Q&A with TFTR President Patty Blair

 

Q&A with TFTR President Patty Blair:

 

In the first of a series highlighting our board members, TFTR President Patty Blair recently shared her insights on being involved with dog rescue.  She currently has two Toy Fox Terriers and one Boxer.

Ranmar's Perfect Player, "Tedy", (white and tan TFT) and Olivia, or Miss O (tri TFT rescue that Patty has had for 9 years)

Ranmar’s Perfect Player, “Tedy”, (white and tan TFT) and Olivia, or Miss O (tri TFT rescue that Patty has had for 9 years)

How did you first become involved in rescue and TFTR? 

I got my first TFT when I was in high school in the 70s.  As I got older, I wanted another but was living with Boxers so I didn’t think having a TFT would be possible.  Somewhere around 2003, I wrote to the National Rescue Coordinator for the ATFTC rescue program and volunteered my services.  The rest, as they say, is history.

I have been involved with rescue off and on since 2003 – active when I could be active, and taking breaks when I had too many dogs to be able to help new ones.  Part of being involved with rescue is making a commitment to a dog for its lifetime – whether that is with a dog that needs to be returned to rescue after placement for whatever reason or having to keep a dog that cannot be placed.  There came a point when I had 5 dogs that had issues and were considered special needs so I took an extended break.  When Pat Land passed away, I became more active in rescue and became the President of TFTR, where I am still serving.

What is the most fulfilling part of being involved in rescue? 

There are two things that affect me the most about rescue.  The first is that “sigh” you get from your foster dog telling you that he/she is comfortable in your home and feels safe, sometimes for the very first time in its life.  The other is when you see the joy that an adopting family has when they bring their new little one into their home.  I truly believe that the adopter needs the dog as much as the dog needs the adopter.

In what ways do rescue dogs enrich our lives?

Max "Maximoso" in his Moe Mobile

Max “Maximoso” in his Moe Mobile

My previous rescue dogs have shown me so many things – trust, unconditional love, the hope for a better future, and most of all, appreciation.  My very first rescue, Max, taught me to never, ever give up and to appreciate what life has given you.  I picked him up from a Humane Society in Maine. My first thought was for 7 months old, he sure is a large boy.  I then watched him walk and I knew something wasn’t quite right.  I was told he couldn’t do stairs but everything else was OK.  I tried to place Max in a new home but it became apparent he wasn’t a good candidate for placement so I made the decision to keep him.  Well, as time went by, Max got worse – he walked like a deer on ice, he ran like a bucking horse, he fell down a lot.  When he was hunting for the rodents he could smell underground, he would lie on his side and start digging – the dirt would be flying everywhere.  With a referral, I took Max to a neurologist in Maine who diagnosed him with Cerebellar Degeneration or Cerebellar Abiotrophy.  While the disease itself doesn’t kill, dogs in the wild cannot fend for themselves and find food, so they starve to death.  Domesticated dogs cannot be carried and are typically euthanized at about a year of age.  But, Max was small enough to carry so he went everywhere with help.  He rode in a netted grocery cart for his walks, he rode in a wagon hooked up to the riding lawn mower – his food and water was brought to him.  Finally, at 7 years of age, it was time for Max to go.  Max loved those he loved and was protective of himself with strangers.  He brought me such joy in the years he was with me.  But most of all, Max taught me to never give up and to be happy with what we have been given.  He knew nothing else.

Patty-Tedy-OlivaWhat is your vision for TFTR? 

My vision for TFTR is to be able to help every TFT in need without having to say no because we do not have the resources – either not enough volunteers or the financial means to help.  I am extremely proud of the growth we have shown in the 1.5 years since TFTR’s founder, Pat, passed away.  We will continue to help as many as we can in her memory.  I hope that by the end of my second term as President, I will be able to turn over an organization that is smoothly run, well known and highly respected.  We have a lot left to do but with the help of those of you who are reading this, we are on our way to accomplishing my dream.

Caring for and loving TFTs can make you laugh every single day by something they have done.  Once you have a TFT, you will never want to be without one again.

 

Patty, thank you for sharing your TFTR journey with us!  

 

Let us know what you or your TFT is thinking!