Afterwards, the couple brought the poor hound to the Duplin County shelter, where he was named “Jim.” The Duplin County shelter seemed like Jim’s best chance to find a home. The sympathetic staff was known to work with volunteer groups like Pet Friends of Duplin County.
About five days later, far off in Wisconsin, coonhound rescuer Anna Nirva checked her FaceBook feed. A post of a cute hound with a concussion caught her attention, Jim. Jim was slated for euthanasia in North Carolina that afternoon, February 24. Unfortunately, in keeping with NC state requirements, the time limit for each animal in a shelter is five days. And for Jim, time had run out. Having pulled other coonhounds from the Duplin County shelter in the past, Anna had worked with several people at Pet Friends before, so she reached out to her cyber contacts, sharing Jim’s picture and asking, “Is anyone interested in helping to save his life today?”
The FaceBook page showed 18-month old Jack, scrawny, fearful and hunched over as if trying to draw himself inwards for safety.
Soon after, Anna received a call from Kristen, Jack’s promised foster in North Carolina. She was eager to meet Jack, and told Anna that Patricia, who had initially helped Jim with her husband, would stop by at lunchtime on Kristen’s workdays and let Jack out to potty. Kristen also committed herself to working with Jack every night to help him overcome his shyness. Brother Jim, however, was outgoing and happy; he thrived in his foster home with the Marleys and continued to recover from his accident.
Further complicating the plot, Becca found romance through her new hound. When Becca had posted on FaceBook that she was adopting a coonhound from North Carolina, a friend of a friend, Sean, read it. As a dog lover himself, Sean thought that a woman who would adopt a dog sight unseen from so far away was a woman with HEART! He knew then that he had to meet her and promptly messaged her. They met in person shortly after Jim, now Charley, arrived. Not only does Sean love Charley, but Charley also loves Sean, and he and Becca have been dating ever since.
In the meantime, Anna and her husband, Terry, began fostering Jack, who was not as quick to adjust. When Jack first arrived at their home, Anna or Terry had to carry him everywhere since he was too frightened to walk. It appeared that he hadn’t spent much time in a house before his capture. He would “tip toe” a little bit, but that was all. It took a week for him to gain enough confidence to walk through the hall and kitchen in order to get outside.
Over the next few days, a trail cam borrowed from a friend of Matt’s showed Jack visiting the trap at night, eating and staying close to his blankets for several hours before disappearing again. But he wouldn’t enter the trap. Heartened by his appearances, Anna contacted Becca who brought Charley to the site in the hopes of luring his brother out. Friend Britney Ziemetz joined Anna another night and they searched for hours, calling as they waded through swampy grass. Every morning and evening, teams would search for Jack with waning confidence.
But still no Jack.
On Thursday night, with storms forecast for Friday, a desperate and determined Anna, joined by friends Karen, Matt, Britney, and Becca with coonhound Charley, set up camp near the live trap. With guidance from Mary, Britney grilled hamburgers and crumbled the meat over the nearby trails and they walked Charley around the area to entice Jack to safety with his brother’s scent. Then Anna and Charley lay side by side, restless and uneasy, on her sleeping bag all night … listening.
When the morning light arrived with no sign of Jack, a discouraged Anna put the camping gear back in the car, then returned to the dike with Charley who seemed eager to go for a walk. He walked ahead of her on a 20-foot leash, and she followed where he led along a wooded trail.
As she rounded a shady bend, her heart stopped. Twenty feet away stood two dogs: Batman Jack was happily greeting his brother! Scarcely daring to breathe, she called softly to him and he came towards her, wagging his tail. With shaking hands and pounding heart, she took hold of his collar, wrapped one end of the long leash around it and led them back to the trap where she finally attached a leash to him. Then she and the two brothers walked down the spillway dike to her car and drove home.
After his week AWOL, Anna and Terry were even fonder of Jack, but he had a persistent case of hookworms. Anna was only fostering Jack for Coulee Region Humane Society until he could be given a clean bill of health and cleared for adoption to a forever home. Six treatments later, in August, when the hookworms were finally gone, Anna and Terry decided they needed to keep him, and signed his adoption papers, officially renaming him “Batman Jack.”
Because of the broad sweep of rescue, from helping a stray or abused dog to living in a loving home, the many volunteers who help a dog or cat along their journey often don't hear about the start or the end of the rescue story. For Jim and Jack, we do know the entire rescue story. We've attempted to include all of the volunteers and offer apologies if we have missed someone. The blog post writers are also a team of volunteers.
Jim and Jack, now Charley and Batman Jack, are probably American Foxhounds. Our team has just launched a new Facebook group, "Life with My Rescued Foxhound," and we invite you to visit and join. We will be sharing more about the brothers and we hope many adopters of foxhounds and mixes will share their stories too. Foxhounds are often confused with other hound breeds and deserve more focus and attention from hound lovers.