While Black & Tans remain quite rare up in British Columbia, we are meeting up with more and more rescues and people are always so delighted to get a chance to see another member of this fine breed. Our girls, Kentucky and Alabama, met up with this handsome young fellow Bing (from a Washington state rescue) on the off-leash beach in Victoria, British Columbia. As we were walking along, folks coming from the opposite direction kept doing a double take because they thought they'd "just seen that dog". When we people crossed paths, the Coonies were "mad" for each other and went on a running, howling romp that brought dogs over from every corner just to watch Black & Tans in action. This is a cool down photo taken after their great play.

Janna from Vancouver BC Canada

31 December 2011

On Sunday February 22nd Janna and her sister Leanne were out walking in the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve with the dogs (our two B&T Coonhounds and Leanne’s Sheltie). The Reserve is a vast track of North Cascade Wilderness bounded to the South by North Vancouver and the District of North Vancouver, to the East, West, and North lie hundreds of kilometers of British Columbia wilderness). Alabama was having a perfect walk charging back to every whistle and call, living up to the perfect score Maureen had just awarded her in her recently completed Street Smarts Basic Obedience with K9 Kinship.

About 20 minutes from the parking lot at the junction of Homestead Trail and Fisherman's Trail. Alabama picked up the scent of a creature and charged up and over the ridge heading towards Rice Lake. Kentucky (our other Black and Tan Coonhound) went off to get Alabama. Kentucky could be heard telling Alabama to come. Alabama’s “yarp” kept fading further and further away then nothing could be heard. Kentucky’s “woos” followed for some time, then stopped. Soon Kentucky came back panting and frothing at the mouth. Janna and Leanne retraced the surrounding trails calling with hope falling. I got a call at home and dropped everything, made posters and headed up the mountain. We hung posters, talked to the Ranger and waited. When the park closed at dusk we had no choice but to leave Alabama in the dark on the mountain. Kentucky cried and we cried driving away.

Monday morning first thing we packed our gear, some food and headed back up to Seymour. We checked in with the Ranger who had sent e-mails to everyone who worked up there. He had gone out numerous times in the night and called for Alabama. He gave us permission to access restricted areas in the reserve and we headed out. Starting at the ridge were Alabama disappeared we too went up and over. Kentucky tracked, we followed, and noted that there were fresh deer droppings everywhere on the ridge. This was not good news. Squirrels and raccoons go up then Bama would stop, deer just keep going. Janna and I covered many kilometers of trail and bush. Kentucky is tracking trained through K9 Kinship and she gave no indication of picking up Alabama’s scent, though not for lack of trying. Kentucky was very focused: she air scented every valley. crevasse, creek bed and breeze, she surface checked every branch, twig and creek crossing the trail, dug down and into every recess in the snow ... she worked hard all day, six hours and 15 kms of hard terrain. The park closed and again we left with heavy hearts. More posters were printed that evening.

After another night with little sleep we were up early Tuesday morning. The plan was to start with postering and another visit to the Ranger and head towards Rice Lake then Riverside Drive, the most populated area and the one Km. stretch of the Ridge perimeter that we hadn’t covered the day before - even though Kentucky had indicated, on cresting the ridge, that that one km was the way to go, we’d made the decision to rule out the worse case scenario vast wilderness perimeter on the first and best weather day. Then the phone rang! Janna charged to get it. On the other end of the line was Alabama’s savior.

It seems Alabama crossed from the Seymour River to Lynn Creek and followed the trails in Lynn Canyon Park (most of which we have hiked, one segment at a time, with both her and Kentucky proceeding down well over 30 kms from where she was last seen. I can imagine her checking every Trail-head parking lot we have ever used. She showed up at Save On Foods across Brooksbank Avenue, at the Park N Tilford Mall. This would mean she’d gone down to Bridgeman off-leash dog park at the foot of Lynn Creek, no doubt she stopped at the foot bridge to check on the creatures that live underneath - one of her favourite casual scenting spots - and then used the safe under-the-highway under pass for dogs and pedestrians! Alabama’s savior, Tonia, was doing some shopping before work and she saw a shivering, scared dog who wouldn't come to a construction worker who was trying to get her. “Saint Tonia” had the presence of mind to open the door of her SUV (pupmobile) and slowly follow Alabama. Bama decided correctly that this nice lady with a Chuckit, dog treats, blankets and who looked remarkably like her foster mom in Louisiana was good people and tried to haul herself in. She was too weak to get up but by trying was ready to commit so Tonia hefted her in, toweled her, gave her a snack, wrapped her in blankets and called Janna from the number on Alabama's tag. We met at Tonia's work parking lot were Alabama gobbled down a breakfast of raw meat and went to sleep in the Jeep. She is tired, lost a bit of weight, her feet are swollen and her pads a bit torn but she will make a full recovery.

