Saving Mari

This thread will be updated throughout the day as developments unfold.  As of this morning, we are still trying to find a volunteer driver for one leg of transport: Jackson, MS to New Orleans. All the rest is worked out. There would be NO DOG HANDLING INVOLVED as Mari is feral and is not to be removed from the trap for any reason. Just put the crate in your vehicle and drive.   We can cover expenses.  If anyone is able to drive this leg, please let me know.

Note:  Updates will be timestamped according to Mari Time, which is Central time.

9:35 am:  Memphis rescuers are on their way to MAS to pick up Mari.  This is the link to the webcam where Mari was originally put into a cage.  If she hasn’t been moved, you should be able to watch her on this cam when she gets bailed out this morning.  Please continue sharing the need for a driver on the last leg of transport above.

11:10 am:  Ona and Lou Ann are still doing paperwork at MAS for Mari’s release.

11:46 am:  Ona and Lou Ann spoke with Steve Markwell about how to get Mari into the trap.  Unfortunately, their trap won’t fit inside the kennel at MAS so that plan is a no go.  The trained workers at MAS are refusing to help.

12:00 pm:  Alternate ways to help Mari get out of the MAS kennel and into a cage for transport are being worked on.  TY for the offers and suggestions.  Keep them coming.

1:26 pm:  A reader suggests perhaps an animal handler from the Memphis Zoo may be able to help.  Sounds like a good idea to me.  Can someone call?  (901) 333-6500

1:45pm:  You know the canine upper respiratory outbreak that’s been in the Memphis news recently?  The one that MAS said it had no way to keep from spreading?  Apparently Mari may have caught that, which would not be surprising as she’s been at the pound for 16 days.  And we know she didn’t come in with it, since the veterinary staff deemed her healthy at time of vaccination last week.  But today, she has a snotty nose.  So MAS says they are going to kill her if Ona and Lou Ann can’t work out how to get her out of their cage by 5pm.

Mari is now owned by Steve Markwell, according to the paperwork the city gave to Ona this morning.  Mr. Markwell does not want his dog killed for a snotty nose she caught while at MAS.  He wants to get his dog out and transported to safety.  Since the city is refusing to have their trained animal professionals put the dog into the transport cage, Ona and Lou Ann are on their own.  Mr. Markwell can get a trained feral dog handler to MAS tomorrow to get Mari out but the city is refusing to allow any additional time.  Because Mari has a snotty nose.

Is this really what it’s come down to?  If the city is determined to kill her, they will have to get one of their workers to drag her out on a chokepole.  Why can’t they just go ahead and do that now and put her in the trap for Ona and Lou Ann?

Can anyone call around to find a Memphis vet willing to come to MAS to sedate the dog for Ona and Lou Ann so they can get her into the trap?  The MAS vet won’t help.  No one at MAS will help Mari.  All they are apparently willing to do is kill her.

3:50 pm:  I was on the phone with Ona when you guys started posting that someone was going into the cage with Mari.  I told Ona and she hurried off the phone to go see what’s happening.

4:00 pm:  I don’t know any details yet but, as webcam watchers know, she’s out of the cage and in the trap!

4:15 pm:  Mari has left the building!  Ona is driving her to Jackson, MS.

4:45 pm:  I just noticed that at some point, I switched posting times from Mari Time to my own (Eastern) time.  Oops.  At least I’m not attempting brain surgery today.  Just spoke briefly with Lou Ann.  She said Jan Courtney of SOS Memphis came down to assist and was a dog whispering hero!  Working on getting additional details.

4:55 pm:  It sounds like Jan sort of assessed our highly agitated goggie from outside the kennel, determined that she felt safe to open the kennel door, sat with her back to Mari, kept her head down in a submissive posture, and talked to her in a calm, quiet voice.  While Jan was in the kennel, Lou Ann moved the trap so that it was directly in front of the kennel door and just to Jan’s side.  When they opened the kennel door wider so that Mari could access the trap, she went right in.  I’m hoping to get a direct report from Jan so she can correct any parts I may have misunderstood and perhaps share with us how you get to be a dog whisperer!

