Danny Boy

A Wheaten Rescue by Norma Lupton, Laurel Brunke, Karen White and Alma Knoll

Congratulations to Norma Lupton and her family on adopting Danny Boy. From death row in a Texas shelter to Omaha, Nebraska to Kansas City International Airport flying to SeaTac in Seattle and then an exciting trip via car to Nanaimo, British Columbia it is an amazing story.

Danny Boy was found roaming the streets of Dallas , Texas in September 2007 and brought to the Garland shelter. He was dirty, matted, and in need of lots of TLC. Karen White, a Wheatens in Need (WIN) volunteer rescued him just in time – he was scheduled to be put to sleep that day. Karen White named him Danny Boy because she said he could hear the pipes calling. She shampooed him twice and there was still odor. She took him to the vet a few hours after she got him where he was diagnosed with conjunctivitis in both eyes. The vet also removed a grape size ball of wax and fur stuck in his left ear which also had a severe infection. Hearing in the right ear was yet to be determined when the swelling subsided.

Danny Boy’s teeth were classified at a dental level 3, the worst possible. His age was estimated by the vet at about 10 years. What she thought to be sores on his elbows are calluses from poor living conditions. Karen kept him for 10 days until he could be sent to Alma and Kent Knoll in Omaha to be fostered. Karen said “He was by far the oldest foster we’ve had and possibly the sweetest. A gentleman in every way!!”

Karen and Ray drove Danny Boy all the way from Texas to Nebraska – a more than nine hour car ride not a drop of complaining by the old gentleman. When Danny Boy arrived, he was clean, had his crate, collar, leash, food, and even some home-made cookies. Pat, the mother-in law of a WIN volunteer, kept Danny boy for a few hours until Alma and Kent, his foster family could get there. Thanks to Karen’s observations and notes, Danny Boy was so easy to foster. Dr. Jean Apker, Alma ‘s vet, who has done so much for WIN rescues, was a lifesaver.

Danny Boy had to be neutered and his poor teeth were so bad. Dr. Jean patiently cleaned them as much as she could, and a few had to be pulled. She estimated Danny Boy was about 10 yrs old and life had been so rough for him. Alma said that Danny Boy was a wonderful foster kid. Through the whole ordeal, with an achy ear and teeth, he was so patient, sweet, affectionate. He has a great big heart and loves People, even though People clearly hadn’t been good to him until Karen saved him.

Thanks to Alma and Kent and Dr. Jean, Danny Boy was successfully fostered and recovered from his injuries. Danny Boy was flown to Seattle on Saturday, October 29th where he was met by his new mom Norma and what a trip they had home!

Norma and her friend MaryAnn started out on Friday morning by driving to Victoria and getting on the ferry (the Coho) to Port Angeles . It was a beautiful, crisp, sunny, fall day and they spent the rest of it making their way slowly south down the Olympic Peninsula. The views along the ocean and the fall colours of the leaves were stunning. They stopped for lunch in Port Townsend – a picturesque oceanside town with wonderful boat yards and heritage buildings. By the time they were nearing the Sea-Tac airport area it was dark. They exited off the I-5 freeway and promptly got lost.

Twenty minutes later they found themselves accidentally traveling through the covered arrivals/departure area of the airport and when they came out the other side they had to stop at a light. When they looked up ahead they suddenly realized, that by some stroke of luck, they were right across the street from the hotel where Norma had made their reservation. It was 8 pm.

The next morning the whole area was socked in with dense fog and Norma started to feel worried that Danny’s flight might not be able to land. By 11am the fog had lifted and they drove to the cargo area where they were to pick Danny up. The cargo agent didn’t transport him to this area until 1 1/2 hours after his plane had landed.

By this time Norma was really full of a mixture of excitement and anxious anticipation. It had become another beautiful, sunny day so they did lots of walking while they were waiting. When they finally placed his crate down in front of her, Norma cautiously opened the door because she was afraid he might bolt but instead he landed her with his big mushy kisses all over her face and then proceeded to devour her ears. It was love at first sight for both of them. Even though MaryAnn was right there and making a big fuss of him too, from that very first moment he knew Norma was the one he belonged to.

They were soon whizzing north on the I-5 confident that they would be back home on Vancouver Island by evening time. MaryAnn was driving so Norma could pay attention to Danny Boy in his crate on the back seat. Norma made her promised phone call to Alma to tell her everything was OK and then did the same to her husband. Norma no sooner finished talking to him when MaryAnn remarked that the car had suddenly lost its power and had no ability to accelerate. They had to make some quick decisions. They were in the middle lane of a busy five lane stretch just north of Seattle.

