Allison and Soda Guardian Angel Fund
Allison Walsh was a young woman who loved
animals and enjoyed being around them. She worked at the zoo and was
passionate about her job and the research work she did. In 2005, she
became a foster home for Midwest Border Collie Rescue. She joined
our group with a great love for animals and wanted to help foster
Border Collies. Allison selected a dog by the name of Soda to be her
first foster dog. Read more about Allison below.
This fund was set up to help our foster dogs with major medical expenses.
Allison Walsh was a young woman who loved animal and enjoyed being around them. She worked at the zoo and was passionate about her job and the research work she did. In 2005, she became a foster home for MWBCR. She joined our group with a great love for animals and wanted to help foster border collies. Allison selected a dog by the name of Soda to be her first foster dog.
Allison first writes about Soda: Soda is probably going to need a special owner, one who thoroughly understands herding dogs. He is high drive and nippy. He is also obsessive about a few things like running water, moving children and balls. He is basically happy and playful (sometimes misdirected playfulness), but, he is also fearful (claustrophobic, stairs, picking up, extending your hand too rapidly). He has probably been hit. He made an obsessive grab for a ball, connected very hard with my hands and immediately dropped into a terrified cowering position.
Soda's first update September 15, 2005: He is smarter than the average bear. I can see the wheels turning in his head when I try to teach him something. He now knows how to shake and is learning to roll over. He loves playing the trade up game with toys and treats. But you still have to remind him to be gentle when you give him a toy or treat. I often close the treat in my hand and only relent when he gently licks to get it. He loves the Frisbee. I am not letting him jump for it yet (trying to discourage that jump and grab thing for now). But I have been throwing rollers and low gentle glides. His timing is not perfect yet, but he has tons of drive to get it. Wow! is he fast! Sod flying everywhere. When he does find himself in the right position, he makes a great grip and then immediately drops it and looks for the next one. I think he could be really competitive at this. I am going to try to get someone to take some pictures for me of his Frisbee skills.
Tragedy. September 19, 2005 Allison was making great strides with Soda, but unfortunately shortly after that last update on Soda's progress, we received some terrible news. A close friend of Allison's and a fellow MWBCR member reported that Allison had been killed on Saturday in a train derailment in Chicago. The tragic accident and Allison's death hit national news. Allison's family picked up and cared for Soda until rescuers arrived and placed Soda into a temporary foster home. A day or two went by and Soda was moved to a more permanent foster home.
Soda's adoption: Prior to the accident, Allison had been corresponding with a woman, Pam, who was interested in adopting Soda. Pam was planning on attending Triple Crown Academy in Texas and wanted to take Soda with her to be her training dog for class. Allison was excited about Pam meeting Soda soon. It sounded like they would be a perfect fit. Pam needed and wanted an active dog for a companion and for her training school. Soda needed a forever home that would love him and teach him. Unfortunately, Allison never got to see Pam ad Soda meet but Soda's new foster home took care of that and made the arrangements. It was indeed a perfect match! Soda was adopted by Pam and renamed Ace. Everything was going great with Pam and Ace at the Academy in Texas. Pam was updating us regularly on Ace's progress but it wasn't too long before we received more bad news.
Ace (Soda) was having some health issues. On November 5, 2005, Pam writes: I took Ace to the vet again on Thursday and the x-rays appalled even my uneducated eye. There appeared to be a large bone spur extending down off the backside of the humorous parallel to the bone, plus a lesion through it. The vet did take one more x-ray and Ace is in need of surgery. I've pretty much stopped all training with him because after speaking with the vet, I feel that Ace is in more pain than I thought. The vet told me that while manipulating his shoulder, Ace actually turned and bit him. He did not break the skin. Dr. Neans said it caught him way off guard because Ace is such a laid-back little guy. That absolutely shocked me because he has never shown signs of aggression (except to the blow dryer and lawn mower). Nor did he ever whine when I moved his shoulders around. He struggled a lot when they were x-raying his left shoulder, but was still for the right one. Ace also whined the other day going into a down position, which has never happened before. He is on some pain meds, which seem to be helping, as he is not limping much anymore. He still thinks he can be active and although I am limiting his contact with the other dogs in the house, he still needs some socialization time for his own sanity so I'm not going to completely deprive him of that! It breaks my heart because he just follows me around until I sit down and then puts his head in my lap and looks up at me like "Mom why can't I play?" I told Dr. Neans that I just want the surgery done as soon as possible because I don't want him to be in pain anymore. He seems to have a sense of urgency with the whole thing too because he said that with the bone spur off the back of the humorous this has been going on a really long time and he doesn't deserve to be in pain like this anymore. He is referring me to an orthopedic surgeon to see if the surgery can be done by scoping or if they'll have to do it the old-fashioned way. The advantage to the scoping is that the recovery rate is much faster, but he thinks the bone piece may be too large to remove with a scope. The one good thing is that, usually, you see some problems arise in the elbows after a while but his elbow is sound as are his other shoulder and elbow. If looks like the surgery is going to cost $1200-$1500 dollars. My problem right now is that I'm not working because of school, and while I budgeted for extra vet expenses when taking out my loan, I did not expect a surgery like this being that I've only had him a little over a month. He's going to need to have the surgery so I am ready to take out another loan if I need to. I will keep you posted when I hear from the orthopedic vet.
