Like many social media-savvy pet parents, my Instagram account (@notashortstory) is flooded with photos of my two silky terriers: Bailey and Guinness (who we call Gus).
Through Instagram, I found Gus’ twin: a 10-year-old silky terrier in North Carolina named Dave. Gus is on the left, Dave is on the right. (Dave also happens to be my husband’s name.)
Crazy coincidence, right? Just wait…it gets crazier.
Dave’s mom, Casey Nelson (@c_nel on Instagram), recently added a new member to her family: Lucy, a four-year-old cocker spaniel and poodle mix. Lucy was rescued from an alleged puppy mill situation in Johnston, South Carolina.
In the five months I’ve worked for PetSmart Charities, I’ve learned a lot about the efforts that go into rescuing pets from these emergency situations. So naturally, I thought: wouldn’t it be such a coincidence if PetSmart Charities’ assisted with Lucy’s rescue?
Turns out, we did.
Sweet relief for Lucy and her friends
PetSmart Charities dispatched its Emergency Relief Waggin’® vehicle, stocked with $90,000 worth of crucial supplies, to help the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society of Charlotte assist in the rescue of approximately 250 animals in September 2012—including little Lucy, who was named Phyllis at the time.
When I put two and two together, I pointed at my iPhone and shouted to my husband, “This is why I love my job!” I’m pretty sure I looked like a nut.
But enough about me. The truly remarkable part of this story is Lucy.
Lucy spent the first four years of her life producing puppies. When her rescue occurred, she had just given birth. Luckily for Lucy, the Humane Society of Charlotte took her in for the first few weeks after her rescue so she could get healthy again.
A few weeks later, Casey visited Lucy’s shelter.
“There was so much sadness in Lucy’s eyes, but I saw that glimpse of hope,” Casey said. “She had this little hint of a smile that I just couldn’t resist. She was very scared at first, but got more curious as she warmed up to me. She obviously hadn’t had much human interaction. It took her a good five minutes to actually sit down and let me pet her. But I was so happy that she did!”
Progress on the long road to recovery
Lucy is now working with a trainer to learn how to simply be a dog. “For a dog that’s been used to laying in her own urine and feces all day, Lucy has been amazing with housebreaking,” Casey said. Lucy is also getting used to wearing a leash—a new activity for a dog who has lived in a cage for most of her life.
Lucy and her brother, Dave, are gradually getting more comfortable with each other. The two new siblings are starting to give each other kisses and lay down together at naptime. Lucy is slowly learning what it means to play with other dogs.
In just a few weeks, Lucy has made great progress with her new family. It’s been a lot of work for Casey, but she’s absolutely convinced that it’s worth it. “Homeless pets have become an epidemic,” she said. “It’s our job to speak for them, and to educate others about the suffering they go through—especially in puppy mills.”
Lucy, Dave and Casey recently had a little photo shoot together. I think Casey’s feelings about her new family really come through in these wonderful photos: “It’s the best feeling in the world to rescue a pet,” she said. “You’re giving them a second chance at a better life.”
You can certainly see the gratitude in Lucy’s eyes.
Want to share photos of your adopted pet? Follow us on Instagram @PetSmartCharities, and tag your photos with #petsmartcharities. We may feature your photo or story on our blog, too.
*All photos by McGraw Photography