The JourneyFebruary 9, 2018 | 9:14am
Pablo, Picasso, and Sway's Rescue Story
Sometimes I hold off on sharing a rescue story because I need time to process the experience. If you’re an avid follower of Stray Rescue, you probably have heard of the Bayou Project – our partnership with Stacey from the St. Landry Parish Louisiana Animal Control & Rescue. Since opening Randy’s Rescue Ranch, we have expanded this life saving program to include large animals in addition to dogs. This is where the story begins.
The journey to St. Landry’s Parish in Louisiana is daunting to say the least. This trip included fourteen hours of traffic and flat tires, but we drove through the day and night with determination and a horse trailer in tow. Rain poured in a steady hammering stream as the morning approached. Driving through Odessa, Louisiana – one of the most impoverished communities in the United States – I anticipated the heartbreak I have every time I make this journey. Finally, the Parish Animal Control & Rescue was within sight. We started to spot the rural fields of mud and rain soaked animals, and our hearts sank. This was Gino’s first trip to St. Landry Parish, so I warned him to prepare for heartbreak but to be strong. We will grab a drink later to debrief.
Horses in different stages of poor health exude hopelessness as their cold wet bodies trek through the mud and manure. We hear the frantic barking of the droves of unwanted dogs living in similar conditions as the horses holler in hope that we are the unfamiliar faces that have come to save them. I ask God to give us the strength to do the best we can.
Knowing I only have room to bring back two horses and a dog, I already felt defeated. But then Stacey, the Director of the St. Landry Parish Animal Control & Rescue came out to greet us and gave me a warm southern hug. This isn’t her fault, it’s the citizens and their government’s fault for not caring enough to fund or build a humane shelter. People discard their animals in this parish as if throwing away an old newspaper they never read. To me, Stacey is a hero. With no funding and dated regulations put on her shoulders, the only way out is for her to reach out to other no-kill rescue groups. Stacey is the networking queen of the Bayou, and she loves these animals. She lives for these animals.
Savannah and Van Gogh, mom and colt, was who I was hoping to bring back but that didn’t turn out to be the case. Their day is coming soon, though. Instead, I met a horse with a horrifying abuse story who we named Picasso. She had lost half the side of her face after being tied to a trailer and purposely dragged under it. Alongside her was her best friend, an 18 month old mare we named Pablo. We loaded up both horses in the dark amidst the poor weather conditions. Pablo and Picasso received their golden tickets out of there!
And then there was Sway.
In a crate in a trailer Stacey works out of was a giant, big headed dog named Sway. His crate was next to two giant lizards, a prairie dog and some tiny dogs. Sleep deprived, I felt like Alice in Wonderland who just fell through the rabbit hole. Stacey told me about Sway’s abuse, then tells me he has cancer on top of all of it. She asked if I would take him and let him live the rest of his days at the ranch’s hospice and assisted living farmhouse for dogs. I knew I just gave the remaining ticket to freedom to this giant Italian mastiff, Sway.
With Gino’s and Stacey’s help, we loaded up our precious cargo and headed back to what they will think is paradise. And guess what? They do!!!
Watching Pablo and Picasso run, eat plenty of food and rest in their comfortable shelter is such a gratifying experience. Seeing Sway have all the comforts of a real home and friends to play with warm my heart. Their bad days are over, and now only love will be shown to these three precious animals.
Soon more dogs and more horses who desperately need us will be coming to the ranch. But we need your love and support to continue to give out these precious tickets to freedom and continue this life saving work. Please give generously so the freedom train continues to always run!
Randy and the RRR staff and volunteers
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