Friday, December 18, 2009

Sled Dog Rescue Effort in Colorado

Even the ugliest of stories have two sides, and in a few paragraphs I'm going to share a pretty ugly story with you.  Beforehand I'm going to reminisce a bit, to explain why the issue at hand is important to me on a personal level. 

Once upon a time, in what seems like another world, a young man arrived in a tiny Colorado mountain town pretty much down on his luck.  He was out of money, out of work and rapidly running out of options.  Everything he owned fit into a small backpack and with a broken down car and no money, things were looking pretty grim. 

It was a tough time, but the young man made some friends, who helped him regroup.  He was able to keep body and soul together, and with the encouragement of those new friends was able to get a good paying job in a near-by hard rock mine.  In his dire straits, he had discovered a true community, where people worked together to help each other out.  Folks in that little mountain town shared the good time, and the bad. 

It was a life-changing experience for a young man who was well on his way to becoming a homeless ne'er-do-well.  With a decent job, he was able to get his own act together, and to contribute back to the community, bettering himself in the process.  He joined the volunteer fire department, and then the local ambulance service, where he completed his training as an emergency medical technician and found he had an aptitude for emergency services work. 

He progressed as far as he could in a tiny mountain town with limited resources, and eventually moved on to the big city where he completed the paramedic program and began a career that continues to this day.

Now, in case you haven't figured it out yet, I was that young ne'er do well.  I arrived in Buena Vista, Colorado in 1975, and left to pursue my EMS career in 1979.  I have been in continuous EMS practice since 1976, and have few regrets about my life choices.  I have no regrets at all about my experiences in Buena Vista. 

Most of the people I knew in "Puny Buenie" moved on about the same time I did.  The Climax mine shut down, jobs dried up and tough economic times along with new opportunities elsewhere sent us scurrying in different directions.  As we moved out, other folks perhaps with different dreams and needs moved in.  Apparently the nature of the community has changed very little, though.  When there is a need for kindness, people in Buenie are still willing to meet the need.

On Wednesday, law enforcement and animal control officials in neighboring Park Country discovered a sled dog kennel in which over 100 dogs were in starving condition.  Some dogs had already died, and the survivors were in dire straights.  The most adoptable of the seized dogs were sent shelters in Denver and Boulder, but the dogs requiring the most care and rehabilitation were sent to shelters in near-by counties, including the Ark-Valley Humane Society shelter in Buena Vista. 

In fact, the good folks in "Puny Buenie" took 13 of the 100 seized dogs.  That's a huge proportion for a small town shelter.  The photos I've seen on news reports of the situation and the Ark-Valley Humane Society web site show that the dogs are indeed in need of considerable care.  In addition to nutrition, they are in need of veterinary services and ultimately will need new homes.

I'm sending a few bucks that direction, to help with the rescue effort.  If you are so inclined, I can assure you that the folks of Buena Vista have a long history of kindness, and I know your donation would be greatly appreciated. 

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