Our 2010 Alumnus Kyle may have left this world, but he’ll never leave the hearts of the people who helped save him. He was fostered and adopted by our volunteers Roxann and Ashley. Kyle was a very timid shy boy, but his forever parents gave him a purpose and they worked wonders with him in the field and loved him dearly. Roxann’s account of his journey is so heartwarming we’ve included it below. Our hearts go out to the Campbell family – Kyle couldn’t have found a better, more loving home.
Mr. Kyle joined our family August 25, 2010. He was rescued from the local animal service center. As luck would have it, I was volunteering for SEGSP Rescue when Dorothy Thompson, the FL Coordinator contacted me and asked me to check on a male GSP at the local shelter. Someone had dropped him in the overnight bin with no tag, note or phone call. His time was short, as the pound was full and he was not adoptable due to his extreme fear and he was too nervous to meet potential adopters. He was drooling uncontrollably, had a terrible eye infection and a bad cough. Without intervention, shelter staff would have to make the decision to put him to sleep. I went to the shelter to verify he was in fact a GSP and to see if he would qualify for rescue. The staff would not let me take him out of the kennel, so I opened the gate, shut it behind me, and just sat down. I sat there for what seemed an eternity. This boy cowered down in the very back of the kennel, but eventually crawled over to take a sniff of me. Never making eye contact, I stuck my hand out to him and he gently put his chin in my palm. Yes, I burst into tears. I turned to him and said, "Buddy, I will be back for you as soon as I can." He looked at me with those swollen, infected eyes, as if understanding things were going to be okay. I immediately called Ashley and said, "Sweetie, this is bad - please put a divider in the kennel. This boy needs our help!"
When I picked up Kyle, I realized that it was my stepdad's, birthday! I arrived home, and boy, was it a shocker! It took less than 3 hours for Ashley and me to become FOSTER FAILURES! In celebration of my dad's birthday, we named this sweet boy, Kyle, after Mr. W.C. Kile, III. When Kyle came to live with us, his entire being was shattered. He was afraid of sounds, especially human voices, and people in general. He had lost his trust in man. Just putting a collar on him proved to be a challenge. Walking on a leash was impossible. “It is hard to trust when all you have from the past is evidence of why you shouldn’t.” – Unknown He and I learned basic obedience with Lisa Durham, Molly Wilson and Todd Knouff at the Tallahassee Dog Obedience club class at Lafayette Park. Everyone we encountered worked with Kyle in a quiet and loving way. We learned he was gun shy and afraid of birds. Again, clear indicators he was harshly treated as a youngster. We also learned that he LOVED water and retrieving. In fact, water retrieving was the secret sauce that helped Kyle overcome his most ingrained fears. A gentle, loving and consistent hand helped too. Kyle and I went on to achieve little successes a year at a time. Kyle overcame so many challenges from being neutered, house trained, leash trained, socialized (we were still working on that), and getting over gun shyness, blinking birds and many other activities that most dogs and their owners take for granted. Kyle was accepted into the AKC's Purebred Alternative Listing program October 2010. The PAL registration allowed Kyle to compete in designated AKC competitions, like hunting tests. One of our proudest moments with Kyle came Spring 2012 when I entered him as a Jr. Hunter in an AKC Hunt Test. I had no idea what we would be in for, especially full contact with game and being near firing pop guns. We made it around the course with excellent finds, good manners, pop guns firing and tail held high! Kyle's scores were three 10's and an 8! I squealed in delight. This was such an amazing accomplishment for this shy guy.
During the 2013 field season, Mr. Kyle completed his Junior Hunter title! With each round of competition (legs), Kyle improved, and so did his scores. He even earned a PERFECT 10! All the competitors, and judges cheered in delight when our new title was announced. Many said how wonderful it was to see, and be a part of this boy's transformation. Kyle earned his Advanced Jr. Hunter Title in the Fall of 2015. All five legs accomplished with nearly perfect scores. Kyle was enjoying his golden years and was letting all of the younger Lipan pups do the hard work. He was able to hunt up all of the birds the kiddos miss and chase them to his heart's content. Another one of Kyle's accolades was winning the annual Garden & Gun Magazine in 2013 (this photo). That was when the contest was actually judged by people and not by social media "Likes." I received calls from all over the country about him from folks who saw his photo in the magazine.
I will always remember Scott Phipps speaking of one of Kyle’s runs he judged along with Jim Spencer, and he mentioned how happy he was to see that Kyle had found his long lost joy and love in hunting and bird finding. The smile on Scott’s face will be etched in my memory book forever. That’s what Kyle did. He put smiles on many faces. He sucked us in and had us cheering for him because we understood his battle and the mental scars he had to overcome just to be in a bird field. He inspired many people as he gained confidence in himself and in others. As it turned out the faces Kyle put smiles on, and the lives he forever changed, would be ours. Ashley and I were the recipients of just 9 days short of 10 years of this wonderful animal’s companionship.
He was such a sweet and special dog who overcame so much trauma and ended up loving being a bird dog again. He made me a better person and gave us so much joy. Kyle was diagnosed with a spleen tumor on August 23, 2018. Kyle lived a full and rich life with cancer until he lost the fire and light in his eyes. I knew the morning of August 16, 2019 it was time for sweet Kyle to go and run with the great ones who have left before him. We are so grateful to have had him for 9 awesome and wonderful years. He is terribly missed.
There are so many to thank for Kyle’s story. If there is one thing I do know, it is that Kyle deserved his glory days and I am thankful the Lord led me to him. And, to this end, in the great words attributed to Dr. Seuss: "Don’t cry because it is over, smile because it happened." This is exactly what Ashley and I are trying very hard to do. Thank you for reading about Kyle's journey to the Rainbow Bridge.
If you can open your heart and house to a rescue, please, please, please do so. ALL rescue organizations need foster homes for their rescues. Volunteers are needed to do all sorts of activities, like helping to answer emails and transporting rescue dogs from shelters to their foster homes AND sometimes to their forever home. Please visit the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of America for a GSP rescue near you. If you are located in the southeast United States, please visit Southeast German Shorthaired Pointer Rescue to learn more about how you can be a part of helping a pet like Kyle!