Thursday, January 13, 2011

Meet Mary Jane

After an appointment yesterday (Jan 11, 2011) I was told that the guy who worked in the office next door wanted to meet me.  HUH?  Oh there’d just been some mention and he’d said something about Rikki’s and for me to come over and meet him.  So I was escorted over and this gentleman said, “Remember me?”  Now I’m awful with humans.  Give me 36 black feral cats and I can tell them all apart, but humans all look the same to me.   I admitted I didn’t.  He picked up a framed photo on his desk and said, “Remember her?  I think you called her Mary Jane.”

Oh my gosh!!!  Mary Jane! 

Mary Jane came to Rikki’s Refuge, rather unexpectedly, on June 15th 1999.  This was before Doggy Downs was built. When the doggy area was a section of the backyard fenced off between the 9th Life Center and the Cat Trailer.  We had a couple of small 10 foot by 10 foot pens for the dogs who didn't get along with the group.  We were still in the very early phases of just getting things set up. 

We were working away building something that day, when my attorney showed up.  His son had come home from school with 125 pound, very strong, very unruly, completely untrained, American Staffordshire.  As he's explaining why the dog cannot stay in his house, Mary Jane burst through a partially open window in his car, and immediately had every dog on our property riled up.  She was in heat. 

We had no place whatsoever to put her, not even a lead we could tie her on for a while.  So my attorney sat on the back porch with leash in hand, trying to fight her back from getting to the other dogs, and keeping the neighboring, visiting, intact males away. 

Meanwhile, Kathy and I drove to town, to Fredericksburg Lowe's, to buy a dog pen.  That wasn't too difficult, we ran into the garden section, got it onto a cart, checked out and then asked for assistance loading it in the car.  Back then, the only vehicle Rikki's Refuge had was a little old Honda with a sunroof.  My acupuncturist had given it to us as the start of gift to Rikki's Refuge.  The nice man at Lowe's came out, looked at the six foot long box that the pen was in, looked at the Honda, and said you can't do that.  I said, yes we can, we have no choice.  And though he called us all kinds of crazy ladies, he helped us load up through the sunroof.  We prayed there was no law against driving around with something sticking several feet out of your sunroof.

Back at the refuge we put the pen together and got Mary Jane settled in.  Mary Jane dug out.  We put cinderblocks around the base.  Mary Jane threw herself against the gate until she opened.  We tied the gate shut in about six places.  That kept her in.  At least until it was time to go in and feed or clean.  Then, almost invariably, she would knock me flat, and take off a full gallop.  Every dog on the property would try to get up chase her.  Finally, I’d catcher and get her home. 

When we only had a small dog runs, every dog had to be walked every day, without exception.  Mary Jane wait more than I did, and was about 37 times as strong.  Our walks usually consisted of me holding on, while she drug me all over.  I saw my chiropractor on a very regular basis while trying to train Mary Jane to politely walk on a leash.  After several months, I was actually relatively successful.

Mary Jane would attract a lot of attention when we took her to adoption events.  She was a stunning dog.  Her beauty and her power made her desired by the wrong element.  Guys would walk up and say, “What a beautiful dog, I could make a fortune selling her puppies, how much you charging?”  And we'd say, she’s spayed.  And they'd say, “Why you go ruin such a good looking dog?” And walk away.  We wondered, what are really truly decent home ever come along?

Meanwhile, we built Doggy Downs.  First the playground.  Then the runs.  Kathy, Kim, Fred and I spent almost 24/7 between Christmas and New Year's 1999 building the individual runs.  Mary Jane and friends moved in.  Mary Jane was the first dog I ever saw go over a six foot fence.  We had to put a roof on her pen.  We feared for her life if she got off the property and ran up to a stranger.  Though she was the friendliest dog on the planet, she was a great big huge black dog, with an enormous grin that showed off her shining white teeth.  Wanting to meet everybody, she ran to you, jumped up, put her paws on your shoulders, and vigorously licks your face.  Most of us who weighed less than she did, ended up flat on our backs.  Most people who didn't know her, would assume she was going to attack.

On May 15th 2000 she met her new daddy, Allen Clark, who looked at her and asked, “has she been spayed?”  My first reaction was, “oh no here we go again”.  But his reply was, “great!”  They instantly fell in love and Alan adopted Mary Jane.

As I learned yesterday morning, Mary Jane's name was changed to Skye, and she became Allen's faithful companion for almost 10 years.  She went to work with him every day.  They were inseparable.  Allen had so many stories about her to tell me.  We talked for almost an hour.  Sadly, Mary Jane passed away last April from cancer.  Allen said he was so heartbroken he didn't know if he could ever own another dog.  But after 21 days without a companion, he went to the shelter and adopted another pitty.  Her name is Alley and she now goes to work with him every day.  I got to meet her and she's a lovely doggie!

One of the hardest things in the rescue biz, is getting an animal already for their new home, and then watching them leave, knowing you may never see them again, or know how it all went.  One of the best feelings in the world, is finding out how happy somebody was in their new forever home.

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