In 2011, when Marci Mitchum and Beverly Calhoun spotted a stray female, mixed-breed dog in Trussville, AL, they say they couldn't fathom that this dog would change their life and consume a large portion of their days and nights well into 2012, to today.
"Jackie", thusly named after Jack's Hamburger Restaurant, her regular hang-out, has since gained notoriety and quite a following.
Passionate animal advocates, Mitchum and Calhoun are no newcomers in rescue or to the tragedy of homeless animals that plagues Alabama’s urban and rural areas. Though armed with extensive experience, they concede that “the twists and turns of rescuing “Jackie” presents a scope of obstacles never imagined.”
“Originally, it was just Beverly and I," says Mitchum. "We were feeding two male dogs at Jack’s Hamburger Restuarant and the Waffle House in early 2011. One male disappeared, much to our disappointment. The other male, dubbed "Hobo" stayed. When Jackie showed up, she and “Hobo” bonded. They became a pair, regulars at our feeding stations, but remained elusive and skittish."
Other advocates joined in the collective attempts to rescue “Jackie” and “Hobo”, among them, Bobbi Lee and Louise Herrod. A Facebook page was created, dedicated to saving the two dogs, and enlisting like-minded individuals to join in the quest.
Herrod said, “We placed doghouses and bedding at strategic areas, as businesses would allow. We feared that “Jackie” was pregnant, or had given birth at an unknown site. We hoped that the doghouse would encourage her to bring the pups there and offer some protection.”
“Jackie's” movements were tracked, which let to the landfill.
The rescuers said that an employee told them that "a bunch of puppies who were huddled under a back hoe were run over." Other witnesses claim that this was an intentional act.
Soon after, Lee says that “Hobo” vanished into thin air.
“He never traveled – he was too old, had an injured hip and riddled with arthritis. He never allowed anyone to touch him, but appeared grateful for the food and a touch of kindness. He was a noble soul, permanently wounded, emotionally and physically.”
“Jackie” is now alone and continues to successfully elude every technique attempted to humanely capture her; slip leashes, humane traps and numerous various pieces of equipment used to safely capture an animal.
“She runs toward us in anticipation, taking food from our hands, clearly enjoying our company, playful and eager to see us day or night,” says Mitchum. “Each day we're overjoyed to find her alive and relatively healthy, based on observation."
“Jackie’s Rescue Brigade” states that their efforts are often thwarted by various methods of sabotage by either uncaring or well-intentioned people.
“Customers harass us while we are “baiting” the trap or interacting with “Jackie”, trying to win her trust. Our inquiries as to her whereabouts, or movements are frequently met by disdainful, crude remarks. Many customers say that she is a “community dog” and the streets are her home – that she likes her life.”
“Jackie's would-be rescuers don't believe that statement for one second.
Mitchum explains, “Dogs are thrown out like garbage, while some are maybe lost or end up on the street for any number of reasons. One thing for sure, none choose a life filled with imminent danger; disease, attacks by other dogs, a constant struggle for a morsel of food, a safe place to lay their head and the threat of being run down in traffic."
Last week, an incident of a stray dog, hit and killed in the blinding rain on Highway 11, prompted rescuers to rush to the site, having received word that this was “Jackie”.
Lee recalled her emotions at the time they loaded the dog's broken body into the van to have it cremated at a vet clinic:
“Thinking it could be “Jackie”, I was haunted by the fact that she would never allow me to touch her. I had longed for her to feel my hand and recognize kindness. And now, this would be my only chance - too late."
Momentarily, the group received word that “Jackie” was alive, at her usual post.
The rescuers say they hope this sad end to an unknown stray's life will suffice as a “wake-up call” to those who oppose their efforts to try and give “Jackie” a better life.
“The mentality that she is better off left where she is, that the Waffle House parking lot is her home, is incomprehensible.We're keenly aware of the people who want nothing more than for “Jackie” to 'be gone' by any means. We mean to provide refuge and a future by the best of our means.
"Jackie may possibly be in heat or pregnant presently, according to rescuers. “We're desperate to remove her from the streets. Giving birth on the side of this busy highway can only end in another disaster.”
This is what “Jackie's Rescue Brigade” needs:
Do not feed “Jackie” (Rescue sets trap and monitors food intake. “Jackie” will not venture into trap if she is full.)
Assistance in monitoring and capture.
An experienced foster in place, with secure fencing, including outdoor kennel within fence that Rescue will provide.
Funds for veterinary assessment, care will be needed after “Jackie” is safe.
(Note: A dog like “Jackie” is vulnerable and frightened, and at the same time, a flight risk, with a high prey drive. Winning her trust will require patience, skill and an utmost sense of compassion and determination.)
Video shows how delicate a situation it is to try and catch Jackie. One major road and side street leaves a small grassy area as the only safe place. Not much room for error. www.facebook.com/pages/Help-Jackie-Hobo-and-Their-Homeless-Family/207528...