Saving Sally at Salvation Army

Sally, fully grown now. Late summer, 2015.

Sally, fully grown now. Here she is about 80 lbs. Early spring, 2015.

I want anyone to know, who might happen to read Sally’s little story that I do not write these pet stories looking for a pat on the back or some sort of praise. I am not a rescuer per say and do not wish to be known as anyone special. I do what I do because I love dogs and cats. I don’t have a lot of money but live simply in order to take in an animal here and there. Some are placed in an appropriate home when the match is a good one. Other animals I keep because they have behavioral issues or health issues. Some I keep because they are happy with me and a good fit. People are reluctant to adopt an animal with any kind of health need/s that requires spending a bit of money. This is something that I will never understand. They are often passing up the best friend they will ever have.



Labor Day week-end of 2014. During an afternoon rain, I was sleeping soundly and dreaming some sort of nonsensical dream when my cell phone rang. I reached for the phone and mumbled something that resembled hello.

“Hey, Yvonne. You sound tired. Were you napping? Are you feeling ok?”

“Well , yes Katey I was asleep. What’s going on?”

” Oh not much. Me and Merlin. came to eat and it’s raining real hard. Do ya think ya could give us a ride home?”

“So, where are you?”

“Oh,  not far from the rails, bout maybe two blocks. I think it’s south something.”

Katey, I’m sorry but what do you mean two blocks from the rails?”

” Oh,  yea. the rails as in choo-choo, Ya know, train tracks.”

Katey you are feeling your spring oats. I wish you’d get your story and your direction on the right track. And I’m not making a pun. The odd thing is that you have jumped the track somewhere along the way.”  What is the landmark nearest you? Are you in a building with a name or at somebody’s house?”

“We’re over here not far from Franklin and the Dr Pepper museum. I think it’s 5th or 6th or something close to that. Maybe Webster. Ain’t no house. It’s sort of like a store but it’s a building.”

“Can you go ask someone where you are. Do you think, with your apparently addled brain today, that you can give me a landmark and then I can find you?”

“Oh, yea, I’ll do that.”

For some strange reason , Katey was so vague I thought she must have been out “to lunch” and had not found her way back.  I continued to hold my cell phone and finally she began to speak.

“Oh we’re here at the Salvation Army where we usually eat breakfast and supper.”

“Well  Katey that makes sense. Why didn’t you say that in the first place?”

“Oh, I never thought about that. I didn’t’ think you’d know the location.”

Salvation Army. Why oh why, did Katey not say that in the first place? This young woman is extremely smart but sometimes common sense is not her forte. The best groomer I’ve seen who can handle just about any cat or dog and never get a scratch.

I drove down town and across the tracks to Salvation Army. As I pulled up to the curb, a skinny, scrawny, mangy, whitish  dog ran to the truck and sat down on the curb. Katey and Merlin were standing under an awning and then walked to the truck as the dog continued sitting and looking forlorn and in apparent anticipation. There was still a light rain. And, the dog was wet and she looked more beige than white. And she was not a small dog. In fact the dog was almost as tall as my big lab. Muddy.

“Okay Katey. where did the dog come from and why is it sitting by the truck?  Did you tell it that I am the taxi service for humans as well as canines?”

“I’m sorry Yvonne, I don’t think she belongs to anybody and those guys over there said she sometimes follows homeless people around to get fed a meal here. A bunch of people got in a car and the dog is still here. Nobody claims her. I already asked.”

Oh, that’s great. A homeless dog with mange and soulful eyes to boot, at a homeless shelter for the poor and downtrodden. What a dilemma.  Should I leave her here and maybe she’d get run over? I can tell she’s young with very little fur.Maybe about  7-8 months old-just a wild guess. 

“Ok Katey, you and Merlin put her in the back seat of the truck. I sure hope she does not throw up. I’ll bet she’s never ridden in a vehicle before.”

