Buddy, one of more than 200 dogs that lived at the home of a hoarder in California — depicted in the video above — died last week at age 15, but not before getting to spend more than a year in a loving home.
Ida Schillaci Noack took part as a volunteer in a March 2011 rescue effort at the hoarder’s home, in southern California, and ended up, with the homeowner’s permission, bringing Buddy home with her. Three months later the Humane Society of the United States removed most of the other animals from the home. Noack took part in that effort, too.
Buddy spent almost a year and a half with Noack. Last week, the day before she had the old and ailing dog put down, Noack wrote about Buddy on her Facebook page. With her permission, we reprint it here in its entirety:
He is the greatest canine love of my life.
I’ve had other rescues. There was Elvis, followed by Miss Piggy, then Rex (who required special care due to renal disease).
After Rex’s passing, I found Sampson, an affable tank.
In between all of them have been fosters; at one time our house had 5 dogs and 4 cats. All were special.
But there was something about Buddy.
Buddy came from a hoarder’s property. This hoarder, an older woman, lived in a dilapidated house. She appeared to at least have electricity and plumbing. The refrigerator in the kitchen — only the freezer portion was working — contained just a few items: some medication and two pounds of raw hamburger, but no stove to cook it with.
In the middle of the living room there was a another refrigerator — inoperable — along with two crated dogs who had no food or water. The flooring had been destroyed down to the cement, and the walls were coated with a brown scum extending at least two feet up from the floor. At one time the property had over 250 dogs: some kenneled, some crated, many running wild, several pregnant … and most were sick.
It was obvious many of the dogs were from the same litters, spanning generations. They didn’t appear socialized; they might accept food or treats, but then ran and hid. There were dirt dens, and some kennels were only five feet long and two feet wide. The neglect of these animals had apparently been going on for years, but even worse was that the property was located in the desert of California where it was hot enough to melt the glue from our shoes.
The level of noise itself almost required ear plugs. Even in the open outdoors, the smell of feces and urine was overwhelming. In the weeks prior to my arrival several other volunteers had come down with giardia.
In all this chaos, Buddy stood out. He was a shaggy mess in a sea of shepherd and lab mixes. He moved slowly in his kennel. No barking, no jumping, nor did he run and hide. I went in as part of a grassroots rescue, for several weekends we cleaned, fed, watered and did basic medical for the dogs. We were slowly transporting them out as the rescue community could take them in. Those that were extremely sick were taken out right away.
Buddy’s hair was probably 6 inches long – so long I couldn’t see through to his eyes. He kept his head down and once he caught my scent he walked sluggishly over to me.
I squatted down, my body pointing away so that I posed no threat – and I slowly reached out to him. His tail wagged – barely – and he nudged closer. Finally I moved the hair away from his eyes. They were closed. Did he even have eyes? I couldn’t tell. I stayed a few minutes with him, then moved on. There were 200 more dogs that needed food and water.
A few hours later I found my way back to him. He came over to me in the same way and I petted and rubbed him gently.
My friend Kim came over – I told her I wasn’t sure if this old guy even had eyes. She looked at me worried, cocked her head and said, “I’ll give you a thousand dollars to take that dog.”
She repeated herself. Crap. It wasn’t the money, I was already in love with him. There was something about him that made my heart swell, skip a beat, go pitter-patter. Pick one or choose all. I called my husband, another great gift in my life. His response? “Whatever you want, my sweet.” I’m lucky.
So Buddy was loaded in a crate and into my life. The groomers bathed and shaved him. The vet pulled most of this rotted teeth out, and his blood levels were great.
He wasn’t suffering from malnutrition, giardia, mange or any tick-borne illnesses – all of which plagued many of the dogs that had already been pulled. Still, he was mostly blind, partially deaf, very thin, and not even house-broken. But he is perfect in so many other ways.
He has never barked or growled; he will just “purr” when you pet him. He’ll get the zoomies about twice a week till he falls over. He rubs up against me like a cat and then falls into my lap.
I have to carry him in and out of the house and keep him crated at night to avoid late night accidents. He loves his breakfast, dinner, and evening Kong filled with peanut butter.
