Reprinted from Delaware Pets in the News Journal

Delaware Pets


Rescue group combats dogs' pain

Conall  (before picture below)

Marleen Oetzel starts talking about the "road warriors" -- the homeless dogs who have never had an indoor home -- and she cannot stop.

Dogs like Conall, a 2-year-old male boxer/mastiff mix, with one eye gone. Oetzel's rescue group, Lost and Found Dog Rescue and Adoption Center in New Castle, saved Conall from a South Carolina shelter the day he was to be euthanized. Just as it has saved more than 300 other dogs.

Her voice sounds tired as she talks about the dogs like Conall who sleep outside leaning up against a building for cover, wondering what threat might come around the corner or how they will ever find the next scrap of food.

Her voice cracks as she recounts stories about dogs like Conall she's rescued, who literally have to fight to survive, who have chunks of their ears missing, wounds on their torsos and legs, and ribs that show through matted fur.

Oetzel, 58, founded the rescue group to stop all of that suffering. One dog at a time. "I'm in mortal pain physically and emotionally," she says. Whatever pain the dogs are in, she seems to feel tenfold.

She recounts how Conall had the highest level of Heartworm. Her group paid for medical care to save him.
"He was just incredibly compromised," she says through tears. A few weeks later, he crashed again. Hookworm this time. He needed a blood transfusion -- another $1,300 in expenses. She did not hesitate.

"He's a wiggle-butt," she says. "A sweet, loving creature."
Oetzel says Conall, who is living with a foster mom, sleeps in the woman's bedroom. He doesn't even need a crate. "His foster mom taught him to give paw," she says. It is a victory that seems to give Oetzel hope for the "road warriors" yet to be saved.

In about a month -- when Conall is better socialized and completely recovered from his medical traumas -- he will be ready for adoption. As you'll read on page 7 in a profile of Lost and Found Dog Rescue, Oetzel won't adopt out a dog who isn't physically ready, and she won't consent to a family who isn't ready to provide the kind of home she and the foster families expect.

It is her brand of tough love. It is a love she cannot stop.

StoryChat Conall in the shelter in South Carolina