6:15 pm:  Mari is headed to Animal Rescue New Orleans (ARNO).  Steve Markwell knows their group and since they are much closer to Memphis than he is, he decided to contract with ARNO to evaluate her before making the ultimate decision as to where it will be most appropriate for her to go.  Some of the folks from ARNO are driving to meet Ona in Jackson, MS.  I am so thankful that this could be arranged on such short notice.  I will finally get a good night’s sleep tonight knowing that Mari is in good hands.  I bet Mari could use a good night’s sleep too.

The list of people who deserve thanks is a mile long at this point.  I’ve always said that many people care about the dogs in the stray area at MAS.  If this story doesn’t illustrate that to the city, I don’t know what will.

Memphis, please – unlock the doors to the stray area.  Let people in to see and touch your dogs.  They are wanted and loved.  We only saw Mari on a webcam.  She’s alive today because of it.  Once you remove the webcams, none of the dogs in the stray area will have anyone to advocate for their right to live.  Which is truly tragic.

189 thoughts on “Saving Mari

    1. No, we have a safe and quiet place lined up for her if we can’t get the leg filled today. But we’d prefer to get her transported today is at all possible as this will be easiest on her.

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  1. I’m hitting my social networking sites with this transport request and wondered if anyone reading knows how to post to Craigslist so that people in the MS/LA area might see the request. If you do and can post, please do so. Anywhere else you can help spread the word would be great too. TY.

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    1. Yes, there sure has. I know her case has garnered a lot of interest and it’s normal for people to be curious but it would be better for Mari if they left her alone. How many pictures really need to be taken of this poor dog?

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  2. Since MAS impounded her, I assume they have protocols in place for handling feral dogs. I don’t know why they simply don’t follow those protocols now while they get her into the trap. Why are Ona and Lou Ann having to stand there?

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    1. Exactly. They wouldn’t take in wildlife like a fox or something without a protocol to handle it, so they MUST have feral dog protocols in place.

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  3. I’m with you Lisa. Damned fools. They put her in fast enough but can’t take her out? All morning she’s been the item of the day as far as people inspecting her and now they wonder why she’s so stressed?

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  4. What about making that trap a safe place? Putting it in kennel with a big quilt over it and taking away her Kuranda that she’s hiding under from the back of the kennel?

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  5. For the love of Mike! Can’t they use their heads and stop the stream of people going down that aisle? Mari is stressed enough the way it is. Stop the people!

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  6. They certainly have done a bang up job so far! First the ACO somehow manage to catch a feral dog, but not exactly get her into a kennel. Staff gets her in and then holds her from the 13th and is still holding her; they say Tammy can adopt her; and now she’s a feral dog! Worse yet, now they can’t get her out and half of Memphis is leering in her kennel and she’s hiding under a bed!

    Have they no manual with instructions for wild animals?

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  7. No. The cage is too long, staff is afraid to get her out. She’s still in there being the main attraction for the idiots who just have to walk that aisle and leer at her. I am so mad…….I can’t even tell you.

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    1. The trap that you see against the wall – that’s what we’d like her to be in. But it’s too long to get into the kennel and the MAS staff will not lift a finger to help move her. They’ll still get paid, though.

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    1. That’s right – where the trap is on Canine 2.

      And the women were trying, but MAS let Mari get whipped into a frenzy with people gawping at her all morning before they even got there and THEN won’t do a thing to help them. All those big (paid, supposedly professional) strong men were more than happy to let two women deal with the situation.

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    1. They sure don’t mind using the chokepole to drag dogs to their death. So we know they know how to use those! Whatever they do with Mari when they feed her, they should also be able to do to get her out of the cage and on her way to safety.

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  8. camera 7 rabies observation 2 the kennel door is open. They took a dog from there to the kill room… and you see that the food is still sitting there! Is that for the next dog?

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      1. Last night the mice had a field day there and in isolation. I watched the dark spots move here, there, and scurry everywhere. Not first time I’ve seen them.

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    1. Yeah I think it has been about 2 days for that kennel. But they took a very cute, emaciated, sweet enough to not use a choke pole pup from canine 3 earlier and I am guessing that sweetheart went to the kill room. first kennel on the right.

