Ema’s Big Day is Here

Ema in November

This morning, Ema, Eva and I met with Dr. Brisson and her cardiac surgery team at the University of Guelph small animal clinic.

Dr. Brisson just returned to work this morning, but she had already been caught up to speed on Ema’s condition and prognosis by Dr. O’Grady and the other members of the Balloon Procedure team. When we arrived, Dr. Brisson was already aware of all of Ema’s various conditions, and she was ready to jump right in to doing her own evaluation.

Two hours later, we got the news we’d been waiting for – Ema has a surgical date for tomorrow morning at 8:00 am. We are proceeding with her surgery, although we’re aware that there’s only a 50:50 chance that she’ll survive it. For Ema, this is her only hope. In the short time she’s been with us, all of us who love Ema have watched her condition slowly worsen. Even when being carried almost everywhere by Eva, Ema’s seizures are worsening, and happening more often. She’s tired and lethargic most of the time, and minimal exercise and excitement wear her out. Without surgery, she will suffer increasingly from the effects of her conditions, and I just won’t let that happen to her.

As of this morning’s appointment, we’ve spent over $1700 just getting Ema to this stage. Her new surgical estimate is $4500.00, and we have about $2500.00 left of the money we’ve raised to put towards that. This means that, once again and for the final time, I’m asking for your help in getting Ema to the finish line. Tomorrow’s surgery will hopefully mean that Ema will wake up with a new lease on life, and a chance at finally being the puppy she so desperately wants to be.

If you can help, please make a donation towards Ema’s surgery fund. With any luck, this is the last time I’ll have to ask, because tomorrow afternoon I’ll be telling everyone that she’s in recovery and doing just fine. The same offer applies that I made for CJ – if you donate $250 or more to Ema’s surgery fund, I’ll add a banner for your company (or whatever you want, so long as it’s legal) to this blog for six months.

Friends of Ema

Our grateful thanks to all of the following friends of Ema, who have made her upcoming surgery possible. It’s simply been overwhelming how many people have reached out to help one tiny little dog.

By the way, I’m attempting to keep this list as current as possible, but please forgive me if I’ve missed you – it was not intentional.

We have good news – Ema’s surgery date has been moved up even closer, to October 20th. She goes in at noon on the 19th for pre surgical consultation, and then surgery on the 20th. This was made possible by the family of a Bulldog who was originally scheduled for the same day, for the same procedure, but agreed to swap dates with Ema, since her condition is more severe. Yet more proof – Bully people ROCK.

– Carol, Ema, ECFBC Rescue and the French Bulldog Village

Friends of Ema
Jessica Lambrecht
Erica Schlaug
Sean Galbraith
Carrie Alongi
Hope Saidel
Beth Thornton
da hinton
Lori Kobayashi
Cindy Caldwell
Glenda Hertzman
Rosemarie Chalker
Karla K. Akins
Kristina Stratton
Sarah Freeman
Michael Hanscom
Penelope Schenk
Daniel Herrera
Keith Daniels
Susan Rosenau
Michelle Lewis
Diggity Dog Kennels-Gnosticfire Farm
Lucy Henderson
ashleigh spurlock
David Mercaldi
Scott Nygren
Joseph Lau
Jill Sokol
Andrea Morden-Moore
Joyce Mitchell
Laura Fisher
Meghan Williams
Cornelis Kerkhoven
Ember McLeod
Steve Hallman
Karen Anderson
Peggy Gallerno
Elsie Kolb
kimberly rice
Dane Bailey
Glenn Forrester
Ellen Sard
Karen Tucker
Christine Towner
Brenda Comeau-Watson
Melissa Bowersock
Jill Salmon
norma toraya
Angela Kelly
Shannon D Tuttle
Angelique Faustino
Alicia McDaniel
Maria McKenzie
Cindy Victor
Diana Dekle
Rebecca Wallace
Susan Riley
Julie Grund
SarahMalia Barbusca
Jay Joseph
Diane Dickins
Richard Rockford
Jeremy Shockley
James Phillips
da hinton
Melody Gonzalez
Gloria Jill Fraser
Breanne Maier
Flo Leung
Nancie Lillie
Melissa Schue
Matthew Pascale
Jennifer Bender
Cynthia Vreeland
Jocelyne Mangubat Vega
Melissa Myer
Jonathan Russell
Brian Callahan
Donald Carron
Kristine Logan
stephanie abbott
Melissa Goldberg
Sue Williams
Elizabeth Pendergast
carol watson
S. Forest King
Kim Jacoby
Bryan Kuppers
betty nguyen
Susan Snider
Whitney Kratsas
Rachel Tennant
Karen Bringol
Susan Koshoshek
Susan Rosenau
Nicole Sellers
Vicki Bouchillon
Alissa Gordon
Lisa Ricciotti
Jennifer Vodvarka
Jason LaChappelle
Theresa Wates
Brynn Dooley
Katherine Deveau
Marcy M Einarsson
Lisa Goetz

CJ was his own miracle

CJ smiling in the sunshine

CJ smiling in the sunshine

I am sorry to have to announce that, last night, CJ lost his brave fight. The infection in his abdomen was more widespread than the veterinarians had initially thought, and CJ was suffering.

