Sunday, January 24, 2016

Little Nugget Interview with Lynne S.

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By: Lillabeth B.

            Driving into Little Nuggets Rescue is a lot like driving into a farm. The driveway is a dirt road surrounded by overgrown foliage. My car drove up to the steel gate. I could see that the right side opened into a field. Several dogs rushed up to the fence separating us and jumped onto the fence, barking. Dogs yapped out of sight. The house itself was nothing special; a simple brick one story home, with a nicely maintained exterior and a basement. As the gate was opened and the car was able to drive into the space and park, I was able to see the massive backyard, filled with roofed pens that held the barking animals.
            The woman herself, Lynne Shriber, is the founder and owner of Little Nuggets Rescue, and she's always lived around animals. This is a woman who loves to laugh and loves to tell stories.


            With a smile and a laugh or two, Lynne welcomes us to Little Nuggets Rescue and suggests that she show us around. The property has two pastures and a lake, she tells us, and belonged to her mother-in-law, who died in 2007. Lynne herself grew up in a home on a dirt road, where puppies and kittens were regularly dropped on their doorstep, so the rescue feels like home to her. She leads us toward the pens, which house her 82 dogs, and the first one she brings us to is that of her own dog, Rocky, who jumps onto the fencing and shows his teeth, barking. My dad, lover of all dogs, walks up to him and offers his hand, before Lynne hastily yells, "He's a biter!" Dad retracts his hand just in time.
            She scolds the dog and walks over to give him water, but at the sound of her voice he perks up, his teeth disappearing to show a wide smile.
            As she introduces us to other dogs, I notice that this change of mood seems to be true for all her animals. She shouts their name, calls them 'sweetie' or 'honey' or 'precious', and their mood lightens considerably, their eyes wide with joy.
            During the tour she tells us about the dogs. "He jumped over the fence," she says of
another with a smile. One dog can jump so high he has to bend down his head so he doesn't hit the roof of the pen. Two large, fluffy dogs jump at their fencing, their impossibly cute wide eyes staring. Another dog shuffles around his pen before seeing us and smiling wide.
            Another one, a large, dark-colored dog, lays down in the middle of his pen. Lynne tells us he and two Chihuahuas were abandoned in a house. One of the Chihuahuas passed on. Another nearly didn't make it. Lynne tells us about one dog who needed surgery because he had five kidney stones. Another was bitten by a dog and had a hole in her neck.
            She says that to adopt a dog, people must contact her, then set up an appointment at the rescue to meet the dog, and then she brings the dog to their house and does what she calls a Home Check, to make sure the dog will feel at home.
            As we come near the other side of the backyard, another steel gate comes into sight. She walks up to and yells, "Donkey! Donkey!" in a way that reminds me of Shrek. Sure enough, a dark gray donkey comes lumbering towards us. Lynne smiles and tickles its nose, which he allows only for a moment before he tried to nip at her nose. "Don't bite my nose!" she teases. She got the donkey from her dad. A good friend of his had passed away, leaving five donkeys behind. "He wanted me to take two, but I said, 'No, just one,' you know, because I had never had a donkey," she tells me. Now, she wishes she had taken two. "I am looking for a female!" she says with a smile. "...For him to have as a friend."
            Lynne invites me to come inside, and leads me into a room where the air is full of barks. In pens and crates around the room are smaller dogs, Chihuahuas, and Shi Tzus, and Pomeranians. They jump at us, eager to see us. The cuteness in this room is overwhelming. Two Chihuahuas are so adorable I have to let one lick my hand.
            We walk back outside, and Lynne and I settle down for a one-on-one talk in the quietest place on the property - the back of her truck. No, really! She pushes down its gate, and I ask her some questions about getting Little Nuggets Rescue started, keeping it going, and the products that helped along the way.

LGG: How did you come up with the idea for Little Nuggets Rescue?

            Well, I always really have helped dogs in need. I had a gift shop at one time in Stone Mountain Village, and a rescue [group] would always come in there and ask if I would sell their cards, their Christmas cards, to help with their group. So I would sell them, and they would get the profit off the cards. I've always done it on the side; I never did it hands on. But I've always helped dogs all my life, that I can think of. When I realized that my boys were older and I didn't have a job anymore, I thought, 'You know what? I've got my time, I've got a place to do it; I think I'll start my own rescue.' So I just studied into it to see what all was involved. When I do things, I go full force, and that's what I did.

LGG: How did you come up with the name?

            Okay, Nugget was one of the first dogs I pulled out of Henry County Animal Control, and she was very sick. She had heartworms, and for three weeks my vet and I worked on trying to get her better, and she was just so far gone with heartworms that she passed on. And she is buried out here, under one of the pear trees. And at the time, I really didn't have my own rescue, but I was thinking about starting it... She [the vet] and I were talking, and I just said, 'You know, I think I'm gonna dedicate the rescue to her.' So that's how I came up with little nugget. I didn't want to just do Nugget Rescue, so I came up with it. She was a little girl... So Little Nuggets Rescue come from my Nugget.

