Animal Rescue

(Animals from the Pine Ridge Reservation in our care)



In August of 2008, we received permission to take a cat and a dog from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.  Both were in need of medical care that was not available on the reservation.

Igmu, the tom cat, had an oozing wound under his chin.  A large larva was removed from that wound that has since healed up perfectly.  Igmu was also treated for ear mites and received the shots typically given to a house cat in Pennsylvania.  Igmu has gained a lot of weight and put himself in charge of all the animals at my home.

Igmu, a black tom cat

This picture was taken shortly after we picked Igmu up.  The oozing wound under his chin is partially hidden by the wet fur.

Approximate age:  8 weeks

August 08, 2008

Chewie, the dog, had a severely matted fur coat, could hardly walk on one of her hind legs, and was malnourished.  Because her name is also the name of a brand of dog treats we provide to our dogs, we changed her name.  Her new name, Wawat'ecala, reflects that she is a very gentle dog.

Wawat'ecala was severly injured in a car accident when she was a pup.  A cat (yes, a cat) took care of the pup, provided food and grooming and care.  The dog survived but some damages could not be repaired by the care that cat could provide.  One orbital bone (the bone structure around the eye) was broken and healed imperfectly leaving a noticeable dent in her head.  Her right hip is severely arthritic.  The cup may have developed poorly naturally but it has certainly also suffered from the impact of a car accident when the dog was a pup.  The femur is misshapen which probably does, or will cause her pain.  The possible surgical reshaping of that bone is no guarantee for improved ambulatory capabilities and does not seem advisable at this stage.  She was also diagnosed with an unnatural curvature of the spine.

With exercise, massage, and good nutrition, her condition has significantly improved.  Wawat'ecala seems a very happy dog these days.  She engages in play with the other dogs and with Igmu, and occasionally runs after a squirrel, fox, or bird using all four of her legs.

Additional exams on Dec. 07th, 2008 confirmed the orbital bone on her right side had been broken but healed.  The facial muscles on that side are poorly developed, probably as a result of the accident.  This may lead to her inability to move that eye as she gets older.  There is a cataract in that eye but her vision is good and the cataract may not require any treatment in the future.  Her range of motion in the injured leg is normal.  Her hip is badly deformed.  An operation is possible but the outcome is uncertain.  The vet suggested massage treatment for the strengthening of the bad leg and in order to keep the current range of motion.  This series of exams did NOT confirm any unusual curvature of the spine.

Wawat'ecala a.k.a. Chewie

This picture was taken about one week after her arrival at her new home in Pennsylvania.  Her fur coat is still short from having been cut. Cutting her fur seemed to be the only option we had to remove mats from many places.

August 17, 2008


Both Igmu and Wawat'ecala continued to develop beautifully in 2009.  Igmu matured nicely and engaged the pack of dogs in play.  Urmel in particular became his playmate but Wawat'ecala often engages in play, too.  True to his character, Storm remained more reserved towards Igmu as with all other animals in the house.  Wawat'ecala walked on all four legs and often surprised us with her speed when she chased squirrels and birds.

Igmu established himself as leader of the pack during the day but Urmel likes to chase him out of the bedroom at night. 

Nov. 18, 2008

We decided to only take Wawat'ecala back to the reservation in 2009 because traveling with Igmu is too problematic on such a long trip with many stops and many boxes that could injure such a small animal.  Igmu loves to climb around, claws the fabric and leather on the walls, and tries to jump out the door every time we open it for one reason or another.  Since walking the three dogs means opening the door at least four times but more likely six times, Igmu has a lot of opportunities to escape.  We don't think he would run away but are concerned he may jump right in front of the tires of a moving 18-wheeler.  The risk is just not worth the possible benefit of taking Igmu along.

This picture shows Wawat'ecala in Pennsylvania.



Both Igmu, the cat, and Wawat'ecala, the dog, have grown up beautifully.

Glezala is a new addition to our furry family.

Life has changed for Mr Igmu, the cat, since his reservation days.

In the picture, he is catching sunrays on his "froggy" blanket by the window and overlooks the gardens.

This is one of his favorite places and observation posts.  From there, he can be at his food dish and water supply with just one, or two jumps.

He did kill a least one mouse this summer.  He caught the little critter in our garage.  As evidenced by the remains I found, Igmu ate his catch.


Wawat'ecala picked up a few toys this year but, unlike her canine living companions, is still not much interested in chasing tennis balls.  Instead, she prefers to explore the world on her own, lie under the truck on hot days, or enjoy the air conditioned coolness of the house when outside temperatures soar into the 80's, 90's and 100's.

She interacts with the other dogs but does not engage in ball play like they do.  She saves her strength for when it is needed, e.g. when a squirrel comes too close.  Then, Wawat'ecala gives chase.

