Duck, Duck....

Boy oh boy, did Duck give us the run for our money. Above is the picture of him today. Below, you will see the picture of him on the first day he was rescued. We found him wondering alone across a busy road in East St. Louis. PJ had never seen him before. He was skin and bones, completely beat up, I mean like bad beat up and the choke chain on his neck was tied, so we could not get it off. He had no hesitation to jump in the car with us. He laid on me, enjoying my scrubbins' all the way to the vet. The vet put him on antibiotics because his wounds were so bad. This poor 5 month old pup had been through a lot; most likely inflicted by humans and dogs alike.
Once he landed in his new foster home he was quite scared and aggressive, as you can see by the difference in the pictures. The lovely foster who helped this dog off of the streets decided, with her 13 year old, four pound, deaf toy poodle, that she would not be able to keep this one. He came to me the next day and was not very nice to my dogs either. I thought it was bad news for this guy. I was sure that the torture he had been through was too much for a dog that young to overcome. After crying for a bit and thinking I was going to have to make the decision that I don't ever want to have to make, I decided to take him for a run. We ran for a long time, through alley ways with dogs charging the fence. We slowed and walked through those areas to see how he would react. He stayed right by my side without any sort of nervousness or aggression. Maybe I was wrong? Why did I jump to the conclusion that this dog did not deserve a chance? Now, after a week of keeping him in a large crate near all of the other dogs in our house and brief, surveillanced interactions, today he was able to play all day in the yard with the other dogs. Duck was actually the one I was worried about getting hurt.
He is such a sweet boy. It just goes to show that you can't judge a dog by its initial reaction when he comes from an unknown situation. Dogs & Ducks deserve the chance to show how much love they are capable of giving, even after a life of torture. This one is a keeper and is going to give someone a lifetime of love and entertainment, because he is funny too. How could he not be with a name like Duck.


Happy Holidays Everyone!

Thank you for your support this year. Enjoy the video.


Spending New Year's with the Dogs

Please join us for Gateway Pet Guardian's New Year's Eve Party. Click the image below to read more!


Julio Heaves Hotdogs

Julio (Hoo-lee-o) brought a little of the East St. Louis dumpster home with him. We are all clean and clear and off to a new start with real dog food, sans the hot dog incentive, which is turning out to be a little tricky. Mr. Julio seems to like that junk food. Just as we humans get hooked on the junk food, I have found that street dogs sometimes don't really take to dry food, dog treats, and especially raw veggies. I consider trash to be the street dog's fast food. Julio as per the picture below, believes that my not vegetarian husband's pork smelled like the best piece of meat he had ever smelled. My husband named Julio after a famous Mexican boxer (the human fighting kind, not the breed of dog kind). It was either that or Duck. I liked Duck, but my hubby liked Julio. I suppose that suites him more anyway. The picture of him at the top of the entry is him admiring his good looks. Julio said, "Dang, I am good-look-ing." And then he went back to the mirror, admired some more and noticed his scar. He reminisced about where that scar came from, thought about his previous days as a street dog, and wrote it off as the past. We think Julio is the bees knees. Do you think you might recognize Julio?


Introducing: The Gateway Ride-A-Long Program

We have had quite a few inquiries from readers about how they can go see some of the dogs I have posted here on the blog. For that reason, in cooperation with PJ, we have created the Gateway Ride-A-Long Program. It is essential that PJ has a person to come along with her on her visits to East St. Louis. Usually her sweet mom rides with her, but her mom would love a break!

If you are interested in seeing first hand what PJ does and helping her feed the dogs (and some kitties), please contact us and we can set up a day for you to ride along. If you have any questions about this program, please do not hesitate to comment here or contact us through phone-314.664.7398, or email. We would love to hear from you.

There are so many more dogs than just the ones I have posted pictures of so far. Quite honestly, there are probably hundreds of dogs on the streets of East St. Louis. Some of them PJ sees everyday. There are some she sees one day, and never again. And then there are others that she sees consistently, and then one day they just disappear. The best part is when we have an open home for a dog and he gets to come home with us that day. The look in their eyes is one of excitement and contentment that this is their very last day of living on the streets.


Old MR. Winter

My dogs love the snow. They go outside, tongues creating a path in the snow, chasing each other and sliding all over the place. When they become too cold, they are lucky and get to come back inside.

After the ice storm yesterday I rode with PJ to feed the dogs in East St. Louis. It is so hard to see them without any relief from the cold. Some of them had icicles stuck to their fur. I really try to be thick skinned about what I see while doing rescue work, because I am afraid it will be too much if I let it get to me too bad. When it snows, I just can't stop thinking about the dogs that are on the streets. They always look so cold. Especially the ones with short hair. That is why my husband and I decided we would take in one more dog for the winter. It gets a little tight here in our little house with two fosters, but there is that boxer out there that is probably so cold. That is why I rode with PJ yesterday; to rescue the boxer. He must have been hiding somewhere to stay warm though, because we could not find him.

