Saving Stella

On Friday, I decided to meet my old neighbor at Char-Meck Animal Control to check out a dog she wanted. That was probably mistake #1. Animal control is a bad place for me to go for a number of reasons: 1) I will inevitably leave crying (which happened); 2) I will want to adopt/save all of the dogs – and won’t be able to(which happened); 3: I will feel helpless (which happened).

I walked through the kennels and let the dogs sniff/lick my hands, all while my heart was breaking. I did a pretty good job of holding it together until I met Stella. She couldn’t make eye contact with me. She looked like she was ashamed of being there. Hopeless. Lost. Confused.  Sad. Her eyes were the saddest eyes I’ve ever seen. I lost it right there.

I made another loop through the kennels, falling in love with Casper, the white boxer, Cooper the small shepherd mix, Jimmy, the border collie, Choppa, the big bully mix and Calley, an adorable pointer mix (all pictured above). I stopped to talk to Stella again. I wanted to hug her and tell her it would be alright. She leaned into the kennel to let me touch her as I sobbed about the situation these dogs were in. I promised her I would do all that I could for her and I would be back. That was a big promise, especially for a dog that I knew nothing about. I had no idea how she was with kids, dogs or cats. She wasn’t overly friendly. She wasn’t a puppy. She was a pit bull, for Christ’s sake. I got it together long enough to walk back through animal control, past the officers and then sobbed all the way home. Falling into my husband’s arms when I walked into the door and mumbling some non-sense about quitting my job to save dogs full time.

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I posted the video publicly on Facebook and asked friends and family to share her story far and wide. I tagged my friend, Laura, who founded a foster non-profit in Charlotte, (Dog Days of Charlotte) who I know loves pit bulls and she immediately started helping me find rescues to save Stella. We had a rescue (Catering to Cats and Dogs) within half an hour of posting and then we just needed a foster and/or donations for medical care. Some incredibly generous soul donated $160 right away. While a wonderful lady volunteered to foster and/or adopt Stella. We worked until about 11 PM solidifying details and once the plan was set, I cried some more. We were going to get this sweet girl out!

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On Saturday, my husband and I drove to animal control and busted Stella out. I had prepped him that I had no idea how she would be out of the kennel. I told the foster she would probably need a few days to decompress in a quiet place and realize she was safe before introducing to other dogs/kids. She probably wouldn’t want to give attention or play much those first few days. And then she came out, and she was… amazing.

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She gave us hugs and kisses. She took treats gently and let us put the collar and leash on her with no issue. She even played with the leash for a minute. She walked happily out of AC and hopped in the car and I swear she knew she was free.

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She took lots of opportunities to give us more kisses and rest her head on us. I may or may not have cried a million more times.

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We stopped at Petco to grab something from the rescue and let a few gals meet her and I grabbed her a stuffed squeaky toy and a bone to take to her foster’s house. She LOVED her toy.

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She was super sweet when meeting her foster family (and they hope to adopt her, too!). She was gentle with the kids, and didn’t want to put her toy down. The hardest part was saying goodbye. She kept pulling on her leash to come with us, which made me run back and hug her a few more times and tell her to be a good girl. We waved from the window and then drove off and as soon as we were driving, she turned and walked happily with her new family into their home. And yes, I cried again. Happy tears, though. I am so grateful for everyone that helped save her and that she will now live a happy life. I encourage everyone to check out your local shelter or rescues and adopt instead of buying from pet stores or breeders. There are a million dogs like Stella out there.

Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.” ― Karen Davison

Also, I know spending the morning at Animal Control, saving dogs, transporting, stopping by an adoption event and meeting fosters wasn’t my husband’s idea of a great Valentine’s day, but to me, it was perfect. I’m so glad he was with me for all of those moments yesterday. I think Stella was glad he was there, too. ❤

Find these amazing rescues on social media: 

Dog Days of Charlotte: Facebook and Twitter

Catering to Cats and Dogs: Facebook and Twitter

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6 thoughts on “Saving Stella

  1. Thank you so very much for being such a wonderful person and helping these animals out…something that is very near and dear to my heart. I am writing this through tears as I too cannot visit the “pound” without crying uncontrollably. I just wanted to say thank you for saving this Angel.

    • Thanks, Brandi! For far too long, I have also said that I can’t visit the shelters because it will make me cry. But then I look at the difference it made for Stella and I realize that the least I can do is go visit, give them attention, take their pictures, share on Facebook/Twitter, network with rescues and TRY. You should look into fostering, helping at adoption events on weekends or even just transporting dogs for local rescues – it really is a huge help. At the least, share the photos that rescues post on social media – it expands their reach and helps the dogs get seen. That’s where we started… I took pictures at an event. Then I started handling social media for a rescue. Then I helped at an adoption event. Then we fostered. You figure out what you can do (everyone is different) – but, every little bit helps. I appreciate your kind words and ❤ your big heart.

  2. I cried reading this. She reminds me so much of a pretty little girl out in California that was saved from a life of being a bait dog. Absolutely heartbreaking. That first video you took, that was a girl that was starting to give up on life… I’m so happy that for that one special girl, you saved her life. I’m a lot like you, I wish I could save them all but alas, that isn’t possible. So instead, we do what we can, right? You are an amazing person, you know that, right?
    Incredible. I’m so happy she’s warm, safe and happy in her new foster home. A day you’ll never forget, I’m sure.

    🙂
    xox
    Lindsay

  3. Loved this one.

    Ms. Robertine Farley
    Coordinator for EHS
    Environmental Health and Safety (0423)
    675 Research Center Drive
    Blacksburg, VA 24061
    Ph: 540-231-5770
    Fax: 540-231-3944
    rfarley@vt.edu

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