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  9. They do nothing; hose out the kennel and hopefully fill water bucket with her in there and just dump food in the bowl attached to front of kennel. I’ll bet she’s not eaten much if at all.

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      1. M-F are their hours, but I left a message. It says to call the emergency place on Summer or Sumner… looking on-line now.

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  10. The Emergency Vet can’t do it. he has to stay on site. The receptionist there gave them some other vets to try and apparently they won’t do it either. So, it means the ladies Memphis are calling vets too.

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  11. Apex Wildlife control, says they will trap and remove feral dogs. Perhaps they will catchpole and crate one too Apex Wildlife Control, LLC . Memphis Phone: (901) 598-8555

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  12. I cannot believe the latest update. Regardless of who owns this dog, she is on MAS’s property and they are liable for any injuries. And this butthead intrim director is allowing non employees to go into a kennel and retrieve a dog? This is unheard of. It is their responsibility to get the dog out to the reception area for pickup by adopters not the other way around. Where is the media?

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      1. I don’t think so Debbie. I think Mari is a little farther down where the big cage is against the wall. but still…

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  13. The zoo won’t help. “No authority.” The man I spoke with said he would try to think of other resources, but I’m not holding my breath.

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  14. Can someone call the humane society, unfortunately I am caring for my critically ill father and talking on the phone isn’t an option Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County · 935 Farm Road · Memphis TN, 38134 · 901.937.3900

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  15. The local HS sent someone over to help but he left without helping. I’m unclear as to why. If they could send someone over, that would be great.

    If ANY vet will go in to sedate the dog for us so that we can get her in the trap, that would be great too.

    TY so much everyone for helping. All we really need is one qualified person to say YES and Mari can get the hell out of dodge.

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    1. Apparently that was the “good” John that we all like so much. he felt she was too aggressive and would need to be sedated. That’s why he didn’t assist. But, he came out when no one else would. 3 cheers to Good John.

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  16. When you are able, please let me know who finally assisted in getting Mari out and in the crate. If it was the Humane Society, I would like to send them a thank you donation in Mari’s name

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  17. Wonder how it would feel if I were an ACO or staff there, hiding around corners and staying away and a little lady aided by two other little ladies got the big bad ferel dog out of her kennel?

    I know how……very very ashamed. That’s how everyone on staff at MAS and their little Friends should feel.

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      1. No shame at MAS, now they have a pair of chatter teeth on top of the cages in the cat room, the fun and games continue

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  18. My husband reminded me that it’s Halloween weekend (gee, wonder what could have distracted me from that) and so Mr. Ninja may have been in costume.

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  19. Thank you to all of you who busted your butts and pulled out all the stops to get Mari out of there. I felt so helpless sitting here in my little part of the world. You all are true heroes.

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  20. I’m just sitting here praising God, thanking Jan Courtney and Steve, marveling at the power of networking and the tenacity of all involved – you know who you are. So, so, so very happy and relieved. I think I’m gonna go color my hair now because it has turned gray these past 3 weeks.

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    1. Just saw Lise Mccomiskey’s post at Olympic Animal Sanctuary FB . . . apparently Jan Courtney is “a wonderful Memphis rescuer [who] showed up at the eleventh hour determined that this dog was not going to die today and got her in the trap.” Wow.

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  21. YEA — she’s out! Wow — what a day! Jan was amazing! Ona is driving to Jackson as I type! Jan and I were hooping and hollering in the parking lot! So very happy.

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    1. You guys were at MAS all day enduring all this drama and you still have energy to do whoop and holler? You put me to shame. All I’ve been doing is typing and I can barely work up a “yay”.

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  22. Well . . . some of the “better known” FMAS volunteers were outside watching so we wanted to make a LOT of noise of pure joy!

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    1. Watching . . . and they chose not to help at any stage, though I’m guessing that what was going on was well known. So unfortunate.

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  23. My HERO…..JAN COURTNEY……I watched the entire time from the time the ladies arrived with the trap until Mari was in the trap and heading out. I felt so darned proud even though I just sat here and documented what was happening.