Buddy is a lot of work, but to me this 15-year-old ragamuffin is worth every bit of extra care, and is worth far more than a thousand dollars. He is priceless and he makes my heart sing. Tomorrow, Buddy will cross the Rainbow Bridge, this has not an easy decision. But we can no longer help him, he will not get better. So tomorrow we will let him go, with dignity, grace and our love.
(Photos: From the Facebook page of Ida Schillaci Noack; top photo by Stella’s Hope)
Editor’s note: Volunteers are the foundation of most animal shelters and rescue organizations. In this feature, we invite shelter and rescue volunteers to share their thoughts. If you’ve had an experience with a particular dog, or a particular program, if you’ve found new inspirations, learned some lessons or just want to write about the day-to-day work you do with animals, send your story along, with photos if you like, including one of yourself, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All of our “Adventures in Volunteering” posts can be found archived here.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 5th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 150 dogs, 200 dogs, adventures in volunteering, animal, animal welfare, best freinds animal sanctuary, buddy, california, dead, dies, dog, dogs, downtown dog rescue, experiences, hoarder, hoarding, hsus, humane society of the united states, Ida Schillaci Noack, los angeles, loss, mojave desert animal rescue, pets, red rover, rescue, rescuer, rescues, shelters, southern, stories, surrendered, tales, volunteer, volunteers
A Shetland sheepdog removed from the suburban New York home of a hoarder four years ago is back in town, and performing in a different kind of packed house — in a stage production of John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men.”
Colt was one of 23 dogs removed from the home of a woman in Wesley Hills in 2008, according to the Journal News.
Ramapo police and members of the SPCA wore gas masks to enter the home, the condition of which was described as squalid, and the homeowner was charged with hoarding and neglecting the animals.
At some point, before her trial, she got Colt back, and he quickly tried to escape, getting struck by a car in the process. The accident left him with a broken back that required surgery and a body cast.
The woman later pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct, relinquishing ownership of all but one of her dogs and paying a $125 fine.
Colt became the ward of the Hudson Valley Humane Society, living in the Manhattan and Stony Point homes of its acting president, Ann Marie Gaudio.
This spring, though, Gaudio got a call from the Antrim Playhouse — located about a half-mile from the house Colt had been hoarded in. They were looking for a canine to play the role of the bunkhouse dog in its production of John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men.”
Gaudio suggested the producer and director audition Colt.
“Colt has the best bio of all of us,” Director Brooke Malloy Ortiz told the “He’s real sweet, a retired therapy dog. He’s not old, so we changed the dialogue to talk about how he has this wound on his leg and his back is broken. And we wet down his fur to make him look a bit more worn.”
In Steinbeck’s story of two itinerant farm workers, an old handyman named Candy has an old dog that one of the men, Carlson, constantly berates and abuses, eventually persuading the boss to let him put the dog out of its misery — an act that foreshadows what’s ahead.
Candy is played by Gordon Wolotira, who, under the director’s orders, was the only one allowed to pet or feed Colt during rehearsals.
The actor who plays Carlson, who yells at the dog several times in the play, wasn’t allowed to bond with Colt at all.
As a result, “Every time that Carlson has to pull the dog away from Candy, Colt growls at him and sometimes sits down and will not budge,” the director said. “We didn’t even train him to do that. But there’s a lot of shouting on stage, so he just wants to stay with Gordon, who has treats for him.”
Colt spends about a dozen minutes onstage, but he provides “some of the most engrossing moments of the play and it certainly gets the audience’s attention,” Wolotria said. “By the time they drag him off, it’s heart-breaking.”
Posted by jwoestendiek June 21st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, ann marie gaudio, antrim, antrim playhouse, book, candy, carson, colt, comebacks, dog, dogs, f mice and men, hoarded, hoarder, home, hudson valley humane society, john steinbeck, mercy killing, new york, of mice and men, pets, play, plays, production, role, seized, shetland sheepdog, stage, wesley hills
A Lincoln County, N.C, woman agreed to surrender 135 dogs on her property after a visit from animal control officers.
Authorities did not identify the woman and said she would not be charged.
Officers visited the woman’s home Friday after receiving a complaint from a neighbor. They gave the woman 72 hours to update the dogs’ vaccinations, but she later called them and, saying she couldn’t afford the vet bills, agreed to surrender all but eight of her dogs.
Officers said the woman was running a breeding operation, but that it was not a puppy mill.
