Facebook Plea Results in Dramatic Rescue of Starving Dogs | Community Spirit
At 10:15 Sunday morning, Kelli Hartsfield posted a plea for help on AC Pup’s Facebook page. She had been on her way to church when she found an emaciated dog in the road in Lake Wildwood.
“He was looking down and not even moving for cars,” she said. “I honked the horn and he then moved to the side of the road.”
Hartsfield parked her car and called to the dog. “He came to me with his tail wagging. I petted him and went to knock on the people’s door to see if they had seen him before. They had not but I asked them if I could possibly put him in their pen in the back because it was not being used. They said of course and got a bowl of water and food and took it to the pen.”
Before they penned the dog, however, a skinny female dog running uninvited with a jogger showed up, and the black dog ran to her. It was obvious the dogs knew one another, Hartsfield said. She snapped photos of the dogs.
“My first thought was to post the pics online because the male was so emaciated it was crucial I got help fast,” Hartsfield said. “I knew if I tagged AC Pup, Van (VanDeWalker) would see it and take charge of the situation any way he could.”
AC Pup immediately shared Hartsfield’s note on other pages, and those posts were shared dozens of times by readers wanting to help. Advice and donation pledges quickly began piling up. On Sundays, the choice of veterinarians is limited to either the emergency hospital or Banfield, the Pet Hospital at PetSmart. The consensus was to take the dogs to Banfield.
But with two large dogs and a small vehicle, Hartsfield needed help getting them there. At 10:33 a.m., AC Pup posted, “Oh my! Please, if Banfield is open, please get him there right away and the skinny female that showed up. And please do not let him eat much at once. He can only eat a little morsel at a time or it will be fatal. Ask the doc at Banfield. We can find the money for treatment. Just get him to the doctor. Please don't take him to the pound.”
At 10:47 a.m., Patti Jones pledged financial assistance from Central Georgia CARES, and by noon, the dogs were set to go to Banfield for initial treatment and assessment, relying solely on Facebook posts, many by total strangers, to help pay the bill.
By 12:57 p.m., the dogs were in Chad Walton’s van on the way to the doctor.
“Since I live in Lake Wildwood and these two dogs were found in Lake Wildwood, I wanted to do something to help,” Walton said. “When I saw Van VanDeWalker commenting and a few other names that I knew getting involved, I volunteered to provide the transportation and got them to Banfield.”
The dogs were in terrible shape and needed bloodwork and a full assessment, plus initial treatment for worms, some food and medications. The bill rose high and fast. A little after 2 p.m., the call went out on Facebook for more donations. CARES chipped in $500. Several of AC Pup’s Facebook friends went to Banfield personally to donate and meet the dogs, now named Jack and Jill.
Within two hours, more than $1,000 was raised to pay the bill at Banfield. Offers to help and questions and suggestions about rescue and fostering the dogs continued to post on Facebook as more people got involved with the unfolding drama.
“When I first got there, I wasn't sure what was going to happen next,” Walton said. “But I got them back to be seen by the vet and from there it really was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen happen. Libbie and Allison Walthall stayed in the exam room along with myself and Lisa and Jerry Hambrick. We had not met prior to yesterday but you'd have sworn it was one big family with their family pets.”
He said the generosity of the animal loving community was amazing. “I was fielding calls to get names and numbers from those that wanted to donate,” he said. “There were 10 phone donations for $875, cash donations were right at $200 and then two ladies contributed $35 while I was getting the bill finalized because they happened to see Jack on Facebook!”
Around 9 p.m., Walton finally posted, “They have gotten initial treatment. They also got some fresh water, food and much needed yard walk. Also, Jack got his first medicated bath and Jill got a regular bath. Both are resting comfortably and seemed to enjoy the bath. Thanks to everyone who reached out to help and especially to Libby Walthall who really took charge and put my mind at ease.”
Libbie Walthall is on the board of directors of CARES, and saw the original Facebook post by Hartsfield, along with the ensuing posts. She headed for Banfield when she read that Walton was transporting the dogs there.
“I stayed while the dogs were vetted,” she said. “All of a sudden, the money started coming in by cash and by donations over the phone. It was unreal. People were so generous! I was talking/texting back and forth with Patti Jones and the next thing I knew, Linda Smyth with Central Georgia CARES was there with a $500 donation from CARES!”
Kristin Reid and Walton quickly built a temporary kennel for Jack and Jill at Reid’s farm, and they’re resting comfortably there. But she can only keep the pair for about 10 days, Walthall said.
“After that, we need another foster. We would like to keep them together in a foster home. These dogs have a very long road to recovery. Jack weighs 17 pounds and we pray his heartworm treatment will be successful.”
Central Georgia CARES will continue to support and help network the dogs for a foster or permanent home, and plans to continue with financial support. “The vet bill was very expensive and Jack and Jill will need a lot more vet care, but we'll step up to the plate to help again,” Jones said.
Hartsfield is pleased with the way people came together to help Jack and Jill so quickly, but not at all surprised.
“With all the posts and help from everyone, they were transported to PetSmart and like I knew would happen, Van as always stepped up, as well as Libbie. They are safe now,” she said.
If you'd like to donate for Jack and Jill's continuing care, send a check or money order to Central Georgia Cares, 520 Professional Drive Suite 2, Macon, GA 31201. Donations are tax deductible.
If you are interested in fostering or adopting Jack and Jill, contact Libbie Walthall on her Facebook page.