    Forget the friends; (small f please) all the men standing around shaking in their shoes are something to talk about. Shame shame on them! They are the trained professionals. Ha! Now lets everyone laugh at that. They are cowards and worse, they are lazy cowards.

    They should remember this day. Women RULE.

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    1. I totally agree that Jan is a hero along with Ona and Lou Ann. I once saw a video of Steve Markwell of Olympic Animal Sanctuary doing a rescue of some extremely frightened dogs and he did exactly what Jan did today . . . went into the kennel, back to the dogs, slow gentle movements, eyes averted, unthreatening posture, soft quiet talk, etc. So men can do this too — but as you’ve pointed out, they have to be willing. And not a single staff member, male or female, nor any of the “friends,” were willing.

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  24. I didn’t forget Jan and Lou Ann either. What a great day the three of you went through. Thank you all. Now we can sleep tonight and know Mari is safe and on her way to a happy life.

    Thank you also goes to Shirley and Steve for coordinating this rescue and all those people who chimed in with help in any way they could. It took an entire nation to save Mari. Many states working for the same end. Yay!

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  25. Just talked to Ona and Lisa (Lisa is driving from New Orleans sanctuary) and they now have a meeting place just off of the interstate near Jackson, MS. Say prayers for safe travels for all.

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    1. Another hero….ONA…along with LISA who are braving the job of transporting precious cargo Mari. Thank you just doesn’t seem like much to say for all you gals have gone through today.

      Travel Safe.

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      1. And all on such incredibly short notice with about 98 different monkey wrenches tossed in to jam up the works! Damn, we are so lucky to have such dedicated people willing to step up and tell the powers that be “No, you will not kill this dog!”

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  26. God bless everyone involved with Mari’s rescue. I hope that those in Memphis who were unwilling to get involved will learn that each and every life is precious and that, together, many more can be saved.

    Please let us know where we can send donations.

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  27. Thank God and everyone who has assisted in getting this precious dog to safety. What is going to happen to the other animals in the back room? And what can we do for them?

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    1. I’m very worried about the black and white dog in the rabies area. It’s the second kennel from the right.. the dog seems to be getting more depressed as time goes by. And not one visitor.. how sad.

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    1. before “Mari” was saved, I had sent the link to Penny at dog examiner… she didn’t reply.. she didn’t share the story. I’m very disappointed in her.. she really could have made a difference sooner.

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  28. Today MAS showed the world again how much they really care about animals. Here, I sum it up in a short sentence: “they don’t give a shit”.
    Thank you to all the good people for saving Mari.

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    1. I think the whole city proved they just don’t care about the animals & some are just disposable.
      How many people were contacted about Mari & no one could (or would) help.

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  29. I missed all of this today. I was working all day at ARNO (the shelter she is coming to) and I kept hearing about it and had to see what was going on. I was just wondering has this all been reported to the number for the authorities next to the webcam? I saw that it was reported to the news but I just wanted to check on that. Callie

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  30. I wanted to give you a first hand account of what I experienced today. When I learned that Ona and Lou Ann had been at Memphis Animal Services since opening time at 10 AM this morning, I thought they would pick up Mari and be on their merry way. At 12:30 PM, my friend Jody and I picked up some tables and chairs from Ona’s house for an adoption event her rescue group was having at Petco.

    After we dropped the items off at Petco, Jody called Ona to see if Mari had been picked up. We got bad news. The shelter had not released Mari and an ACO from the Humane Society had been called to sedate the dog. He refused to go in her cage as she was too agitated. Calls were made to several people both locally and around the country asking what could be done to get Mari sedated.

    Since I am a former dog walker who has dealt with dogs of every temperament and breed and feel very comfortable around dogs, I wanted to help so I drove to the shelter and asked one of the employees if I could see Mari. His eyes got really big and he said “Oh No! She will bite you”. I said that all I wanted to do was to “see” Mari and he said he could not allow me to go back to the stray area. He asked me if I was with “them” pointing to Ona and Lou Ann, and I said “no” and he said, “who are you with”, and I said “myself”.

    I finally found the Interim supervisor at MAS. He was hesitant at first for me to go back but he took me back to Mari’s cage. She was in the corner of the cage with her back to me. Then she curled up her lip and quickly lunged towards me and I stood there and let her sniff my hand, while keeping my fingers away from her mouth. She barked constantly but I could tell she was very scared.