Tonia’s dog went missing and was returned a few years back and she felt it was good Karma to be able to return the good deed. She refused the reward we were prepared to offer for Alabama’s return saying it would be bad karma. We agree and in the sprit of keeping the good Karma flowing have donated the reward money in Tonia’s name to the AB&TC Rescue since they saved Alabama the first time.

Otter, Janna, Kentucky and Alabama

(We at Rescue hope that everyone who reads this story will make sure that their dog is wearing an ID tag.)

1 March 2009

Shooting Star is now Alabama ... or for a nickname, “Bama." It’s been about two weeks since Bama joined our family and we wanted to let you know how she is settling in. After a tragic start to her life pre-coming into rescue - she was found severely under weight as a stray in rural Louisiana shortly after giving birth with one surviving pup - she was taken into AB&TC Rescue and found a savior in her foster, Angela ,and the support of AB&TC Rescue. Unfortunately the trials didn’t end there for this girl. Once she weaned her pup she faced two rounds of treatment for advanced heart worm. This required about 60 days of kennel rest. When she regained her strength she still faced spaying. Once ready to travel Angela put her on a plane. When she emerged from her crate in Seattle she was faced with a bunch of people she had never met before, the big city which must be rather overwhelming and the first on leash meeting with Kentucky (adopted from AB&TC Rescue with her sister, Tennessee, in September 2005). Then back into her crate to travel to our dear friends Michele and Kyle’s who have helped us receive all our coonies on the US side of the border. Next came an off leash getting to know Tucky in the fenced yard. After that went well Mandy, Michele and Kyle's dog, joined the fray. As if this wasn’t enough the next day it was back into the car for her immigration to Canada and the final stop at her forever home in Vancouver, BC.

Her first week was full of pacing, head butting her people for cuddles and establishing herself with a new veterinarian. Learning the new routine and enforced kennel rest as she was still too anxious to settle on her own but really needed rest to regained her full strength. Alabama also met and worked with her tutor who will be the instructor of our obedience class beginning the first week in April. It didn’t take long for Bama to let Tucky know that she was the new dog in town and that once at full strength would be ruling the roost. Perfect for Kentucky because we have always known she is no leader. What we didn’t realize is how much Tucky had been missing her sister Tenny who died June 1, 2006. It wasn’t long before Tucky was staring at Bama to budge over and let her into the same bed. A few more walks and they were initiating play with each other.

Alabama has really caught on to what it means to go to work and is mostly quiet in the offices. Her mouth has softened a great deal as she gains trust that more food is coming and though she did come with a very pretty “sit” thanks to her foster it is starting to become her default for any social setting or person greeting which is wining her many friends and admirers. She is picking up on “downs”,“pay attentions”, “here” , and “out” (of the garden) and has made huge advancements on leash walking. She is eager to please and visibly delighted when she catches on to what the person is trying to communicate. She is gaining weight and muscle strength as well as putting on some of the final needed pounds. She is frequently greeted by strangers who comment on how beautiful she is so soon she will know that as a secondary name! A real delight to have around, we are the ones that need the discipline to not just let Bama have anything she wants as the personality we see showing through indicates she could really take to “owning” the bed, kitchen etc. She has great dog skills and is surprisingly trusting with people after all she has been through. The second week has seen her tail come up from under her belly ... such a delight to see her waging joyously as she realizes life with these people might just work out.

Thank-you to American Black and Tan Coonhound Rescue for all their work making it possible to have another of these beautiful dogs in our life.

Thank-you to Angela, Bama’s foster who had her for 6 months and must really miss this sweet, sweet girl.

We are again left wondering who is luckier the dogs or the people they love.

Janna and Otter

2 April 2008