Half way to Merlin’s parent’s house there was a big heave and up came turkey, carrots, gravy and, mashed potatoes. The rest of the ride was disgusting but we made it to Merlin’s house and then Katey. and I drove to my house. By the time we made it to my house the rain had stopped.I found an old collar that had belonged to Molly, one of my labs and attached a leash to the collar. We tied her to the back chain link fence. Then we got buckets, Dawn dish detergent and two rolls of paper towels. We both went to work to clean up the sticky, smelly mess from the floor board of my truck. It appeared that she had only been eating human food and it was greasy and disgusting.

We finished cleaning  and then it was time to tackle the dog. I had warmed Katey. before hand that she would need to help me with the dog. First order was a bath with as much water on two humans as there was on the errant canine. She jumped and bucked around for a bit but then finally gave in after realizing she was feeling better. Pink skin and some sores showed through sparse hair which had thinned from what appeared to be sarcoptic mange.

Katey. and I toweled her dry and  stood in awe of the big dog. She was actually white with a patch of black on one hip and symmetrical markings of black on her head and ears. I also noticed that she had dew claws which meant she was Great Pyrenees mixed with something but at the time I had no idea what kind of mix. Big Dog had short coarse fur and I figured that she was not going to be a long haired fluffy dog- even after her fur would hopefully grow back.

Katey and I had a short discussion about what to do for fleas and mange and we concluded that an application of Revolution that I had on hand, would take care of the fleas and the sarcoptic mange. I decided that all she needed was a bowl of water and then we put her in a large wire cage that I had bought months earlier from Attwoods, a farm and feed store.

Big Dog was not immediately happy in the crate but soon settled down on a bed of clean coastal Bermuda hay. She whined for a bit but soon went to sleep. It was probably the best sleep in her life thus far. Katey. and I stood outside the welding shop where we had placed the cage. I looked at Katey. and said, “you know, I try to give my animals a name that fits them. I think I’ll call her Sally, for Salvation Army.

Note: There is more to the story – much more. I still have Sally and she is a pretty dog, very smart and very head strong. I hope to finish her story at some point. It’s educational because it involves a disease that almost killed Sally. I think  a lot  can be learned from her symptoms, emergency treatment and the meds that saved her life.

Sally playing wiht a shop rag

Sally playing with a shop rag. In this photo -age approximately 11 months?

Sally walking up the lane toward me. Still looking a puppy

Sally walking up the lane toward me. Still looking like a puppy

July, 2015. Sally with jher favorite toy.

July, 2015. Sally with her favorite toy.

Post and photographs property of Yvonne Daniel

Reblog with permission.

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60 thoughts on “Saving Sally at Salvation Army

  1. reocochran says:

    Dogs are always such sweet and giving creatures. I have a friend whose dog, Cooper, is literally she and her partner’s “son!” They have a cat daughter, too. Paulie Girl. 😀

    • Your assessment of dogs is right on the mark. They are so loyal and always so happy to see their owners. Each time, after we’ve been away is as if we’ve been gone for weeks or years. Tails are wagging and bodies are jumping. Cats love us too but they show their affection for us in a different way. I like the names of your friends’ dog and cat. Cooper is a popular name. Always makes me think if Gary Cooper. Paulie Girl is very cute.

  2. She is truly lovely, and I’m so glad you have her.

    • Thank you Cherity for stopping by and for the nice comment. I am glad that I have her as well. She is a joy to watch as she runs and pivots. She is quite agile for such a tall dog but she has that border collie mix that gives her a playful disposition and the agility to move so quickly. She is also a good watch dog too.

  3. chatou11 says:

    I want to comment on the cats. Very interesting topic. Ma cat Safrane is eleven years old and I can understand all she wants to explain, looking at her ears and reading through her eyes. I think it is wonderful. All my bast wishes Yvonne.

    • It is very interesting watch” a cat’s expression. As you have written it is wonderful to watch our pets and see how their mood changes. Thanks for commenting Chantal. I always appreciate hearing from you. Best wished for you too.

  4. Sally looks like a very happy dog now. Good luck with her 😀

    • Thanks, Irene for visiting and following me. Much appreciated. Yes, she is a loving, gentle and happy dog. I love to watch her run with her tail waving like a white flag as she slides around corners and jumps over obstacles.

