Dearest Romeo

Published in the PATIO issue
/ Written by Betsy Marquez / Photos supplied by Betsy Marquez

 

December 10, 2019
Dearest Romeo! I was brought to tears in meeting you—you’re in probably one of the worst conditions I’ve ever seen. I have so many questions! Were you a stray for long? Did you have owners and were just not cared for? Did they just watch you decline medically and not do anything? Could they not afford the care? Did they drop you off somewhere? Let’s face it—none of those questions matter, because I’ll never have the answers. All I know was that I could not leave you alone in a shelter for your remaining days.

Bone cancer, heartworms, and whatever other diagnosis there was in those big words … I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to do more than to open my already fragile heart to give you the very best of a loving, caring, warm, comfy, quiet, boring home life for your remaining days. I’m bringing you home not knowing how many days you have left. Will it be weeks? Will it be days? Might it just be over night? It really didn’t matter to me. I got the green light from Clay County Animal Services—you are coming home with me. Was this in my plan? No. But sometimes you just do what’s right and being there for you is just that.

Romeo you, Sir, have been such a love! You seek out a gentle touch. You like to walk around the yard, then stop and take it all in, looking around. You constantly look for me if I’m out of sight. You follow me around the house like the Velcro pup that you are. You love your crate with the oversized bed, and soft music playing in the background. Unlimited treats for you, love.

Just know this, Romeo—your remaining days will be some of the very best days of your life. When your time comes, you’ll be surrounded by those who love you. Your life matters.

December 13, 2019
The last 24 hours have been pure bliss. ROMEO—this 12-year-old throw-away hound is living his best life.

 

December 16, 2019
Dearest Romeo! I sit here watching you sleep and listening to you breathe … my heart is both full and broken at the very same time.

December 22, 2019
Last night, just before midnight Romeo crossed the rainbow bridge.

Dearest Romeo, yesterday was just short two weeks since I brought you home. You were only supposed to be a three-day hospice foster, but the veterinarian thought that you were well enough to make it through the holidays. As everyone can see, you had a huge mass on your face. You had a VERY mean and fast growing tumor in your nasal cavity. In spite of that monster, you were free of cancer mentally and in your spirit and heart. You were such a loving, happy, attention-seeking, leaf-rolling, back-scratching, treat-finding, always hungry, Velcro pup. You loved sleeping in the living room on your new blanket. You loved being in the back yard, rolling around smelling the air and watching people walk by. Most of all, you loved being loved by foster momma and brother.

Yesterday you had such a good day. You slept in just a little, till 6:30 am. You ate breakfast, went out in the yard for a bit, and back to bed. I went out in the living room with you and watched you sleep. Your foster brother had been sleeping on the couch for two weeks, so you weren’t alone out there.

I ran an errand and brought back Zaxbys—I think you ate more than I did. After dinner, more yard time and some good rolling around in the leaves. Then some good love from foster brother when he got home from work.

When our friend Lisa got here, we got you up and almost immediately noticed a little blood from your eye—still, you were your happy self meeting a new friend. But we couldn’t make it stop. We kept wiping the blood with a wet paper towel, as we didn’t want to irritate your eye with a harsh dry one. We thought taking you to the vet would be a good idea so they could do something and you’d be back home.
But your tumor had ruptured. And I wasn’t ready.

When we made the decision, you were surrounded by love. You spent your last days in a home being our family member. We only had you in our lives two short weeks, but in that time you made such an impact. Losing my three-year-old grandson just months ago has my heart already in pieces. My heart is shattered making that call for you, dearest Romeo. I have absolutely no regrets being your hospice foster. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Run free sweet boy. I love you, dearest Romeo.
Your life mattered.
Love, Momma

If you are thinking about fostering—don’t debate. Please don’t make excuses. Do it!
“I don’t have room.” I live in 800 square-foot home with my 22-year-old son and my other dogs.
“It’s too sad!!” If you know me… you know that my heart is extremely fragile these days. It’s not about me, although I do have to say … Romeo made my heart so happy.
“But my dogs aren’t friendly.” I shuffle. It’s only as hard as you make it. A little bit of work? Yes, but so worth it.

