We don't know Tonka's whole story. In fact, we know less than a week of it. But what we do know is that he was sweet and handsome and deserved so much better. We can't change Tonka's ending, but we can make sure we never forget.
Last Thursday we found out about a Borzoi needing help in New Mexico. Since SHUG has a great group of volunteers in nearby Phoenix, we were prepared to lend a hand. After lots of text messages and phone calls, it turned out there were TEN Borzoi needing help--a little too much for our local people to handle comfortably--so we switched gears to set up a transport and bring the dogs back to our headquarters near Washington, DC.
Although we were willing to fly out there and drive them back, there were no appropriate vehicles available for one way rentals that could hold 10 dogs. The awesome ladies at the Alabama Greyhound Rescue and Adoption Center stepped up and offered to make the drive in their specially designed truck if SHUG paid their expenses. Having seen their fully enclosed and air conditioned dog transport, named Ellanore, in person, we knew the dogs would be traveling in comfort.
This past weekend, Ellanore and her crew traveled to New Mexico and picked up ten Borzoi--and two cats! At least one of the dogs, Tonka, was a senior and severely overweight. Everyone arrived back safely to their home base in Birmingham, AL late Monday evening and after a day of rest, set out for SHUG HQ early this morning.
Around 9am this morning, Tonka passed away suddenly. At this point, we believe he most likely suffered from a heart attack. This morning, Tonka showed no signs of distress and was affectionate and asking for loving--which he received. It is comforting to know that Tonka didn't suffer and seemed to be happy--but we wanted so much more for him.
Although we've lost dogs in fostercare at SHUG before, this is the first time in over 400 dogs we've lost one during transport. Luckily, Ellanore hadn't even gotten out of the city yet, so they were able to take Tonka to a known vet and didn't have to leave him with strangers. Tonka will be cremated and will have a permanent home at SHUG HQ where he will be in very good company.
Tomorrow we will tell you about the other dogs and be excited about the start of their new lives. But today is just for Tonka.