Saturday, April 18, 2015

Rescue refuses to return elderly dog to owner

Soda's "Badge of Honor"
Soda only got out one time in fourteen years, but it was one time too many. Soda belongs to Joyce Cooper and her daughter Imani, who live in Dallas. You might say Joyce is her mother, because Cooper says Soda is “her child.” Soda escaped because the child latch was left undone by a yard worker. That is right, the gate was usually double-latched to protect Soda. Cooper did not routinely leave Soda in the yard, but she still took that extra precaution.
Cooper speculates that Soda might have been looking for Imani. They slept in the same bed for fourteen years and Imani had just started college. Imani said her goodbyes for the week and had just left the family home that night to return to school. Soda may have pushed through the gate trying to follow her.

You may wonder about Soda’s appearance. Soda suffered a horrible injury three years ago which left her without a nose or an upper lip. A neighbor’s aggressive dog broke through the fence while the family was in the back yard and Soda rushed to their defense. Some might think a dog without a nose is hard to look at, but Cooper says the injury is a “badge of honor.” “Isn’t that what a dog is supposed to do? Protect her family.” Although she has no nose or upper lip, Soda has thrived for years despite the injury.

No, the injury is not the worst tragedy that has happened to Soda, that was when she lost her family.

Let’s go back before that awful day in September to a happier time fourteen years before, when Soda picked out her family. Cooper explains, “I wanted her and she wanted me.” Soda got her name because she is so bubbly and full of life. As a puppy she went everywhere in her owner’s pocket. Always tiny, when she got older, Soda graduated to purses. This allowed her to accompany Cooper shopping, to the lake, to the park, everywhere. Now her owner does not want to go shopping because she has to shop alone.
Soda has a loving mom and sister, but she also has grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. She has beds all over Arkansas as Cooper’s relatives vied to be Soda’s favorite. When Cooper traveled, she only had to take Soda’s food. Everywhere she stayed, Soda had toys, bowls and everything a dog needs.

It has been a tough Fall for Cooper. She has been to three funerals in Arkansas since Soda got out the gate and each time she gets the same question, “Why won’t they give you your dog back?” Because you see, Soda isn’t lost.

Soda was picked up by Dallas Animal Services three days after she went out the gate. Cooper took a flyer there the day after Soda got lost and called every day to see if they had a Pomeranian without a nose. The answer was always no. Yet the day Soda arrived, Dallas Animal Services, called “Recycled Pomeranians and Schipperkes Rescue of Dallas” to tell them they had received a Pomerarnian with a facial injury. Dallas Animal Services never posted her picture on their website and never called the owner.

Here is the timeline. Soda was lost September 1st. She arrived at Dallas Animal Services on September 4th and was picked up by the rescue by Noon on September 7th. September 8th Cooper found out the rescue had Soda, but the rescue refused to return her. Cheri Fults, speaking for “Recycled Pomeranians and Schipperkes Rescue” explained to the local CBS news, “I hate that she has lost her dog, but it is too late.” A foster fell in love after one day and adopted Cooper’s dog of fourteen years. The rescue raised thousands of dollars for reconstructive surgery.

Cooper says the rescue is welcome to keep the donations. Her vet does not think a dog that old with a heart murmur should undergo surgery. Joyce Cooper and Imani just want Soda home for Christmas.


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