Happy Camper is a Haven for All-Americans

Gracie’s Grateful that Sandy Rescues

Gracie Lee Darling lucked out. After spending the first year of her life having puppies, she was adopted by Sandy, Happy Camper’s activity coordinator and camp coach. In fact, Sandy had to wait until Gracie was done nursing her last two puppies before she could bring the dog home.

“Gracie is a Jack Russell/Chihuahua mix. We think,” says Sandy. “She came from the Chi Society in Texas. We think she had been kept outside, because she had no concept of being inside or being with people.” She was a year old when she was rescued 4 years ago.

Val Darling, a friend of Sandy’s, arranged for Gracie’s flight from Texas to Florida. The dog wasn’t housebroken, and Sandy had “a heck of a time getting her inside.” The dog was leery of men (still is), but gets along great with other dogs. And that’s a good thing, because Sandy has three other dogs and a cat living with her and her husband Mike at the “Reierson Rescue Ranch.” Or, The Triple R, as Sandy refers to it.

“We call Gracie my Velcro dog, because she pretty much lived in my arms. And still does,” says Sandy laughing. But she doesn’t cling to Sandy when it comes to hunting lizards. “She’s a great
lizard hunter,” says Sandy. “She never kills them, just chases them.”

And Sandy, being a vocal advocate of rescuing both dogs and cats, has created a website for Pinellas County rescue animals — a place for people to go who want to adopt an All-American. It’s:
http://gracieleedarling.wixsite.com/rescuedog. Or, if you prefer Facebook, go to: https://www.facebook.com/gracieleedarling/.

Here is Gracie with her
animal family. From left: Peggy, 9 years
old; Millie, 9; Duke, 5 &
Gracie; and Clara Belle, 5.

Riley is a very patriotic All-American.

Mary Beth Talks About Riley

I rescued my All American 3 years ago this month. Riley is a smart, handsome, long-legged, FULL OF
ENERGY 9-yearold. My first big dog.

I found Riley at the Coastal Poodle Rescue site in Melbourne. I never had rescued a dog before, and I was nervous. For starters, I didn’t know I would drive three hours for my meet and greet and actually come home with my dog.

At six, Riley was on his third home. I was appalled at the “throw away” reasons a dog wouldn’t have a home. Yes, there are thunderstorm issues to the max. Well guess what? Show me a snake and I’ll have the same reaction. Then there is a bit of separation anxiety….only when I’m in a building and he can’t get to me. He’s never destroyed one thing in my house when he’s alone.

Other than that, we have breakfast every morning together…egg McMuffins. I have to ask for a knife to cut his up. We go to work together, we play frisbee or ball — his favorite. Sunday mornings we stay in bed and cuddle.

Someone taught him sit, shake, wait to go out the door. Unfortunately I’ve allowed him to learn his favorite pastime — run the length of my back yard, jump the neighbor’s fence, run the back of their yard then turn around and chase the boat, jet ski or water skiers back through the yards out on my dock, turn around and do it all over again. REPEAT. I think he would do it until his heart gave out, but I carefully gauge his laps and call him in every sixth lap so he doesn’t overheat. Then we repeat.

Now you understand why I work weekends….I love my dog.

When It’s Hot, Leave them home

Leaving a pet in a parked car not only is dangerous for the animal, it also could result in
having a stranger break into the car to rescue the animal.

Walking your dog in the heat isn’t a great idea either. Before going for a walk, test the pavement with your hand — if it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.

On an 87-degree day, asphalt temperatures can reach 140 degrees, hot enough to cause burns and permanent damage. Hot sidewalks, pavement and parking lots not only can burn paws, they also reflect heat onto dogs’ bodies, increasing the risk of heat stroke.

A new Florida law makes it legal to break into locked vehicles to rescue pets or vulnerable people (think children or disabled). The law provides immunity from civil liability for damage to a motor vehicle related to the rescue of a person or domestic animal (dog, cat or other animal kept as a household pet — not including livestock or other farm animals).

In order to keep from being sued, the person breaking into the car has to: check to make sure it is locked; believe that the person or animal is in danger of suffering harm; have called 911 or law enforcement either before or immediately after breaking into the vehicle; use only the necessary force to break in; and remain with the person or animal until first-responders arrive.

sources: weatherchannel.com; peta.org; petfinder.com

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