I need to start this off my saying that I love David Rosenfelt. I have read all of his books and his Andy Carpenter series is amazing. When I worked at the Fincastle Library I used to pick an author each month that I thought was wonderful, but wasn't as popular as, say, Patterson or Grisham. David Rosenfelt was so good and so funny that I went to his web page. Then I discovered that the Tara Foundation he writes about in the Carpenter series is a real foundation that he and his wife started in California to rescue and adopt out Golden Retrievers...or basically any dog that he can fit in at the veterinary office he uses and his house.
After one of the California fires that almost burned his house and MANY dogs, and I grew up in California and know how devastating they can be, he and his wife decided to get out of the state and move to Maine. We also left California to get to the east where people are friendly and less concerned with the superficial and to have seasons. This winter has not made us rethink that decision...much.
When I featured Mr. Rosenfelt, I sent him an email. I figured if he put an email address in his books, he must want people to write him. I also assumed that I would get a form letter back thanking me for my interest, like I would get from a politician. But, no. I got a real email wanting to know where in the heck was Fincastle? We were thrilled and told everyone who came in to read his books. Sadly this won't help him pay for his dog food, being a library and all, but maybe the patrons will recommend the book or get impatient waiting on the list to get the new issue and go BUY one. It could happen!
When he decided to move cross country with all the dogs they were keeping, the old, sick or unadoptable ( this included many they kept just because they loved them and couldn't bring themselves to let them go), he asked for suggestions. I suggested an all pet airline, thinking they could fill a plane and just go from point A to point B, but this is not how it works and Mr. Rosenfelt thanked me for the idea and went on to decide to drive them all across country.
We had recently driven from California to Virginia with 2 cats and knew how hard that would be. Each time you stop you have to put them back in a carrier and that is just to get gas or a meal. Then you have to find a motel that will take pets and pay the extra cleaning fee...per pet. Imagine that times many drivers and 25 dogs! Remember these are mostly old or ill pets. Don't forget the pills and feeding 25 dogs. And the potty breaks.
When we lived in Orange County and walked our Golden Retriever we had to get used to carrying plastic bags to pick up after them. Now we live on 57 acres and have no idea where our dog goes. We also used to have 2 very large horses who processed a massive amount of grass and hay. This filled two buckets a day, every day. I imagine 25 dogs could do that, too. But dogs don't eat hay and what they process has an olfactory issue that I am sure we can't imagine. The Rosenfelts don't have to imagine anything.
I started reading the book that chronicles his journey called Dogtripping 25 rescues, 11 volunteers, and 3 RVs on Our Canine Cross-Country Adventure. I got to page 13 where he explains about their precious dog, Tara, the impetus of the Foundation. I'm crying and write him another email. I thought this book would be a funny account of his cross-country adventure and didn't want to read a SAD story. The following is part of what I wrote:
Thanks a lot. I just finished page 13 and I'm crying like a baby. We have had
2 Goldens and each only lived until 10. Ten years of complete love and devotion
to our family and amazing dogs for our children.
I intend to finish this book, but I better not cry any more.
He unexpectedly wrote back within just a few hours.
On Sunday, February 23, 2014 2:54 PM, "firstname.lastname@example.org"
My goal is to bring misery into as many lives as possible.
(I don't think you'll find the rest of the book nearly as sad as the Tara part).
Hope you like it…)
Now do you see why I love this man? He has an entire kennel living in his house and on his furniture in order to give them a few good years or even months. He goes to the massive trouble of transporting them across country. He only whines and moans just a little when he is required to take one to the vet or his wife goes "shopping" at a shelter and brings home 3 or 4 more old or sick dogs. He's a prince. And he writes BACK, something my own cousin rarely does.
I called another cousin to tell her to go out and get this book. She is on her second Great Pyrenees rescue. The most recent one is a Golden Retriever mix who sheds white and golden hair at a prodigious rate. She also has a poodle mix from a puppy mill with a lot of digestive issues. She will be able to relate. I told her the book was guaranteed to give her sniffles and giggles.
Interspersed with the trials and tribulations of their travels, the book details some of their most poignant or funny or just plain interesting rescue stories. I highly recommend this book. As I do all of Mr. Rosenfelt's books, particularly the Andy Carpenter series.
And while I freely admit I love this man and his wife, based entirely on his writings, I do not want to come stay at his house for a visit or a meal. I have a rescue dog and two rescue cats and entirely too much pet hair on my floor and furniture. I don't need to have a good imagination to have an idea of the potential hairy abode from 25 mostly large dogs.
But I'm glad they are the kind of crazy nutjobs that enjoy this type of work. I wish there were more like him (not next door). Even more, I wish there was no need for this kind of work. Makes me sad.