How far will the Foundation go to identify a Kerry's breeder?
A lo-o-ng way! Consider Tootsie.
The Foundation was notified late on a Wednesday night in March 2003 by SCWT Rescue that a Kerry was impounded in a Midwest shelterpuppy mill country! That night an email went out, followed by a call early the next day to a Kerry person we knew in that state. She, in turned, contacted a Kerry owner only a few miles from the shelter. By the time the shelter opened that Thursday morning, our person was there.
We learned Tootsie's approximate age, the price the owner paid for her, the state where she was bred, and that she was related to Mickl But we couldn't pull her out of the shelter. Ten people had already applied to adopt her, and she wouldn't be released until the following Monday. Our only hope was to locate the breeder, identify the former owners, and ask them to retrieve Tootsie.
The rest of the day was spent contacting breeders in that state, checking Mick's breeding record, and asking for referrals. No hits. We began to suspect the accuracy of the information we had. So we contacted the shelter's director. From him, we learned two depressing facts: (1) her breeder had died, and (2) there were now more than 20 applicants waiting to adopt Tootsie. We were not going to get her out. Instead, we faxed over breed information with the request that it be given to her adopter with our phone number as a resource.
It was late that dismal evening when we learned that our person at the scene had obtained more information late that afternoon-the town where the breeder lived!
But the only breeder in that town-who was alive and well-had already been contacted, and had denied that the dog was of her breeding. Her Mick litter was a year older than Tootsie. What to do?
Friday morning we contacted the breeder again. We went over all the information that we had. It was then that the breeder realized that Tootsie was indeed one of her puppies, but not one from her Mick litter. All the other facts were correct, including a recent death in her family. We had found Tootsie's breeder!
The breeder immediately phoned her puppy buyers, and urgently asked them to retrieve Tootsie from the shelter and ship her back. They agreed, but they did not arrive in time. The shelter had decided to release Tootsie 2 days earlier than planned, and she was adopted out only hours earlier. Despite an enormous amount of effort, the rescue had failed.
It failed despite the fact that we had the right resources in the right places, despite the breathtaking speed of getting a Kerry owner at the shelter (in a rural, out-ofthe-way community) the moment its doors opened, and despite the fact that we had found the breeder a whole day earlier and had no way to prove it. A combination of misinformation and broken promises by the shelter worked against us.
It is our hope that Tootsie found a wonderful homeone who understands and appreciates the Kerry temperament, that she's getting the training she needs, and that she's well loved and cared for. And we hope that if she ever needs us again, we'll be there.