LGG: How exactly did you start Little Nuggets Rescue?

            I started by helping another rescue. I fostered six dogs of hers. I would help her, and I realized what all is involved; taking them out of the shelter, and to the vet to get vetted, and following the protocol. A lot of things have changed. I've had to tweak my program, because at one point, I didn't do a home check. I didn't think there was a need to do a home check. People came out and people were sincere, until I realized that you better watch out. There are some deceiving people out there. So that's what I did. I looked up on the Internet. There's a lot of resources where you realized what you need to do; you need to be licensed. You need to be nonprofit with the IRS [Internal Revenue Service]. Where's your food gonna come from? Where's your money gonna come from? How are you gonna get donations? So I just studied into all that and what I needed to do.

LGG: How did you get all your dogs?

            For a majority of these dogs, people either call me and they want to surrender their dogs because they've lost their home, or they just can't afford to take care of them, or maybe it's somebody's mom passed on. I would say 98% of the dogs, though, the animal shelters are calling me and saying, 'We've got these dogs. We need help. Can you take these dogs into your program?' I would say only 2% are owner surrenders. The rest are coming from animal control when they're gonna be put down. This is how it'll work; Gwinnett County will email me or call me and say, 'We've got a Jack Russell [Terrier] here, highly adoptable. No one's claimed him, and no rescues have put in to take the dog. Would you be interested?' 'Be there in fifteen minutes.' These shelters will actually contact me... They do have some dogs who are biters, and they're vicious. They're not gonna try to get them out. They're probably gonna euthanize them [put them down] first. But there are some dogs there that are really sweet! I know the shelters have a hard time in what they do, but they do what they can to get the dogs out.

LGG: How much does it cost to care for all your dogs?

            *laughs* A lot! That's a good question. Probably at least, for the amount of dogs I have, probably at least $2000 a month... Because I do have to buy the food. I do get a discount, but I do have to buy the food. I have to pay the veterinarian care... We go through 50 lb. of food a day. Sometimes more! *laughs*

LGG: Is it ever hard for you to part with dogs when they're adopted?

            Okay, I'm gonna tell you a story. When I first started, and a dog would be adopted, and it would be one that I'd maybe had for two or three months, because I fall in love with every single one, and the dog would be adopted and it would leave, and I would sit out here, and just cry like a baby! *laughs* 'Oh god, she gone!' you know. One day, I adopted a dog out, and I'm very spiritual, and God came to me, and He said, 'Don't cry. The shelter's the worst place. You now have them safe, and being fed, and they're being taken care of. You're the middle person. Now they're in a home. So you're just the middle person. You've gotta quit crying. You've gotta be happy for that dog to go into a home.' So now my whole attitude has changed. Now, I did adopt out a dog about four weeks ago that I had had, believe it or not, for four years. He was an old dog. And a guy came out here and fell in love with this dog. When I went out and did the home check, the guy was so in love with this dog. I cried when I left. But I cried because I was gonna miss him, but I also cried because I know he's gonna be happy now. And I've been getting pictures of him, and he's in love. And instead of being in one of these kennel runs, now he's sleeping in [a] bed. So I'm happy.

LGG: Have you ever had to put down a dog?

            Yes. Several. Yep, because a lot of these dogs will come in very sick, and you do the best you can. I had a dog that I just put down last month. She just wasn't eating, and I took her in to the vet, and we put her on medication, and I kept her in a quiet place inside. She still wasn't eating. I took her back in next week. He said, 'Let's check her out,' and we did some blood work, and we found out she had liver disease, and he said, 'She's gonna get sicker and sicker,' so I had to put her down. We have a cemetery out here where we've put dogs down... It was hard. Every time it's hard. So, yes I have. But not because I want to. It's because it was just the best thing for the dog.

LGG: What is your favorite dog breed?

            Probably Rat Terriers, but not really, I'm gonna say not really, because I love them all.

Lynne's recommendations:

Flea Medicine
   Conformis
   Revolution

Shampoo
   Dawn Ultra Original - it works!
   Oatmeal Shampoo for sensitive skin

            Donations were made and hugs given, and then my car pulled out of Little Nuggets Rescue. But the story doesn't end here! 82 dogs need your help. Even a little bit of money buys food and care for a dog in need. Go to littlenuggetsrescue.com to learn about making your donation, and in the words of Lynne Shriber, "Until there are none, adopt one!" Happy adopting!
           
            And THANK YOU, Lynne! I had so much fun meeting you, and I hope this article brings you lots of adoptions and donations!



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