I received several notes in the comments section from people involved in the rescue of Avalanche from his original, neglectful owner. I wanted to publish these comments separately so that you could all read the history and the update on the case against his owner. I am also saddened to learn that his owner still has animals – to this day – mostly dogs, living outside in the same conditions Lance came from. Sadly, a few of these dogs are Lance’s litter mates and they are still as feral as Lance once was. Let’s help these animals stop suffering in cold silence as well as all the dogs in PA puppy mills by spreading the word to our friends and co-workers, writing letters to our government, educating people to not buy puppies from a pet store, & educating people to not tie or chain their dogs outside. Obviously, animals like Lance have the ability to be affectionate and comical once they are set free. Let’s help more animals to be set free.
This comment was from a woman named Marita who visited the hoarder’s property several times and helped save the lives of many dogs:
“This is a great Cinderella story. Knowing the life that Avalanche left behind that cool November day last year and hearing how far he has come shows that there is hope for any dog out there. I remember how scared he was as he was removed from the property and knowing that he now has a wonderful family is fantastic news. He was truely a feral dog who has learned that humans aren’t something to fear. Without the help of DVGRR, Avalanche’s life would not have had a happy ending. DVGRR gave him a chance that few rescues and rescuers would have had the time and patience to devote to him. Thank you so very much for loving and giving him a chance to enjoy life.”
This second comment was from Rose, who works for SEVA GRREAT, the Golden Retriever rescue where Lance was first placed:
“I am the lucky person at SEVA GRREAT, a golden rescue group, that was contacted to rescue Avalanche, now Lance. I remember the day our group took him in. He was sedated to make the trip to our vets office. My heart went out to him immediately. He was covered with sore and raw places all over. As he cowarded, shivering immensely from fear in a corner of the run he was in, I sat on the floor with him. I couldn’t resist trying to touch him. His eyes were showing fright but I slowly touched his head and rubbed him. It was like he was thinking what is going on and what are you doing. I couldn’t help thinking it was going to be a long road for him to adapt to socialization skills but there had to be someone out there waiting for him. We at SEVA GRREAT knew Lance needed more than we could do for him so we contacted DVGRR and thankfully they opened their arms out to help this wonderful guy. Lance did have a funny side to him. The night before the transfer to DVGRR he spent the night at my home. Due to his fear we double leashed him to keep him from escaping from us. Well at least we thought that would do the trick. He managed to pull out of both collars and made a run for it. Luckily it was in our fenced yard. As we laughed off and on during the hour we tried to catch him, my husband swore he was having several heart attacks as he ran around the yard after him. Lance would run faster than I’ve ever seen a dog run. He would run directly at you and just as he got within 1 foot of you he would dart to the side of you. He was like a rabbit. We finally corned him and got him back inside in his crate and he looked relieved to be alone again.
DVGRR is an awesome group that has been the last hope for a lot of dogs. I thank them immensely for the work they do.
It is heartwarming to read these updates. He looks wonderful and so happy. Thank you for giving him a loving forever home. I will never forget him as he has a special place in my heart.”
And this third comment is from a wonderful animal advocate named Eileen who worked tirelessly on behalf of all the animals held at the hoarder’s property:
“I investigated the case of Annette Thompson, the animal hoarder who had Lance (formerly “Avalanche”) since the time he was a very young puppy just a few weeks old. He was so completely neglected, he became feral, as did many other dogs in her possession. At one point, Thompson had 280 dogs, plus numerous cats, horses, sheep, goats, rabbits and chickens on her property. They lived in trailers, tents, chained to trees, and in totally inadequate, uninsulated dog houses. They suffered the bitter elements outside – through the scorching heat of summers and the bitter cold of winters in Goochland, VA – especially last winter (2009) which was extremely cold with several severe snow storms. Upon removal from her property, Lance was found to be flea infested and had explosive diarrhea when approached by strangers. He was totally withdrawn, living in his own, isolated and sad world. On 8/2/10, Ms. Thompson was convicted of 8 counts of animal neglect. Thanks to SEVA GRREAT for rescuing Lance and to DVGRR for rehabilitating him! And a special “thank you” to his new, loving and patient guardians for giving him his forever home, for continuing to help him learn to trust and enjoy life, and for providing all of us with this heart-warming update of his progress.”