Now Out! I Once Was Lost, But Now I’m Found: Daisy and the Olympic Animal Sanctuary Rescue

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On the far side of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, halfway between the mountains and the ocean, stands the little town of Forks. In that town, in a quiet neighborhood of modest homes and shabby businesses, there remains a dilapidated pink warehouse.

Packed inside that warehouse, living in deplorable conditions, were once over 120 dogs. Some of the dogs were kept in crates piled high on shelves, arranged in rows along the walls, and shoved into corners behind heaps of garbage and urine-saturated straw. Some of the dogs were confined to wire-sided or glassed-in kennels. One was kept in an old horse trailer. Dead ones were stored in a cooler.

In one of the crates was a black dog named Daisy. This is her story.

It is also the story of the rescue of one hundred and twenty-four dogs—and one snake—from the Olympic Animal Sanctuary, the only large-scale dog rescue in the U.S. to be carried out with no support from local government. The OAS rescue was an epic narrative that extended over several years and featured small town politics, protests, assault, lawsuits, arrests, and a midnight escape, all played out to a nationwide audience.

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About the Author

laurakoerbercolorLaura Koerber is an artist and writer who lives on an island with her husband and her two dogs. Her first book, The Dog Thief and Other Stories (written as Jill Kearney), was listed by Kirkus Review as one of the Hundred Best Books of 2015. She’s the author of The Listener’s Tale, I Once Was Lost, But Now I’m Found, and the upcoming The Shapeshifter’s Tale, and Limbo. She is also a contributing author to Rescue Smiles.

Here are some of the author’s thoughts on the book, written to her FB page last evening:

Okay, so here it is at long last. Or it seems like at long last to me, since I started working on it about two years ago.

The OAS rescue was a tremendously meaningful experience to a lot of people and the meanings are as varied as the people. It is not one story. It is hundreds of stories.

It is a fundraiser for OAS rescues, as I’m donating all my portion of sales to those who took in the dogs. Also, any nonprofit rescues can order books at reduced cost from the publisher, set their own price, and sell the book as a fundraiser to their supporters and the public.

Interested in selling this book as a fundraiser for your nonprofit? All books are $6.50 for nonprofits and indie bookstores (mix and match), which includes shipping. You can order in bulk from our nonprofit ordering page here: http://whochainsyou.com/nonprofitorder.html

What is the book about? My goal was to use the story of Daisy’s odyssey through the Olympic Animal Sanctuary as an overview of what happened, but also as a vehicle for informing readers about hoarders, failed rescues, law enforcement issues, trainers and behaviorists, and actions people can take when they become aware of abuse or neglect. The people named in the book are the ones who were named in the press or on TV. About twenty dogs are mentioned as illustrations of various points made in the text, such as the condition of dogs when rescued. The book is written in first person as a narrative with some sections written more formally. There are lots of photos, courtesy of many people who stepped up along the way, and from the Forks police files.

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Photo by Ernst-Ulrich Schafer, http://www.ernstschafer.com/

Shari Forst provided a story about Cream to illustrate how a behaviorist works with a dog and I added a tribute to Old Man Tucker just because…I think I would have loved him if I had ever had a chance to meet him. There is also a piece written by Jim Crosby who did the evaluations of the final dogs which is included to show how a real professional evaluates a dog. The cover features a very lovely artistic shot from professional photographer Ernst-Ulrich Schafer.

The book is not a comprehensive chronicle of everyone, every dog and everything that happened. For example, it does not include the long process of placing dogs after they got to Arizona.

In the end, I wanted the book to be uplifting. I hope it will inspire people who are not active in rescue to get active. I do hope that the people who were involved in the rescue, even if they are not specifically mentioned, will know that I wrote it in honor of all of you. Thank you.

Buy on Amazon | Buy on Kindle | Buy from Createspace and $1 Will be Donated to our Charity of the Year

Old Wounds and a New Book: Thoughts on her Upcoming Olympic Animal Sanctuary book, by Laura Koerber

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Debris piled outside the pink shed in Forks, WA where many dogs lost their lives.

A note about an Upcoming book from Who Chains You Publishing: I Once Was Lost, But Now I’m Found, by author Laura Koerber.

Laura has put out the following statement about the meaning behind the work she’s done to bring this story of Daisy and what she and the other dogs went through there:

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Author Laura Koerber

“I am almost done with a book about the rescue of the Olympic Animal Sanctuary dogs.

For some people that sentence is very meaningful and will trigger an emotional response: heartbreak, rage, love, awe, gratitude…

For others, that sentence means nothing, but I hope to change that.

My reaction is complex and varied. On one level, it is a story. An amazing and inspiring story about protests, assault, lawsuits, arrests and an attempt by the abuser to run away with over one hundred dogs packed in a semi truck. On another level, it is a reality, the reality of a great wrong that was done, a wrong that was righted for some, but not for all. And the victims, the dogs that experienced the wrong, are getting old and dying off. I can’t think of them without oscillating between anger, tears, and gratitude. I don’t want their suffering to be forgotten.

After all, the OAS dogs are by no means the only ones to have suffered in the hands of a hoarder, or a failed rescue or a puppymill. There are thousands of dogs and other animals suffering the same kind of abuse right now as you read this. And all over the US, local authorities either refuse to act or actively support the abusers.

The rescue was done because of activists using Facebook. Yes, the notorious social media, supposedly a fever swamp of vindictive inaccuracies. The whistleblower alerted the world of the abuse through Facebook and hundreds of people got organized and engaged in a wide range of activities to free the dogs by using Facebook. People wrote consumer fraud complaints, organized protests, communicated with local officials, raised money, and, after about a year of effort, freed the dogs. Freed the ones that survived.

That’s the part that hurts my heart. Not all of them survived.

Goodby Mario, Lexy, Rocket. I am so sorry Phoenix, Doc, Suki and Malakai. Run free, Dixie and Abel.

But I don’t want their deaths to be for nothing. The OAS rescue is a model that other people could use against abusers in their vicinity. The book is, in a way, a recipe, a how-to guide.

The title is “I Once Was Lost, but Now I’m Found”. The book follows the life of one OAS dog, Daisy, before she was sent to the Olympic Animal Sanctuary, while she was incarcerated there, her trip on the truck to Arizona, and her return home to a family here in Washington state. Along the way the book includes information on hoarders, rescues, trainers and behaviorists, difficulties with law enforcement, and other issues of interest to people who care about the well-being of animals.

The author plans to donate her proceeds to animal groups caring for the rescued dogs.