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                                Do Not Adopt A Rescue Dog
                                      (The Story of Tonto)

    You never know what you are getting. They will be parasite ridden, reactive and fearful. They have been abused and neglected and will never recover.  They are scared and their past abuse will traumatize them forever. They are beyond repair. Indulge me just for a moment. It is all true…in part.

    Let me introduce you to Tonto.  Tonto was found barely clinging to life in an abandoned garage.  Tonto’s owners left him behind locked in a garage when they moved.  Weeks passed.  It was the middle of summer in SC.  Tonto was left with no food and no water.  When he was found Tonto was curled in the corner of the garage, lying on a ragged old towel, emaciated; nothing but skin and bones.  Parasites were crawling on his lifeless body.  But he was still alive.  Unbelievably, Tonto was hanging on to whatever hope he could muster. He did not have the energy to stand and needed to be carried to the county shelter.  In that moment he was found I cannot fathom his thoughts.  Were his silent prayers answered or was it too late? Surely the most humane act of kindness would be to end his suffering.

    But then Pet Tails Rescue read his story and saw his photo.  There was a memory triggered and I thought of a boxer named Baron I had as a child.  Baron never left my side.   I saw Baron in Tonto’s eyes.  That was all I needed to see.

    So, yes, Tonto is a testament to the fact that many rescue dogs are indeed abused, neglected, ridden with parasites and just a whisper away from death.  But they are not all broken.  Tonto would not have survived another day in that abandoned garage, but there was a greater power at work that we witnessed that day and for the weeks that followed. Yes, people had failed him.  But now there were others who gave Tonto the faith, strength and the love to fight to survive.  Tonto would not be defined by the neglect and abuse he endured.  He would be defined by his spirit and the trust he placed in his rescuers.

     For 4 weeks, Tonto was in intensive care with fluids and antibiotics streaming through his system.  Every day he was encouraged to hang on.  Volunteers sat with him and gently pet his withered body and caressed his head, still too weak to hold up on his own.  They continued to promise Tonto that life would be better and told him stories of families that would love him and never ever hurt him again.  When they looked into his eyes, they knew.  Tonto was a fighter!

    Pet Tails Rescue found Tonto a loving home with Courtney and her family.  He would never want for anything again.  Tonto has a family that adores him, children to play with and a yard where he runs free.  Oh and all the squeaky toys he could have ever imagined. Does he remember his previous life?  I don’t know.  But I can tell you it doesn’t define who he is.  Tonto is a loving, socialized and trusting soul with a spirit that soars and is as strong as his name.  Tonto.  Does he know he was rescued?  Absolutely.  That is one thing a rescue dog’s soul never forgets.

    So, do not adopt a rescue dog.  Unless of course you want to bear witness to these tiny miracles that happen every day in rescue.  Do not adopt a rescue dog if you are not prepared for unending gratitude, loyalty and devotion that rescue dogs will shower upon you until their dying day. And heart…oh heart…do not fear the love that asks for only love in return.  

                                It Takes a Village
                                 (The Story of Miracle Bella)

    It was the fall of 2012 and Bella sustained a traumatic brain injury at 5 months old.  She was paralyzed, deaf and blind.  Her paperwork said “Humanely euthanize.” But then angels stepped in. Pet Tails Rescue received the following message in our mailbox from a rescue in Georgia:

    That was just the beginning of the story of this sweet girl we called “Miracle Bella.”

    The challenges for Miracle Bella were considered insurmountable. The challenges for Pet Tails Rescue were nearly as difficult. Initially we had to consider her safe transport to NH. The shelter was in a very remote area of Georgia and an army of volunteers would be needed to transport and foster this girl along the way to bring her to NH. Since Pet Tails Rescue is a foster-based rescue, we also needed a local family who would care for her, drive her to countless vet appointments, work within her disabilities to uncover her “abilities”, love her, hold her and reassure her that everything was going to be okay. The world was a pretty scary place for this girl since her only senses were smell and touch.

    Medical visits with specialists stated that Miracle Bella’s disabilities were not likely to get better although there could be some minor improvements as her brain swelling continued to decrease. We held onto those words like a ray of hope. We explored holistic options and Miracle Bella had multiple reiki, physical therapy and massage sessions.

