Friday, July 8, 2011

THE LONG ROAD HOME - MALIE'S Story or: How Rescue should and can work

Rescue is getting a lot of bad publicity being ‘greedy’ and ‘out for the money’, or ‘eating its own’, however, this is a real situation – no money changed hands, it was all done with the correct attitude and cooperation which happens daily amongst the rescues I work with. I had no involvement in this rescue – and the dog never became a ‘rescue’ dog – we did even better than take the dog into rescue – we allowed the dog to remain with its owners and just get her to her new home. We don’t do it for our own glory or money – we do it FOR THE ANIMALS!

Getting this done involved four Alaskan Malamute Assistance League associate rescue groups, one independent rescuer in Louisiana who heard the story from her daughter that lived in the same apartment complex as the owners of Malie, and Pilots and Paws with a lot of communication and coordination between all these groups.

The story as told in emails. Permission to post emails and use names have been granted by those involved. AMAL affiliate rescues have a Yahoo Group we use for communicating amongst ourselves

TO: AMAL May 2011
Well this is a real long shot but we got a call from a lady in Canada on April 13th trying to figure out if we new anything about a dog in the Baldwin shelter in CA named Malie. There were several people in Canada that wanted to help this dog.
     Washington Alaskan Malamute Assistance League

I received an email request from a local person wanting information on transporters from CA to El Paso, TX for a military family. Then I received this email of the whole story. It is pretty incredible, and if anyone has some ideas please share. Thanks.
      Florence T. Robinson
  Louisiana Alaskan Malamute Protection (LAMP)

Thanks again D** for any help you can provide my husband and me! I attached a picture of our beloved dog Malie, our almost 2 year old Alaskan Malamute.

My husband joined the Army March 2009. We were married just after his basic/AIT training July 09 and my husband was sent to his first duty station in Wiesbaden, Germany August 09. We had been told that I would be anywhere from 2-4 weeks behind him and that he probably wouldn't see a deployment anytime soon. Unfortunately nothing in the Army is set in stone and my husband was assigned to a deploying unit and would be headed to Iraq a mere 4 months after he arrived in Wiesbaden. I was faced with a tough decision, spend a few months with my husband and spend a year alone in Germany, or stay home. I decided to go to Germany, and also decided to bring a dog with me to protect me and keep me company. That's where my gorgeous puppy comes into the picture.

I purchased my female Alaskan Malamute when she was just 2 months old and started the process to get us to Germany. My husband and I turned in all the necessary paperwork to get Malie and me before my husband left for Iraq, and just when we thought we would be together before Thanksgiving we were told that all the paperwork had been lost and would have to be resubmitted which meant it would all go through after my husband was in Iraq. Defeated, we tried to get my husband home for the holidays but he was told that it was too late for him to take any leave before the deployment.

During my husband's R&R was the very first time he met Malie and boy were they both excited! Malie is a smart dog who gets herself into a lot of mischief but when you meet that doggie face, you can't help but love her instantly! We had a great 2 weeks together we were just so excited for the deployment to be over and to finally head to my husband's next duty station and be together once more!

December 2010 my husband finally was done in Iraq, he got to come home to California for leave before we packed up and headed to Fort Bliss, TX (El Paso) for the remainder of his contract in the Army. I had to drive myself from CA to El Paso, TX while my husband had to fly from Germany to El Paso so I prepared my car and Malie for the long 18 hour drive.

Not 3 days before I was supposed to be on the road, I didn't wake up to the usual morning howls of Malie trying to get my attention for our morning walks. There was a HUGE hole that led into our neighbor's backyard and my neighbors had no clue where Malie was. I searched for her everywhere I could think, called every vet hospital in town to see if she had been injured, tried the animal shelter and the most horrible thing was when I was told to come back every day to check the dead on arrival binder to see if she had come in that way.

Malie is a very sweet tempered dog, she is silly in many ways like how smaller dogs that bark at her frighten her and for some reason balloons frighten her as well. But besides that she LOVES people and would do just about anything for you to scratch behind her ears or belly. I came to terms with having to leave without knowing where Malie was, if she was alive or not, and left for Texas to meet up with my husband. Even though Malie had a microchip we just had this feeling she was alive and someone fell in love with her and kept her. She's just too big of a dog and stands out with her markings to have been hit by accident, at least that's what we thought. I was heart broken, and so was my husband, especially since our move to Texas meant he finally got to be with me and Malie after so long and get to play with Malie and walk her with me.