Karen, his dedicated foster mother, was with him when he left the world. I’m comforted to know that, at the very end of his life, CJ knew the love that he was denied for so much of the rest of it. CJ was Karen’s first foster dog, and the difference she made in his life is immense, as is the hole that he has left in hers. If you think of it, please write her a note of condolence.

Our grateful thanks to everyone who donated towards CJ’s care since we reached out to you yesterday. Your donations will help to pay for the vet bills CJ accrued while his home veterinary team and the vets at Guelph searched for a way to save his life.

Like everyone else who was touched by CJ, it is tempting to meditate on the cruelty that was done to him. We lost volunteers over CJ’s story, good people who are just too burned out on the seemingly non stop stories of sadness and misery and plain, banal evil that rescue work seems to expose us to every day.  Instead, I’m going to choose to think of the people who reached out to him, and offered to help. You’re what matters, now more than ever.

It’s trite to say, but sometimes, we really do need to light a candle and stand together against the dark. That’s CJ’s miracle, when you think about it.

A list of all of CJ’s supporters will be posted, with gratitude, on the French Bulldog Village and ECFBC websites.

The weak can never forgive.
Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

Mahatma Gandhi

Cruelty beyond boundaries

Cj Needs a Miracle

Sometimes, it seems like just yesterday to me – a time when no one knew what a French Bulldog was. If you were walking one, the most common question was “Is that a Boston/Pug/Bulldog?” (quickly followed by “did you crop his ears?”).

If you wanted a Frenchie, you had to search for one, and you had to be prepared to wait. I searched and waited almost a year for my first Frenchie, and my first show Frenchie was a year and change search that had me flying cross continent into the buckle of the bible belt.

In rescue, a single dog in need was a big deal – big enough that we all knew the back story, where the dog had come from, what it had been through. If you’ve been around for a while, you remember the story that shocked all of us to the core – the little puppy mill Frenchie who’d been living in a chicken coop, one ear cut off, possibly to get rid of her identifying AKC tattoo. A rescue was usually just that – a needy dog, taken out of a horrible situation. There weren’t many abandoned or unwanted French Bulldogs, even fewer strays (I can’t recall any, actually, or if they were strays it was only until their frantic owners tracked them down).

Times have changed for our breed, however. You can’t look at a rescue page without reading about a French Bulldog dumped at a shelter, or given up by an owner who doesn’t want it any more. Even the “rare” Frenchies are turning up in rescue now – FBRN has had a Blue French Bulldog or two in their care, given up by owners who apparently didn’t place value on either their dog, or the $6,000 they paid for him.

We even have strays – dogs found wandering, and unclaimed. French Bulldogs that no one bothered to look for. Inconceivable, not very long ago – common place, today.

CJ is one of those dogs – found wandering on the streets of a southern town, CJ ended up in a pen at a kill shelter, just one more dog that no one wanted, and that no one bothered to look for. CJ’s time was running out, but the French Bulldog Village won him his freedom, and he made the trip north to Canada, along with Peanut.

CJ has been fostering with FBV/ECFBC Rescue Volunteer Karen, in Beamsville, Ontario. I met CJ, and I envied Karen getting to share her house with the big galoot.

CJ is all happiness and affection – a leg leaner, pressing against you for comfort, smiling his big goof ball Frenchie grin at everyone he meets. His back legs are wobbly, and he has the occasional accident, but he’s a good boy at heart who tries his best to make you happy, and who we were optimistic was going to make someone a fabulous companion.

Then, over the past weekend, CJ became ill, vomiting and unable to keep his food down. When he stopped eating, foster mom Karen knew something was very wrong, and rushed him to the vet’s office.

What she found stunned her, and has stunned me – CJ has been shot, not once, not even twice, but at least three times. Embedded in his body are three BB Gun pellets, two in his chest and one in his leg. He has peritonitis, possibly from the perforation that one of the bullets left in his body caused.  They’re going to have to open up his abdomen, insert drains and put him on IV antibiotics.

Some time in CJ’s past, perhaps while he was wondering lost and alone on a dark southern street, someone saw him and, rather than wanting to help him or alleviate his fear, aimed a gun and shot him. Three times.

There are moments when the very thankfulness and gratitude that I wrote about just two days ago seem to slip out of my grasp. There are times when I feel, when anyone who rescues can only feel, overwhelmed by the amount of cruelty that exists in the world.

This is one of those times.

If you ever meet CJ, a little dog who only wants to make everyone his friend, look into his soft brown eyes – and now imagine, instead of being moved by him, deciding to aim a gun at him instead.

CJ needs what we’ve already asked you for so recently – CJ needs a miracle. His vet bills are $1,100.00 so far, and he’s on his way to the University of Guelph (where Ema will be receiving her surgery).  Their estimate for his care is $1500 – $2,000.

