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

Puppy Love!

This weekend, we fostered puppies (through Dog Days of Charlotte) for the very first time. I cannot tell you how happy my heart is that we were able to do this and give those boys a place to stay, toys to play with and lots of love. If you’re not familiar with fostering, it’s a great way to get involved with rescues without adopting or donating money (although I’m all for adopting and give as much as I can to help those in need – including pups!).

On Saturday, I took the boys to an adoption event at Petco and they both got applications for adoption. I’m sure they will make those families very happy. But while I was at the event, I noticed how everyone cooed over the puppies and ignored the full grown adult dogs. It completely broke my heart, especially with Denver. Denver is literally THE PERFECT dog. He’s sweet, he’s up-to-date on shots, he’s heart worm negative, does well on a leash, what more can you ask for? I fell head-over-heels for this boy after spending the day with him. He gave me the sweetest kisses and he has such kind eyes. You can just tell that he’s going to be a loyal dog. I can’t believe he’s been in foster since August.

Bam Bam (also available through Catering to Cats & Dogs) was the other guy that stole my heart. (Yes, I was there with the puppies but they got lots of attention and both had applications before I starting hanging out with D &BB). This little guy is only 7 months old and so super sweet. He was so calm to be a puppy and just wanted me to hold him. He does well on a leash and being 7 months old, he’s pretty much grown. He’s the perfect small dog, with THE softest fur. I would have taken him home myself if I knew my husband wouldn’t kill me.

If you’re local to Charlotte and interested in getting involved with rescues or fostering or even considering adopting, here are some good places to start:

Fostering:

While all of these groups will gladly take you on as a foster for a weekend, a week, two-weeks or until the dog gets adopted, a good starting point is this Facebook page for Foster Charlotte Area Dogs. They post dogs daily that are on death row in the shelters and need out immediately, and just need a foster to step up. If you think you can’t do it because you’ll get attached or sad when they get adopted, think about the alternative: they’re going to die if someone doesn’t step up. Not to sound like a bully, it just the truth.

If you aren’t in Charlotte and want to get involved, just google it. Or even search on Facebook and you can often find groups local to you. If you insist on getting a purebred dog, please know that 25% of dogs in shelters are purebred and there are purebred rescue groups that can help you find your new best friend. Rescue groups will also help arrange transport to get the dog to you if you don’t live close by.

Give fostering a shot. A lot of times fosters fall in love with the dog and decide that’s the dog they want to adopt. Even if you only do a week or two, you’ll be saving TWO lives. One for the dog that was pulled for you to foster and one for the dog who now has space to live in an overcrowded shelter. If you foster puppies, while two are a handful, they keep each other company and ours slept through the night without crying AT ALL because they had each other.

It’s such a rewarding experience and at zero cost. You will get everything you need from the group you’re working with. Seriously, sounds too easy, right? It is! There are millions of dogs in shelters that will die this year, fostering for a weekend was the least we could do. I can’t wait to get more involved with these organizations.