June 30, 2004

Evander Hollyfield from the Champions Puppy Mill Rescue Group!

On Sunday, June 27, one day after this boy's one year Birthday, he escaped from his Small Paws foster home, here in Tulsa, Oklahoma, after firecrackers frightened him. He escaped wearing his harness and his 6 foot leash.

For three days and nights, Tulsa volunteers took shifts looking for him, while thousands of Small Pawsers across the world prayed for his safe return.

We put up signs, placed a LOST ad in the newspaper, and offered a $500.00 reward for his safe return.

He was lost in an area surrounded by very busy streets, near 71st and Yale in south Tulsa.

We specifically prayed for his protection from cars.

Many witnesses had seen him, but no one was able to capture this hard core puppy mill rescue. He was just terrified of everything and everyone.

We hired this company,
Petfinders Alert
1-800-274-2556 for $119.00, to use their special computers to call each phone number within a mile radius of where he was last spotted, with a description and a phone number to call in case he was found.

This morning at 7:00 my cell phone rang and the most unbelievable story began to unfold.

Hold on to your hats, and if you are not yet a believer in the miracle healing power of prayer...get ready. You are going to be!

It seems that this baby was first spotted in the field behind this south Tulsa home's back yard.

The blue arrow points to an area UNDER THE FENCE, ONLY about 3 1/2 inches tall, where Evander crawled INTO THE BACK YARD OF THE MOST WONDERFUL PEOPLE!
(Please forgive the blur...it was so humid the camera kept fogging up!)

Are you ready for the first miracle? They own a BICHON!

Doris and Woodrow Norwood, (wnorwood@oru.edu) with their own Bichon, Hoppie!

Are you ready for the second miracle?

Out of 2000 homes in the area, Evander found his way to THIS back yard. A yard owned by Bichon parents who are believers in the power of prayer!

Woodrow knew this was our lost Bichon, and ran inside to get his own Bichon, Hoppie!

Hoppie, enticed Evander to crawl under a 3 1/2 inch opening under the fence, and into the Norwood's back yard where Woodrow grabbed him by his harness!

Doris Norwood and Hoppie!

In the Norwood's living room, Evander
waits in a crate to go for a vet check up after his three days on the run!

Waiting at our vet's office were Christina and Carlos Casanova, Evander's first foster parents from Dallas, Texas. They drove up in the middle of the night last night to assist in the search, along with their two Bichons, Gabby and SPR Bichon, Bailey!

Carlos holds Evander, safe in his arms.

Carlos and Christina are so grateful Evander was found!
(They had named him "Cooper". "Cooper" is the name he knows.)

He is exhausted after being on the run for three days and nights.

Carlos brushes the stickers out of his fur. This baby actually fell asleep once during the brushing. He was so tired.
(Evander, not Carlos)

More brushing.

Sweeping up the stick tights (stickers) that came off of him. He had them in his eyes, and Dr. Russell removed the stickers and treated his eyes for ulcers caused by them.

This is a short movie right after his rescue!
(It takes a few minutes to load!)

Thanks to everyone who prayed for this boy. He is safe and sound back in Small Paws' custody now!

UPDATE: July 11, 2004
Subj: Evander, now called "Casey"--read on to see why!
Date: 7/11/2004 2:40:04 PM Central Daylight Time
From: philalehmann@jackpine.com

To any/all "Small Paws" helpers that have concern:

Here is written email confirmation of Evander's safe arrival; also some details about the arrival and first day in his new home--if you wish to read the chronicle of first day events.

As we had already left a message on the proper phone machine Friday evening, 9 July 2004, about 11:30 PM, we obtained Evander safely at the Cherry Airport in Traverse City MI. The announcement of delayed flights and bad weather in Chicago left us for a time very concerned that he might not make the transfer from one plane to the other in the Chicago airport on Friday evening. We were told he might come in Saturday morning if the transfer connection was not made. As it turned out, both the flight from Tulsa to Chicago and the flight from Chicago to Traverse City were delayed/late (at least an hour). So, there was indeed a timely transfer from one plane to the other.

Evander arrived in Traverse at 9:30 PM (an hour late). By the time he was taken from the arriving plane into the appropriate area, and the identification of receiving party (us) / processing of documents were properly made, we left the airport with him a little after 10:00, heading straight for Manistee on US 31, about an hour and a half drive south down the eastern coast of Lake Michigan. We got home shortly after 11:30, made sure that Evander in his travel cage was put into our living room while the other dogs we have were all let out into the backyard. Thereupon, we let Evander out of his cage, through the house on a leash and into the securely fenced-in backyard (to introduce him to the others and for all to "do their business"). After the other dogs went back in, he wanted to search the yard out a bit, finding the corners especially interesting. ("Ah, hey little guy, you ain't a goin' ta find no escape holes in this here backyard! So go ahead and sniff, but youz is a-stayin' right here with me on the end of this here leash in this here backyard!! Ya better believe dat!" And he looked up at me as if to say, "OK, Daddy!")