  5. Aw, so sad and beautiful. That’s life, right? You’re an angel.

    • Dear Diana, you are a dear but you do not need to be commenting when you are dealing with a life threatening virus. I understand completely, how miserable you are because I have had something akin to what you describe re: your blog’s illness. My woes have been similar but after a few weeks and much misery I resorted to a HP Windows 8.1 and then updated to Windows 10 which then was causing sleepless nights and an elevated blood pressure and utter frustration. I then called on a PC doctor- a young woman who arrived last evening preventing me from having a total nervous breakdown.

      However, I have not posted in a vey long time and found it necessary to stop commenting on folks that post daily or several times a week. I simply do not have time to keep up. I somehow must get cracking and write some posts.

      Anhyoo, thanks for visiting and leaving a comment and may you soon be on your way to writing wonderful and thought provoking posts, again.

      Yvonne x

  6. What a great story, Yvonne. Nice to see Sally is doing well.

  7. Oh what a lovely dog! I’m so very glad she found you. I can’t wait to read more of her tail. I’ve heard Pyrenees are good with farm animals. Is that true?

    • Hello IK. Yes, lots of ranchers use GPs to keep their flocks safe from coyotes, etc And some folks keep them as indoor pets to guard the children,. I know of one young woman that has two sons about seven years old to age 10 years. They made their “girl” a house pet and think she is the best thing since sliced bread. You just have to be careful that the dog gets plenty of room to run about in a fenced yard and to not over feed them. The GP tends to want to roam- at least most of them do so they need to have a fenced yard if they are not living on the open range with sheep or goats.

      Thanks so much for viewing and commenting. I always love getting your comments.

  8. Littlesundog says:

    Yvonne, I so love the way you have written this story. I love little details of how it all came to be – being awakened from a slumber, details of direction that give us a feel for the area, little snippets about people’s personalities and ways, and observances along the way. I never think any reading material is “way too long” when it delights the reader and keeps our attention. I cannot wait to read the rest of Sally’s story. Thank you for sharing her story and for being such an inspiration to all of us!

    • Lori, you are so kind to write that you liked the way I wrote Sally’s story. I was afraid that I had gone over board and in fact I wanted to “jazz” it up even more but figured I had better stop since I had not much of an idea about what I was doing. I would love to take a creative writing course but I simply do not have the time and at this point in my life not much energy left after taking care of this passel of pets on the days that I don’t pay for a elderly gentleman to help me. He’s worked here five days a week for about 15 years. But I have cut back to 3 days a week for help. I’m trying to save money because I have two cats on chemo meds for lymphoma. I don’t live in a fancy house or the lap of luxury for I care more about taking good care of these animals. I hope to begin Part 11 of Sally’s story in a about a week. Lori, thank you for reading and leaving the very nice comment.

      • Littlesundog says:

        I thought the story was great and I anxiously await part II!!
        Yvonne, you have such a loving and caring heart for your little charges. I have never had that kind of responsibility with rescues – I have taken part in some rescues, fostered a few, and adopted several in need of homes. I can’t imagine all that you do and the daily energy it takes – especially when you have health issues yourself. Then there is the cost of course. I want you to know I appreciate your work in rescue, and I truly enjoy hearing about the success stories.

        • I just accidently erased my own reply and I tired to restore it but WP would not cooperate. 🙂 Lori, thank you for your kind words. I don’t go out of my way to rescue an animal. I take in those that appear at the door. Or as in Sally’s case, she was in need of care for the fleas and mange and over all poor physical condition . And it was pretty clear that she did not belong too anyone.

          I hope that when I write about my animals that folks do not get the wrong impression. I’m not looking for a pat on the back or consider myself a “do-gooder.” I just love animals and it’s ingrained in me since I was a toddler.

          This blog is meant to be inspirational and educational. I think the animals are keeping me on my feet and out of the bed even when I feel awful some days. Maybe they are helping keep me alive and interested in living.

          Thank you for your kind words.

  9. chatou11 says:

    What a lovely story Yvonne and I liked the way you wrote it. Sally is for sure a beautiful dog and she must give you love you deserve. It’s a good thing you rescued Sally. Never easy to say we have to go to Salvation Army…
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful story Yvonne.

