In my April-overview post I mentioned how I found out about rescue transport relays, mainly used to get unwanted pets from the overburdened shelters in the South to the welcoming homes in the North. I've since joined a couple of groups on FB and I keep an eye out for any transports headed through our area. Frustratingly, many follow the coast or the West side of the state. I then saw a post for a little Great Pyrenees puppy headed from his breeder in Florida to a rescue in New Jersey.
Little Nome (like Alaska) was born with a birth defect- his left rear leg bows out and turns in at the foot. It would be a problem for anyone, but especially for a puppy rapidly growing to 100+ pounds! Nome's breeder opted to give him to a rescue group who was willing to make sure he gets the medical attention he needs, so a transport was organized to Gentle Giants Rescue and Sanctuary!
A short video showing Nome's leg can be seen here.
As it happened, we are located about halfway through Nome's total journey, and he needed somewhere to spend the night. I texted Paul to be sure he was up for overnight puppy-sitting, and replied to the transport group that Nome was welcome at our house! Last Saturday I drove about an hour South to meet the relay driver before me, and Nome and I set off for home!
He was traveling with a crate, but previous drivers posted in the FB message thread that he was NOT a fan of the crate and would whine and cry until he was able to ride next to his driver. Knowing this, I moved Max and Sloan's car bed to the floor behind the front seats and put Nome's crate in the very back. He settled right in and laid down on Watson's floor-level console. (For the record, that's one of the very short list of things we don't like about Watson, mostly because of the easy access it allows dogs to the driving area- but this time it sure came in handy!)
Sloan took to Nome immediately. She followed him around, showing him the ropes, and he quickly took to following HER around- clearly he recognized her as a perfect big sister! (Sadly I don't have any good pictures of the two of them, since the light was dimming quickly. Boo!) Max gave Nome a thorough sniffing-over, but for the most part left him alone. Max tends to be, shall we say, bratty and self-centered, so when he is required to share me with other animals he tends to hide in his bed and pout. This can make long-term petsitting tricky, but for an overnight I figured Max could just wallow in his pity party and get over himself.
Nome, as our transport discovered, is a HUGE fan of cool grass. I had a tough time getting him to come in the house even after dark and later drivers said he had to be coaxed from sprawling in the grass during pee-breaks!
Once I finally coaxed him inside, Nome was quick to make himself at home! This picture is a little deceptive, as he didn't really like the hardwood floors. Much like Max, it seems that Nome's physical limitations make him more prone to slipping on hard floors. The ChuckIt ball had bounced off the rug that was just behind me, and Nome followed it and planted himself for a chew.
He played with several of Sloan's stuffed toys, chewing on them and tossing them around. He really enjoyed the water fountain once he figured out not to stick his entire head under the fountain part!
I'd set up Sloan's old crate (it's enormous- we called it her condo when she was a puppy) in our master bathroom, and he was happy to wander in and out of it (although I actually put one of Max's grippy mats in front of it right after this) but when I tried to shut him in it for the night, he started caterwauling with the best of them! I was prepared to ignore the crying, but when he began chewing on the crate door I canned the idea- I'll leave the crate training to the rescue! He ended up spending the night next to Paul, with Sloan right next to him, keeping watch.
Nome's second leg began bright and early, and he and I had a 40 minute drive to meet up with his next leg, so we headed out at 5:45 AM. He quickly resumed his spot on the console and started snoozing!
We got to the rendezvous point a bit early, so we had a wander around with me giving him lots of pep talks about being strong through his leg issue and growing up big, strong, and staying just as loving and trusting as he was now. This little guy charmed dozens of people in just two days, and it wasn't just because of his polar teddy bear looks!
One last belly rub from me to Nome- have an incredible life, little dude!
*If you've got some spare time or are even willing to sacrifice some of your weekends, look into transport relay. It's really rewarding and only a small, purely voluntary commitment- the hardest part is passing these lovable goobers on to their next relay! In fact, an easy way to do it is just check your local transports next time you're taking a roadtrip- chances are, there's a furry little guy or girl who might like to hitch along!
**Nome is also completely up-to-date on his vaccines and has a known medical history, or else I would have been reluctant to expose Max and Sloan to him. I'd still be willing to transport and consider overnighting a pet with an unknown history, but I wouldn't allow direct contact with the Bogeys, for their safety.