- Pictured from left to right, Sharon Espinola, Maddie, Duke, Misty, Joyce Dickerson and Camy in Chesapeake Beach, Maryland.
Maddie was accepted into our care in January of 2005. It’s been quite a journey, but Maddie is now in her new forever home thanks to a few very dedicated St. Francis volunteers, who against all odds, refused to give up on this little girl. Sharon Espinola, pictured to the left with Maddie, made the trip to Baltimore, MD on September 10th, 2005 to deliver Maddie to her new home.
UPDATE – March 28, 2006It is clear, in the numerous conversations Sharon has had with Joyce, Maddie’s new mom, that she has the best of homes. She is loved dearly and Joyce, as well as her husband Mike, are willing to do whatever it takes to keep her healthy and happy. She travels in their RV home with the rest of the dog family, has experienced snow, trail walking and drinking out of streams. She is very popular at Joyce’s exercise studio. Some clients even want to take her home. Maddie’s life is better than many fully-abled dogs.
But, she has been experiencing back pain associated with her original injury. Joyce has seen several doctors. She’s talked to Maddie’s former acupuncturist, who now lives in Seattle, and even sought out the help of an acupuncturist in Annapolis, MD. The only option was a very expensive surgery ($2,800) performed on March 23, 2006 at Chesapeake Referral Center in Annapolis. This was a totally unexpected expense for Joyce and Mike, but they never hesitated to do what they thought was right for her. If you can help in defraying the cost of these expenses, please make a tax-deductible donation to Pets With Disabilities. You may do so by visiting the website at www.petswithdisabilities.org.
Journey from Tampa to BaltimoreFor those of you who have been following Maddie’s progress in her search for a new home, following is a chronicle of her journey from Tampa, FL to Baltimore, MD.
4:30 a.m.Time to get up and get going to catch the 8 a.m. flight. That meant breakfast, diaper change, etc.
6:00 a.m.Arrive at Tampa International Airport. Before getting out of the car, Maddie receives her first dose of sedative with some peanut butter. She’s removed from her car seat and put into her cart. The women at the Delta counter fell in love with her and we were the object of many stares as we walked through the airport.
7:00 a.m.Maddie is showing no sign of feeling relaxed and tries to nip a Delta agent who wanted to pet her. Her second dose of sedative as the vet prescribed with peanut butter. I put her stuffed toy in her carrier and sit her in. I begin plying her with cookies.
7:30 a.m.Maddie resists laying down in the carrier, but the top must be closed to board the plane.
8:00 a.m. until 9:15 a.m. landing in AtlantaWe board the plane and Maddie seems to be relaxing. I managed to get an unassigned row of seats in the back of the plane. At one point I pull Maddie out from under the seat in front of me and hold the carrier in my lap. I unzip the top to let her head pop out. A flight attendant tells me Maddie must be in her carrier and under the seat. Towards the end of the flight she’s panting and shaking. I’m worried and decide when I land I’ll call my vet.
Until 11:00 a.m. while in Atlanta International AirportI’m the last person to deplane and I ask the flight attendants if I can put Maddie in her cart and take her off the plane. They say “no” and that she can’t even walk through the airport. I responded by telling them I would not walk her off the plane, but I was going to walk her through the airport (so there).
We head to the nearest bathroom where I change Maddie’s diaper. She was a handful on the changing table that a woman stood behind me to use afterwards. She didn’t seem to be pleased that a dog was being changed in the area, however, there were lots of nice women how seemed to appreciate what was being done for Maddie.
We leave airside A and head to airside D—there was a gate change. If any of you have ever traveled through Atlanta you’ll appreciate how difficult this was. I had Maddie on a leash, her carrier, a bag of all her toys, blanket, x-rays, health records, a change of clothes for me and her cart. My arms shook from carrying all that stuff. Maddie was great, however, riding the train and walking obediently. We get to airside D and we’re told that the gate had changed again. We now have to go to airside B. I’m sweating bullets at this point.
