It Takes a Village (or at least a network)

February 12, 2011 By Patty Meehan, Best Friends outreach and Network volunteer

The message came in through the Best Friends Network Louisiana Go Local … there’s a dog, possibly feral, in great need of help in the New Orleans area. The sender of the message, Jennifer Tavernier, a volunteer at a local no-kill animal shelter, Plaquemines Animal Welfare Society shelter in Belle Chasse, Louisiana, described the situation: there is a large stray dog living underneath a house near her work place. The dog has been living underneath this house for three months.

Jennifer explained that as soon as she found out about this dog, she immediately started feeding him, and started seeking help. 

She described the dog: “He appears to be a mix breed, possibly a lab mix, but I haven't been able to get a good look at him because he runs underneath the house. He looks about 50-60 pounds, but definitely underweight. He is not a mean dog, just very feral and very scared of people.”

She continued, “Oddly enough, he still has a very long walking leash still attached to his neck collar. No one can get the leash off of him because he won't let anyone near him. I am so worried that the leash is going to get caught onto something and prevent him from moving.” Her deep concern for this dog clearly came through the words in her e-mail.


Immediately the Go Local volunteer reading the message, a Louisiana resident, thought of Animal Rescue of New Orleans (ARNO). ARNO is one of the few rescues in the country that has a program for feral dogs.

Jennifer’s message continued. She had contacted several local rescues and shelters for help, including ARNO. ARNO had agreed to help trap the dog, but there was currently no room in the inn at the ARNO shelter. So the task at hand was to find placement for him at a shelter or ideally a foster home. Jennifer was asking for Best Friends’ help.

The volunteer contacted ARNO’s director, Charlotte Bass, for ideas. Yes, Charlotte said, Jennifer had spoken with Lise McComisky, their feral dog rehabilitator. They were going to try to help Jennifer catch this dog. But they did not have any room to take him in at that moment. Lise had recommended to Jennifer that she continue to feed the dog where he was, until a place could be found.

At about the very same time, a message came in to the Community Animal Assistance (CAA) department at Best Friends, about a dog in New Orleans who was living under a house. The sender was asking for help finding a rescue or foster home for this dog, once he was caught. The message was forwarded to the CAA volunteer in Louisiana, who is also the volunteer who receives the Louisiana Go Local messages. The message was from Jennifer!

The volunteer contacted Jennifer again, now through the Community Animal Assistance department. The CAA department is a wonderful resource of information on a wide variety of animal situations and problems. More information was shared with Jennifer.

Not long after, the response arrived: the dog, now named “Trixie” (yes, she is a “she”, not a “he”) had been rescued!


Jennifer’s message said, “Since I had last e-mailed you, I helped trap this dog and the wonderful people at Animal Rescue New Orleans took this baby in. I visit her almost every day. She is already domesticated and socialized and the sweetest dog ever. She hasn't been adopted yet, but her time will come. She is a blessing and I am so glad we could finally rescue her. Such a deserving dog. Thanks for contacting me back. It was a happy ending.”

There could not have been a happier message! The volunteer e-mailed Jennifer back, thanking her for all her hard work and her dedication to saving this terrific dog. Trixie, a 40-pound rottie mix, Jennifer described, is “full of love.”

“She thinks she is a lap dog,” said Jennifer.

You can follow Trixie’s story by becoming a friend of ARNO on Facebook. She’s patiently waiting for her forever home.

Trixie’s story is a wonderful demonstration of the power of networking, including using the Best Friends Network, the Go Local sites, and the Community Animal Assistance department. Much of the terrific information gathered and shared by the CAA department is now available to everyone, at the Best Friends help site. There, you will find much information about getting the word out about animals in need, how to help, and networking. To get more information about how to volunteer with Animal Rescue New Orleans, please see our Volunteer page.

Photos by Jennifer Tavernier and courtesy of Animal Rescue New Orleans

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