Parkland therapy dogs remembered forever in yearbook photos

One day, many years from now, older adults who had their young lives torn into by the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida may indeed reach back for their yearbooks. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t cracked mine open in more than 30 years. Never had a reason to. 

These adults will, the brave ones who still want to revisit those days and that time when their life, and the lives of everyone in America. changed yet again because of someone seeking to do harm. 

I’m going to guess these pages will be looked upon many times in the future, and when they are, there will be the smiling faces of friends lost, and those who helped them thru some of their darkest days. 

The therapy dogs who were there, mixing with the students and teachers solely for the purpose of bringing them a little comfort, show them a little love, and hopefully make things a little easier in difficult moments. 

The rescue dogs are forever remembered on their own yearbook page, a wonderful idea to honor these four legged heroes. I saw them at the school, and wept watching them work their magic. I’ll wager more tears will be shed in the future when these pictures are viewed. Hopefully, tears of joy. 

Animals, especially dogs, have this innate ability to make our lives just that much better, They do indeed sense when we need them, and they never ask for anything in return save a hug and a nuzzle. 

Here’s hoping that many years from now, when the dogs themselves have passed on and these students are seeking a quiet moment to remember a time of healing, they will turn to this page, these photos, and share a smile with their fuzzy friends. 

Good dogs. 

When the rescuer decided this rescued pup was his all along

Fate is an interesting mistress. She comes along when we least expect to see her, and while she is not always kind, every now and then she leaves us wondering why we were the person who came to be in a certain spot at a certain time. 

Paul Bryant of the North Charleston Fire Department now knows exactly how that feels. 

As a veteran firefighter and first responder, Bryant has been at the tip of the spear in many a rescue operation over his career. None, however, was quite like the manner in which he met his new forever friend. 

That little pup who somehow got trapped under a pile of rocks? No one could free him until Paul was called, and from the moment that little guy emerged, you could see there already was something special going on here. 

No one came to claim this wiry and energetic youngster, and that’s when Paul decided fate had stepped in. He was called to that rescue for a reason, and the reason included a new member of the family. 

Watch the video and see the joy in both of their eyes at the eventual reunion. Rocky, the perfect name for this little guy, could not be happier. He’s one of the lucky ones, not spending much time at all in shelter and off already to his forever home. So many others await to be chosen, and somewhere out there, we can only hope fate has a positive ending in store for them. 

Life could have taken a difficult turn for Rocky, but now, he and Paul are off on new adventures and lifetime of love. All because one man was lucky enough to be called at just the right time. 

Here’s hoping the positive hand of fate touches many more humans and pets as they seek their lives together. 

Well played, Paul. 

Good boy, Rocky. 

Firefighter shares the rescue tale of how Bella changed his life

It’s probably one of the more salient things to say about rescue dogs and rescue animals. When we look back on our lives together, we always need to be asking “who really saved whom”? Far too often these pups are the ones who do the saving.

Meet Bella. 

Gregg Favre came across this little pup in need of rescue some 11 years ago at a St. Louis firehouse. Something clicked, and he knew she was coming home with him. Not only did she become a member of the family, she became his inseparable companion. Even Gregg was astounded at the bond between the, how tight it was in so many ways, how it seemed as if he and Bella shared the same mind. There was nothing they would not do for each other. 

Sadly, the one thing they couldn’t do was stop the cancer from invading Bella’s body. As is the tale with so many wonderful companions, this insidious disease is the reason why Gregg non longer wakes to the wagging tail of his girl. 

However, his social media posts have been a source of joy for so many, and have brought renewed interest in giving to those organizations seeking to bring about a change in canine cancer. It’s the least Gregg feels he can do for Bella. 

The story is a simple one, as is the conclusion. Treasure every moment with those we love, no matter if they have 4 or 2 legs. Revel in those moments, for one day, they will be gone, and we will want more. 

Bella was an exceptional dog for Gregg and his family, I’ll wager there are a lot of Bellas around the world, possibly even just a few feet from where you are now, and they are ready to teach us all the lessons of simple, unconditional love. 

Well played, Gregg. 

Good girl, Bella.

The dog that his new family believes had to be sent by God

Headlines featuring God more often than not tend to make people shy away, at least that’s been my experience in the news business. It’s looked upon as just an emotional tug to get people interested. However, one has to wonder at times if indeed the hand of something greater than ourselves is at work. 

Meet Oreo, just another stray dog in the neighborhood. No one likely paid him much attention, perhaps throwing him some scraps every now and then. Until this incident, no one even knew his name or gave him one. 

One day, a little girl was running across the yard and another strya bursts from a wooded area and seems to be heading directly for her. No one really knew the dog’s intent, however there is the “better safe than sorry” angle when a child is approached by an unknown animal. 

That’s when, for some inexplicable reason, the dog now known as Oreo got involved, putting himself between the charging dog and the little girl. Oreo came out of the exchange worse for the wear and had to be treated for injuries. 

