When North Alabama resident Sherry Taylor’s doctors announced she would have to undergo amputation of four toes, she said that her first thought was, “What will I do with my beloved dogs during surgery, and the expected lengthy recovery period.
Taylor, a lifetime diabetic, lived alone and managed well until a fall in October left her with infection in both feet. Over the years, she had rescued several homeless and special-needs dogs, giving them the best of care and love. She was now faced with the task of finding appropriate caretakers for six dogs; most of whom she took in because they had nowhere to go, and no one wanted them.
“They are my life,” said Taylor, “and I am their world.”
With the help of friends, Taylor found temporary and permanent homes for each of her dogs. Or, at least, she thought she had until the unthinkable happened just days before scheduled surgery. Taylor’s Pit Bull mix dog she had saved from being “trained” for a dog-fighting ring, “Dakota”, was missing.
According to Taylor, Rosa Folker, who was fostering “Dakota” and two more of Taylor’s dogs at the home she shared with her mother in Bessemer, informed Taylor that “Dakota” had escaped the house during a break-in.
Taylor stated, “Folker had been recommended by Cathy Sykes of Dachshund Rescue of Bucks County, PA. I felt a referral from an established rescue would be a good foster home.”
Taylor added, “Sykes also offered to pay all boarding, medication and food for my smaller dogs. I was so unbelievably grateful. I am so sad and disappointed to say we have not heard a word from her since.”
Friends, Ingrid Law and Jeanette Peterson, traveled to Folker’s residence in Bessemer and searched for “Dakota”, posting flyers throughout the city of Bessemer.
“We followed even the slightest lead and ventured into unfriendly neighborhoods where we saw numerous chained dogs, many emaciated and injured. We saw dogs walking the streets, dragging heavy chains tethered to their necks.”
They went so far as to search a truck filled with dogs from Bessemer Animal Shelter – on their way to be euthanized in Birmingham. The shelter said they had not seen a dog that looked like “Dakota”, although a resident claimed that animal control came and picked up a dog that looked exactly like “Dakota”.
Law said, “It was a nerve-racking experience. It was heartbreaking, seeing those poor dogs, packed in that truck – going to their death – and to come up empty in our quest to find “Dakota”. We fear her life is in grave danger in that city. We fear that Taylor’s despair will hinder her recovery from surgery.”
Peterson and Law indicated that the circumstances of “Dakota’s” sudden disappearance, the lack of cooperation from Folker – who refuses to participate in the search – is suspicious.”
Taylor is confined to bed, slowly gaining strength, despite the emotional toll in the knowledge that her loyal companion, “Dakota”, the dog who loved her so deeply” is lost, probably frightened, cold and hungry – or dead.
Suzie, one of the four dogs in boarding, has passed away today. Suzie was bonded with her sister, Katy. This loss brings additional emotional pain to Taylor, knowing how Katy must feel so lost without her loving guardian and now, without her sibling.
Taylor remains determined to regain her health and retrieve them to her home, but the boarding fees accrue each day. If anyone cares to donate, please click here for the chip-in link. If you see “Dakota”, please contact: Sherry Taylor at email@example.com or 256.361.7374 or contact this reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contributions can mailed directly to boarding facility: Wiggles Pet Boarding, 15547 Browns ferry Rd, Athens, AL 35611, listed on chip-in.
Today, a few weeks after surgery, Taylor vows to never give up her search for her cherished dog.
“Please, no questions asked – if anyone has “Dakota”, I beg you to contact by email or phone number supplied. I will see that she is picked up. There will be no retribution, only gratitude for taking care of her, My physical body will heal eventually, but my heart will never heal if she is lost forever.”