I hope you all had a great weekend! We had beautiful weather here in Ontario.
Sunny, and a record high!
Do you remember last week on our "OMD" Monday post, I introduced you to a dog named Highway.
If you missed the post, you can find it HERE.
In short, Highway was dumped by an unknown person, and was found on the side of a highway after laying there for days in pain. Which is how he got his name.
A truck driver, who had been feeding Highway on the side of road, tried to have a rescue come out to save the dog. After several failed attempts, he was able to get a hold of a man named Ed Kostro.
Ed is the man behind the scenes. Ed is the man who is there for animals when rescues are NOT able to help. For whatever their reason may be. Ed came to rescue this pup, and as the shelters were already on a major overflow of animals, he decided to take Highway home with him.
I was very interested when I found this story, and I had some questions I needed answered. Such as why the rescue would not come to save Highway. I decided to track Ed down.
He replied to my email right away and agreed to answer a few interview questions so that I could share with you, my readers.
1) Hi Ed, I am a huge fan of the rescue work you do, how long have you been doing this?
I’ve been doing pet rescue work in earnest since Hurricane Katrina back in 2005. I traveled down to New Orleans four times after Katrina, as did so many other people, and I brought home two wonderful left behind dogs and a left behind cat, after I promised my spouse that I wouldn’t bring any animals home.
2) What made you get into this line of work?
The non-stop newscasts of left-behind Hurricane Katrina pets clinging to rooftops, starving, swimming for their lives, and wandering aimlessly around the now flooded city broke my heart, along with so many other pet lovers from around the country, and around the world. We rescued thousands of pets down there – it was the largest pet rescue effort in America’s history.
3) In your rescue story of the dog named Highway, you referred to the other dogs accepting him into your home, how many other dogs do you have? Any other pets besides dogs?
Today, I now have several other dogs and cats; all of them once homeless; and all of them rescued from the mean city streets of Chicago, where I live.
4) Keeping with the story of the dog you rescued from the highway, you brought him into your home to help him heal the injuries he suffered. Did he find a furever home? Do you have any updates on him?
I ended up keeping Highway myself, since I couldn’t get any of the Rescue organizations around here to take him in; most of them are over-flowing with abandoned animals these days; they are all short-funded; and they all have difficulty finding foster homes and potential adopters for the numerous abandoned and relinquished dogs that they already have in their care.
5) My first thought when I read the part of this story where people would stop on the road to leave some food for Highway, but no rescues were able to come, was "why not?" Why would the rescues not come?
I got a phone call about Highway from a truck driver that I didn’t even know. He said that he had gotten my phone number from a local T.V. station after a little dog that we had rescued on another highway during rush hour was featured on the news. He claimed that he first called local police departments, local animal control departments, and local rescue groups that he knew about, and none of them would come out, so then he called me, and I went out there to look for this poor dog.
6) My second thought when reading this story was, if it were me, and I saw a dog laying on the side of the road, I would never have been able to just, walk away after not finding help at a rescue. I am very thankful for the people who fed him, I would imagine it is because of them he survived, however, I would not have left. What are your thoughts on that?
Sadly, Highway is a ‘Pit Bull’ and in my opinion, they very unjustly have a terrible reputation these days, and a lot of people are deathly afraid of them because of this. People like this truck driver felt sorry for Highway, but they were afraid to try and pick him up, or to even get too close to him. Thankfully, I’m not afraid of them, and I had already rescued numerous left behind Pit Bulls after Hurricane Katrina, and most of them were extremely friendly dogs, and extremely grateful for being rescued, so I wasn’t too worried about his reaction to me.
7) Highway had no tags, and was not micro-chipped, but were the previous owners ever found?
We search for the owners of all dogs that we rescue from the streets, online, with flyers, and in local newspapers, but very sadly, when they are not spayed or neutered, and have no micro-chip or I.D. tags, an owner seldom steps forward to re-claim them. But I do love when we do find the heartbroken family of a truly lost, not abandoned pet, and I have witnessed some truly marvelous reunions between people and their lost dogs.
8) How many rescues do you typically get in one year?
Sadly, I now get calls and e-mails just about every week from people asking me to help them catch an extremely skittish street dog. I thought that I had seen the worst of pet abandonment down in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina that I would ever see, but I was sadly very wrong. Once our economy tanked, people all over America soon began abandoning their pets –everywhere. Tons of people lost their homes and their jobs, and they had little money to now care for their pets as well. And it’s very sadly not getting much better yet. The small group of pet rescuers I work with now rescue dozens of dogs every year – most of them abandoned - and we do a pretty good job of finding them new homes.
9) Have you ever had a strong bond with one of your rescues, and ended up keeping as your own?
I don’t know if you read my Shadow Story on Care2, but it took me a very long time to bond with him. He was very cruelly dumped by someone as a puppy according to several people that I spoke with, and he had lived his entire life as a ‘Feral’ – he didn’t trust any human being. After I finally caught him, no one wanted him because he was Feral, and if I had taken him to a shelter, he would have been put down. I had to build an outdoor kennel in my backyard for him, and he wouldn’t even let me touch him for a month. I finally started sleeping in the kennel with him to get him to trust me, and I woke up one morning, and he was snuggled up next to me. Today, he is a great little dog; he loves my attention; and he and old Highway are pals.
I was absolutely amazed by his answers!
Why is the world not filled with people like Ed. People who want to help!
Ed I would personally like to thank you for all of the great work you have done, and continue to do every week! Huge thanks for taking the time to answer my interview questions as well.
Ed Kostro is also the author of a book so beautifully titled " Through Katrina's eyes - Poems from an animal rescuers soul."
He has shared his latest poem with us. Take a read!
Definition of ‘Dumped’
“To Get Rid Of,
To Simply Discard”
Far too many people in this country
Still don’t believe, that we dump pets
A woman dumped four dogs yesterday
Three were rescued, one is out there yet
This woman cruelly dumped her dogs in the woods
Others dump them on interstates, or on busy roads
Most people assume that these poor canines are ‘lost’
So many people wear blinders, and don’t want to know
The vast majority of dogs that I help rescue today, were dumped
They were cruelly discarded by their owners, like a piece of trash
Ninety percent of these canines, have no microchips or I.D. collars
Since they cannot survive out on their own, most of them don’t last
And, it is not just families that are so cruelly dumping their dogs these days
Hunters will often dump dogs in the woods, when they will not hunt anymore
Dog Fighters dump dogs that won’t fight; Puppy Mills dump over-bred mothers
Pet Stores eventually dump the dogs and cats that no one is purchasing in their stores
To me, the saddest cases of Dumping, which I now hear about just about every day
Are the faithful dogs and cats of people who just leave them behind when they move
I can’t even count the number of pets that have been left behind in foreclosed houses
Most people are oblivious to Dumping, but it makes someone like me, so damned blue
My rescued dog Shadow was dumped out of someone’s van when he was just a pup
My rescued canine Highway was very cruelly dumped out on a very busy Interstate
My rescued dog Carrie was dumped and left behind in a foreclosed home for months
And I can sadly cite hundreds of cases in which America’s dogs suffered similar fates
The search goes on for the fourth canine in the woods that was dumped yesterday;
Our species seems to have forgotten our pets; the ‘sanctity of life’ means little today
In Eds last interview answer, he speaks of a dog named Shadow, who he had rescued, and fought hard to bond with. I thought you might like to see a photo of the pup?
If you would like to read more of Ed's rescue stories and some of the work he has done, click HERE.
Thanks you all for sharing you Monday with us :)
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