By MIKE COURSON
Great Bend Post
There is no distance some won't go to help an injured animal. In May, Cuba's Nicki Havel found a "pile" of dogs some 145 miles north of Great Bend, just outside Belleville in Republic County. Months later, and with the help of the Golden Belt Humane Society, the story has a happy ending. Two weeks ago, Havel adopted Maggie, the most seriously injured of the dogs she found that day.
Havel was running an errand in mid-May when she saw the dogs lying in a ditch just off a road between Cuba and Belleville. Maggie, a hound-mix, was at the center of a pile of nine dogs.
"Maggie had been hit by a car within a week or two before I found them," said Havel. "Five of them were her pups, I believe. I think they were all running as a pack. I think they were all surrounding her, keeping her protected, but they were all literally just in one great big huge pile."
Havel called some friends, who brought carriers and dog food. They were able to round up the pups and Maggie. At first sight, Maggie appeared to be immobile with unknown injuries. She did crawl to the shade as the party tracked down the other dogs. All the dogs were in poor condition.
"All of the dogs were completely covered in ticks, like completely covered," Havel said. "I don't how they could even hear because their ears were so jam-packed full. Everybody was skin and bones, so everyone was hungry."
Not knowing what to do with the dogs, including the severely injured Maggie, Havel voiced her frustration on Facebook.
"In Republic County, we don't have any services," she said. "There's no animal control, there's no pound, shelter, rescues, or anything. That was also one of the reasons we wound up in Great Bend, because I wasn't able to find anyone in the area that was willing to take them."
But Havel did find help on Facebook when Golden Belt Humane Society Director Heather Acheson and Jean Clair, a volunteer, reached out. They agreed to meet Havel and the dogs in Salina that day. Atcheson and Clair not only brought the pack of dogs back to Great Bend, but later returned to Republic County to catch two more of the dogs. At the Salina meeting, Havel was not sure if she would see Maggie again.
"When I dropped her off, it was really hard to let her go, but I couldn't take care of her at the time and what she needed," Havel said. "Our family was in the process of getting ready to move to another farm. I talked with my husband and told him it was really hard. He said that was fine, let's find out if we can adopt her then. I talked with Heather, and they were more than happy to let me adopt her once she was through with all her surgeries. She made it through all her surgeries just fine, we got moved, and we were able to adopt her."
In Great Bend, Maggie's rear leg was amputated. Among the various other ailments, Maggie had been shot by an unknown caliber of firearm and an arrow.
"I'm assuming it was probably a rifle of some type," said Havel. "We didn't know about the arrow until they went to amputate her leg and found the fletching in her leg."
The good news came full circle in late July when Havel and family were able to adopt Maggie. Havel said her new favorite places are the couch and her bed. The dog has adjusted well to her new family.
"Without Golden Belt, there would probably be no Maggie," said Havel. "They went above and beyond to help in a situation that they didn't have to, and a long way from home. I'm so appreciative of everything they've done. They really are the best."
All four of the pups rescued with Maggie have been adopted out from the Golden Belt Humane Society, and two of the dogs are still available for adoption. One dog is still at large in Republic County.