If you can help CJ, please visit his page on the French Bulldog Village website, and click the paypal button at the bottom of the page. Again, as with Ema, every dollar counts.

In our own tiny attempt to fund raise for CJ, I’m going to do something I’d always said I never would – I’m going to put ads on my blog. If you donate $250 or more to CJ’s care, I’ll place your banner on the bottom of every post on my blog, for six months. A pretty good deal, since we get well over 30,000 visitors a month.

What a bargain! Make your donation via CJ’s paypal button, and note that you want to run an ad on this blog, and I’ll get it set up. Heck, I’ll even design the banner for you. Ads are limited to three, due to space considerations.

Do you have your own fund raising idea for CJ? Tell us about it – let’s try to get this big happy boy, who’s had such bad luck with the people he’s met in his life, that there are people out there who care.

If you can’t donate to CJ’s care, please please – spread the word about him. Share his story on twitter, facebook or on any mailing lists you’re on. CJ needs a miracle – let’s be his angels.

If I haven’t managed to convince you yet, watch CJ’s video – and now remember those bullets.

Giving Thanks

Ema and Jake in the fall leaves

Ema and Jake in the fall leaves

An upate: Ema has a surgery date – October 27th! I am especially thankful for this, and I’m trying to think of the two week waiting period as a time of reflection and grace.

I have numerous things that I am thankful for every day, but this year seems especially poignant to me, because this year I have Ema.

I am thankful that Ema’s original owner was willing to turn her over to rescue. I am thankful that he reached out to us, that he was willing to take the time to search for us on the internet, make contact, and to allow us to take custody of her. I am thankful to everyone who reaches out and asks for help from a rescue, rather than just dumping their pet at a shelter, or selling them on Kijiji.

I am thankful to Eva, who drove across country, seventeen hours each way, to rescue a puppy she had never met at the request of people she didn’t know. Eva is testimony to the power that the internet can have to be so much more than just entertainment – she is testament to how we are all building communities, making bonds and even sometimes making a difference. I am thankful to every rescue volunteer who has ever offered to drive, foster or care for a dog in need.

I am thankful to Ema’s first veterinarian, Dr. Melissa Boyle, who knew enough to say to us “I don’t know what’s wrong with Ema – let’s send her to someone who can help”. In a time when so much of what we read about veterinarians is dismissive, or accuses them of being money hungry,  Vets like Melissa restore my faith in the veterinary profession.

I am thankful for Dr. Minors, another veterinarian who gave of her time and her expertise to help Ema, and who gave us answers to the hard questions about her health and her heart. I am thankful, even more so, for Dr. Minors’ willingness to donate her time to Ema, when she didn’t have to and wasn’t even asked to. I will remember Dr. Minors everytime someone tells me that all vets are just mercenary opportunists, and I will be thankful that I know this isn’t true.

I am so very, very thankful to every single person who donated towards Ema’s care. Without you, I wouldn’t be sitting here anticipating Ema’s surgical date – instead, I’d be sitting here worrying about whether or not we could afford to pay for it. I am thankful to all of those people who said “I wish I could send more”. I am thankful to every child who said “this is my allowance, for Ema”. I am thankful to everyone who said “I want to help to save her”. We are told, every day, that the internet is making us all more distant, that it has made us lose our sense of community. I don’t believe that, and I don’t think you should, either.

I am thankful to every blogger and Facebook friend who helped me to share Ema’s story, and who keep up the good fight for all of the dogs in need. Sometimes you might think “I can’t do anything to help rescue”, but every time you share a story, tweet about a dog in need, write about a rescue fundraiser and help us to get the word out there, you ARE part of rescue, and a valuable part that I am thankful for.

I am thankful to Charlotte Creeley, and to the French Bulldog Village, for stepping up and saying “We’ll help care for Ema, if your rescue can’t afford to”. Charlotte and FBV are a beacon of hope to the French Bulldogs that would otherwise have no one to champion them. I am thankful that Charlotte is a friend to French Bulldogs, and even more thankful that she’s been a friend to me and to my dogs over all of these years.

I am thankful to Sean, who had NO idea what he was getting into when he started to date me, even after I’d warned him that the dogs come pretty much first. I am thankful that, no matter how many times I’ve said to him “We need to take care of another rescue”, he’s never said anything back to me but “How can we help?”.

I am thankful to Ema, and to every other rescue I have ever taken care of. They have taught me patience and fortitude. They have amused me, touched me, made me laugh and sometimes made me cry. They have allowed me to see the very best in people, even if it means I’ve also had to see some of the very worst. Caring for foster Frenchies is a gift, and I am thankful for it every day. They add to the joy that I get from my own dogs, and they make me even more comitted to this breed, and to the friends I have made through it.

I am thankful for time. I am thankful for every day I have with Ema, and I know every day is a gift and a blessing. I am thankful to be able to share time with Ema, and to have time with her. Ema has taught me to think in terms of moments and seconds, not weeks and years.  I am thankful for that, and I am thankful for her.