    After asking the supervisors if I could go “in” the cage, he said no, that it would be too dangerous. Then I asked him again and he said that I could go back if I signed a waiver saying that if I was hurt that I would not hold MAS liable. I immediately filled out all the paperwork and then went back to see Mari.

    She was again in the corner, looked at me through the corner of her eye, then lunged at me again with her lip curled up and her teeth bared. I crouched down and started to talk to her for several minutes while the supervisor stood a few feet away with a choke pole, in case I needed any help.

    I told Mari I was coming in and I opened up the cage and sat with my back to her. She came at me and took a few nips at my arm and at my back. Fortunately, I had on a long sleeve sweater and a hoodie. Mari was sniffing my hair and I thought that if she bit me on my neck, we might have some issues, but then she got on my back with her front legs and I told her to get back, which she did.

    I told Mari that she was going to a better place and that I was not going to move until she calmed down. I was trying not to let the fear in me well up as I knew that if she smelled fear on me, that would be the end of it. I told Mari that once I get up, that she should jump in the trap that was right outside her cage.

    When I got up, Mari jumped in the trap and sat there all curled up and peaceful. I remember praying and thanking God for His help. I remember hugging Glenn and Lou Ann. Several hours later, I am still elated and am so fortunate to have shared in this experience.

    I thank God for each one of you who made this happen. My part was minimal. Each one of you took part in Mari’s rescue and each one of you deserves the accolades. Have a good night’s rest for you all deserve it.

    Love to you all!

    Jan Courtney

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    1. Jan, thank you so much for that account. We were all watching the webcams and, of course, had a limited view and no sound. But we could tell something good was happening! Thank you so much for stepping into the situation and doing what MAS wasn’t willing to: Save Mari!

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    2. Thank you so much for sharing this . I for one wanted/needed to know how/what happened. I am so relieved, amazed and impressed. There were prayers coming at “Mari” from all directions. I had no idea who was in the kennel with her, but I was praying, and GOD took control and you are both safe. Thank you so much for you dedication and love to go the extra mile for GOD’s child. Let that be an example!

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    3. So amazing. Thank you, Jan! I love the part where MAS insisted that you fill out paperwork releasing them from liability. You had to jump a bureaucratic hurdle in order to be ALLOWED to do a good deed.

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    1. Thank you for posting this, Ona — she is really lovely. And thank you so much for all you’ve done for Mari. You and the other Memphis rescuers on the ground have had a long day!

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    2. Thank you – she is a beautiful girl and now has a future, thanks to all of you who worked so hard. You are truly the angels of the world and Memphis could take some lessons in humanity and kindness from you!

      If anyone gets updates, please keep us posted. I feel like Mari is truly “our dog”!

      And I would like to send a small donation to help either with her or to help others like her.

      Lastly, I hope and pray that those in Memphis who are able and willing to really see what’s happening will have open minds and open hearts. Too many animals are paying with their lives for the tragedy that is MAS.

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  31. I haven’t read all the posts.I CAN GET her from J’son to B’haven tomorrow.If anyone can pick her up for the last 2 hours to New Orleans let me know!!!

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  32. This is a testament to the people who care and take action – no, not all the people nearby came to help, but enough came to get the job done – in the nick of time. Jan Courtney – your fantastic heart and courage (“trying not to let the fear well up inside…” — Whew!! the hair on the back of my neck was standing up reading your summary – and I already knew it had a good ending). Ona and Lou Ann – you stood your ground and kept your promise to Mari – I can only imagine the emotions swimming around you today. Steve Markwell and ARNO – you made the impossible possible. YesBiscuit-Shirley – SCORE!!! All of the folks who donated money, time, effort or just encouragement — you prove that humanity still overpowers indifference.

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  33. Jan Courtney is an angel from Heaven walking on earth! Her love and devotion to these animals is unwavering. Her humble words that her “part was minimal” shows just how larger than life she truly is! God bless you, Jan, and God bless all who worked so hard to rescue Mario!!! Lastly, God bless Mario!

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