If only we had a facility. We could help so many other dogs stay warm this winter. If you haven't donated yet, please consider doing so. We just want these dogs to have a warm place to stay, regular meals and some healthy human interaction. We are writing up a business plan tomorrow to present to the public. I have been asked by a few people what will happen once we raise enough for the down payment. We have several ideas to keep the facility open with steady, reliable income. We just need enough to get it started. I hate to sound like a broken record, begging for money all of the time, but it's for the animals. I know how much they mean to you, because you are reading this blog. Thank you for taking the time to be a part of what we are doing. It means so much to us.


Wha choo lookin' at?

This is Sage. Sage says, "Why you be frontin'?" No really she says, "I want to lick that camera." No, she was saying, "Ooh! Ooh! Your on the floor, let me get down from this chair so that I can play with you!"

Sage is our foster. She is a quirky, hilarious, soulful little girl. She is a little thing at about 35 lbs. and looks like some sort of pointer/bird dog mix. She flattens herself out when she wants to play with the other dogs in the house; head flat, back flat, tail flat, hind leg lifted. She points with her hind leg, which I have never seen before. Sage was rescued with several of her litter mates. They were all scared frozen when they were rescued. When you picked them up they would cling to your arm like little koala bears. We think they were attacked by something. One of the litter mates was missing a leg. But, we got her all patched up and she is now in a super fabulous home. Sage is the remaining pup from that litter. We love having her around, but I am sure that she would love to have her final forever home, sooner than later.

I have to say that I am pretty impressed with the response that we have gotten so far from the facility fundraiser. I don't think I mentioned it here in the blog, but two days ago, I sent out a plea for donations toward a facility for our rescue. We found a place that we think would be just wonderful for rescuing more dogs. It is a 5000 sq. ft. warehouse, with a fenced in gravel lot. We just need to raise $40,000 for the down payment. I know that number looks daunting, but if just 200 people get 4 of their friends to donate $50, then we will be well on our way. We are off to a good start, considering it has only been two days, but we need some serious donations to make this happen. It's all about dogs like Bomber and Sage & her litter mates above. Sage's poor sister would not have made it if we were not able to rescue her. And who knows where Sage would be. Even if you can't swing $50, small amounts help too. I know times are hard right now, but it is the end of the year, and your donation will be tax deductible. We appreciate anything you can give.


Qelso and Luke

Luke is turning out to be a wonderful little boy. He gets along great with my cats. Here is a picture of him with Qelso, the white and carmel colored cat and with LBJ, the grey and white cat. They are constantly sleeping together and romping around with each other.


Homeless but still Gorgeous

Today I rode along with PJ to East St. Louis. Here are a couple of the faces we came across.

This beautiful guy kind of stole the show today. This was his sweet face from the car when we were leaving. "Please don't leave me again!", he says.

This is him when we arrived. Think he was excited?

And this is him being just adorably hilarious. If he could speak, I think he would be saying "blah!", like he didn't like whatever he just tasted. I kind of fell in love with this boxer today. He just started coming around for PJ's daily feedings. He wants it to be his turn to be pulled. He is pulling out all of the shots. That is for sure.

This is sweet, sweet Bomber. Bomber has been on the streets for a long time. He is arthritic and has trouble getting around now. All he wants is to be petted by us. He is the friendliest, sweetest Rottie. PJ gives him meds for his arthritis, but the winter is coming, and the cold weather is even harder on his joints. Do you see his shy buddy in the background?

This cutie is scared to death of us. But, I think she is so pretty. She had mange when she was young, and her fur looks in pretty bad shape. I bet if we caught her, she would be happy in a minute.

Not just dogs that PJ feeds over there. I would look grumpy too if I were this kitten. So pretty though.

We just love this dog. She's a new one for PJ too. She is pretty scared of us, but will probably come around over time. We love that fluffy white fur.

PJ sharing the love.

Little Mini German Shepherd. I have named her Eartha. I love her. She is scared of us too, but extremely hungry. New to the streets too.

This little Pit mix is also miniature. Super sweet to people, but tends to be completely beat up most of the time.

Ra Ra was fascinated by the camera. Every time I went to shoot another dog she ran in front of the camera. When I would press the button she would duck and scoot out of the way. Ra Ra always has to come to the side of the car to get a treat from PJ before she leaves. Ra Ra is super sweet.

