Animal rescuers change lives every single day. Not only do they improve the lives of animals, but they also improve human lives by adding the canine cuddles and love that many of us couldn’t live without!
A dog named Huck is a perfect example of the sort of lasting change brought about by nonprofit animal shelters around the world. Huck is one of 80 dogs who was rescued from “living in their filth” in Santa Rosa County, Florida.
Huck, who is a Pitbull mix, was rescued from deplorable conditions. He’d been living in a cramped cage with no social interaction with animals or humans, and he was so fearful he could barely move a muscle. Santa Rosa County Animal Services stepped in to remove the animals, but their facility was already at capacity, so they moved the dogs to local fairgrounds until they could be shuffled off to various smaller nonprofit shelters and foster homes.
Huck was eventually transferred to Citrus County Animal Services, where rescuers assessed the animals for temperament, health, and adoptability. They determined that Huck was healthy, but utterly “scared of the world.” He refused to walk upright, cowering on his belly and crawling on his belly whenever a leash was attached to his collar.
“When Huck arrived at the shelter, he was very shut down and fearful,” said Colleen M. Yarbrough, the animal services director at Citrus County Animal Services. “This behavior was likely a result of the improper care he had received. He seemed to be very grateful to his rescuers and knew that we were here to help him; he would crawl into your lap with only slight coaxing.”
After just a few days of love and care, Huck began to come out of his shell. He proved himself to be a sweet, loving dog who just wanted to be close to people. Shelter workers knew that in the right home, he’d continue to blossom into a loyal family dog.
“Literally overnight, Huck was like, ‘I got this, I can be a dog now. I am safe, and I can be your best friend!'” Colleen recalled.
Thankfully, this sweet boy didn’t have to wait too long to find his forever home! When the Bissell Pet Foundation hosted a statewide “Empty the Shelters” event and covered most of the adoption fees, 290 pets in 11 different shelters found a home. Huck was one of those lucky dogs!
Pamela Rice has adopted several dogs before. She’d been thinking of adding to her pack, so when she heard about the “Empty the Shelters” event, she decided to see if the perfect dog was waiting for her there.
“When I went in to see the dogs, I said a prayer because we wanted a smaller dog,” said Pamela. “So I said to God, ‘If there is a dog in there that I’m supposed to have, I’ll take him.’ Huck followed me around at the store, and I knew he was the one. I have been blessed each and every day since.”
Now Huck lives with her other dogs, Beau and (the awesomely-named) Underfoot. He spends all his time playing with his doggy friends and getting all the hugs and kisses he missed out on during those sad early years.
“He’s perfect,” Pamela continued. “He’s so chill — he’s good as long as you’re giving food and hugs and kisses.”
This story reminds us of how important it is to support animal rescue organizations in our community. They do such important work, and they need all the help they can get! Without these selfless workers, dogs like Huck would never have the chance to make someone’s life (and couch!) feel complete.
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