In the picture, Wawat'ecala walks through fallen leaves in the spring of 2010.  Something seems to have caught her attention.  She may have heard a mole rustling through the leaves as he escaped to safety.


In August, we took Glezala, a malnourished cat, 6 to 8 weeks old, without any signs of mange but with worms, into our care. 

Glezala is a very active and very hungry cat.  He hisses when one of the dog gets closer than his comfort level permits and stands his ground.  The dogs respect that.

He adjusted well to the new environment of the bus and has not - as of the writing of this line - scratched up the interior wall coverings.

The photo shows Glezala after he received a bath.  The little guy sat patiently in a sink while I quickly fetched the camera for this shot.


October  2010:  Glezala (left) and Igmu (right) have become playmates.  They often chase one another, eat from the same dish even though each one has his own, and often sleep next to one another.  The picture shows them in one of the beds we provide for them.  As you can see, Glezala has grown a lot in the last two months.

Glezala has a tremendous appetite all the time and asks to be fed.  He comes running when he hears the pop of a can of cat food, and often eats Igmu's food, too.

Glezala goes to bed when I do, and I'm talking about the same bed, mine.  He wakes my wife in the morning by climbing up on her and staring straight in her face.





Glezala (tabby on left) likes to eat his kitten food, Igmu's adult cat food, all the dog food he can reach and also people food in any order at any time an opportunity to eat presents itself.  As a result of his lack of preference, he has grown quickly and gained significant weight.  In January of 2011, he was already about equal in size to Igmu. 

Igmu (black on right) responds to Glezala's playfulness.  We often see the two play-battling one another.  They also groom one another.  When Igmu needs some quiet time, he usually disappears and hides out in the basement, or in one of the bedrooms in the house he shares with us.


Wawat'ecala enjoys the colder weather.  She loves to chase birds and squirrels.  Because her traumatized hind leg has much improved, she can now run at full speed after one of the little creatures of whom we have so many in our neighborhood.

Her ability to jump around in deep snow in January and February of 2011 surprised me.

The picture on the left shows Wawat'ecala pondering whether to go and look for someone to chase in the cold on our property, or to return to the warm house.  This photo was taken in late December of 2010.


Igmu and Glezala are often seen playing with each other, grooming each other, or sleeping together.

Here, they rest in a soft basket on one of the pianos at "their" house. This is by no means an endorsement of the quality of the occasional musical entertainment to which they are subjected but rather a sign that resting in that room that stays relatively cool even on the hottest summer days is preferable over resting in any other room.


Wawat'ecala graduated from doggie school as a certified therapy dog. With this certification, she can now give therapy to residents of old folks homes, patients at clinics, hospitals and other health care facilities.

Because of her gentle disposition (her native American name roughly translates into "Gentle One"), she is well suited for this line of work and seems to enjoy it as much as the people she meets.

She had just been bathed before this picture was taken. Apparently, the experience was not entirely enjoyable for the dog that grew up on the prairie.


Glezala and Igmu are often observed hugging and grooming each other. I wouldn't necessarily call it "kittie love" but the two of them show a lot of affection for each other when they are not sparring, or chasing each other through the house.

At ages 1-1/2 and 2-1/2 respectively, they seem to enjoy physical activities as much as lots of relaxation including taking naps in between sleeping and snoozing.

Igmu likes to sit outside in the sunshine on warm days while Glezala is more the indoorsy type who appreciates a soft and warm bed inside the house.


Wawat'ecala enjoys the first snow of the season in November of 2011.

She does not mind being in the snow and apparently tolerates the cold very well thanks to her thick coat and early life in the bitter cold of winter time in the northern plains, specifically the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

She went "on assignment" as a therapy dog several times before year's end and showed that she prefers small groups of crowds of humans. She particularly seems to dislike loud music.




Wawat'ecala enjoyed a rare snow day this winter. After her exposure to winters in the great plains, this winter in Pennsylvania must have looked like nothing more than a quick rehearsal to her.

She continues her career as a therapy dog and clearly recognizes some of the people she meets regularly at a home for elderly. One old lady laughed happily when Wawat'ecala came to her on her own and greeted her doggie-style by sticking her tongue out for a quick lick on the nose. This behavior is typical for the breed, and it made that lady's day.

Glezala changed his habits and sleeps in the bedroom we use while Igmu prefers quiet and solitude without snoring dogs and lunging canines suspicious of every movement in the room during the night and ready to defend their turf against any intruder. He prefers to stay be himself and sleep on his cushio on the sofa in the living room.

Both cats appear to be in good health and seem to be unaffected by the rough start they had in their lives with the exception that Glezala still does not like to be picked up and carried.



Copyright 2012