    • Chantal, thanks for reading and commenting. No it is not easy to go to Salvation Army but lots of folks just eking by go there for meals. It is not just for the homeless. The people there do not question who or why. My young friend does not go there anymore since her mother is living within driving distance to help her out with food.

      Sally is a good dog and she is learning to trust me more. She has been slow to acclimate to living in a yard and getting regular food and good care with baths and treatments for fleas and ticks. I think she might have been abused when she was not claimed by anyone. She just sort of existed on the streets and homeless folks would feed her food from Salvation Army. But she is becoming more affectionate now and it makes me happy. She is very smart but head strong.

      • chatou11 says:

        She is just like me then…

        • Ah, ha. Chantal are you saying that you are very smart and head strong like Sally. If so, have you mellowed out and now behave? 🙂 Sally is still a work in progress. I haven’t had much time to work with her this Fall, except for a bit here and there. I really hope to get back to working with her more. She is a sweet dog and a pretty fair watch dog. She barks at all the appropriate times and thus far has not shown a tendency to bite.

  10. It breaks my heart that we can’t save them all. I get swamped by the randomness of it all. some end up like Sally, with good, loving owners. Others…

    • Mark you are so right about heart break and the abused and abandoned dogs and cats. I have often wished I had scads of money. Some of the things needed are laws to prevent back yard breeding. And fines for anyone that has an unneutered pet. Certain groups of people in my town continue to breed pit bulls and all manner of breed crosses. There are some laws in place but not enough people to go around to make sure the laws are enforced.

      I can’t go to the animal shelter, it makes me physically ill and I can’t get the faces of the animals out of my mind. But on a plus side the shelter in my town of about 130,000 population, is almost a no-kill shelter with only about 10% of animals euthanized. But even that is too many.

  11. Like all the others, I am so impressed by your rescuing lucky Sally. We adopt rescues, but they have been cleaned, screened and have had all that you did done and all we have to do is start with the loving part. You really have a great heart for what you do.
    In reading some of the comments, I read that you think you are too old to take a course in writing. Maybe you don’t have the time as you say, but one is never too old to pursue something like that. The only reason you might be too old is because you think it, not because it is so. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing the first of Sally’s story. I am looking forward to the remainder. She is a lovely dog…no doubt you have a little to do with that. 🙂

    • Hi Steve and thanks for the nice comment. I took Sally that day for I felt that she was doomed if I did not take her. As It turned out she would have died in a few months for she came down with a disease that was lying dormant in her body and it surfaced when her body was stressed from being spayed.

      Now about the writing course. Being old is only part of it. Steve, I have so much work there is no time to take a writing course. I have cut my helper back to three days a week so that I can have enough money to take care of two cats that have lymphoma and are on chemo therapy which is helping them so far. On days that I don’t have a helper I must do all the work myself and it takes about 4-5 hours. Plus there are still 7-8 cats and one dog that must be medicated plus a goat that needs a little extra care in the way of mixing his food just right and giving him fresh hay daily. I’m not sure how I do what I do for in about 7 weeks I’ll be 79 years old. Just maybe my pets are giving me something to live for and at least keep me very active.

  12. Nice to meet you, Sally! You’re beautiful and your person wrote well about your story. I’m glad you found the best person possible. My dog Bear seems to be similar to you — she’s an Aussie/Pry mix. Very big, smart and very gentle, but she’s not in the least headstrong. I bet you two would really have a good time playing together. Your pal, Martha

    • Why thank you Ms. Martha for saying that I’m beautiful. Yes I would love to play with Bear. I really like playing with other dogs and she sounds kinda like me only my human says Bear is “movie star pretty” and is a very obedient girl. I sort of have a mind of my own but that’s because I was never bonded to any human for most of my puppyhood. That’s what my human thinks. But I’m getting better and more attached to my person now. There was one problem today though. She was cutting the nails of my dew claws and she cut one to the “quick.” She ran into the house for some corn starch and put it in a small clean dish and then stuck my bleeding nail into the white powder. It worked. I think she got very mad at herself since I heard her mumbling that she was not careful enough.

