What makes Helen and Roxie so special? Roxie taught Helen that not only can a pet give love, but sometimes a whole new career and outlook on life!
I had just recently lost one of my dogs by the name of Jocie to cancer and was searching Petfinder.com for a dog like Jocie, my heart dog. Jocie was said to be a Golden Retriever and Rottweiler mix. I searched and searched all of the listings for Golden/Rottie mixes, and finally came upon a puppy that was said to be a mix of these breeds.
My husband and I drove to Arizona to pick her up from a woman with a rescue organization who had saved Roxie’s whole litter. The rescue said she was 4 months old, but when we got there, she was so much smaller than she looked in the picture I had seen. I thought, oh no, she's going to be a small dog, not a big girl like Jocie. We took her home anyway and soon dubbed her the Devil Dog, as she was a terror, chewing up the house and bowling over our Golden puppy and her brother, my daughter's dog. Well, it turns out Roxie was about 8 weeks old and grew into the big beautiful girl you see in the picture. She appears to be more Aussie mix than Golden/Rott, but I love her so much!
How did she rescue me? Roxie and I started doing agility when she was about 4 years old. It started out to be just for fun, but it grew into so much more. Roxie is an amazing agility dog! We have achieved goals beyond my wildest dreams. In March of 2013 we flew to Oklahoma for AKC Nationals. Then this year, in February, she earned her Master Agility Championship (MACH) from AKC, a lofty achievement. I never had done anything like this before. Roxie and agility have given me so many amazing memories and wonderful friendships that I never would have had otherwise. I consider her to be my best friend, my teammate and partner, my Rox-Star!
In celebration of our 30th Anniversary, our Be Rescued campaign entries have taught us many things. Caitlin and Jupiter remind us that taking a chance might bring you the greatest reward of all – unconditional love.
This is Jupiter (a.k.a JsuJsu), my hilarious and sweet 7-year old pit bull who rescued me on Groundhog Day, 2012! JsuJsu entered my life at a time when I knew that I was not ready for another dog. I had lost my beloved Comet (also a pit bull) six months earlier and I still missed her terribly. With college ahead of me in the fall, I didn’t feel like myself without the dog who had been my best friend since first grade by my side. But, then Jupiter came along.
She was not coping well in the shelter environment and was in need of a family to take her home for foster care, so we figured it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try. After all, we knew that eventually we would be ready for another dog - so giving Jupiter a break from the shelter might be good for her and us.
Two and a half years later, Jupiter (who prefers the more girly nickname “JsuJsu”) is still here, bringing our “foster failure” tally up to three! Every single day she makes us laugh, whether she is wiggling her way onto the couch, crawling UNDER her agility jump, or rolling around in the grass. Some of her favorite things are lying on the hammock and enjoying the spring air, munching on watermelon, and walking to the ice cream stand down the road on a late-summer evening. She enjoys the simple pleasures in life, and that’s what I admire most about her.
Whenever I’m home from school and working at my desk for extended periods of time, she always comes over to me and puts her paws on my lap, as if to remind me to take a moment to enjoy the day and to remember…that I am loved.
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Here is our first Be Rescued campaign runner-up. While we had many dog entries, only a few cats were entered. We picked Claire and Peeky because their story showed us that kitty love can be the best!
Runner-up – Claire Gorman and Peeky
This is my little lovely, Peeky. She came to me one dark, cold, sleeting November night in 2004. It was actually my roommate who discovered the small not-quite-a-kitten, not-quite-an-adult cat picking through a garbage pile outside of our dorm. She knew I had a soft spot for animals, so she let the cat in the building and called me down. I still remember seeing that little girl, wet and cold, but so pretty and not at all afraid of her new surroundings or the people coming near her.
From that moment, she was mine. I tried to find her owners and called the local shelters multiple times, but no one was looking for this sweet little girl. Living in a dorm, we didn’t keep much food in the room. However, having just come back from Thanksgiving break, I did have two slices of pecan pie from home. I had nothing else to offer her in the middle of the night, and to my delight and dismay, she ate it. And so she was named Pecan. But Pecan is not the catchiest name, nor the easiest to roll off the tongue, so the evolution to Peeky was made.
I had a hard fight to keep my Peeky, and I won’t go into all of the details, but I’ll share with you the last part of her “gotcha” story. I was forced to give her up, and so after much heartache and tears I turned her over to the Animal Protective Association of Missouri. Before I left though, I asked how I could check on her, to see if she was still around or if she was going to be put down. I was given her ID number and told that I could call the shelter to inquire, but all they could tell me was whether the animal was at the shelter or not – they could not elaborate on adoptive status or the “or not”. I called every single day. I didn’t sleep. My brother saw how emotionally attached I was to this animal and devised a plan to tell a little white lie to plant the seed of guilt in my parents. It worked.
One afternoon, they came home with a Hallmark card that read, “it sure would be nice if somebody understood,” and on the inside of the card it read, “We do.” Her adoption papers were in there too! I had a year and half left of college, so Peeky spent her time at home with my parents and brothers where she taught every one of them (even my mother who couldn’t stand a cat before Peeky) how wonderful the love and affection of a feline can be.
After graduation, I moved out of state for law school. This is where the story changes and she rescued me. I was suddenly a thousand miles away from family, friends, a climate I enjoyed, and a good life. There was no comfort, no familiarity, and very little happiness – except for Peeky. That little cat’s shining face looking at me through the blinds, waiting for me to come home from class, could make even the dullest heart come alive. If there was little else to look forward to aside from the semester’s end and traveling home, I knew at least I could spend a few hours in bed asleep each night with her next to me. And to speak of traveling, this girl has done it all – she has made eight flights, and five multi-day road trips - all in the best of spirits and all in the name of being my faithful companion.
