The fact that someone has a Yorkshire

Terrier doesn’t guarantee that the dog will not be dumped on the streets or surren- dered at the shelter. “It is a dog and once people get over the dogness or tire of the responsibility, they have no problem get- ting rid of them. Just like that,” said Kit. The group takes in Yorkies that have been owner-surrendered for various reasons – from lifestyle changes to a the death of the pet parent. Yorkies that are in perfectly good shape to senior dogs with health problems. “Thank God for our volunteers and donors like Geoff and Lori, who enable us to continue our mission.” Florida Yorkie Rescue has been very

busy, of late, taking in an insurmountable number of dogs. “Florida has a lot of con- dos and apartments and the residents tend to have smaller dogs, Yorkies being one of them,” she explained. “Oftentimes, when people become ill, perhaps necessitating a move to an assisted living facility or the hospital, they have not made prior arrangements for their pets. Thankfully, some family members will call us to take the dogs, rather than surrendering them to a shelter,” said Kit. “Unfortunately, though, we’re still seeing an alarming number of senior pets being left at animal shelters.” As with anyone who volunteers for a

rescue group, Kit can tell some unbeliev- ably sad stories. There is the young couple who decided to buy a Yorkie puppy to test their parenting skills. “Once the baby came along, the parents no longer wanted the responsibility of a the dog,” said Kit. “The dog was relegated to the backyard.” There are the breeders who call the

rescue group with a sick or not-so-perfect puppy. Florida Yorkie Rescue will gladly take those puppies. There are hoarding sit- uations. “We received a call about a situa- tion in Jacksonville with 26 Yorkies. In addition, two of the females were preg- nant. The family was asking for help. Our volunteers were on the way when we received another phone call. One of the pregnant dogs was missing,” said Kit. The home was one of the worst

hoarding cases the volunteers had ever been to. They looked all over for the preg- nant mom and soon found her with the puppies. “She had dug a hole in a couch, and delivered her puppies, there. Our vol- unteers had to rip the couch apart to make sure all of the puppies were retrieved.”

(Front row, l to r): Geoff Bodine, Lori Bodine, Diane Marvin, Kit DeRoche, & Jerry DeRoche. (Back row, l to r): Bob Flynn, Martha Flynn, Paula Gossett, Eileen Vargas, Woody Lancaster.

Then, there are the unbelievably

happy stories. “Some friends just lost their Yorkie and were heartbroken,” said Geoff. “We told them about Florida Yorkie Rescue and they drove down from Rhode Island to meet Kit. They ended up adopt- ing a little girl, Heavenly. It’s just a joy to watch the happiness these dogs bring to people’s lives.” While it can be rewarding, there is still

heartache, and many people are caught off guard at the amount of work that is actu- ally involved with volunteering. This is the harsh reality for all rescue groups, which is why there is always a handful of the same people, doing all of the work. Having a small base of volunteers also

makes it difficult to spend time doing fundraisers or attending events to raise money and help bring exposure to the group. The average monthly expenses for Florida Yorkie Rescue is around $5,000,, depending on the number and health of dogs. It can go much higher if a dog requires surgery. “Sixteen hour days, seven days a

week,” said Kit. “I do everything from managing the website, posting photos of the adoptables, fostering, picking up the dogs, home visits. But the one thing I am so appreciative for is our network of people who will drop what they’re doing, for example, to drive across state, from Fort Lauderdale to Tampa, and pick up five

dying puppies. We call them our transport angels,” she said. “You can wear multiple hats, but you are nothing without your volunteers of transporters and foster fami- lies,” added Kit. When young or middle aged healthy

Yorkies arrive, the group has a list of approved applicants waiting to adopt them. Each dog is spayed or neutered and micro-chipped. If they need a dental cleaning, they get that too. Each dog is given a heartworm and fecal test to make sure they are healthy and all of their vacci- nations are updated. As for the senior dogs, who often

require more care, time and money, Kit said, “My husband Jerry and I have tried to take in as many seniors as we could, ourselves, over the years. It is our greatest joy and our greatest weakness,” said Kit. “All rescue groups deal with the same heartbreaking issue; do we take the young healthy ones in or the sick seniors that stand little chance of finding a new home? Sometimes that senior becomes a perma- nent foster which precludes us from hav- ing available space to save another dog.” said Kit. One day recently, Kit was sitting at her kitchen table, holding yet another senior Yorkie she had just picked up from animal control. “She was a tiny thing. Her teeth were

missing and her little tongue hung out. She had cataracts.”

(Continued)g Winter 2018 THE NEW BARKER 39

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