      I’m glad that you made a visit to read about me. Thank you very much.


  13. sybil says:

    You are a good soul to take Sally in but I’m sure all that vet care hasn’t been cheap …

    • Sybil, first off the bat I want to say that I have tried to comment on about your last 3-5 posts and your blog or WP will not accept/let me. I had meant to email you but had not gotten around to it. I have tried countless times and it says something about the URL. This happened after you went to the “captcha” thing. I had to drop another Blogger site, “The Run Around Ranch” as well and she does not even have the “captcha” thing. If anyone has an idea about what might be wrong, I’d like to know.

      When Sally got sick late August of 2014 her emergency bill coupled with two visits to my regular vet ( he did not diagnose her correctly) came to around $800-$900. Not sure. She was one sick puppy but rebounded quickly after she had the right meds in her system.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  14. Your blog is not a bit long and I read it too fast to get to what I hoped would be a Happy End (I will read it again :).Thank you for Sally, dear Yvonne. Sally is a lovely dog and you a wonderful person.

    • Hello Isa. It’s good to know that you liked Sally’s story. I hope you enjoy the second reading. Thank you for the ever so nice comment. I imagine that you are in the throes of winter by now? I think that I missed commenting on one of you posts. I can’t remember for sure but I think that I accidently deleted one but maybe not. I’ve been very busy with sick cats and I’ll write about that soon I hope.

      Best regards,

  15. What a beautiful dog! Good for you, and good for Sally that you have such a big heart!

    • Hello Cindy. Thank you for reading and the lovely comment. It’s nice to hear from you. Hope all is well on Beaver Island and that things are not too harried. 🙂 I suppose winter has set in there and I’ve been thinking that you have already had snow.

  16. Midwestern Plant Girl says:

    I’m so glad Sally found you, Yvonne! Or should that be the other way around? 😃
    She’s a very beautiful dog, with what looks like a playful personality. I look forward to the rest of her story!

    • Ilex, you are right. Sally likes too play but on her own terms. She is quickly bored playing ball and does not fetch well. At the time I rescued her I was still pretty sick and I’ve not done a good job of teaching her. But she does what I’ve taught her but only if I reward her with food. She is not a dummy there. She runs like the wind when I let her out of her back yard (back yard fenced within the rest of the yard). She likes to explore and to be a watch dog. Always on the alert.

  17. shoreacres says:

    If you wanted to trim your story up a bit I wouldn’t mind, but I don’t think it needs it. I read every word, and was interested all the way through. I’m glad there’s more to come; I’m eager to read more about Sally, and you’ve piqued my interest with the mention of the disease. But I surely didn’t think it was too long.

    She’s a really attractive dog. I’m partial to black and white, whether cat or dog, and she’s a fine example of the “style.” Just as a side note, a friend in the hill country got herself a Great Pyrenees pup a few months back. Actually, her kids gave it to her because she’d lost both her dogs to old age, and then her husband, and they thought she needed company. 🙂

    Sally’s one lucky dog. There’s nothing nicer than a story of a successful rescue.

    • Thank you, Linda, for your kind words. I thought that I would try writing something with dialogue but I’m not comfortable with it nor do I know “what I’m doing.” I’ve never had a course in writing and if I were not old I’d sign up for one. But actually I have no time to go to class and I’ve thought that maybe there might be a book/s on creative writing.

      Your friend will love her GP. They actually make good house dogs. One just needs to be careful not to over feed and to let them get some exercise. They make loyal and loving companions.

      • shoreacres says:

        There is a book that would do you just fine. It’s been around for years, and it’s not expensive. I found copies on Amazon from $4 – $9. It’s called “On Writing Well,” and it’s by a fellow named William Zinsser. He’s gone now, but his book is a classic. You’d like it. It would do you as well — and probably better — than any writing class.

        Here’s a little article about Zinsser I’ve kept tucked in my files, just because I enjoyed it so much. It will give you a sense of who he is, and maybe tempt you toward the book. He was a fine man, and a danged good writer.

