As most of you know I have been involved in OES rescue for almost 25 years in some capacity. Usually I would be the one to go pick up the dog where ever they were around the south and transport it to its new foster home. I was never a good foster because I became too attached if they were with me very long and they would become a foster failure (that’s how I ended up with 7 sheepies years ago). I have seen some horrible sights picking up from shelters that they were dumped at or homes where they were chained to trees. But nothing could prepare me for what I saw 2 1/2 years ago when I got a call that a girl down in the sandhills of South Carolina needed to be picked up from a supposed breeder that didn’t want her any more. Pulling down a long gravel drive in the middle of nowhere I came upon a sight that I was not prepared for…. a puppy mill. Hundreds & hundreds of dogs and puppies, at least a dozen different breeds. As I walked around the site trying to find a person I was flabbergasted at the sheer numbers. But when I did find someone and they went to get the dog I was there for I was horrified. From a very large area in the back of the property surrounded by privacy fence I could hear what sounded like an unbelievable number of dogs. The son of the “breeder” brought out a filthy sheepdog. When I asked why she was that dirty I was told they kept all the adults covered in used motor oil to keep the flies off of them. This was the first time I met a sweet little broken girl named Jewel. I was crushed as I left thinking of all the dogs that weren’t able to leave that hell hole with me. I cried the entire 2 hour drive back home.
Jewel was never supposed to stay with me. After stopping, a couple friends helped cut the oily, matted fur from her and gave her the first of dozens of baths with Dawn detergent to get rid of the oil from her body. The next day she was going to her foster home but I got a call and needed to go get a second dog that had been sold by this mill a few days earlier but wasn’t wanted. The person I met said that she only laid around and wouldn’t act like a normal dog. That was Lina. So she went to the foster set up for Jewel and Jewel stayed with me. It was close to a month before she was ready to go up for adoption by Tarheel OES Rescue and a couple months more before a wonderful woman named Mary Ellen, along with her sheepie Angel, drove down to NC to adopt her. Needless to say I became very attached to this sweet little girl but it was great knowing she had a wonderful loving home for the second half of her life. She got to experience the love that every dog should feel. I even got to see her again at the rescues picnic last year.
I got word today that Jewel had passed away and was now frolicing over the Rainbow Bridge along with Lina who also passed away unexpectedly earlier this year. I am heartbroken and can only imagine how Mary Ellen feels. Jewels I will see you soon sweetie.