Kari Horton is a volunteer with Heartland Small Animal Rescue – a nonprofit that rescues animals scheduled for euthanasia in local shelters. To read more from Heartland, check out the rescue’s Elkhart Truth community blog, Tails from the Heart.
Heartland Small Animal Rescue may be an animal rescue, but we have had the privilege of helping just as many humans as we do animals. When we rescue an animal, we are saving its life. More often than not, we see how that one life saved goes on to help another.
We are always excited and happy to find forever homes for our rescued animals. Some hold very special places in our hearts. The stories become less about the animals’ pasts and more about the futures they bring to their new families.
Here are a few of those stories
Special dogs for a family with special needs
One special family came to us to adopt some time ago. They were looking for a calm dog – their first and only pet. They had a very sick little girl and a special needs son. They wanted to bring the children happiness, as much of their lives were difficult.
One of our dogs “picked them,” as it often goes. She was not the calm dog they expected to take home. She was full of energy and life. She became the children’s best friend. She sat next to the little girl during her medical treatments and loved her little boy.
Then tragedy struck.
One night, their precious dog escaped from the yard and was hit by a car. She died from her injuries. The family was heartbroken. Their son couldn’t understand the reality of what happened and asked for his dog every day and every night.
The parents decided they had to find a new friend for their children, as their despair was too much. At the same time, their little girl was admitted to the hospital when her condition worsened. Their father decided to have the new puppy waiting for her when she was able to come home. He and his son came to Heartland and searched for their new best friend. They found one in a puppy that had just arrived at the rescue.
The daughter was able to come home from the hospital, and the new puppy is trying hard to fill the shoes of their beloved lost dog. She will never replace their love and memories for their first pet, but she is comforting them in a way only she can.
A perfect match
Another special adoption happened almost a year ago.
An elderly gentleman started searching for a dog at the prompting of his daughter and granddaughter. He had divorced many years before. His children and grandchildren lived nearby, but he lived alone in his home.
He enjoyed taking long walks and being outside. He decided on a large dog that had been surrendered to us. She had terrible separation anxiety.
The match was perfect.
She greets him at the door when he comes home, she sleeps next to him in bed and lays on the couch watching television with him at night. They spend summer days taking walks and napping in the shade outdoors.
They have provided each other with the company they both needed and longed for.
Another young family lost their pet, a beloved hamster, from old age. Their two small children cried and missed him so very much.
They agreed to come and look at a new hamster to help ease the pain. They adopted two dwarf hamsters. The children still talk about their first hamster but are so happy to each have a new pet of their own. Their hearts started to mend when they first met their new animals.
A family’s first pet
The last story I will share is the story of my family’s first adopted pet from Heartland – a beautiful Tabby cat.
We were originally told my oldest son was allergic to cats and dogs after a skin test was performed when he was young. After many more tests and years, we found out he suffered from many medical issues. So, the doctors tested for allergies again. This time a blood test determined he did not have pet allergies; the symptoms were caused by his immune disorder.
My husband and I immediately started looking for our first family pet. It didn’t take us long to find Tabby.
We brought her home and surprised the children. They were thrilled. Tabby brought our family the peace we needed. She was a source of calm and consistency in our home. She gave us something else to think about when our son’s illnesses felt too overwhelming to deal with. We have adopted other pets since Tabby, and we love each of them. However, Tabby will always hold that special place in our hearts that first pets do.
She eased our stress at a time we needed it most.
So, I often think that our animal rescue does more than rescue animals. I believe we rescue humans, as well.
If you would like to learn more about adopting a rescue animal, please visit our website at www.heartlandsmallanimalrescue.org.
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