There was a time, particularly at the end of my schooling, where I was having a very hard time settling down at night. My blood pressure would rise, my pulse would spike and my mind would race. Among other remedies, it was suggested that I sit underneath a cold running shower. But what eventually worked…was Peeky. When this would come on, I would lay very still, with Peeky near enough to rest my hand on. She always obliged. There is something in her constant purr that can ease even the highest-strung person. Through thick and thin, there has been Peeky.
She has adapted to new animals: a canine brother, and her canine sister who is special needs and requires a rotation in the house because she cannot be out at the same time as the other animals. Peeky comes running any time I raise my voice because she hates to hear me upset, and provides me with constant entertainment. Did I mention she gives kisses when you ask for them? And if she isn’t right there already, that she comes when you call or whistle for her? How could a bad day not Be Rescued by Peeky?
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In our continuation of Be Rescued stories, Stephanie and Marbles’ story reminded us that there are things in life worth fighting for – even if it means losing your job.
Second Prize Winner – Stephanie Gondek and Marbles
Marbles story is a bit of a long one, but she originally came into the shelter I was working at, as a skinny stray about 7 months old. A family had found her running down a country road, and because she didn't get along with their dog, they brought her in. She absolutely adored the kids and was nothing but sweet with the people she saw. However, she was very scared in her kennel and began barking at people when they walked by, and hid in the corner of her cage as well.
Once her 48-hour quarantine period was up, I was the only one who would take her out to walk or play. She absolutely LOVED meeting new people, loved to play, and just wanted affection and treats. When she went through her behavior assessment, she did great on everything except for the food. She was also very protective of her kennel, which are two very typical traits of stray dogs who had been out on their own for a while.
At the time, the executive director and shelter manager were working on tightening up their euthanasia policies by limiting the dogs that would be able to go to rescue groups and choosing euthanasia over helping the dogs overcome their issues. They had decided that she qualified for euthanasia because of her food possession and her kennel behavior. I told them that I would take her and sign off on any liability. It was agreed that I would be able to take her home, but the day I was to take her, they sat me down for a meeting at the end of the day and said I couldn't. I made every case I could for her, even the fact that it was obvious breed discrimination because they had adopted out labs and golden retrievers with questionable histories, but were going to euthanize a scared, skinny pit bull puppy with no bite history.
The meeting lasted for about 3 hours with me trying to fight for Marbles, and overall, fight for all the animals who were going to be entering the shelter and having to deal with stricter policies. During the meeting, I decided to give my two weeks notice because I couldn't work with an organization that took advantage of euthanasia instead of working with the animals. Instead, I was told to gather my belongings and leave the shelter that night. I wasn't allowed back, even to be with Marbles when they scheduled to euthanize her that upcoming Monday. Saying goodbye to her that night was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do - thinking I was never going to see that sweet pup again.
As soon as I left the shelter that evening, I called my parents to give them the news, and then called my good friend at the Buddy Up Animal Society to let her know what had happened. Between my friends who volunteered their time to the shelter who had all met Marbles, and my friends at BUAS, somehow they got the shelter to agree to sign Marbles over to Buddy Up. My Buddy Up friend, Mandy, delivered Marbles to me at 10 p.m. on that Sunday night. I fostered her for a year, spending much of my free time working on her training and socialization skills around other dogs. In the end, I knew I could never say goodbye to her again, so I signed the adoption papers to make it official.
I love Marbles to pieces and she has definitely completed my pack at home. She wants nothing but to be with someone, even if it's just sitting around watching a movie. I knew I was right about this pup, that's why I fought as hard as I could to save her. Everyone who meets her can't believe how close she came to losing her life because she is such a friendly, loving dog. She has taught me a lot about dogs and myself in her training/socialization process. I’ve learned about what’s important and how to stand up for what you believe in. Yes, I lost my job fighting for this sweet little dog, but in the end, she saved me from a place that didn't have the same beliefs I had about animal rescue. I thank Marbles each day for opening up new opportunities and giving me a chance to educate others about this wonderful breed.
We were overwhelmed by the responses to our Be Rescued Campaign in May. From New York to Nevada, your stories were heartfelt, inspiring, and reminded us of how pets can truly change lives for the better – which is something we have always believed in and advocated for here at Up Country.
For the next two weeks, we will be sharing these stories with you, along with pictures of the furry faces that have made a difference in their owner’s lives each and every day. We encourage you to keep sharing your stories, as well as to provide shout-outs to the shelters that also make a difference.
Thanks again to all who entered and to all the selfless individuals who advocate on behalf of animals. Without you, he campaign to Be Rescued would never have been possible!
Grand Prize Winner – Kate Frederick and Leah
I always tell everyone that Leah is the rescue pup who rescued me. In the fall of 2011, while suffering from depression and chronic back pain, my husband and I adopted Leah from Homeward Bound Dog Rescue. I fell in love.
At the time, I was miserable with my current employment, which I had spent 6 years working towards, earning both undergraduate and graduate degrees. I was emotionally eating and drinking, which caused me to gain more weight than I'd ever gained in my life, as I'd always been an athlete. I was also dealing with back pain, caused by an injury, but only made worse by my depression and subsequent inactivity. I decided that a major life change was needed, so I racked my brain for what I was passionate about and where I found true contentment.
My epiphany was the simple act of walking Leah: nature, exercise, fresh air, the joy on Leah's face, and her wagging tail. The catharsis resulting from walking my rescue dog inspired me to become active again, get back in shape, lose 25 pounds, and start my own dog walking business, Dog Walks of Canaan. None of this would have happened without Leah.
I can honestly say that she rescued me from my depression and enabled me to fight for my happiness again. She is truly the rescue pup who rescued me - she saved my life and I will forever be grateful!