Now you have an idea of the day in the life for PJ. She has gone every day since 2001 to feed these dogs. She has not missed one day. It would be so wonderful if we could just take them off of the streets and put them in a warm, easy and loving environment. Please consider donating to our shelter fund. Help us save these sweet animals from the rough street life.


Baby Mama

A few weeks ago PJ contacted me asking if I might be able to find someone who would take a sweet pregnant dog off of the cold streets of East St. Louis. She was one of those dogs that tried to get on PJ's lap when she fed her and tried to take a ride home with her when she left. One of those dogs who knew that there was a better life for her and her last litter of pups that she will ever have to give birth to. I thought it was going to be difficult to find someone to take on the undertaking. I sent out the plea, thinking it was a long shot that anyone would step up to the plate. Lo and behold, Mia, a sweet and devoted foster did immediately. It was really just in time because Mazey, a.k.a. Baby Mama, Mia's new foster had her puppies last night, just five days after PJ pulled her off of the streets. She was one of the lucky dogs who got to have her puppies in a safe place on a warm blanket with the attention of a human just in case something went wrong. Nine Ten puppies to be exact. These pups as well as their Mama will stay with Mia until Christmas, and then the whole family needs to move on to a new foster home since Mia is traveling abroad for a while at that point. After about 6 weeks, we will need to find foster homes for all of the babies and the mom. We will then take them to the vet for their shots, spay and neuter them, hopefully train them a little bit, love them a lot and then off they will go to their new forever homes. I will be posting pictures as they grow and become cute little fuz balls. I personally have never experienced a dog birth. I am sure that it is nothing short of fantastic.
Doesn't she look tired? Had I been present, I am sure that she would have had to tell me to go away if she could talk. I personally think I would be a little annoying at a puppy birth. Although, I probably would have obsessed over the process and read a gazillion books and as much info online as I could find. I know, I know. It is not rocket science. I just obsess over things like this. And then, I probably would have passed out once the first one crowned. Have you ever experienced an animal birth? Was it scary? Fun? Gross? A miracle? Did the animal tell you to go away at any point or did you feel like she wanted you there?


Gateway Pet Guardian of the Year!

Click on the video to see a dog save another dog who has been hit by a car on the highway. And then tell me that dogs don't have feelings. I think this should change laws on animal rights. It is just so sweet! It reminds me of a dog we rescued off of the streets of East St. Louis named Clarence. The dogs in East St. Louis usually travel in packs.

Clarence and another dog were buddies. They were the only two dogs in their pack. Clarence's buddy got hit by a car, and PJ, the devoted lady who feeds the dogs every morning said that Clarence laid by his buddy in the road for three days. That just breaks my heart. We get to go visit Clarence tomorrow. He was adopted by PJ's sister. He is the luckiest dog who has horse friends and all of the treats he wants. He was my favorite foster ever, but don't tell my other fosters because I would not want to hurt their newly discovered feelings :)


Give a Gift! Sponsor a Pet!

This is Koda. Koda was an East St. Louis dog. Sometimes, in E. St. Louis, people who live there will claim the street dogs as their own. Sometimes they are well taken care of and sometimes they are not. Let me reiterate, sometimes. There are plenty of people who take good care of their pets in the area. Unfortunately, Koda's owner did not. We respect the people who live E. St. Louis, and if someone says that a dog is theirs, we do not take it. Koda, along with two other dogs were claimed by a man. The dogs were malnourished, had mange, and had never seen a vet in their lives. We tried to talk the man into surrendering the dogs to us. He refused. One day the man disappeared. The next day his house caught fire. Unfortunately, two of the dogs were in the house when it burned down. Koda was not. We rescued Koda. She is a very special and sweet soul. She is looking for her forever home.
I would like to try to keep this blog as light and fun as possible. And there is a lot of fun and gratification in dog rescue. It is truly the most gratifying thing I have done in my life. We have saved so many dogs in just this year alone, but the fact remains that there are so many homeless dogs on the street that are abused, neglected starving and lonely. There are also thousands of dogs who are put down every day in shelters across the world. You see the cute pictures of the animals on the side bar to the left and, yes, they are adorable. Many of them did not come to us like that. We give them proper food, veterinary care, love and attention. Many of them have never been in a house before. They are so confused and nervous at first. Usually within a quick day or two they begin to warm up and understand that they are safe. Something really changes in their eyes once they know they are safe.

When I send a foster off to his forever home, knowing how happy he will be for the rest of his life, knowing that because of the training, love, and attention he received in my house, his life will be forever changed. Unfortunately, this love and attention is only something that can be given to a homeless pet if our rescue has the money to pull a dog. There are times where we would like to rescue a dog off of the streets, but we don't have the money to do so. So, we wait. Sometimes it is too late. The average lifespan of a dog on the streets is about a year and a half. There are just too many variables that make living on the street nearly impossible for these dogs. They are not wild animals, they are domesticated dogs who would prefer to be in a home. Some of them jump into PJ's car when she gets out to feed them. It is heartbreaking to see those who somehow know that there is something better out there for them. Like I said, because of lack of finances, we are unable to take most of these dogs.