Ace has surgery. Pam writes again on November 12, 2005. Ace will be having surgery on Wednesday. The specialist felt that the scoping was definitely the way to go with him, which is great because it means a shorter recovery time. I just found this out on Thursday night. The estimate the surgeon gave is actually on the low end for what scoping surgery normally costs. My vet highly recommended this surgeon because he is a "board certified orthopedic surgeon" and has dealt with this type of problem many times. The estimate that he gave is $1200 plus I'm sure there will be medication and ongoing vet care. Ace is doing all right, but he is bored. I don't think he understands why he has to be left alone so much all of a sudden. Before, he was getting to come with me to class on and off throughout the day, but because he can't do too much right now, I can't take him. I have to use the dogs that I will have to test with. I feel so bad for him right now and can't stand leaving him! I give him plenty of interactive toys and chew toys but he doesn't seem to want to interact with them unless I'm there. It's really frustrating, but I'm glad it will be over soon. I don't know yet what the recovery time is but I know it's significantly shorter than normal surgery.
The beginning of the Allison and Soda Guardian Angel Fund. November 18, 2005. Several weeks ago Midwest Border Collie Rescue planned to have a custom "Up for Adoption" display board made for our fundraising events in memory of Allison Walsh. In light of the health issues that Ace had, the board discussed an alternate plan and decided that we would assist with some of Ace's expenses directly and in addition create an "Allison and Soda Guardian Angel Fund" to help foster dogs that have major medical bills now and in the future. Allison's great passion was for the animals that she cared for at the zoo and the great love she had for her dog and her first foster dog. Allison never got to experience the great joy in adopting her first foster dog and staying in contact with the forever home. Allison will never know all the pain that Ace was going through. We know Allison would be proud of Ace's new owner and the hard work she has done with him. Allison may be gone, but her passion for animals will not be forgotten. In her honor, we will remember her always for the quality time she shared with us and the gift of her vision that she imprinted on so many within MWBCR so quickly. The Allison and Soda Guardian Angel Fund was created in memory of Allison Walsh for current foster dogs at Midwest Border Collie Rescue that require major medical care. Allison's great love and passion for animals will live on through this program and your continued support.
MEMORIES OF ALLISON
When I think of Allison, I picture her walking down my driveway with Everett (her Australian Shepherd) anticipating the fun she will have with him in class. Always with a smile. Everyone looks forward to seeing her because she was one of the most “down to earth” people I’ve ever known and people liked being around her.
When I think of Allison, I picture her sitting in a corner chair under the tree, either talking to Heather or watching intently on the other dogs running their course in the agility class.
When I think of Allison, I think of her walking towards me in class say, “Now Pam, I’m not arguing with you, I just want to know why is it that doing a front cross here would be better than……….” 5 minutes later…… “Now Pam, I’m not arguing with you but……..
Just thinking of her doing that makes me smile now. She always had to evaluate everything she did so she could do the very best job she possibly could.
I will always think of Allison every time I bend over to lock the bottoms of my weave poles because it was for her I put the locks on. Everett used to knock the weave poles open every time he ran. Even though we teased her that Everett just had a big butt, I put the locks on when she said, “Now, Pam……”
When I think of Allison, I remember how excited she was to being doing a “Tricks” demo at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Downtown Chicago. Looking at how proud she was of Everett running to pick up her cell phone when it rang, watching her hands shake as she put on Everett’s bandana and cowboy hat, not because of nerves but because of excitement to get him ready for one of his Trick Acts that he did that day.
When I think of Allison, I think of someone who loved dogs so much she would take in a rescue to do some training with the dog hoping that Rescue could find a better place in life for him.
I look at that empty chair on Friday mornings. Sometimes I even go and sit where she used to in hopes that I could still feel her there.
Allison touched so many, many lives. She made many people smile and a part of her, will always be in the hearts of those she touched.