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Local dog gets new lease on life in Vermont

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Poodle flies to join rescue program while waiting for permanent home

By Leslie Moore

Deaf, blind and covered with fleas, no one knew where she came from.

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But when local animal advocates Linda Montgomery and Sandra Benton saw the matted wad of curly hair containing a poodle posted on the Taylor County Animal Shelter's website, they knew she needed help. Quickly.

"You get so many animals that people disregard because they just don't have the money and they don't keep up with their yearly exams, so when the expense gets way out there, they have to give them up," Benton said.

Realizing the poodle was unlikely to be adopted because of her advanced age, medical condition and generally unattractive appearance, Montgomery said she knew it was just a matter of time before the poodle would be euthanized.

They looked to the web in hopes of someone who could help the dog they named Paulette. That is what led them to Terri Gerard of Poodle Rescue in Vermont, who agreed to take Paulette.

"Some would say that was the end of the story but it really isn't," Montgomery said.

A visit with Dr. Clint Durham at Green River Veterinary Services showed that in addition to her blindness and deafness, Paulette might have cancer.

A subaceous cyst and tumors were found in her mammary glands, so they opted for surgery. In the meantime, Paulette was put in the care of volunteer Anita Hunt.

Those involved said they were thrilled when tests came back negative for cancer.

Gerard then had to arrange for Paulette to get to Vermont. She contacted Pilots N Paws and three pilots stepped forward to make the three-leg journey. Paulette was flown "first class" from Taylor County Airport last weekend.

"Although blind and deaf, there are a lot of people who believe in Miss Paulette," Montgomery said. "Not just here in Kentucky, but in Ohio, Virginia, New Jersey and Vermont."

Gerard estimates Paulette to be about 14 years old, but says that poodles can live as many as 20.

Silver-beige in color, Gerard said Paulette was likely bred several times because that is a very desirable color for poodles. She still has one more surgery to go, but Gerard said the outlook for Paulette's new life is great.

And according to Gerard, not being able to see or hear will not keep Paulette from enjoying life.

"We have taken in three blind and deaf poodles and they get along just fine," Gerard said. "Just because they become blind and deaf is not a reason to euthanize them. They can use their noses to get around."

And Gerard has discovered that Paulette loves to use her nose to explore outside.

Until the right family with a one-level quiet home and no large dogs is found to adopt Paulette, she is staying with Gerard.

"She has a super duper appetite. I think she would be a little chubby if I'd let her," Gerard said.

Gerard said poodles are one of the most intelligent breeds, second only to collies. When there is trouble with poodles, she said, it is usually because the poodle is outsmarting the owner.

Although she has only had Paulette since Saturday, Gerard said the poodle is already attached to her.

"Paulette's life is not over yet. When Terri Gerard agreed to take her is when her life actually began," Benton said. "She's got a whole new world out there to enjoy. And she's got the love and the care that she so deserves.