Norma urged MaryAnn to immediately try to get the car over to the right shoulder, two lanes over. Cars were zooming past them, and despite the fact that they had their lane change indicator on and had lost significant speed, nobody wanted to let them change lanes. Instead they maintained their speed, leaned on their horns, and would not allow them to cross in front of them. She literally had to force her way across and they both prayed that they would not get creamed in the process. It was the scariest few moments either of them had ever experienced in their lives. When they were finally stopped on the shoulder they just sat in stunned silence.

When they recovered Norma pulled on the hazard lights and lifted the hood. Norma phoned the Automobile Association and one hour later a very nice man in a tow truck arrived. He was able to determine that the throttle cable had broken and there was no way it could be repaired until Monday because the new cable had to be ordered from GM. He could see by her face how upset Norma was so he got back on the phone to AAA and they determined that because Norma has a Gold Plus membership she was entitled to 200 miles of free towing. Norma had no idea! She had often wondered about the value of keeping up her membership but she will never question it again. In the whole hour while they waited for the truck to come not one person stopped to offer help – not even a police vehicle that went by!

Soon her car was on top of the towing bed of his truck, MaryAnn and Norma and Danny Boy were up high in the cab with the driver, and they headed north for 2 1/2 hours to the truck border crossing at Blaine . Her car was then lowered in the duty free shop parking lot and then they waited again for an hour for the BC Automobile Association tow truck to come across the border, reload the car, and take them across the border back into Canada . This new tow truck driver was the total opposite of the first one. He was a real “know-it-all” character who told Norma that the dog had to ride in the car on the tow bed of the truck because there was no room for him in the cab.

Norma told him that was not going to happen and he reluctantly allowed her to take Danny Boy into the cab. He also kept saying that he could find one of his mechanic buddies who could “jimmy up” the cable enough to get them home to Vancouver Island , which didn’t sound very safe. He kept trying to call his buddies but fortunately none of them answered. Finally Norma had had enough and requested that he take them to a decent hotel and they would worry about the car the next day. They ended up staying the night in Langley (south of Vancouver ).

The hotel normally didn’t allow pets but were very willing to let them stay for the night. It was 8 pm. Allan came over the next morning to take them home. As soon as he came through the door, Danny immediately bonded with him as well. Norma doesn’t know how dogs figure these things out but Danny knew right away that he belonged to Allan too. Through the whole experience, Danny was a little uncertain but calm and absolutely no trouble at all. He slept in his crate quietly by her bed, had no accidents in the hotel room, and did what he had to do each time Norma took him outside. He really was easy to travel with. He really is, as Karen says, Mr. Wonderful.

They got home around 2:30 pm the next day.

So now you are all wondering how Danny Boy adjusted to his new home. At first he was very tired and kind of in a daze. That night he slept in their bedroom uncrated but with a gate across the door so he couldn’t wander through the rest of the house. OK, Norma came clean – he slept soundly all night on their bed. Norma crated him the next day while she was at work. He was much brighter the second day and at noon when Norma came home to see him he was very bouncy and even played with her for a short period. She was trying to get him to go outside through the dog door but Norma doesn’t think he has ever seen one before. He hasn’t had a single accident in the house but he won’t get to stay in the house alone uncrated until he starts to go outside on his own for his potty breaks.

They went for a very short walk the first night – he suddenly stopped and turned around and looked back towards the house and wouldn’t go any further. The second night they went a little farther – around the corner to the mail box and he was comfortable with that. Norma knows he is going to be just fine with them – he wants to please and he is quite flexible and not demanding or stubborn. They feel very fortunate to have him and are grateful to everyone for making it happen.

January 5, 2008 update from Norma

Danny Boy continues to do well with us. He loves our grandchildren and their dog Yoda. Our cleaning ladies left us a note not long ago saying “we just want you to know that Danny Boy is the friendliest, most affectionate and loving dog ever!” He uses the dog door like a pro now and no longer needs to be crated. He still sleeps on our bed at night – not all dog owners are perfect. He doesn’t hear well at all. His left ear canal is very narrow. He watches our hand gestures and knows what we are indicating. He doesn’t replace Teddy in our hearts but he has filled up the empty space created by Teddy’s departure and we love Danny Boy very much.