This wonderful Rescue Tale is from our own Susie – Sue Horn.  I was lucky to be able to live this through from start to finish with her if only vicariously through emails.  I shared the joys and tears and frustrations.  A story like this takes you from the beginning to the end rather smoothly and only gives you a small taste of the bumps in the roads that a rescuer faces.  Sue wrote this to share with us and it is a wonderful, heartwarming story.  The pictures of Holly will touch your heart.  Enjoy and know that stories, happy endings like this, are the reason that rescuers continue, day in and day out regardless of the hardship, the frustrations and heartbreak.  Seeing one of these babies who would have otherwise had no chance, wrapped in the loving arms of their new family, the tears of joy on the faces and the uplifting updates make it all worth it!

Thank you Sue for sharing Holly with me and with all our friends here!

Holly, A Special Christmas Gift

HollyAs we all know, the holiday season is busy for every single one of us, gifts to buy, cards to get out, dinner menus to plan, the list seems endless. For those of us in rescue, it is twice as bad. This is the time of the year when those in rescue get an overload of emails to bring a furbaby home for the holidays.

I was having a typical day at work, and checking my emails when this little girl caught my eye. It was an email from a contact in Ohio, where the pound uses heartstick to put down their animals. Her story (below) brought me to tears. One look at her face and I knew I had to save this girl.

Sent: Mon, December 21, 2009 6:13:31 PM
Subject: URGENT need of rescue

Hi Everyone, could you all please crosspost this girl for me if you cannot help her. She was taken by the Mahoning County Dog Pound from a drug dealers house with her new born babies. She was tied up with no shelter, food or water and I guess half the time couldn’t even get to her babies. Her pups have all been adopted but she now sits in the pound awaiting heartstick. Please don’t let this girl go from a life time of abuse just to die in a stupid shelter all alone by heartstick. Thank you all.

I emailed my contact back and I pulled my little girl the day before Christmas Eve. She was going to the vet to get spayed, and up to date on shots. She had just had a litter, and all her babies were adopted; but no one wanted Mama. She was my Christmas gift to myself and I renamed her Holly; which fits her to a T. The most wonderful part of this is the contact in Ohio had a lady that was going to pay for all of Holly’s vet bills. The woman who paid Holly’s bills, is my guardian angel. When she met Holly (before the transport to me) she was so happy, she was crying. All of my “angels” who helped Holly reach her final destination of a loving home are going to get a copy of this, because without them, I could not have saved her.

I was in contact with her foster after her spay, and was told that she was such a timid little girl. She had probably never felt such love from a human being before, never had food at her disposal like this, water whenever she wanted, and a nice warm bed to sleep in. Holly had to make the first move to be your friend. You had to be patient and let her come near you. This was a big adjustment for a little girl who had been tethered all her short life with no food, water or shelter.

A wonderful volunteer and her husband drove Holly from Columbus, Ohio to Chicago. Holly has this habit of stealing your heart, and she stole the transporters heart. Holly came into my possession on January 2, 2010. She was skittish, timid and shy. She laid down right in back of the driver’s seat in my van, and got comfy. My normal routine with a rescue in my van is for me to put my hand down near the dog, and let the dog come to me. Within minutes, Holly was licking my hand. In the parking lot, waiting for Hallie (my rescue partner), I sat with Holly. She snuggled up against me, and I got my first face wash from her. She sat oh so close to me; it was like she wanted to get close enough to feel my heartbeat. She stole my heart, big time. We had treats during our trip to Morton Grove, (what a gentle girl – she was hiding treats in my van, and eating some of them) where she was being picked up by my rescue partner Hallie.

Hallie was going to take her to a lady who has been looking for a dog for quite a while. Holly spent the night at Hallie’s house with her two labbie boys, and Holly got along great with them, and was a real doll. The gal who wanted Holly, well, it did not work out. I do not think this lady is capable of taking care of a dog and do not think she has the ability to understand the emotional needs that many rescued dogs have, not to mention their physical ones. Holly went to our foster up in Lake Forest till January 9th, while we began to look for the BEST forever home.

