Goodbyes at IDA’s Hope Animal Sanctuary (HAS)

October 21st, 2011 by Doll Stanley


This is about love, loss, and some of the animals we recently had the privilege of rescuing but who didn’t make it. It’s been a time of genuine sorrow. I know I don’t need to tell you how badly we hurt. Compassion is at the heart of all of us at IDA: staff, volunteers, and supporters. We all are too familiar with the gnawing pain of loss. This morning I walked about in a daze and had to fight to keep alert as I was transferring one of our young dogs to a compatible group. Life moves on, but the memories of the ones who leave us are indelible, imprinted on our minds forever.


Eleanor, our beautiful angel. Eleanor was the first of the animals rescued from the hoarder case now in litigation. As we walked up the driveway I spotted her lying in debris, a “burn pile.” I spoke to her as I approached.  She didn’t even recognize our presence.  As I leaned and picked her up, she awoke, but too weak to struggle to move. When we reached Veterinary Associates, “Doc” Abernethy gave her little chance of survival.  As the days passed, she responded to the pampering of both Vet Assoc. and HAS staff.  She loved and craved attention.





Eleanor on October 10 2011



Eleanor seemed to be prospering. She put on weight, her skin began to heal, and her hair grew. But she was weak, often wobbling as she walked or stepped up to her deck. She showed symptoms of having survived Distemper, the disease of which four of her companions succumbed.





Our devoted volunteer Lisa Martin cares for many of our special needs animals. Eleanor went home with Lisa and Mike for the individual care we hoped would aid her recovery. Sadly, she began losing her appetite. She curled tightly and shook from pain or neurological impairment.  Last week I went to Canton, about an hour south of the sanctuary, to bring Eleanor home for Doc to evaluate. Dr. Osborne was also on hand when I arrived.  He ran tests, Doc ran more tests, x-rays were taken, and the diagnosis was renal failure.  Eleanor’s plight of deprivation and disease took its toll on her organs. There was to be no recovery. Sarah and I sobbed as we said goodbye to our precious. My insides ached.



On the morning that Eleanor passed away Doll told friends: Eleanor lost her battle with kidney failure this morning. I cannot begin to express the grief we feel. We fought for and loved Eleanor since the day I picked her up out of the horrid debris pile she was lying in. Eleanor was dying. With the aid of Veterinary Associates in Grenada, Mississippi, we nearly brought Eleanor back to health. She began gaining weight, thoroughly enjoyed our affection, and fought for her life. Our hearts are crushed. Help us continue to fight for innocent animals like Eleanor.




A few years ago, we received a call from officers at Camp McCain, the Mississippi National Guard training site, asking for haven for an abandoned puppy. When he arrived we just laughed and blurted out, “Puppy!” Kendall was aged, all but toothless, blind in one eye, and his ears were gnarled from who knows how many survival fights. He was so food-deprived that he was impossible with other dogs. We fed him in an enclosure and gradually introduced him to dogs with whom he wouldn’t feel threatened. As time passed his fears gave way to sheer joy. Just looking at Kendall put a new perspective on any difficult day.


Kendall and our Tobey were both survivors. The old bulls on the hill, they occasionally bumped chests like two elder men challenging one another to an arm wrestle. We laughed. Their skirmishes lasted all of seconds as they’d both lose balance and topple—always with the dignity of their esteemed stature.


How do you fill such a void?


In another disturbing and painful turn this morning, two of the seven pups we rescued from the Lott case last week succumbed to Parvo.  We first lost the little guy with severe bite wounds to his forehead.  The other pups seemed to be thriving. They ate, drank, played (all in the Quarantine Room), and then they suddenly stopped eating. Little Regan, the heartiest and most demanding, was the first to show signs of distress. We were shocked. She was so full of herself, so alive.  She was one of the two who passed last night. We weren’t able to learn who her sibling was as we couldn’t handle them because we are struggling to save little Arlin, another pup who came in after days without his mom or food.


I am praying for some happier news to send your way soon. Sarah, our wonderful assistant, is now bottle-feeding kittens, and there may still be hope for Arlin. We just rescued thirteen puppies and three adults from beneath a local man’s trailer. One of the mothers of the pups is called Lottie, who was in very bad shape and seems to be getting stronger. Sadly, seven of the puppies have died after intense medical intervention, while the remaining six are in guarded condition. Stay tuned …

We are currently being sued by Eleanor’s hoarder for trying to save her.  Please click here for further details and to learn how you can help.

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