Evander spent the night right next to our bed, in a fairly large cage, with appropriate comforts and items to give him a sense of security. Everything went quite well, as all the dogs soon fell asleep. Evander slept the whole night without disturbance, ready the next morning to see what we had in store for him.

On Saturday (yesterday, July 10), we spent much time helping him get acquainted with the house and the four other dogs; he even "met" the (quite tame) 15 year old cat. (The exchange there was actually cordial--both were interested in each other). He needs to be potty-trained some more; and since this was but the first day here, and we did not want to use any stern voice yet to let him know the rug is not the place to go on, we relied on both taking him out frequently and using our special Small Paws "belly band." We had him much of the day on a leash even in the house, to keep him close to us. Occasionally, we let him "loose" (under watchful eyes) to do some exploring and sniffing and to "communicate" with the other dogs in the ways that they are accustomed to "sniff each other out." He also spent a lot of time right on one or the other of our laps, gradually releasing his stiff muscles into a calm repose and once in a while rather sound sleep. Poor guy surely did have tiring and stressful Friday plane trips. I was sure I heard him mumble in his sleep on my lap, "And all those people standing around my cage yesterday, wondering just who I am! I mean, really!!"

As you know, he is extremely fearful, anxious, uncertain of his surroundings as well as of people. We were pleased to see that he easily "took" to the other pups, especially Candy, the rescue dog we obtained in January 2004. It was almost as if he and Candy "said" to each other, "Well, we kinda have gone through the same thing. So we understand each other!" They really did "hit it off" well, and wound up following each other and playing together from time to time throughout the day. A deeper acquaintance with the other Bichons was made in the course of the day also, so that they all are very comfortable together, and play, rest or sleep (quite soundly) together. Beautiful sight! And when they all four open up their eight eyes together at the sound of something making noise, with heads and noses remaining still slightly over the edge of the couch--well, as the commercial says, "Priceless!!"

By nightfall Saturday, all were with us in the same bed upstairs, quite peaceful and satisfied with the day's activities. A little after midnight, it seemed that Evander wanted to go back into the cage, where he stayed until about 6:00 AM Sunday when he wanted to come back to bed. He whined to let us know that. We were about to arise, but thought we'd stay in bed a few more minutes for "puppy dog fellowship" and rising together for another day.

Breakfast was served with a little bit of chicken on top of the bowl--yummy, yummy. Both the Saturday and Sunday morning breakfast bowls were quickly emptied. He even thought he might try snitching a bit from one or two of the other bowls which were not completely eaten by the other dogs. Getting a bit brave there, I'd say!

In just a day and a half, he has adapted to his new environment quite well. He knows that he's safe now, but he still displays some anxiety every once in awhile (especially if both of us just have to take care of some other chores, too) by pacing around the room. He stays within our range while doing that, looks up at us, sniffs the floor, paces some more, goes under and through a chair, and then figures it's all OK. So he jumps up onto the sofa to lie with the other dogs or to sit there with either of us.

We need approach him from the front and move slowly to touch him. On Saturday, amazingly, he did not get scared at all as we were using vacuum cleaners and such noise making machines occasionally. We watched him during such time, and had one of us hold him at the time; but he was comfortable enough just to sit on a lap, then even alone on the sofa, and finally snooze all by himself on the couch while we worked. Lawn mowers were buzzing outside, and once some firecrackers went off in the neighborhood. However, he remained remarkably calm through all that, though we were close at hand to re-assure him of his safety. Increasingly, he is cuddling up to be petted, to fall asleep, or just to watch the world go by in the living room in front of his eyes.

That's a story line to convey to you that we know he will do quite well. He needs some time to be sure that this now really is "his home" with "Mommy and Daddy" and brothers and sisters (including a cat) to live with "forever."

One final note: After we had been searching our hearts these last days in trying to secure for him a special name (at first selecting Houdini--escape artist), we this very morning (Sunday) chose "Casey." The selection had to do with the sound of the name (Linda's preference), with selecting one that clearly is distinguishable from the five names of our other pets, and with the association with "Casey Jones" (the legendary train engineer--in keeping with Phil's particular interests in railroads). The namesake which is described thus in one of my literature books, "the spirit of Casey Jones is the spirit of the early railroad engineers who laughed at death on their runs through storms and floods" will keep in mind for us, too, that the once-called "Evander" ran skillfully through the streets of Tulsa, yes, through swamp and thicket--oh, maybe out of momentary fright at the start, but never from the divine light to part--that is, from the divine hand guiding him safely into the arms of those who love him so much.

For sure, he made it there! Safe with us forever!

Thank you, Small Paws!

Yours in support and spirit,

Phil and Linda Lehmann
Manistee MI