February 2019

The Love of a Rescue Dog Knows No Bounds

Author: Lindsay Perry

Working in animal rescue changes you. You realize a deep-rooted, instinctual sense of compassion that you’ve never fully tapped into before. Your heart aches when you begin to truly comprehend the sheer number of animals who need saving. You experience joy like no other each time an adopter falls in love with an animal. One thing I now know for sure, whether it’s a blind kitten being rescued from a cold warehouse, a terminally ill dog going to a loving foster home to live out his final weeks, or a deaf puppy found paralyzed on the side of the road, animals always “know” when they finally find safety in the arms of their rescuer. No matter their condition, you can see the relief and sheer thankfulness in their eyes.

I’ll never forget one of the very first recues I was a part of when I started working at Palmetto Animal League (PAL) three years ago. Pretty Girl was left on the side of a highway deaf and in pitiful shape. Thanks to the support of PAL donors, she was rescued and received immediate veterinary care. Pretty Girl had endured severe trauma. She had, quite possibly, been hit by a car and was left to die. Our vets determined that amputating Pretty Girl’s leg was her best chance for a full recovery. After healing from surgery, Pretty Girl was adopted into a loving home. The puppy found suffering on the side of the highway now enjoyed running and playing on three strong legs!

Pretty Girl spent several years with her beloved family on their beautiful estate, playing with other dogs. She learned what it meant to be a cherished family member, so it was incredibly sad when her owner suddenly passed away. Still grieving, this gentle, loving dog with special needs came back to PAL so we could find her a new home. You see, this is one of the reasons I decided to become part of the PAL team. As a no-kill rescue organization, PAL extends a lifetime commitment to the adopter. If at any time the adopter can no longer care for the pet, we will accept the animal back and work to find a new home. In short, PAL never gives up on an animal.

For the dog found deaf and severely injured on the side of the highway, this meant a second chance at life; a new start with a new family. Due to her special needs, we feared it might be difficult to find Pretty Girl the right home, but we should’ve known better than to underestimate her! Less than 10 days after coming back to us, Pretty Girl found her next great loves, and she is now a college pup.

“We evacuated from Myrtle Beach in the middle of the night to escape Hurricane Florence,” recounted Ann-Marie Pase. “We drove to Bluffton, and while we were there, my boyfriend Chris decided to surprise me by taking me to PAL to look for a dog.”

Ann-Marie and Christian Snell felt a strong connection with Pretty Girl from the start. “When we walked into the kennel, she was the only one that didn’t bark,” Ann-Marie explained. “We didn’t know it at the time, but she wasn’t barking because she’s deaf. We asked to take her into the yard to play, and right away we knew she was the one. We immediately asked for the adoption papers.”

Ann-Marie and Christian now call Pretty Girl Maggie, and she lives a charmed life in Christian’s dorm at Coastal Carolina University as his emotional support animal. After bringing Maggie home, Ann-Marie said she and Christian became very popular. “Maggie loves attention, so living amongst college kids is great, because she’s constantly fawned over.”

Maggie enjoys walking around campus and visiting Ann-Marie and Christian’s professors. Next semester, she may even get to go to class. One of Christian’s professors loves dogs and even includes them in roll call.

As for Maggie’s disabilities, Ann-Marie and Christian are more interested in her abilities and her future. “Maggie is very capable and has a great quality of life,” Ann-Marie said. “Having three legs doesn’t stop her from enjoying the beach or going on runs, and being deaf doesn’t hinder her one bit.”

Don’t you wish we all had the ability to see the world like Maggie, through an unbreakable lens of courage, positivity and enthusiasm? Despite all the harsh realities she’s had to face in her young life, Maggie’s capacity to give and receive love truly knows no bounds.

A famous author once said, “Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.” Since the day she was rescued from the side of the highway, Maggie’s story has spoken to me. She is a beautiful representation of what Palmetto Animal League stands for. Animals often arrive at our no-kill adoption center frightened and in need of medical attention. Our caring and devoted staff give these pets a healthy new start, both physically and mentally. Maggie is proof that granting a lifetime commitment to each animal is an essential part of animal rescue.

Maggie’s inspiring rescue story is now speaking to thousands of people nationwide since she was chosen to be featured as part of Puppy Bowl XV on Animal Planet February 3! Maggie, Ann-Marie and Christian filmed an interview for a national Subaru commercial to be aired during the program. There is no doubt, life has begun anew for this special rescue dog, and with so much to look forward to, it seems her story is just beginning.

There is no greater joy in animal rescue than witnessing that fateful moment when a forgotten animal finds sweet refuge in the embrace of her rescuer. You may not get to experience these rescues firsthand, but your silent support gives each homeless animal the greatest gift imaginable: another chance at life.

With your help, PAL can save more abandoned, abused and neglected animals like Maggie and give them all the tenderness, healing and love they deserve. These are “Lives Worth Saving.” If you agree, join the No-Kill Movement today. Adopt, foster, donate or volunteer at www.PalmettoAnimalLeague.org.

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