But, But Kim Alboum, N.C. director of the Humane Society of the United States, described it as exactly that, and said the dogs’ health and welfare were ignored.
“The animals were clearly neglected in many ways,” she told the Charlotte Observer.
Alboum said the Lincoln County case was the fifth puppy mill discovered in North Carolina in four months.
About 100 of the dogs were heading last night to the Guilford County animal shelter, due to overcrowding at the Lincoln County shelter.
Authorities said a few of them will need medical attention for skin diseases and other ailments but none were in critical condition. The Humane Society of the United States is covering all the costs for the medical care being provided to the dogs, WSOC reported.
The dogs included poodles and miniature Doberman pinschers,
according to the Gaston Gazette.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 31st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 135 dogs, animals, breeder, dogs, hoarder, hsus, humane society of the united states, lincoln county, neglected, north carolina, pets, puppy mill, seized
Check out Cinderella: Not too long ago she was one of numerous dogs living lives of neglect with an animal hoarder in Tennessee. Tonight, she’s going to be the belle of a ball in New York City.
Specifically, it’s the ASPCA’s Annual Bergh Ball, the theme of which is “Fairy Tails,” which takes place at the Plaza Hotel. The ball draws a crowd of animal lovers, including community leaders and celebrities, who come to dine and dance in support of the ASPCA’s mission: “To provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.”
Rescue by the ASPCA from a hoarding situation, Cinderella, now about 4 years old, went on to be lodged in a New York City shelter before being adopted by a New York City resident. She now lives in a penthouse apartment overlooking Central Park, which she visits every day.
Yesterday, Cinderella received the royal treatment at the Ricardo Rojas Salon in preparation for tonight’s big event.
(Photos: Courtesy of the ASCPA)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 14th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, aspca, ball, bergh ball, cinderella, dog, dogs, fairy tales, hoarder, hoarding, new york city, pets, rescue, shelter, story, tennessee
Pinal County Animal Care and Control officers seized 152 cats and 19 dogs from a home in Hidden Valley, Arizona, this week.
Seven officers arrived at the home to remove the animals, which took about eight hours. “It was shocking,” said Animal Care and Control Director Ruth Stalter. “This is the largest rescue from hoarding-type conditions in the history of Animal Care and Control.”
Six years ago, ABC15 reported, 98 animals were removed from the same home.
The animals that were removed will receive veterinary check-ups and put up for adoption. Residents interested in adopting animals can call the Citizen Contact Center at (520) 509-3555 or visit the shelter at 1150 S Eleven Mile Corner Road near the Pinal County Fairgrounds.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 17th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, animal control, animals, arizona, cats, dogs, hidden valley, hoarder, hoarders, hoarding, home, largest, ohmidog!, pets, pinal county, record, removed, seized
The Michigan man charged with animal cruelty after authorities found hundreds of Chihuahuas in his home, live and dead, pleaded guilty in a plea agreement yesterday.
Kenneth Lang Jr. of Dearborn, will serve five years’ probation under supervision of a Wayne County mental health court.
Lang, 56, admitted in the plea that the animals in his home were subjected to abusive conditions because he was overwhelmed by their sheer numbers, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Lang will not be permitted to own any animals. He’s also required to make $3,000 restitution to the Animal Legal Defense Fund for the examination of the dead dogs, and restitution to the city of Dearborn.
Lang’s lawyer, James Schmier, said Lang has an IQ of about 70 and suffers from several psychiatric conditions. “He’s a very human guy with a very human story, and with very human frailties,” the lawyer said.
Lang was found living in squalid conditions with more than 100 live Chihuahuas and more than 100 dead ones found frozen in freezers. The prosecutors said of the 105 that were rescued, all but 13 have been successfully adopted. Those are living in a no-kill shelter.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 13th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, adopted, animal cruelty, animals, chihuahua, chihuahuas, cruelty, dearborn, guilty, hoarded, hoarder, hoarding, home, house, kenneth lang, michigan, neglect, pets, plea agreement, probation, rescued, sentence
Twenty-one malnourished dogs were removed from a home in Anne Arundel County Friday and are now in the custody of the county animal control office in Millersville.
Police and animal control officers removed the dogs from an Orchard Beach home they said was filled with animal feces. Nineteen dogs were found inside the home and two dogs were taken from a trailer on the property, according to a report in the Baltimore Sun.
