Old Lady, The Saint Bernard Is Rescued

Like those fictional TV tales of Lassie getting lost or the movie, "Come Back, Little Sheba,' today's tale is based in reality. It's a cautionary tale -- one of an animal rescuer's worst nightmares. There's that time when a rescued dog is being transported to a new foster home, but due to new people and surroundings often bolts when they first get the chance.

Tale of Old Lady

That's what happened in early January when a 10-year-old Saint Bernard was transported to her new foster home in Zimmerman, Minnesota. The dog, aptly dubbed "Old Lady," had been rescued from a puppy mill in Wisconsin, where she had unfortunately spent a good portion of her life locked away. As a result, she was timid and fearful of humans. As she was being coaxed out of the car by her new foster parents, she found the opportunity to take off.

"It was snowing really hard and the crunching noise from the snow freaked her out," Ruff Start Rescue Executive Director Azure Davis tells Mother Nature Network. "She was pulling and she’s very strong and the driveway was all ice. She pulled the foster [parent] down and ran."

Temps & Conditions . . .

The temps were in the teens and there was so much snow on the ground, Davis knew that the window of opportujity to save Old Lady was small due to conditions of the local terrain. Old Lady had also recently been shaved adding to her difficulty to survive. Being extremely matted as well, in the freezing climate of the winter, she would feel even colder than normal.

Tangled in the trees . . .

Then miraculously after 17 days, the rescuers received a call from the sheriff's department. A good Samaritan reported a dog tangled up in trees of the forest. Davis and Julie Lessard, director of programs, investigated immediately and found Old Lady. Her leash had picked up a branches during her travels and that brush got caught up in some trees, trapping her unmercifully.

Calming her down with soothing voices and canned dog food, they managed to slowly place a leash over her head, untangle her and gently maneuver her to the comfort of a waiting car. "She eventually started trotting along," Davis says. "When she felt the warmth of the car, it was crazy, she crawled right in. I think she was ready to be done."

Calming down . . .

After she was back in the rescue's care, she remained in her kennel, just decompressing, Davis says. She slept, ate and worked on getting her energy back. But she was weak and would barely lift her head when people would stop by. She was very shut down for days.

Venturing out . . .

"She [finally] came out of her kennel for the first time," says Davis, who posted on Facebook of the dog's stroll. "She was walking very nice, greeting everyone and smelling everyone. It's really cool to see the progress in just three days."

So many people have been following Old Lady on the rescuer's Facebook page titled "Ruff Start Rescue." Since her escape and throughout her harrowing experience, many people have bee asking if she would be available for foster or adoption. Many have also asked how they can donate toward her care. Readers, you can do the same, by starting here.

Primary Source: Mother Nature Network