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Columns : The Pet Pages - Kim Aranha Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017 - 2:32:04 PM

Island girl makes good!
By Kim Aranha
Apr 20, 2012 - 1:22:38 PM

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So painfully thin, in the car going to her new foster home

Some people help the sun shine, some people help the world turn on it’s axis, some people give us a reason to believe in the future of the world and give us hope for tomorrow…the people who helped Rosie in her epic journey are certainly special people who make the world spin in harmony.


Most certainly, the stars were all aligned for Rosie, in Eleuthera, that day in January, when her ”owner” decided that he no longer wanted this pathetic bag of bones, and he sent her to the spay and neuter clinic with instructions that she be killed…I can still see in my mind the image of Laura Kimble and Kelly Anne Sweeting… struggling down the grassy hill to the clinic carrying a big cage. Despair and disgust were etched into their faces as they rested the cage down carefully and Laura said. “The owner says he doesn’t want her, we can kill her”. When the owner was asked why she was so thin, he responded that he “don’t feed her like dat no more” and chuckled…I looked cautiously into the crate and this large face looked back at me “Hello Girl”…Tap, tap, tap, the sound of her large tail hitting the back of the crate…”well”, I said as I stood up….”I can tell you what we won’t be doing…and that is putting her to sleep”. She had three pups in the crate with her.


This big, sweet dog gingerly came out of her crate and then we saw to what extent she was emaciated !…Shame on the person who allowed this to happen…she looked around, rather frightened, as if she had understood that there had been talk of her   pending death…”don’t worry girl…” we’ll fix you up” Dr. Appleby declared that he could perform surgery on her in spite of her thinness, and suddenly things started to move very quickly, however during those first few hours she showed us that she didn’t really like men (perhaps she had cause not to trust them?)…When time came to prep her for surgery, Jack (one of the volunteers) came to her cage…”be careful”, I said “she doesn’t like men”…well she liked Jack…she allowed him to take her out of her crate, pre-med her and lift her onto the operating table, all the time tapping that big tail on whatever surfaces it came into contact with.


While she had her surgery, I started talking about her plight…Her stars were certainly in a straight line now…within a few moments the big hearted and kind, Wamplers agreed to foster her until she was strong enough to be homed and then from the surgery room I heard a voice,: quietly and calmly say…”If you can get her to Montana she has a home”…Kind and gentle Jack stepped up to the plate to offer this lady a home.


So skinny but a good mother never the less...this is right after surgery

Her puppies were easy to home, but she would not have been so easy, just her health condition, coupled with her potential size would have worked against her…What a relief that this lovely girl had been so lucky…that same afternoon she left the shelter for her foster home on the beach…Her babies were cared for until old enough to find homes of their own…and Rosie, as she was then known, thrived in the safety and emotional warmth of a loving home with tons of food, cool water, love and Doctors visits…


When she had doubled in weight and found her trustful nature and learnt that humans were for loving not for fearing…it was decided that Rosie was ready to travel to Montana and move into her forever home…


The pit falls and snafus that were thrown our way during the careful planning of Rosie’s travels were like none other I have ever experienced. On close to a dozen occasions Rosie was just hours away from traveling to Nassau and on to fly on to Salt Lake City when everything came to a grinding halt…


The cage was too big (she has a x-large cage not a jumbo…no sorry!!!)


It was too hot, they don’t take cargo on Saturday and Sunday, The 6th of April ? Ooops, sorry,  that’s a public holiday (no cargo then either)…


Where will she stay in Nassau, can’t go to Kim’s ( Kim’s five dogs are too territorial)…how about Fina…Fina won’t be there, Laura? Okay…No wait she is not coming in now…and so it continued for WEEKS… thank goodness this angel dog was absolutely oblivious of the drama and uncertainty…

At her foster home - getting fatter

Finally the boat trip happened, she was picked up by Inspector Thurston of the Bahamas Humane Society and delivered to Lyford Cay to stay with Fina Johnson and her very patient and loving Potcake Figie…one night only, Right, ? With Figie and the cats…next morning, off to the airport to catch Delta to Atlanta, overnight in Atlanta and then on to Salt Lake City…Right?