The family wasn’t looking to adopt a dog. Yet after watching Oreo put his safety on the line for this child, his new forever home was secured. 

Why did he do it? Who knows? It could have been simply a reaction to seeing another dog. It could have had nothing at all to do with the little girl. 

Then again, it could have been all about one dog understanding a need to protect, as so many of them do every single day. 

Oreo is going to spend the rest of his life pampered and loved. He will be by the side of this child as she gets older. And he will always have the love and affection of a family that sees him as a God-given gift. 

Good boy, Oreo. 

Idaho family ensures love to senior dogs in their final days

How can people do this? No, I’m not criticizing. I’m asking with a level of honest wonder and gratitude.

This is not the first story about people who make time, spend their money, raise cash all in the idea of helping senior dogs in their final days. A few of these stories have wound up on these pages, and there seems to be more organizations of every size popping up around the country to house, care and feed these senior pups.

I ask that question because these people like Kimberly Cooonis in Idaho are to be admired for their dedication and compassion. What they do isn’t cheap, and for me personally there’s a line with death. I don’t know if I could handle dealing with it every day, every week, as last days turn into farewells. Emotionally, it would rip me to shreds.

Thankfully, there are much stronger people like Kimberly and her family. They do it all out of love for dogs that, very likely, came from tough years and faced the prospect of final days on a cold floor facing a needle, or a garbage dump somewhere scrounging to survive. AT her home, they have food, water, grass, smiles, and people to love them.

I don’t know how they do it, but thank God they do. We all deserve a level of dignity in our older years, and while their time is short, they go into the unknown having been loved in those final days.

God bless you, Kimberly.

One man’s dying wish for the strays he loved and cared for

I have to say, this one left me more than a little misty-eyed.

By the time you read this, Richard Ewers may already be gone. He’s been in hospice for about a week, the cancer finally taking it’s toll and forcing him from his home.

Ewers is one of those people who didn’t have much. His home was little more than a roof over his head, and it wasn’t in great shape. Yet Ewers shared that home with the dogs no one wanted, the ones left at dumpsters struggling for a life. He brought them in, cared for them as best as he could, and did everything he could to find them a forever home. Now, his forever has reached the end.

But thanks to people in and around San Antonio TX, there will be another day for the dogs still remaining. Volunteers and just neighbors who cared have been showing up to care for the dogs while Richard takes his final breaths. Thus far, more than half of those he took in have found homes.

Ewers is, obviously, a man who doesn’t have much. We don’t know his life story or how he came to live in this house with so little to show for his life. Yet, in his final days, all he wants is for someone to give his dogs, those with nowhere else to go, a home. 

This is a world filled with so much despair, so many people living in tough times. Yet when I find someone the likes of Richard, it seems to indicate there is hope. Somewhere. All we have to do is find it. 

It’s going to be  tough life for these dogs. All they’ve known is struggle and this old man who showed them a little love and affection. Their new families will have to have patience as everyone adjusts. 

In their canine minds, they will always wonder where that man went. They have no sense of time, so they will believe he will be coming right around the corner any minute, a treat in his hand. 

Someday, hopefully, they will see him again. Someday, we here on Earth will find others that give so selflessly and show us there is indeed the humanity we all should be seeking and emulating. 

God bless you, Richard. 

Thank you. 

The rescue dog that made an immigrant truly, finally, feel at home.

One of the most discussed ideas when it comes to rescue animals is the question of who rescued whom? We as humans always get the idea that because we have the conscious idea of adoption that we reached out and saved a life, however, quite often, it is the animal that truly rescues us with a level of love and caring we may never have thought ourselves possible of attaining. 

For immigrants coming to America, the feeling of needing rescue is a powerful one. Many are escaping dangerous lives, and at their core all they seek is the American dream. a future, a place to call home, a place to raise a family. 

Jessica Lima certainly had those feelings growing up as an immigrant child from Guatemala. Years after first coming here, she felt something was missing in her life. That gap was filled when she met Bruce.

Puppies can be such a daunting task, especially for single parents. They can and often do wreak havoc on lives as Jessica quickly discovered. However, in the struggle to settle Bruce into his new life, Jessica learned a lot about herself, her journey, and was able to understand a little better what she went thru as a child. Bruce, himself, is something of an immigrant to America, having been brought to the mainland from Puerto Rico where he truly had no chance of a good life. 

The two are now inseparable, and as Jessica strikes out on her life, she has a friend, companion, and a member of the family along for the ride. Bruce will be there for the ups, the downs, the good times and the bad, and you get the feeling there is nothing that can break them apart. 

It’s a new vista for both sides when a dog is adopted. Neither one really knows what they’re getting into it, and they can only hope for the best. IN this case, it’s a match many years in the making, and one that should give everyone hope there is someone out there for us all. 