        • Linda, you are a jewel and as I’ve said before, I think, you are a wealth of information or in other words, a walking encyclopedia. I read the Zinsser article which I found to be fascinating. I will get his book for I believe you know what you are talking about.

          Thank you for the information. I’ll get to Amazon this week-end or as soon as I have some spare time.

  18. Vicky says:

    I haven’t been very active on WP recently, but I was drawn to read you post because it was about a dog named Sally.
    I’m so pleased I continued reading, such a heartwarming story of devotion.
    Sally looks so happy and content in her forever home, I’m looking forward to reading more. x

    • Vicky, I’m so glad that you liked Sally’s story. I have not done a post since July so you are not alone in the WP activity arena. Sometime we are bogged down with other priorities and that affects time and motivation. This past summer was a hard one for me but I’m beginning to feel some better now since we had a wonderful rain and a first “small norther.”

      Yvonne x

  19. Vicky says:

    I’ve not been doing much on WP recently, but I was drawn in to read your post, mainly because it was a dog named Sally.
    I’m so pleased I did, what a beautiful story and I’m so pleased Sally has found her forever home with someone so caring x

    • Vicky, it’s great to read your comment. If I am remembering correctly you had a dog named Sally? I can’t remember for sure. Sally seemed to fit her name perfectly and she knows her name when I call her. She is a reluctant girl, very slow to return to me when I call and she takes are sweet time getting back to the house. She loves to wander around and sniff the entire one acre that has lots of bushes and trees. Thanks so much for liking the story and leaving a lovely comment.

      • Vicky says:

        Sorry for the double post, the first one vanished from my screen, so I assumed it had gone for good.
        Yes, I did have a Sally, I had to have her put to sleep last October after a massive seizure left her brain damaged.
        The other thing that caught my eye was your Sally’s breed mix of Collie/Pyrenean, I never knew for certain, but I’d guessed it was Jasper’s (my other dog at rainbow bridge) mix.
        So in a way I feel a sort of affinity to your beautiful girl. x

        • Vicky there is nothing to be sorry about. I have done the same thing when the first comment seems not to “take.” I am so sorry that you had to let go of your Sally. It is terribly difficult to lose a pet. And her death has surely left a huge hole in your heart. I still mourn the loss of many of my pets. I guess we will never learn to stop giving our hearts to a pet. Dogs and cats just don’t live long enough. A good 20 years would make me happy but I’ve never had one live that long.

          I learned of the breed mix from two of the vet techs as my vet’s clinic. They told me that they had been seeing more of these same type of dogs come into the emergency clinic where they moonlight for extra money. For some reason either by accident or intention Border Collies and Gp were being bred. Personally I think that is a huge mistake and shows a lack of responsibility. I love Sally to pieces and I’ve often wondered how many pups were her litter mates.

          Best regards,
          Yvonne x

  20. Lottie Nevin says:

    She’s a beauty, Yvonne. And Gerard is spot on saying Thank goodness for the Yvonnes of this world. You truly have the biggest heart. Looking forward to the next post about Sally. We’ve missed you xoxo

    • Hi Lottie. Sally is a long drink of water for sure. I knew she’d be a big dog but I had no idea she’s get so tall. Yes, my heart is way too big but I did not go out of my way to get her. She was there and I could see that she needed care and a home. She’s become a very good watch dog to guard the back yard. XOXO

  21. hayley says:

    It might seem long to you but it’s really interesting to read. I’d say she lucked out big time the day you had to go make that pick-up. She’s a lovely looking dog and I look forward to hearing more of her story.

    • Haley, that you for having a look. Sally is lucky in many ways. Had I not taken her day she would have died from an illness/disease that way lying dormant in her body, only to surface a few months later.

  22. Thank goodness for the Yvonnes of this world. Sally looks happy and content. A great post.

    • Gerard, thanks so much for reading and commenting. This post was way too long but I opted do something a bit different this time. When I write about Sally again, I won’t write in the same vein. It takes too much time to read and it surely took lots of proofing on my part. 🙂

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