On February 1 on the Leech Lake Reservation in Minnesota, as the temperature plummeted to -29 degrees, Tribal Police Chief Kenneth Washington responded to a call about a dog in trouble. A Leech Laker known for her love of animals, Teresa Gunter, had reported a wounded dog, reeling in pain outside in the cold.
When Gunter showed Washington the weak, bloody shepherd mix, he was alarmed: The dog couldn’t even lift his head off his paw. “His eyes were sunken in,” Washington recalls. “I thought he might die.” He knew he had to help.
Two years ago, this story wouldn’t have had a happy ending. But because the Tribal Police go the extra mile for animals and work with a project called Leech Lake Legacy, there was hope. The project transports animals in need from the reservation to shelters and rescues around Minnesota that can provide life-saving veterinary care, rehabilitation and adoption.
This transport project is supported in part through a special ASPCA program that helps cash-strapped municipal animal care agencies move more dogs to safety. In the last six months alone, we’ve helped the Tribal Police get hundreds more dogs to safety.
The night he found the dog—named Nibi—Washington called Leech Lake Legacy right away. The next day he was on a transport to safety.
Today, just over a month after Washington rescued him, Nibi is thriving, getting healthier each day. He greets people enthusiastically and likes to put their fingers in his mouth as his special way of “holding hands.”
Nibi’s story doesn’t make headlines, but it’s one of millions in which the ASPCA is honored to play a role.