Help needed for pets left behind when rescuer passes unexpectedly

Jim, with Tucker, in 2010

What will happen to your pets when you die?  Hopefully you have a will and a plan, and a relative or friend that will take your pets.  That, of course, gets harder the more pets you have, and we all know rescuers tend to have plenty of pets.

So what would happen if, God forbid, you died today? Would your pets end up in a local shelter unwanted by your family, and at the mercy of your rescue friends and Good Samaritans in the community?

Jim Harvey, a local rescuer, passed away unexpectedly recently, and that is exactly what is happening to the 9 dogs and 7 cats he left behind.  Confused and alone, they waited until someone discovered what happened, only to be scooped up and taken to the local animal shelter – a frightening  experience for any pet, made worse by the length of time they’d spent alone and hungry.

Local rescuers are stepping up to help out, but they are facing many challenges.  Time is of the essence for any animal in a shelter and this case is no different.  There is a finite amount of time these animals can stay where they are, and their health is being compromised by the level of stress they are experiencing. One of the dogs requires daily medicine and one of the cats is already quite fragile. A lack of information is compounding the challenge.  Most of the information local rescuers have been able to put together came from Jim’s Facebook pages and websites. Vet records have to be painstakingly recreated – and making matters worse, local rescues and no-kill shelters are already full beyond capacity.

But you can help.  Three of the dogs were placed with Jim’s friends, and five are being taken in by rescues.  But one dog and all 7 cats are still in need of homes – preferably permanent homes so they can start to settle in and begin the healing process as soon as possible.

Even if you aren’t comfortable making the commitment to adopt right now, please consider becoming a temporary foster.  That’s all it would take to save one of these pets.  Several local rescues have indicated they would be able to help, if only they had an empty foster home.  And all these cats need is a spare bathroom or spare bedroom to be happy.

Can’t foster or adopt?  You can still help.  SHARE this information with everyone you know. Every pet lover can relate to what has happened to these faithful companions, and everyone can understand how frightened and confused they must be.  The rescue groups are full, so it’s up to our community’s pet lovers to step up and save these animals.

Everyone can do one of three things – adopt, foster, or share. Please – it only takes a minute.

Still in need:

  • Champ.  Homeward Bound Animal Rescue will take him if they can just find a temporary foster.






  • Austin, is suffering from depression and is very scared.






  • Montana/ (Monty) is frightened but doing well.






  • Kate – needs an adopter, foster, or rescue as soon as possible.






  • Sable – needs an adopter, foster, or rescue as soon as possible.






  • Spencer – needs an adopter, foster, or rescue as soon as possible.






  • Snowshoe – needs an adopter, foster, or rescue as soon as possible.






  • Hildi – needs an adopter, foster, or rescue as soon as possible.

Here’s a great video tribute created by Nicole Fiori with more information on the cats that need your help:

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And a nice video of sweet Champ, the only dog with nowhere to go:

To foster or adopt, or for more information on fostering or adopting, email Monica and copy Barbara  Both women are volunteers, sharing the responsibility of helping these animals, so please use both email addresses. 

Many, many thanks for Collin County Castaways for taking Maya, to Flower Mound Humane Society for taking Christy, and to Homeward Bound Animal Rescue and Texas Little Cuties for taking Ronin, Libby and Riley.  These animals are safe for now, but still need permanent homes. Please contact the rescues via the links provided. Ginny and Tucker were adopted together by one of Jim’s good friends, and Fawn will be going to her new home shortly.

For more information, visit the Facebook page, “Saving the Harveys“.

Copyright Rebecca Poling 2012. All rights reserved. Email DFWAnimalRescue@att.netif you have a story you’d like to share.

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One Response to Help needed for pets left behind when rescuer passes unexpectedly

  1. Ginny Sprague says:

    In addition to the pack mentioned above – Jim also had a rescue named Mary. I am the proud adopter of Mary – in addition I adopted 2 of Mary’s puppies from Jim last year. Here is Mary’s story to show the compassion, love, & dedication this sweet soul had for his animals. Mary is extremely social, well behave, lovable and fits in perfect in our home.

    Mary’s story from Nicole who worked with Jim to save her:

    Mary showed up at a high kill shelter in Fort Bend County, TX on a Tuesday, August 8th, 2011 with a Friday morning kill time. The shelter had an 84% kill rate, and she only had 72 hours from intake time to be rescue…d, reclaimed, or adopter. On Thursday, I networked her photo as no one else at the time networked the pets at this shelter, and I knew they had misclassified her as a shepherd mix…she looked Shiba or Jindo mix to me. Jim Harvey was forwarded the email plea of mine by another Dallas area rescuer. I had never met him before. He told me he was taking a dog from a hoarding situation (“Champ”), but he would take her—just needed some more pics to see if any Jindo. The shelter would not provide me any more photos other then the standard shelter pic…and her kill time was the next morning—they made it clear she had to be picked up by her clear time or else would be killed! Sharon with Save our Strays rescue in the area ran over to the shelter to take pics for me (her rescue was full as she pulls many dogs). Jim immediately commented on the depression in the hair just above the tail that was almost between her legs…he said that it will curl right over when she is no longer stressed in the shelter. Jim named her Mary, and thought she was a Shiba/Jindo. Sharon grabbed Mary Friday morning just before the kill time, got her vaccinations…and ran her to boarding until transport the following week. The vet realized she was pregnant, and we were going to make the tough decision to spay Mary and abort the babies. Jim and I discussed it at length whether he could handle another litter (he still had Libby’s litter) and whether humane to abort. The vet said just on the cusp of being humane to the babies—the spay was scheduled for Monday morning. Jim said..well, if a “sign” happens over the weekend then he will call to cancel the spay, but relatively confident the spay would occurred as planned. Lo and behold, Jim called me on Saturday..told me he was able to get transport for Sunday and that he morally felt he should choose keeping the babies over the inconvenience and fatigue to him. I told him that the vet said it was still okay to abort and that he would not be judged for doing so with so many unwanted litters in this world, but it was his decision and he chose INTEGRITY. I picked up Mary from boarding, and met Jennifer the transport about an hour away. What a great man…and makes me very empty to see his silence on his facebook pages. I took his presence and activity for granted.

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