by Christa White
I love doing what I do. I love being a dog momma to so many. There are some days I’m exhausted. There are some days I wondering if having wrinkles by 25 is worth it (I’m only 21, not a good look for me). Then I see these faces. I love that I get to work/volunteer with such an amazing rescue. One of the most heartbreaking rescues we brought home was Khloe. Khloe was set to be euthanized at 3:30 April 3. I was asked if I could go up there and do a temperament test with other dogs because they told me she had gotten in a fight and is “dog selective”. I lived too far to make it in time. (I had 15 minutes to get there when I lived 45 minutes away). Thankfully I was granted an extension to get there. This beautiful girl had been through more than any of us will ever know. Not only does the awful ear cropping job tell us that, but the winces she did when I moved too fast, or when she would hop in the shower because she was too scared to not be next to me. She was not dog selective, she was not scary. She was scared.
Khloe scared in jail
Shelter dogs are the epitome of never judging a book by its cover. I’m so thankful I was able to get that extension, like many dogs she deserved so much more than what she had been given and used for. I took Khloe home that day to temporarily foster her until a more permanent foster was found. Well, instead she found a permanent home with me and my others. She has several brothers and sisters ( 13 siblings and 5 fosters siblings) that she loves dearly and plays with everyday. She is no longer scared to be away from me, and she has learned to be a real dog. She's not a breeding machine, not a back yard object who didn’t even know what a toy is, but a well-loved, happy couch potato who LOVES tennis balls. April 3, 2019 will always be a day I’m grateful for not having anything to do and being at home on the couch.
khloe busting out of jail with her dad
The happiest girl in the world
Khloe snuggling with her sister
Khloe's adoption day with family
By Theresa Santiago Adams
**Content warning: Images in this post are VERY graphic, but Theresa wants to show the horror of shelters and abuse, healing, and the power of fostering**
I knew the minute I brought him home, he needed a new name. His old name didn’t fit. A new name for a new life. I googled, and searched and hemmed and hawed. And finally I found the perfect name: Wyatt.
His name means “survivor”. And that’s exactly what he is.
The first time I laid eyes on him, he was cowering in a corner, groggy from pain meds, his head wrapped in bandages. After being abused, neglected and dumped at the shelter, he was placed in a kennel with two other large dogs. A common practice given the level of overcrowding the shelter experiences. Even as a 60 lb Pitt Bull, he was no match for them.
Those two dogs attacked him; ripping his ear in half, tearing huge gaping holes in his neck and mangling his face beyond recognition. Dozens of stitches covering his face, neck and legs. And yet, his eyes were gentle. He wanted help. He wanted to be free of pain.
He wanted to be loved. And I knew I could give him that.
Wyatt the day he was pulled from the shelter
Image on left: Wyatt's ear and neck post-attack
Image on right: Wyatt's leg post-surgery
I brought Wyatt home, placed him in my office which I decided was the best place for him since it was quiet and I could shut the door. That first night he cried. Imagine: alone, in pain, frightened, in a strange new place with strange new people. Could he trust me? Would I hurt him too? I went and laid down next to him. He slept. I didn’t. The next several nights were the same routine; go to bed, wait for him to cry, go lay on the floor with him while he slept.
After about 10 days, I weaned him off his pain meds. He was healing. Wounds were scabbing over, scars were forming where there was once raw skin. The swelling on his face was going away. I could finally see Wyatt’s beautiful face. And he could finally sleep on his own.
For many more weeks, we worked on getting to know each other. I slowly gained Wyatt’s trust; approaching cautiously with hands open so he could see I wasn’t going to hurt him. I would give gentle pets on his head, careful to avoid his wounds. Over the course of several months, he came out of his shell. Little by little. Day by day. One day Wyatt suddenly ran in the backyard with the other dogs. Another time he spontaneously came to me and nuzzled my hand for pets.
He began playing with toys, asking for treats and breaking (minor) rules. In short, Wyatt was becoming a dog. And it has been one of my greatest joys to watch this sweet, gently boy blossom into the silly, goobery, playful dog he was meant to be.
People often ask me why I rescue dogs. This is why. This life I saved, this boy I helped. Wyatt is the reason I rescue. Yes, it’s hard. It’s challenging, and frustrating and stressful. My house is always a mess. It’s never completely quiet. Someone always needs attention or discipline. But I love what I do.
I love these dogs. I love that I can make a difference, that I can save a life.
It’s often difficult to impress upon people the need for foster families. It’s almost impossible for them to wrap their heads around the staggering numbers of animals admitted to shelters and rescue groups across the metro area, let alone the state. People often say to me, “oh I could never be a foster parent, I’d get to attached”. Well, I do too! I fall madly, deeply in love with every single one of my foster babies. And I hand them over to their new families with mixed emotions, knowing I will likely never see them again, but at the same time understanding that it’s the best decision for them.
Being a Dog Mama and fostering are the most rewarding things I have ever done. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to help animals reach their potential and have a better life. And no, not every foster dog is a serious medical and psychological case like Wyatt. In fact, most are perfectly well adjusted dogs that just need a chance at life.
Give fostering a chance - you could save a life too!
handsome wyatt fully recovered
Wyatt loves almond butter snacks!