    There were numerous challenges. The weeks turned into months of walking in circles and more circles and always in the same direction. How do you handle that? Where is the reverse button when you need it? And then, when one’s patience and heartache are at the breaking point, when you think you have done everything you can and are about to throw in the towel, Miracle Bella began to straighten her circles.  And started walking into walls.  But that we could handle.  A small and relatively appropriate “halo” was attached to Miracle Bella and she soon learned her surroundings.

    There were baby steps with each measured goal and we rejoiced in each and every single one.  We chronicled every step of this girl’s journey through social media and told her story. Finally she was ready. It was time to find a special family to love Miracle Bella (all 7 lbs of her) just the way she was.

    Miracle Bella, now known as Tabitha, lives a happy life with Melinda and her son Marshall in Vermont. She regained her hearing within the year following the adoption. She now runs with the wind at her back, dances for her food and loves her visits to the local ice cream shop for her frozen doggie yogurt.  Mom Melinda states you would never even know that Tabitha is blind; her circles are now speedy runs all around the house. Every one of her other senses has compensated for her loss of vision.  Nothing stops this girl!  She is simply amazing and truly a miracle

    This was a journey of love and compassion for this little girl.  It would not have been possible without the generosity of a multitude of many giving hearts along the way.  The gratitude we hold in our hearts for the many who held and comforted her, transported her, cared for her and loved her every step of the way is overwhelming.  Our cup runneth over and our village rocks!


                                                Help Wanted
                       (The Story of Gabriel and Skylar)

    They had no names.  Seldom ever do.  The fear in their eyes was palpitating.  They cringed from human touch and sought solace only in each other.  The photo says it all…there are no words needed. They would not survive the shelter.

We named them Gabriel and Skylar.  But would we really be able to save them?  It would take a tremendous amount of time, patience and resources. What foster home would even think about a commitment of this magnitude? This challenge would go above and beyond a simple request to provide simple room and board for a short period of time.  It would go beyond asking them to risk the loss of their new slippers (or in some cases even their bathrobes).  It would go beyond asking them to lose sleep to comfort a whimpering puppy or to allay the fears of a trembling pup by simply holding him.  This just may have been too much to ask.We were about to push the limit and say our prayers that our call would be answered.  Blindly we push forward with faith.  We prayed a lot.  We listen to our inner voice and then jump a cliff hoping we land safely.  After all, this is rescue. And every single time a foster saves us.  They reach out their arms and catch us and gently place our two feet on the ground again.  And then we continue on again.

    It has been 2 weeks since Gabriel and Skylar arrived.  Tonight they are sleeping in warm beds.  Their tummies are full.  They are each with a loving foster whose focus is to now fill their hearts.  But first their spirit must be mended.  These boys need to learn to trust again.  Whatever happened in their previous life is still raw and so evident that tears well up fearing the abuse and neglect they endured for far too long.  Yet, we look into their eyes and know there is no option but to gently heal their fears and allow their spirits to acquiesce to love. Fosters heal.  Fosters are amazing, selfless individuals who suffer their pain and relish in their hopeful recovery.  They cry.  They laugh.  They take every little advance and celebrate a small victory.

    For Gabriel and Skylar there will be many more small victories ahead.  We do not lose hope.  In the end, when the scars are healed and a beautiful future lies ahead for Gabriel and Skylar, these very special people bless them on their way with tears in their eyes.  Their hearts are filled with a loss that in many cases is indescribable. They let go knowing that it was their love that saved them.  They let go knowing a piece of their heart will now be missing.  Then they do it again and again.  Their hearts are endless.

    Our fosters are our heroes.  They are the life and blood of our rescue.  We salute them and are humbled by their selflessness and commitment to Pet Tails Rescue. Every dog or kitty that has passed through one of our foster homes’ doors never forgets.  There is a place reserved in their heart for the memories and for the love that healed them.  Gabriel and Skylar will find that place.  We have no doubt.

     Please consider fostering for your local rescue.  Become a superhero to a pet in need.  Save a life and never be the same again. Remember, even Superman had a foster family!