Wrong ! Inspector Valentino Armaly picks her up, kisses all round…By bye Rosie…..except, Bahamas   customs are on strike…no cargo is going anywhere…


So it’s back to Fina, again. Thank you Figie…and Rosie spends Easter with Fina (oops, sorry Fina you didn’t tell me I shouldn’t chew on the ottoman!)…


Finally on Easter Monday, Rosie left Nassau as accompanied luggage on Delta, the only way she was going to travel, as no cargo can travel on a public holiday (remember?)…


She climbed into her crate for the very last time…this time the kisses were final…The big Delta bird gently lifted off the ground bound for Atlanta, text messages flew around the globe declaring that Rosie had taken off…


With her new "sister" fellow Bahamian Potcake (from Exuma) Sandy...in the couch with a lovely pink collar

More emails and text messages reassured her Bahamas family that she arrived in Atlanta and was safely transferred from one plane to another. On her Atlanta – Salt Lake City her new “mother” Elizabeth Stone, Jack’s wife, sat above the cargo area, abord the plane, waiting to meet Rosie…


The bird touched down at Salt Lake City, the texts, phone calls and emails started up again, now about 12 hours after she had left Fina’s house…Rosie had made it safely to Salt Lake City…Rosie had been reunited with her Foster parent Diane Wampler, Rosie has met her new “Mom” Elizabeth and they love each other…Rosie is in the back seat of the SUV with Elizabeth after a long ordeal..


The night ended with Rosie reconnecting with Jack, who months ago had promised her a home if we could get her to Montana…well Jack Salt Lake City wasn’t exactly Montana, and you did have a 16 hour roundtrip drive…but we got Rosie into Jack and Elizabeth’s arms, safely and happily .


Rosie (with Jack and Elizabeth)  spent the night at The Wampler’s home just outside Salt Lake City and then willingly climbed into Jack and Elizabeth vehicle to start her 8 hours journey to Montana...there, at the end of the day she finally arrived at her forever (and ever) home, and met her new animals family members…which included another Potcake,  Sandy,  rescued from their first Exuma clinic in 2010.


Rosie has now acquired a new name that perhaps suits her large, statuesque self a bit better, She responds enthusiastically to Peeta…she stands tall and proud, weighing over 70 pounds, her brindle coat glistens in the sun…her ribs are there but cannot be seen, her ears are up as she admires the majestic landscape of Montana that she now calls home…this island girl has   transitioned successfully to another world and a new life…


Yes, it took a village..


There were frustrations, absolutely, yes, and annoyances, it cost much more money than ever anticipated, not to mention hundreds of volunteer hours.. and the phone calls!!! But, as Diane Wampler put it so beautifully:   Getting a sweetheart of a dog at death's door, healthy and to a wonderful, loving home....PRICELESS!


Good luck Peeta may you live a long and happy life in Montana…little island potcake!!!

A hug with Fin before going on the flight


About the author: Kim Aranha grew up in the Berry Islands with her first dog, a beloved potcake named “Friendly” (who was anything but!). First educated at home, and then in boarding school in Switzerland, Kim moved to Rome, Italy in 1974 to pursue a career in the dramatic arts and ended up working as an interpreter. She moved back to The Bahamas in 1980, and now lives in Nassau with her husband Paul, and their two grown sons. Kim has 5 dogs, 1 goldfish, 12 fresh water  turtles, 1 Asian box turtle and 2 Budgerigars. Her idea of relaxing is being home to take care of all her pets. Kim is President of the Bahamas Humane Society, and is co-chairman of the Bahamas Sea Turtle Conservation Group. Kim can be contacted at berryislandgirl@gmail.com

About to get in the car for the 8 hour drive from Salt Lake city to Her New Montana home with her

With her new "Dad' in Montana...home at last new family Jack and Elizabeth



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