At airside B there were lots of wonderful and inquisitive people. Maddie was a doll. I gave her the last dosage of her sedative, again with peanut butter, and more cookies. She didn’t fight me this time getting into the carrier. I was able to get a better send—an aisle seat and as it so happened a woman I talked to about Maddie was sitting with me. She actually gave up her aisle seat for Maddie and me. Maddie was terrific the whole time.
Arriving in Baltimore at 12:55 p.m.I unzipped the carrier and let Maddie pop her head out while we deplaned. Once out of the jet-way, I put her in her cart. She was a champ walking towards the exit. Two women and a man wanted to see the union of Maddie and her new mom, so they followed me. One of the women saw Joyce and her friend Shanik before I did. They were holding a sign that said “Welcome Maddie.” Maddie was great, she said her hellos beautifully. We left the airport to go to Joyce’s house in Chesapeake Beach, Maryland. It was an hour drive back to her house.
At Joyce’s HouseWe introduced everyone—Maddie to Misty, Duke and Camy. All Duke wanted to do is bark at Maddie. Misty didn’t seem to mind her and Camy wasn’t too interested. Maddie showed her teeth a bit, letting them know to back off. She was groggy, after all.
We took all the dogs in the house, sat on the patio and let the dogs get to know each other. Duke continued to bark at Maddie, so she planted herself at my feet and continued to growl and show her teeth. It was time for a couple of beers. I think we were also stressed. By this time I had only cried three times.
Maddie would not leave my side until she found a chewy that she decided to claim as hers. We had to take it away from her as Duke didn’t like it that she had it.
We ordered pizza and ate a bit. I suggested that Joyce try feeding Maddie some food by hand. She did and Maddie took it readily.
The Ride Back to the AirportWe decided to take a ride, before I headed by to the airport area to get a room so I could easily catch a 6 a.m. flight on Sunday. We had Maddie and Misty in tow. We stopped at Joyce’s place of business—a very nice, yet small exercise studio and athletic clothing boutique. Then, we met a friend of hers and her husband Mike (he was in Richmond for a NASCAR race), Ed. He has five dogs and will be their neighbor in about 4 or 5 months. We saw their new property of 2.5 acres that was all staked out for their new, one-story home (no steps for handicapped dogs to manage and will have a complete hard surface floor).
The first place we stopped to get me a room was at a Comfort Suites, but they were booked. So, we went to the Country Inn Suites. Joyce stayed outside with the dogs, while I got checked in. When I came out to say my good-byes, Joyce said Maddie wouldn’t let her get near her. She was doing what I guess she did at Journey’s End. Every time Joyce tried to get near her she growled and showed her teeth. Meanwhile, I would put my hands around her head and talk to her and she would be fine. I think this hurt Joyce’s feelings, but she wasn’t going to be defeated. She said she’d have to come out of the SUV at some point.
The End of the JourneyI talked to Joyce and Shanik on their drive home and they said Maddie was just resting on the back seat with her blue blanket I had brought for her. They called me a little later and said they were able to get her out of the SUV by bribing her with pepperonis from the pizza. They said she was still growling a bit. I told them that if they decided they wanted me to take her back with me on Sunday I would get a later flight (I had already changed my reservations once—cha-ching, $50 change fee). I left my cell phone on until my 6 a.m. flight this morning was leaving the ground and never heard back from Joyce. I’ll call her today, even though she suggested I call on Monday, to see how Maddie’s doing.
Following is a full accounting of the expenses incurred for the trip:
$229 + $50 change fee for airfare
$50 for Maddie’s ticket
$122 for hotel
$70 for vet visit
$40 for carrier
for a total of $561.00
We are accepting donations to offset this expense. If you can help please donate via PayPal or mail your donation to St. Francis Society Animal Rescue at PO Box 261614, Tampa, FL 33685.
Maddie tote bags available at Pets With Disabilities website www.petswithdisabilities.org
If you can help, with a donation for Maddie or the many other animals in medical need under St. Francis' care, please contact us or click here to make a monetary donation:
Or mail your donations to:
St. Francis Society Animal Rescue
PO Box 261614
Tampa, FL 33685
If you are interested in adopting an animal, please check our dogs and cats pages and use the adopt me link next to the animal.