A heartfelt touching warm story of a community being brought together by a GD who was in urgent need and how inspirational, beautiful their supportive efforts including those of Anna with her incredible WOW YUMMY Fundraising Biscuit idea to help save this special GD has been!
AND, Journey is bombing along in her rehabilitation and come April, she should be ready to be placed up for adoption!
SO many believed in you Journey and so many LOVE you!!! YOU are worthy, deserving and no less important than any other dog! 🙂
Some errors including that almost $3,000 in private donations have been sent not $1,000 to date; BHRR is not located in Oxford Mills; Journey is a 'she' not a he plus some of the timeline in the story is in error. BUT, a lovely article overall! 🙂
OTTAWA — When she heard the story of Journey – the emaciated Great Dane found on Highway 401 just before Christmas, close to starvation and covered in bite wounds – Anna Gray-Henschel embarked on a journey of her own. She knew she had to do something to help, but she couldn't have imagined that, more than a month later, she would have baked 20,000 dog biscuits to raise money for his care.
As a dog lover, owner of two Great Danes and someone who recently decided to volunteer at rescue shelters, Gray-Henschel came up with the idea of baking some of her own dogs' favourite cheddar cheese and bacon biscuits and selling them to raise money. The idea had worked when her employer, the RCMP, held fundraising campaigns, so why not try to augment her personal donation toward the poor dog's care? Her goal was to bake 100 dozen and sell them for $3 a dozen. She would then donate all $300 of the proceeds to Birch Haven Rescue and Rehabilitation Services in Oxford Mills, where Journey was convalescing.
Several weeks later, that 100 dozen has become 1,667 dozen and she still has orders for 167 dozen more. By day, she's a director general in the RCMP's national security criminal investigations branch, and every evening she bakes for four hours. Weekends she puts in 12-hour days by the oven.
"My husband has been joking about our hydro bill," she said. "But he's not really complaining."
When she's not baking, she's delivering the biscuits. By the time she fills all her orders, she will have raised $5,600 toward the dog's extensive vet bills, which will likely top $8,000 and include at least one more surgery. If the orders keep coming, she'll keep baking, providing shipping (when necessary), delivery and the baking supplies at her own expense. She hopes to raise $6,000 by Valentine's Day.
"It's just one thing and it's not a big deal, but it shows you can have a huge impact if you do your little thing," she said. "It's such a small thing to do to help rehabilitate this beautiful dog. It's hard to believe someone would do this to her."
The response to Journey's story has been amazing, said Gwendilin Boers, an animal behaviour specialist (she's a PhD candidate in the subject) who runs the shelter and works part-time at the Kanata Animal Hospital.
"We were shocked by her condition," Boers said. "We see some terrible things in rescue, but she's one of the worse cases I have seen in my 16 years of running the rescue."
Journey weighed 74 pounds when a Great Dane at her age should weigh between 110 and 115 pounds. She had fleas, pieces of her ear tips missing, open bite wounds all over her body, a broken tail, frostbite, hypothermia, dehydration and round worms. Boers suspects she was abused. "She was in tragic shape, to say the least."
Boers said the community support had been all the more impressive coming, as it did, just after Christmas.
Journey was brought to the rescue one day after she was found by a Good Samaritan in the freezing rain on the highway near Brockville.
"I'm beyond touched," Boers said, adding that people such as Gray-Henschel had eased the worries about how they would be able to pay the extensive vet bills associated with Journey's recovery. In addition to those who have contributed to the biscuits campaign, private donations have totalled more than $1,000.
"Journey has been a Christmas miracle," Boers said. "She has met every obstacle she has had to overcome with grace and good temperament. She's a very loving dog who has brought so many people together in the spirit of giving. Anna's contribution is just wonderfully overwhelming."
Boers thought it would be June before Journey would be ready for adoption, but, given her progress so far – she now weighs close to 100 pounds – she estimates it will be mid-April.
Donations are being accepted through the Kanata Animal Hospital or by email transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org. Birch Haven Rescue and Rehabilitation is accepting donations through PayPal.
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