Southern CA Basset Hound Gets a Christmas Eve Miracle!

December 24th, 2009 - 10:10 am KY Time

Howllo Fellow Basset Hound and Miracle Lovers: Check out this little guy! He doesn’t look to sluggish to me and I bet he is right at 30 pounds.



Darrell Kirbie coaxes a sluggish basset hound to the van waiting to transport him and roughly 40 other dogs from the Merced County Animal Shelter to a shelter in Portland, Ore., where they will have a higher chance of being adopted.

New leash on life: 20 dogs facing euthanasia

in Merced County are headed to Oregon

The pooches will have a better chance at adoption with Oregon Humane Society.

On an icy-cold morning two days before Christmas, dozens of dogs scheduled to be euthanized got another chance at life.

At the Merced County Animal Shelter on Wednesday, about 40 dogs were examined by Merced veterinarian Christine McFadden and then loaded into a van to make the long trip to Portland, Ore.

The dogs were part of a rescue effort by a new animal rescue group in Merced, New Beginnings for Animals Merced. The group is part of New Beginnings for Animals in Southern California. The Merced group is the Northern California chapter of the organization.

Sharon Lohman, head of the nonprofit group, said the dogs were going to Portland to the Oregon Humane Society.

“The people up there spay and neuter their animals, so they don’t have the excess numbers like we do,” Lohman said.

While the 40 dogs were being loaded into a van to make the trip north, Lohman found out that more animals were going to get another chance this Christmas.

“We are sending about 16 cats up to the San Francisco SPCA to be put in the Macy’s window,” Lohman said.

Along with the cats, two mother dogs and their brand-new puppies were also getting out of the shelter Wednesday. One of the mother dogs had come from Gustine to be euthanized at the Merced shelter. Instead, she and her puppies were getting another chance.

Lohman said the dogs going to Portland had a good chance of being adopted because of the work of the Oregon Humane Society.

“They adopt about 9,000 animals a year,” she said. “They have their own medical staff and behaviorists, so they can take animals with issues.”

Although the Oregon Humane Society was only taking dogs under about 30 pounds, Lohman said other rescue groups take bigger animals.

“It’s so hard to find groups to take pit bulls, but we had one that took 26 of them from us,” Lohman said. “And it was a wonderful place.”

Along with the 40 dogs that were leaving the shelter Wednesday, another 40 will be leaving Monday, also to Portland.

Although most of the dogs that Lohman and her volunteers work with are shelter dogs, some are released by their owners.

And some are strays.

Nikki Mussotto, owner of Sir James Steak House & Lounge in Merced, was holding a skinny, mostly-white Chihuahua mix. The little dog’s tail never stopped wagging as McFadden examined her.

“I found her by the restaurant last week; she was just skin and bones,” Mussotto said. “I heard about this rescue group and thought it would be a great way to give her a chance.”

The rescue group does more than just get animals out of the shelter. They have set up giving trees at the shelter and at Valley Animal Hospital. Lohman said the trees have ornaments on them that people can take to pledge help to the animals.

“Some people give gas cards to help with transports, some help with spaying and neutering,” Lohman said.

One of the dogs brought to McFadden to be examined before her trip to Oregon was a little blond cocker mix. She was still wearing a sweater that her previous owner had put on her.

“She has a sweater on and nobody claimed her?” McFadden asked. “Poor thing.”

Another dog McFadden examined was a little tan terrier mix that had been dumped at an abandoned house. He was shaking as his heart was checked.

“Oh, he’s so scared,” said the volunteer holding him. “But his tail is still wagging.”

The tan dog passed his health exam, was loaded into a carrier, and then taken out to the white van, and sent on his way to a new life.

Reporter Carol Reiter can be reached at (209) 385-2486 or

To help outThe rescue group New Beginnings for Animals needs volunteers to transport foster animals for short periods or help with rescues. For more information, call (209) 769-2122 or (209) 564-1668.

End of article……

Howl cool is this story and the basset hound made it out. That just made my Christmas.

More Miracles later……Love, Cat, Chaps and Emma


  1. wanda
    December 24th, 2009 | 11:55 am

    Yes everyone there is a Santa. What a moving story. I was crying as I read this story to think of so many animals that get a second chance because of the shelter. I had seen a story on the news of a little boy who started a food bank for animals in Florida. He took in donations and bought food supplies so animals could stay in their homes. He now wants to start a shelter for homeless pets. Their are good people out there, and it warms my heart to hear of them.

  2. kipandgus
    December 24th, 2009 | 2:05 pm

    What a terrific story. These are the kind of stories I love to hear. There is hope for the human race.
    Kip, Gus, Bonnie and Charlie Bear

  3. MaureenandSlinky
    December 30th, 2009 | 11:38 am

    This is such a wonderful loving Christmas story.

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