Well done, Jessica. 

Good boy, Bruce. 

“Unadoptable” Edgar becomes the scourge of child abductor

For some reason, certain dogs never seem to attract attention at shelter. They look perfectly healthy, they have everything a family could want, they do everything they can to attract attention, and still they sometimes never see freedom again. 

Edgar was one of those dogs. He even had the label “unadoptable” slapped on him for some reason, and the reputation stuck. I mean, honestly, how could anyone resist that face?

Thom Lambert always wanted a dog, as he ran his furniture making business from home. With three children, however, the family already had plenty on it’s plate and his wife wasn’t all that keen on the idea. Until Thom met Edgar, and everything changed. 

In a heroic sense. 

Not only has Edgar become a perfect fit for this family, he has also very likely saved the life of Thom’s kids. When an alleged child abductor was making the rounds in the Lambert neighborhood and broke into their home, Edgar would have none of it. A normally laid back dog, as a lot of coonhounds are, Edgar went nuts when he knew someone was attacking his family. There is not a single doubt that because he decided to speak up, Lambert’s young children were kept safe. 

All thanks to the dog that no one wanted to adopt, that someone had tagged as not being the right type for adoption, and one some might have viewed as lethargic or even lazy. 

Pre-conceived notions. Misconceptions. Simple failing to give a chance to one dog who so desperately wanted to please and be part of a family. 

Edgar is home. Forever. Thom has this big loving boy to thank for his children being kept safe. A lesson for everyone to accept that first impressions, and labels placed on dogs or humans by others, are not always the right ones. Sometimes, you have to take that leap of faith. Because you never know where it will lead. 

Thanks, Thom. 

Good boy, Edgar. 

A man and his puppy share a world of silence and love

When it comes to rescue dogs, we seriously never know what we will find out there waiting for a forever home. So many animals waiting for just one chance, often overlooked because they have a minor flow, something that makes potential adopters turn away. When you think about it, we ALL have our flaws, minor and major, and often we have to be grateful others look past our foibles and give us a chance. 

Which leads us to Emerson, an absolutely beautiful boy. Rescued from a shelter in Florida and sent to Maine, people there realized after a short time this puppy couldn’t hear. He was deaf, and they knew that could be a major stumbling block in his being adopted. To some, being deaf would be a deal breaker. 

Some, but not Nick Abbott. That’s because Nick is deaf and understands a world of no sound. When he found out about Emerson, the word “deaf” was no impediment. It actually was what drew the pair together. They may never hear a single word between them, but Nick understands how that, to him, is simply the way of life. 

The two have so quickly formed an inseperable bond, it’s easy to see them together for whatever time they are given. 

We are all born with flaws, every single one of us. In the end, all it takes is for someone to recognize that our flaws are what make us unique, and can make us better at facing the world around us. I read so many stories of blind dogs, dogs with one eye, dogs with a missing leg, those who have to use a cart to walk because of damaged rear legs, all of these things that humans go thru and also seek acceptance in the everyday world. 

All it takes is to give someone a chance. Let them see how much you are. Let them hear how much you care. 

Even without a single actual sound. 

Well played, Nick. 

Good boy, Emerson. 

A silver lining for senior dogs seeking love in their silver years

As we all age, the chances rise we will be lonely, perhaps even forgotten. It’s not something we want to face, but the reality is there. Age is not always a sign of experience, as often in a world growing younger it becomes more of an encumbrance to those more concerned with other things. 

It’s the same with dogs, but it’s also a much harsher world for those in need of rescue. Odds are overwhelming that when people go to shelters, they seek out the puppies, the younger dogs, that will stay with them for many years. Sadly, those with a little gray on the muzzle and silver in the mane are overlooked and turned away. Not out of hate, but simply because we don’t wish to face their mortality, and certainly not our own. 

Which is why places like Shep’s Place Senior Dog Sanctuary in Independence MO is so necessary. Senior dogs living in shelters are every day facing a greater risk of being euthanized, so why not find a home for these loving, gentle animals who really only want what every dog wants. A forever home, a place to rest their head, for as long as they have left. 

In many cases, these are dogs that have been terribly abused, left to die on the streets, abused as fighting animals, having experienced the truly dark side of humanity. That’s what makes the effort from founder Russell Clothier so special, so wonderful, so exceptional in proving there is good in people everywhere.

Shelters and homes such as these are always in need of donations, be they monetary or in the form of blankets, sheets, food, medical supplies, you name it.  Of course, they would love to see someone take one of their residents home and allow them to experience that full and rich life of being with someone who will love them unconditionally. 

They love us unconditionally. It’s the only way they know how to love. It is then up to us and return a simple favor, doing what we can for them and giving them a chance to feel some measure of joy while they spread a few smiles along the way. 

Well played, Russell. 

Good dogs.

Fun and entertaining dog tales from around the world