Will you please consider donating to our rescue, or sponsoring a pet as a gift for Christmas? We desperately need your help, and so do the animals.

I apologize again for the dark and heavy post. I will try to keep it as light as possible and will give warning when a post might be sad or ugly, just in case you do not want to read it. I thank you for taking the time for caring about what we are doing.

***SIDE NOTE: Many of you may be thinking, "How do they get such beautiful pictures of their foster dogs?" Koda is David Carlyon's foster. David is such a talented photographer. It just so happens that he has volunteered to do pet portraits and donate the proceeds to our rescue. I will post more on this when I have more information. It is seriously going to be such a great opportunity to get artsy photos of your loved ones! I know I will be first in line with my own monsters.


Marley & Me!

Have you ever had the worst dog in the world. I know I have. My first dog when I was 16, was given to me by my first boyfriend. His name was Bailey. My parents forbade me to get a dog. I used to pray for a dog every night before I went to bed. For Christmas that is all I would ask for. My mom was so happy when I stopped believing at such a young age so that she could just tell me no. When I brought Bailey home, my ma climbed up on her chair and yelled, "What the *#$^& is that!", over and over again. Bailey was the cutest puppy though. He was so little and followed her around, grabbing onto her pant leg. I saw her smile at him, and I knew I had her. Then Bailey started to grow and become destructive and crazy. I am not sure that I can put into words how crazy this dog was. If you watch the preview for Marley & Me, you will get some understanding. He did most of the things in the preview, plus some. He ate countless remotes, hundred dollar bills, thousand dollar checks. We had to replace all of the doors in the house because he would chew and scratch on them. He would bark incessantly at me until I picked up the ball and threw it. In the car, going through a drive thru, Bailey would jump behind me in the driver's seat and try to get to the person in the window. Not because he wanted to hurt them, but because, well, why wouldn't they want him there.

The preview for this movie Marley & Me awakened all of these memories of Bailey. After Bailey passed away, I was pretty lost. I had been through college, several boyfriends, and the ups and downs of life with Bailey by my side. It wasn't just Amie, it was Amie & Bailey. He went every where with me. His passing is kind of what thrust me into dog rescue. Always trying to fill that void, I suppose. I would love to hear your stories about your crazy dogs.

After viewing the previews for this movie, and getting over my reminiscing of Bailey, I got an idea for our rescue. I wrote a letter to AMC Theatres requesting that they work with us to donate some of the proceeds from the viewing of Marley & Me at the AMC West Olive Theatre. It would help us toward our goal of purchasing a shelter for all of the homeless dogs. Please leave a comment on this entry, and let AMC know that you will go see Marley & Me at the West Olive theatre if they donate some of the proceeds to Gateway Pet Guardians. You don't have to leave much, just say, "I will go see Marley and me at AMC!", or whatever you would like. Thanks for all of your support and I hope everyone has a great Thursday.


Brothers in Arms

I have been fostering my baby, Luke as well as two of his brothers, Max & Cooper for the past few days. One went to his new Forever home and the other is here keeping my baby company. Currently I have Luke and Cooper. Max - absolutely adorable Max! - one of the brothers who is now with his incredibly fabulous papa, Doug. What a great family they are becoming. So, the details on the remaining brothers is that Cooper is the big lug. Loving, tender, sweet and mellow and kind to all other dogs. Luke is energetic and ready to go, very outgoing and friendly with all dogs.

Highway Men

Welcome to Gateway Pet Guardian's first entry! We are so excited to join the blogging world to share our experiences rescuing dogs off of the streets of East St. Louis, and other places. I, Amie Simmons am the administrator for Gateway and am super excited about my position. There are so many good things that this organization does and I am proud to be a part of their daily happenings. This blog will introduce you to key players in our daily rescue adventures, as well as new intakes, the wonderful folks who help us take care of these animals on a daily basis, and updates on our progression toward purchasing our first facility. We are so happy to have your involvement and can't wait to get to know you. Please give us your feedback, suggestions, thoughts and so on and so forth. The community is extremely important to us. We are here to make the world a better place. We believe that a society can be judged by how it treats those that are less fortunate. Stay Tuned!

P.S. The pups above are looking for a new home & a new foster. Please click here or here to see more of their cute little faces. They were found running on a highway. Super lucky little pups found their way to one of the initiators of this rescue's car. They were very lucky. As you can see by their faces, they had no idea of the perils they were in.