If you feel moved, please vote in support of the firefighters' heroic efforts!

These beautiful dogs are all available for adoption!

Colby, Irvine, California

Angel, Sterling, Virginia

"A1086713," Los Angeles (Enter A1086713 in search box)

Grange, Washburn, Missouri

Paco, Beverly Hills, California

Benny, New York City

Gypsy, Hamilton, Montana

Blondie, Burney, California

Roscoe, Memphis

Boscoe, Memphis

Icon, Acton, California

Jake, Dallas

Comments (8)

  • Good Morning Dr. Pia

    What type of human does it take to complain about a firefighter who saves a life? Any life whether it be human or animal is still a life!! I'll tell you what kind of person a heartless piece of shit which I call a waste of skin. There I said it, sorry I cursed but that is how I feel. Let me at those scum bags, I'll pee all over their feet.

    That Vernon is sure a good looking dog so are the others you have posted. I hope they all find good homes.

    Well Dr. Pia I'm not feeling too good. I started to get sick earlier in the week and dad took me to see the doctor yesterday. I couldn't keep anything I ate in and mom freaks out when I even sniffle so off I went to see the doctor. I had to get another needle (just got 2 earlier in the month at my checkup) and take 2 pills every day. She said my red blood count was up a little but that could be because I was a little dehydrated. Mom made me ground beef with rice last night and I ate a little of that but didn't eat much this morning. She thinks she fooled me by putting the little pill in the piece of meat but I saw it. She had to open my mouth and push it down my throat which I didn't like one bit. I know she is only doing it for my own good but for God's sake woman wrap it in a piece of cheese or something.

    I hope I feel better soon I don't like being sick. Plus I get no time to myself, they both watch me all day to make sure I'm okay. Well I'm going to go crawl up on the heat vent and take a nap.

    Zoe

  • Dr.Pia,

    those where the same thoughts I had, and even had a discussion about it...why are so many people willing to adopt this dog just because it is shown on TV being rescued...did it pull at their heart stings to see this? maybe...or just the TV popularity of it...wouldn't it be nice if each animal in need of adoption could be televised and the world could see, but that's not an option....I also agree at what was said about the mentioning of the fire department participation of saving this dog, and how fast it was mentioned on TV...it wasn't taking the time away from a human rescue, they did this while being out there and wanting to help. I think the positive outweighed the negative comments by far, guess some people don't realize that rescue equipment includes items for saving dogs and cats during a fire, that's the purpose, to save an animal.

    I find people that can not open their hearts to animals, (G-ds' creation and gift to us) certainly lack something in life and probably lack in returning of any kind of true Love or compassion.

    I could not find a place to vote for the firefighters actions in your LINK...will look further in finding it.

    I have been posting the Purina pets for adoption on my Facebook and saw one little cat I posted got adopted, so that made me feel good...

    Again a great heartfelt story and wonderful photos and captions on the dogs for adoption.

    Have a great weekend Dr.Pia and friends here...and Zoe I hope you feel better.

    delia and Kitty

  • Hello Ladies and Dr. Pia,
    Aren't we glad we all saw Vernon get rescued?!!!! Forget all those mean and hateful people who think the rescue was a waste. I bet if Vernon saved them from a fallen building they would think different. Just because we dogs can't talk people talk doesn't mean we don't have the same rights. Hopefully all the people lining up to adopt Vernon will look at other of our friends who need help. Dr. Pia you are such a great voice for all of them. Thank you.
    As for you Zoe, don't mess around with your tummy. I hear commercials for shots for that awful dog flu. I know your Mom and Dad are taking good care of you, but you mind them you hear, and get better.
    Take care all.
    Love & licks,
    Basil

  • Hello ladies, Kirby here.
    Hello Dr. Pia, It looks as if some people just don’t seem to be using their heads at all. If the fire department saves an animal, then that’s a good thing. People who think it was a waste of money don’t have a clue. First off they are against animal rescue, next they will be against the rescue of a homeless person, then the elderly, then handicapped people, and others they deem not a help to "their" society. For me, I wouldn’t want to live in their world; stop the planet and let them off. Ok, daddy took the soap box away; I’ll stop now.
    Catch you later, Kirby.

  • the people who don't think an animals count probably feel the same way about children.

  • Hi Dr. Pia: I feel really bad about abused pups. It's not fair. I know that if my mom could, she would adopt a whole bunch to take care of and love. Sure hope they all get adopted.

    Hey Zoe - I hope you get to feeling better real soon. Your momma knows what to do and you get watched over cause your mom and dad love you very much. Remember to take all of the medicine that your mom gives to you.

    It is still cold here but still no snow. It never snows here. Phooey!!

    Well, gotta go and rest up for when mom gets home. Take care. See ya later. Love, Gracyn.

  • Hi Dr. Pia, Thanks for another great blog. How do we get people to pay attention to all animals and do everything they can to help and protect all of them? I feel the LAFD did the absolutely correct thing in saving this wonderful dog and why are there people in this world who don't care at all about any animals? I don't understand their attitude and selfishness at all. Your photos of the other 11 'Vernons' were really great and left me crying about what will happen to all of them and other orphaned animals. Please dear GOD, help us out with all of this. Thanks again, Dr. Pia. Jan

  • I was adopted!
    Edward

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them.