It all started with a picture…a picture of an emaciated dog being held at MADACC. When I saw his picture, I couldn’t believe Ethan had somehow managed to stay alive given his skeletal appearance. Frankly, I guessed that Wisconsin’s law that requires animals to be held a minimum of seven days before they can be euthanized was the only thing keeping Ethan alive at Milwaukee County’s animal control facility.
Almost immediately after I saw Ethan’s picture for the first time, Remember Me Ranch offered to sponsor Ethan if someone would agree to foster him. It didn’t take long for Jean Mueller to volunteer to serve as Ethan’s “foster mom” and have Ethan pulled out of MADACC’s lineup.
I was so excited to learn that Ethan had been placed with Jean that I contacted the Executive Director of the dog’s sponsor, Remember Me Ranch, and asked if I could meet Ethan. Cassie Richardson was thrilled to learn how my heart had gone out to Ethan and agreed to share Jean’s contact information.
Knowing Ethan needed time to settle into his foster home, I waited a few weeks before I contacted Jean. Within days of our first conversation, Jean welcomed me warmly as I knocked on her front door. Almost unrecognizable compared to his picture, Ethan greeted me, too – he was right by Jean’s side when she opened the door to let me inside her home. As I entered, I could barely take my eyes off of Ethan! I couldn’t believe how bright his eyes were, how young and healthy he looked, and how his tail wagged incessantly! He and I were instant BFFs.
As Jean led me to the kitchen so we could sit and talk, Ethan followed behind us. Before sitting around a cozy table, Jean introduced me to her other dogs, Chunky and Stinky. Jean explained that Stinky was not feeling well that day as Ethan stared up at us while lying on his belly chewing on a bone.
When the conversation turned to Ethan, Jean told me that she wasn’t sure how he had ended up at MADACC. Jean did know that Ethan was perilously thin when he first arrived at her home and that he moved very, very slowly. Jean continued, saying it was slow going at first, but that after five weeks in her home and twenty-five 25-pound rolls of ground beef prepared for him with love, Ethan’s weight had more than doubled from 24 pounds to 49 pounds.
Jean said that despite the condition Ethan was in when he first arrived at MADACC and then her home, he is a perfectly healthy dog with only one issue…a possibly a second. First, Ethan wants to play with Jean’s other dogs who are all significantly older than he is. As she explained that her other dogs are simply too old to keep up with Ethan, I watched Ethan try to convince Jean’s Pomeranian to play. Ethan jumped at the smaller, senior dog and seemed to be begging her to let her defenses down…to just play for heaven’s sake! Despite his best efforts, the Pomeranian refused Ethan’s invitation, however.
Ethan’s second, possible issue is based on observation and some deductive reasoning rather than anything Ethan has actually, physically done. Because Ethan gets overly excited when he sees rabbits or squirrels outside and Jean’s cat, a feline used to interacting with canines, does not like Ethan, Jean suspects he has what is referred to as a “high prey drive.”
After rising from the kitchen table, Jean led me downstairs to a sprawling basement where she has a room set up specifically for foster dogs and cats. As she gave me a tour, it became quite obvious that fostering animals is very important to Jean and that she is excited to help out rescues such as Remember Me Ranch whenever possible. Jean said that Remember Me Ranch has been in contact with her repeatedly since Ethan arrived in her newly-built home. Jean says knowing she can contact Ethan’s sponsor at will continues to make her feel like her work as a foster mom is genuinely valued and appreciated…which it is, of course, as foster homes like hers are the lifeblood of all rescues and shelters.
When we headed out into the backyard so Ethan could use the “facilities,” he continued to try to convince me to play with him. Being easier to convince than the Pomeranian was, I loved on him as if he were one of my own which he obviously appreciated. Ethan demonstrated that he is a bottomless source of energy when he decided to twirl the chair I was sitting in as I continued my chat with his foster mom. Jean laughed as I spun around and explained that Ethan twirls her every chance he gets, too.
Ethan’s rescue is a wonderful tale of survival that can only be told because of Remember Me Ranch and the foster home Jean Mueller opened up to him. Without organizations like Remember Me Ranch and foster homes like Jean’s, very few such happy stories would ever be told. Given that obvious fact, it’s confounding that MADACC decided to cut ties with its former placement partner, Remember Me Ranch, especially because MADACC’s rationale for doing so was, at best vague, and at worst, unwarranted.
Thanks to the generosity of Remember Me Ranch and Jean Mueller, Ethan is currently up for adoption. You can contact Remember Me Ranch here if you are interested in giving this brilliant, bright-eyed, beautiful boy a home. You’ll be glad you did!