I sent out a mass email with Holly’s picture and a brief story about her on Monday morning. By Tuesday afternoon, I had a response from a man I know through business, that his mom had fallen in love with her. Once all the adoption paperwork and home visit were done plans were made to take Holly to her new mom on the 9th of January.

I met our foster in our designated Walgreen’s parking lot. He opened the back hatch of his vehicle, and Holly saw me, and was all wiggles and kisses for me. I was hoping, deep in my heart, that she would remember me, and boy, did she ever! Our foster smiled and said “oh does she remember you!” We got Holly into my van, and I went and got all her paperwork from the foster. When I got back to my van to get in, guess who was sitting in the drivers seat?

I got in, told Holly she had to sit in one spot, but first she had to kiss me and hug me. My poor glasses were full of Holly kisses, so bad that I had to wipe them off so I could drive her to her new mom! She made herself comfy in the back seat, resting her head so she could peer out the window and watch everything. She was so good, and stayed in her seat, it was like driving alone. Not a peep out of her.

I called her new mom when we were about 10 minutes away from the house. She said, “I will watch the driveway, when I see your lights, I am coming out to meet my new baby”. I got there, and Holly was a wiggle worm. Took her to potty, and met her mom. Holly went right to her, like she has known her all her life. My heart melted.

Mom went inside to put Holly’s brother, an 8 yr old pitbull, in the other room so she could let Holly get used to the house before we did the introductions to Tigger. Mom’s son, grand daughter, and mother were there, and they all fell in love with Holly on first sight. Holly stayed close to me the first few minutes, checking to see if it was okay. We went into the living room, and Mom had me sit on the sofa. Well sweet Holly put her paws on the sofa, and I looked at her and said “Holly, we must find out the rules of the house first”, Mom heard me, and said “she can sit anywhere she wants. It is her house now.” With that, her mom said “its ok Holly”, she jumped on the sofa, rolled over in my lap, waiting for her belly rubs, then jumping up to give me kisses.

I left Holly at her new home, but before I left, I kneeled down next to her, petted her, hugged her, kissed her and told her “Holly, you will never be out in the cold, never grow hungry, and never ever feel unloved”. As I told her this, I had tears rolling down my face, because this little lab mix, had stolen my heart, and I knew she was in her “furever” home. She gazed back at me, and it was like she understood what I was saying, and came up and gave me a kiss on my cheek. We did the introductions to Tigger, and all he wanted to do was be next to her. She kept them apart the first night, but from the first full day she was there, Holly ruled the house.

Holly’s new mom called me on Sunday, and just wanted to tell me that “Holly is the queen here”. . She said she was in the process of making beef stew for the dogs, and Tigger and Holly are wonderful together. They lay down and nap together, play together and they love their Mom. She said she when saw the tears in my eyes as when I left her house that and she said she felt so badly for me, and could not understand how I did this “rescue stuff”. with all the dogs. To not bringing them all home with me, and having breaking my heart broken with each placement must be so hard. I told her new mom, that without loving people like her, my placing homeless dogs would be a much more difficult task. My heart is not broken when I leave a furbaby at their new home; they are tears of happiness that a little one is going to have the life he or she so deserves. She said she would be afraid to foster, for fear that she would keep each and every dog she fostered. I asked her to talk to her friends, and see if anyone would be a foster parent for me or for any rescue as there is always that dire need. She gladly said she would gladly do so, because of the joy and happiness with bringing that Holly had brought into her life. With that she said “there is a special place in heaven for all of you who do rescue”. which That touched me deeply.


With it being the start of a new year, this rescue has renewed my hope. Hope that all shelters work closely with rescues so we do not have to ever see any dogs put down again. Hope that there is someone out there to love every homeless furbaby. Hope that everyone steps forward and helps, in whatever way they can to save a furbaby, whether it be adopting, transporting, fundraising or being a much needed foster parent. This is what life is all about; at least my life.

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