Brandy was a senior Collie / Golden Retriever mix that came to us, South Hamilton Animal Alliance, from an unlicensed rescue in Eldora, Iowa. This "rescue" was raided following accusations of severe neglect in February of 2008. Over 15 animals were found dead at this horrific "rescue" with over 45 other animals starving, neglected, and in need of medical care. Brandy was just one of these survivors.
She came to us underweight, unspayed, with extremely long toenails, and with severe dental disease. She weighed in at 45 lbs and would need to gain about 10 lbs to be considered healthy. She was a very sweet girl and needed a loving home to repair the heartache caused by her experience at that horrific place.
Please read the story about her experience here http://vetrescue.blogspot.com/2010/02/speak-loudly-for-silent-ones.html . It will touch your heart, and give you an idea of what this poor girl and her friends went through. I hope the links and videos are all still active. They are eye opening.
We took care of Brandy's vet work and gave her nice healthy meals, filling that skinny belly. In just hours of knowing her, we fell in love with her. We asked a fellow rescue group, RAGOM (Retrieve A Golden of Minnesota), to help with a handsome Golden Retriever boy that came to us with Brandy from the same horrific place. His name was Buddy. You can read Buddy's story here: http://ragom.org/avail.cgi/Available/dog?dog_id=3392 RAGOM agreed to take in Buddy, and they also agreed to take in Brandy! We were thrilled because this meant that Brandy and Buddy would each go to foster homes and become a temporary part of a real family again while waiting for their forever family to find them!
Brandy went into RAGOM. It was soon discovered that Brandy was in the early stages of anal gland cancer. RAGOM could have decided to euthanize Brandy at that moment. Such a diagnosis would certainly bring with it a high emotional and financial expense of caring for such an illness. Brandy's adoption possibilities would now be almost non-existent having been diagnosed with a potentially life threatening illness. Who wants to adopt a dog and invest their heart and soul into a dog that may very soon be leaving this life behind? Instead, RAGOM followed their veterinarian's suggestions and they followed their hearts, and decided to pursue treatment for Brandy. Brandy's story encouraged people to sponsor her veterinary care, and Brandy's temporary foster home became her permanent foster home.
Brandy had touched my heart. I had named her Brandy after a dog that my cousin had when I was just a kid. In my memory, the two dogs looked very similar. The original Brandy was named in honor of my Uncle's favorite drink which happened to be the color of her beautiful coat. The original Brandy got loose one day, wandered down to the main road, and was hit by a car. I never forgot her. Sadly, I have no photographs of her.
I never forgot this Brandy either. Something about her face was very welcoming, very loving. Those eyes seem to look directly into your heart and heat it up like a bunsen burner.
I want to share the message from the RAGOM website written by Brandy's permanent foster Mom...
"It is with a very sad heart that I have to tell everybody that Brandy has gone to the Rainbow Bridge. When the doctors put her under anesthesia for surgery, she reacted poorly, so they brought her out of it without performing the surgery. She then developed difficulty walking and breathing, and it was obvious that little Brandy had fought as hard as she could for as long as she could, but was not going to be able to beat her health issues this time.
I want to thank first and foremost, RAGOM itself for taking Brandy in and providing her with the surgeries that allowed her to live a wonderful life for the past two and a half years. I am extremely grateful for Brandy’s sponsors - Susannah Charleson, Megan, John & Otto Altman, and Mary & Carl S. for their care and interest in sponsoring this special girl. All the doctors and staff at VCA vet clinic in Richfield were so supportive and caring of Brandy, not only for the last few years, but on this past Saturday when Brandy needed them the most. The doctor and her assistant who helped Brandy cross over went above and beyond to make things as comfortable as possible for both Brandy and myself. Their kindness and compassion for Brandy was overwhelming. In addition, I’d like to thank Dr. Rasmussen who performed Brandy’s prior surgeries, and Dr. Ralph, who provided radiology services.
Brandy devoted her whole heart and soul to myself and my other pets this past few years. She learned that she belonged to a family, and she took that responsibility very seriously. From letting the cats share her bed, to roughhousing with Baxter the lab, Brandy had a special place in all our hearts. She loved walking in the country with buddies Baxter and Asa, and going to the dog park was one of her favorite activities. Her cheese-filled Kong was a daily thrill. Everybody who met her immediately loved her, as her demeanor and beauty could not fail to charm. Brandy will live on in my heart and memories as one of the most special dogs God ever created. I know He is taking care of her for me until we meet again."
I, too, would like to thank RAGOM, it's volunteers that helped transport Brandy from Iowa to Minnesota, Brandy's foster family, Brandy's sponsors, and Brandy's veterinary care team. I also want to thank HEART Rescue and its volunteers for rescuing the 45 survivors and exposing the horror within that rescue. Without you, Brandy would have died, forgotten.
It is rare that a breed-specific rescue will commit to taking a mixed breed dog. It is rare that a rescue can afford to provide the care that Brandy received. It is not rare that a dog, a dog that has been cruelly mistreated, can be such a positive influence on the lives of so many people. Thank you, Brandy.
If you would like to send your sympathies about the loss of Brandy, please join the facebook fan page linked here, HEART's Waggin' Tails Rescue Memorial Fan Page. You will be able to read stories and see photos of other survivors as well. Hope to see you there.
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