As I was driving through Arizona I got a call from the Baldwin Park, CA) animal shelter in my home town. Malie had been found safe and sound! My in-laws picked her up and have been housing her ever since (in Modesto, CA), now it's just a matter of how we can afford to bring Malie here.

She weighs over 90 pounds already which makes flying in cargo on domestic airlines pretty impossible from what I have researched. My husband and I share a car, so me leaving to take a round trip to CA by myself will not only be hard, but expensive, especially with the $700 deposit our apartment needs in order to have our dog live with us on top of such a long road trip. We don't know how long it will take us to save up that kind of money, and have thought we may just have to give up Malie to another loving home because we just can't afford to bring her here to us.

We hope that Pilots n Paws can help us bring our puppy home, we miss her dearly and it's so heartbreaking to even think that we may just have to give her up. She is such a wonderful dog, she is so smart and gorgeous, I miss the way she howls good morning, the way she puts her paws on my shoulders and licks my face every morning, the way she needs to sit so close to me when I brush her and the way her doggie face lights up and tail wags so fiercely when she sees her leash and knows she and I are going on a walk.

She's more than a dog to me, she's a part of the family, and after all the time my husband and I have spent apart, I was looking forward to the new special moments we would have as he and Malie FINALLY got to spend more than a couple weeks together, and how the 3 of us would spend so much time becoming a closer family.

Dog is man's best friend after all.
      -Jessica L******

Following this email exchange amongst AMAL affiliate Rescues, we got a response from Tom & Tina Dunn, Alaskan Malamute Rescue of Southern California who cover the Baldwin Park Shelter and Tina established the dog was not at the shelter, it was later discovered Mallie had been reclaimed by Jessica’s in-laws in Modesto and they were keeping her but transport to El Paso and back to her Humans was an issue – enlisted soldiers do not make much money, so AMAL started doing what we do – get dog to the home she belonged in.

Then things started to get organized.

If you are able to get in touch with the owners, let's get a few contact numbers and we can begin to arrange to transport Mallie to El Paso, if that is what is needed to help her.
         Tina Dunn
    Alaskan Malamute Rescue of Southern California

I have requested D*** (Pilots and Paws) to send me the contact information on Jessica in El Paso, and her in-laws in Modesto. Sue Adkins, Alaskan Malamute Rescue of Arizona, is also in touch with D****, because Sue is coming to Malibu. The biggest problem right now is getting Malie from Modesto to Malibu for Sue to pick up. I will definitely keep you in the loop. Thanks for your offer to help.
     Florence T. Robinson
  Louisiana Alaskan Malamute Protection (LAMP)

Looks like transport is confirmed from Simi Valley (AMRSOCAL) to Malibu at this point and a flight from Tucson to El Paso is being scheduled. Paws crossed that all goes as planned...
     Sue Adkins
  Alaskan Malamute Rescue of Arizona

TO: AMAL July 2011
Several weeks back I posted about a dog in California that needed help getting to her military family in El Paso, TX. Tina Dunn, Alaskan Malamute Rescue of Southern California and Sue Adkins, Alaskan Malamute Rescue of Arizona both played a really big role in this dog being reunited with her family. Pilots n Paws got her from Modesto to Tina Dunn who boarded her in Simi Valley and then drove her to Malibu where Sue Adkins picked her up and drove her to Tucson. Pilots and Paws then drove her to El Paso. They couldn't fly because of the wild fires. Below is a link to a Youtube video of her amazing journey. The Pitty in the video belongs to the daughter of the Louisiana independent rescuer who initially contacted me for help. Thanks so much Sue and Tina! It wouldn't have happened with out you.

To see a photo montage of Malie's long road home check out this:

     Florence T. Robinson
  Louisiana Alaskan Malamute Protection (LAMP)

Again, AMAL has lived up to its slogan:

Edited to add:   Please read the comments. This is NOT an unusual situation.


  1. What a great story! This is what rescue really is. A rescue, doing what rescue should do, won't make money. The handful of bad rescues out there give all the good ones a poor reputation. The vast majority of rescues are poor, in the trenches, working together to save animals. AMAL is one of the best examples of that. Kudos to all involved.

  2. Wonderful story!!! Tells the truth about how the good rescues work together for the animals and nothing more. The happy endings like this one are the best reward and the reason good rescuers do what they do. It is from the heart.

  3. What a wonderful story. It makes me so proud to be part of such a wonderful group of people - Malamute Rescues from all over. Kudos and thanks so much to those who made this all come together. I love happy endings!