A hound named Bo was one of 15 dogs and one cat that got a chance for a wonderful new life because of a foxhound named Randall, who wasn't so lucky.
But in a way, things turned out for Randall, too. He never found his forever home, but he did spend the last days of his life with people who cared about him.
Randall was a stray in Shelby County, Ky., who got lucky. After months in a shelter and in custody of a rescue group, he was picked to be driven with a group of animals to Maine, where they would be offered for adoption.
But Randall had other ideas. During an overnight stop in West Seneca, Randall climbed a fence and fled. The transport left the next day without him. "He missed his ride to Maine," said David Giambra, who, with his wife Allison "Corky" Giambra, opens their Town of Colden home to Black Dog Second Chance foster dogs and mentors other foster families.
Randall was soon picked up by animal control, treated for a gash he had suffered during his adventure and then brought home by Giambra to be fostered.
That night, Randall started having seizures.
"We rushed him to the vet," says Giambra, the first of many vet visits and several medications. Randall's condition worsened every day, and he had to be euthanized 10 days later, with David Giambra by his side.
Despite the heartbreak, the Giambras were determined to continue their volunteer work.
On Nov. 30, on a Facebook page titled "Saving the Dogs and Cats of Rutherford County NC," the Giambras spotted a photo of a hound named Bo who had been surrendered to the shelter by his owner.
"Bo certainly wasn't Randall's look-alike," says Giambra. "However, there was just something about him, his eyes maybe, that drew [us] in."
The Giambras called Ginny Brown Cesarini, founder of Black Dog Second Chance, to ask if a transport could be organized to pull Bo from the shelter. Black Dog Second Chance volunteers, says Giambra, "of course noticed all the additional dogs in need who were all scheduled to be gassed that Friday." Black Dog Second Chance and Diamonds in the Ruff from Niagara County claimed all the dogs who were on the list for euthanasia. The dogs were moved to a boarding facility, where they got checkups for heartworm and other ailments, and were vaccinated, spayed and neutered.
There the rescue groups got some bad news.
Three of the dogs -- Dakota, a shepherd mix; Rudy, a pit bull; and Dudley, a coonhound -- were found to be ill. Although their ailments were treatable, they could not make the trip. "Neither Black Dog Second Chance nor Diamonds in the Ruff could turn their backs on these dogs," says Giambra, so they stayed behind to be treated.
Bo and four other healthy dogs were driven north to meet their foster families. On Dec. 9, the Giambras got their first look at the dog whose resemblance to Randall had inspired the whole rescue.
"He wasn't as houndish as Randall was, but he had that real laid-back hound attitude," says Giambra. "He had the big ears and was just a real loving guy."
The Giambras brought Bo home, where he did well with their three dogs and their cats, and posted plenty of photos of him on the Facebook page of Black Dog Second Chance, which has more than 4,000 followers.
One of the many people following their posts about Bo was Kim Klementowski of North Tonawanda.
"We weren't really looking for another dog," says Klementowski, whose family includes husband Bruce, sons John, 18, and Brian, 17, two cats and two dogs.
But there was something about Bo, a white dog with tan spots, that appealed to her. "I donated something, not even very much, and told them I was interested in Bo. When he was available [for adoption], I filled out the application."
Corky Giambra brought Bo to meet the Klementowski family and their dogs -- Dakota, 7, a yellow lab, and Jack, a 3-year-old lab who is the color of a red fox. "They loved him," says Kim Klementowski. Because Bo had lived with cats at the Giambra house, they thought he would be fine with the Klementowski cats, and he was.
Nearly two months after Bo joined the family, Klementowski says, "He fit in just perfectly from the beginning. He is a clown, he is hilarious. He doesn't chew things, but one day I was putting socks away and left the sock drawer open while I was putting clothes away. I turned around and every sock was out of the drawer -- he had them all over the house within minutes."
Klementowski cannot imagine why Bo was surrendered to the North Carolina shelter. "He is such a good dog," she says. "I know people get into financial situations where they have to give up their pets -- maybe that was it. I can't imagine why, and I will never know."
But Bo and his four traveling companions weren't the only dogs who got new lives because of Randall.
By late December, Dakota had recovered from his illness and was ready to be transported north. Eight other dogs and a cat named Polly, each in immediate danger of euthanasia, joined Dakota on his transport.
The final two dogs, Rudy and Dudley, arrived in Western New York on Saturday and are both settling into their foster homes. Rudy's photo and information are posted at diamondsintheruffanimalrescue.com; Dudley can be seen at bdscr.org.
"It's amazing that Randall saved that many other dogs," says Klementowski.
"The rescue of these animals was clearly orchestrated by Randall," says Giambra. "We knew he came to us for a reason."