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    Posted June 4, 2011 by
    Seattle, Washington

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    Dogs Deserve Better - Animal rescuers gone wrong.


    Photo and info taken from "Bring Joel Home" Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/BringJoelHomeWA?sk=info#!/BringJoelHomeWA


    Dr. Suzanne Fiala lives in Seattle.  She is a beloved and popular family  physician who began fostering for the local chapter of Dogs Deserve  Better in October, 2010.  Between October 2010 and March 2011 Dr. Fiala  fostered 11 dogs for DDB, including 2 litters of puppies.  All of the  dogs were pitbulls or pitbull mixes.  Dr. Fiala received accolades on  the DDB FB page for her devotion and hard work.


    The last dog she  took in for foster was Joel, an adult pitbull male that weighed in at  27# and was too weak to stand.  Joel was chained to a picnic table in  someone's yard for his short life, and with his sister Julie, fed a  'handful of food every 5 days' as admitted by his owner.  Why were they  treated this way?  Because they did not housetrain quickly enough to his  satisfaction when they were puppies.


    When Joel was taken to the  emergency vet he was 24-48 hours from death - emaciated, weak, his  bowels and other organs were shutting down.  DDB took possession of the  dog and placed him with Dr. Fiala the next day, February 1.  Joel was,  by their admission, the most damaged dog they had ever had in their  local program.  And the local rep, Kelly Page, hoped Dr. Fiala could  save Joel, if anyone could.


    Dr. Fiala took Joel to her home.  She  warned her children he might not live through the night.  That first  night, Dr. Fiala and her children sat around Joel and laid hands on him,  sending him love and positive energy, and whispering softly and kindly.   Dr. Fiala dozed on the dog bed next to Joel, to offer him water, food,  and to maintain constant human touch with him. She told him to please  hold on, and to give her a chance to show him what love felt like.   And  miraculously Joel slowly came back to life.  Dr. Fiala remained with  Joel 24/7, carried him to and from her office in the daytime, fed him  bits of roasted chicken, rice and organic vegetables every 2 hours until  his gut started working again, and the vomiting and explosive diarrhea  stopped.  Over a month's time Joel went from a living skeleton to a  vibrant, beautiful boy.  His emotional scars were deep, but those  improved over time as he came to trust his new family, the first people  who had ever been kind to him.


    Through February and March, Joel  and Dr. Fiala were inseparable, day and night.  Dr. Fiala's children and  other dogs welcomed him, and life became a wonderful and happy routine.   Dr. Fiala enrolled Joel with a trainer using only positive techniques,  to advise and help her to socialize Joel to humans and animals alike.


    Throughout  March, however, things started feeling really wrong with DDB.  The  local rep did not reimburse Dr. Fiala for any of the money spent on  Joel's care, though that was the condition of fostering and the bill  quickly rose to over $1000.  Also, Dr. Fiala noticed that the DDB  website was soliciting donations for costs for Joel's care that she  herself had paid for...so where was that money going?  And perhaps most  troubling, Dr. Fiala came to believe that Page, the local state rep,  played God with dogs in need.  The ones that got media attention got  Page's attention, and other cases of suffering dogs in need were pushed  aside.


    At the end of March, Dr. Fiala was so disillusioned she  felt compelled to write a letter to DDB-National founder, Tamira Ci  Thayne, expressing her concerns.   Dr. Fiala also quietly decided she  just wanted to formalize Joel's adoption, and get out to do rescue work  elsewhere with people of integrity.


    April 2 - Dr. Fiala announced on her FB page that she was adopting Joel, to the pleasure of many local Joel fans.
    April 4 - Page, the local DDB rep, posted on the DDB-WA FB page that Dr. Fiala was adopting Joel.
    April 7 - Dr. Fiala sent her letter of concerns to Ms. Thayne in PENN.
    April  7 - Dr. Fiala mails her signed adoption contract to DDB.  The contract  does NOT require a countersignature, and is the last, formal step in the  adoption process.  The contract is only offered AFTER DDB okays the  adoption.
    April 8 - Dr. Fiala is contacted by Marie Belanger,  'regional rep' based in Indiana and told she will investigate the  concerns from the letter.
    April 8-10 - a series of exchanges between  Dr. Fiala and Ms. Belanger quickly show hostility and defensive  posturing, and Dr. Fiala's witnesses, who Ms. Belanger promises to  contact, are never contacted.
    April 14 - local Seattle DDB reps  including Page go to the doggie daycare near Dr. Fiala's medical office  where Joel was spending some time socializing, and take him.
    They  notify Dr. Fiala after the fact in a voice message, saying that Joel has  been 'repossessed' because the contract is not valid, that it was a  National decision, and that Joel has been rehomed with another foster  family.


    No one in the animal rescue network  in Seattle has seen  or heard from Joel again.  Any inquiries as to his whereabouts on the  DDB-WA FB page are immediately deleted and the inquirer is blocked from  future postings.

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