No charges were filed, but authorities were still investigating.
Authorities did not identify the home’s occupants, but neighbors and property records showed it was Janet E. Taylor, according to the Sun. Neighbors said Taylor lives there with an adult son.
A neighbor said she had called the county Health Department and Animal Control for several months to report the odor and howling dogs, but no action was taken until Friday morning.
After about 15 minutes of knocking, a shirtless and shoeless man answered the door of the home, saying, “All right, all right. You can come in. But you’re not going to like what you’ll see.”
The man signed over his rights to the dogs to Animal Control, where they are being evaluated.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 31st, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal, animal control, animal welfare, anne arundel, county, cruelty, dog, dogs, health department, hoarder, hoarding, janet taylor, maryland, neglect, orchard beach
Police in Dearborn, Mich., found about 150 dead dogs packed in freezers in the basement of a Michigan house where more than 110 live dogs, mostly Chihuahuas, were rescued last week.
Police Chief Ronald Haddad said an investigation is continuing into the case of a 56-year-old man found living in the suburban Detroit home, which was littered with feces and trash, according to the Associated Press.
“The house was in complete disarray, very cluttered and, with 100-plus dogs running around in there, very filthy,” he said. He said the case could be forwarded to prosecutors for possible animal-cruelty charges.
The man living in the house was taken to a local hospital for observation. He had no health insurance and a mental impairment, and had lived for years alone in the home after his parents retired to Florida.
Forty-two dogs were rescued Wednesday. Crews returned Thursday and found more than 60 dogs, and about 10 more were rescued Friday, when police also found the dead dogs in freezers.
The rescued dogs were taken to the Dearborn Animal Shelter.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 27th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abuse, animal, chihuahuas, corpses, cruelty, dearborn, dogs, freezers, frozen, hoarder, hoarding, michigan, shelter
The Cecil County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Inc. has removed 23 dead cats from a residence outside Chesapeake City, Maryland.
Acting on a complaint about possible cat hoarding in the 900 block of Town Point Road, animal control officers determined there were at least 100 live cats in the home, and advised county buildings inspectors and Sheriff’s Department officials of the situation.
The agencies went to the home and removed 23 dead cats– wrapped in towels, diapers and plastic bags– all kept in freezers in the house, according to CCSPA officials.
The owner of the cats claimed she was affiliated with a Delaware cat rescue organization.
The house had an overpowering smell of urine, and animal feces were seen on floors, CCSPCA said. Otherwise, there was adequate food and water for the cats and multiple litter pans available on each floor of the house.
Most of the animals appeared to be in adequate medical condition but an upstairs room bore a sign indicating that cats in that room were positive for feline leukemia, a highly contagious, untreatable condition that leads to medical complications and premature death in cats, the CCSPCA said.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 29th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 100 cats, 23, animals, cat, ccspca, cecil county, chesapeake city, conditions, dead cats, feline, hoard, hoarder, hoarding, leukemia, maryland, news, ohmidog!, organization, pets, rescue, unsanitary
Ninety-two chow chows were seized after authorities this week discovered them living crated and cramped in a small house near Lancaster, Pa.
The chows were discovered in the house, basement, garage and car of Terri Palmer-Roby, founder of Pendragwn Chow Chow Rescue, a shelter for homeless members of the ancient Chinese breed.
Two dead and decaying dogs were removed from at the home during a Tuesday afternoon raid by the state Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement, East Lampeter Township Police, and the Humane League of Lancaster County, according to the Lancaster Intelligencer-Journal.
All the dogs were caged and living in their own waste, many of them emaciated, with open wounds and matted fur, authorities said.
Before Tuesday’s raid, Palmer-Roby was a friend of the Humane League and other area shelters from which she pulled chows in hope of rehabilitating them and adopting them into permanent homes, said Megan Gallagher-Clark, vice president of development at the league.
Six League staff members removed the dogs from the home in shifts Tuesday. Some will be sent to shelters in Berks, York, Bucks and Montgomery counties.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 22nd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bureau of dog law enforcement, chow, chow chow, condition, dogs, east lampeter township, founder, health, hoard, hoarder, hoarding, humane league of lancaster county, lancaster, neglect, organization, pa, pendragwn, pennsylvania, pets, rescue, terri palmer-roby, waste