There are a ton of dogs at the shelter, and a heartbreaking amount of seniors!
Please consider fostering. It will change the life of an animal, and, trust me, it will also change yours. •

 

 

Adopting Acorn

/ As seen in the TRIPPIN’ issue

Editor’s note: We recently received a message from a proud mama that thrilled us:
Dear Unleash, Beatrice is a reader of your magazine, and we recently ordered four back issues for her to dive into. She always has at least one Unleash Magazine with her for reading at restaurants, in the car, or wherever there might be a quiet moment. For years she has collected photos of animals in need of adoption, and she is so proud to now be the mommy to her first ever rescue pet! Acorn came from a hoarder home with 50 cats and 30 dogs, we are working to socialize him to his new life where everything is brand new to him … I wanted to share with you the appreciation my daughter has for your magazine.

WOW! What an amazing kiddo! We greatly appreciate Beatrice’s love for animals, commitment to adoption, and affinity for Unleash! We had to hear more about her newly adopted dog …

 

/ By Beatrice, Age 10
Acorn is our newly adopted dog, we got him from S.A.F.E Pet Rescue in St. Augustine on July 10. He is a Jack Russell-mix that is around one year old. We adopted him because he was the only dog at the shelter that would let us pet him, and he was playing with the other dogs in his run instead of barking at us. He seemed happy and calm, so we brought him home as a foster and then a few days later we decided to adopt him. Acorn is surprisingly mellow for a Jack Russell Terrier. Among his favorite things are sleeping, playing, and bone chewing. I enjoy training Acorn, walking him, playing and cuddling with him. In just two months, he has learned sit, lay down, wait, sit pretty, crawl, and roll over! Together we play fetch and frisbee, one time I was playing fetch with him and he was trying to go after the ball at the same time he had another ball in his mouth. We are still working on him catching the frisbee in his mouth.

When we first brought him home from the shelter, he was afraid of the slightest things, like a grocery bag, blinds suddenly opening, palm fronds swaying in the yard, trash cans on trash day, his own shadow and reflection, and some new people. Since bringing him home, almost all of these fears have diminished. When he first meets new people I have to ask them not to reach down and pet him at first because he is handshy. Once he has the chance to sniff feet and feel secure he is much more willing to be petted. This has taught me that some dogs are shy when they first meet new people and not to go straight down and pet them and to always ask before petting a dog.

Recently, we took Acorn to North Carolina and he loved it. He was climbing on the rocks like a mountain goat. He enjoyed hiking and if we tried to turn around on a hike Acorn would just stand there and look at us like, please let me keep hiking. It was so cute! Acorn was so good during the car ride to North Carolina—he didn’t whine, whimper, or bark on any of the long car rides.

Having Acorn in my life has made everything better by a vigintillion. I think if Acorn could talk he would say the same. •

The day we met Acorn
Acorn’s first trip to the beach
The happy day we brought Acorn home

Blood. Sweat. Tears.

 

Reprinted from the Unleash Jacksonville Brilliant Issue.

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When you see someone fully embracing their passion—and growing in it—BOOM! It’s pretty darn inspiring, right? Kelly Kinlaw of Fur Sisters has been dedicated to saving dogs from high-kill shelters for many years and always wanted to be able to do more. Save more. Last July, Kelly realized her dream when Fur Sisters opened a 750 square-foot transitional space for dogs coming from urgent situations. In this space, dogs can decompress while waiting for a foster or adopter. This time allowed to transition is so important, because dogs are often too stressed in shelters to show their true personality and they get overlooked time after time. In the week or so that dogs stay at Fur Sisters, they can relax in this calm space while listening to music, enjoying some aromatherapy, and getting lots of treats. They are also tested with cats and other dogs during this time to see what kind of home would be best for them.

Here is where we need to stress that the new space IS NOT an adoption center (although that is one of Kelly’s ultimate goals), and it IS NOT a drop off for found or unwanted animals. But, while it’s true the new space is not an adoption center and you can’t just drop in any ‘ol time, there are always some very amazing dogs hanging out and you may make an appointment to meet them!

Fur Sisters mainly pulls from Putnam, Bradford and Clay county shelters, as these shelters are constantly overcrowded and, unfortunately, euthanize for space. They’ve also taken in some sweet pups from emergency situations, like Norman, who was thrown out of a moving car on Normandy Boulevard, and Angel, who was found in a Walmart Parking lot, completely starved, and the bottom half of her stained yellow and brown—you can figure out from what. You may also have seen Fur Sisters on the news when they helped Louis, a homeless man living in the woods taking care of a pack of dogs. Louis was taking as best of care as he could of the dogs he loved—they were being treated better than he treated himself. Fur Sisters stepped in to help the dogs and are also continuing to help Louis.

Here’s some exciting news for those of you who are looking for a great hair cut and want to meet some dogs at the same time! Kelly has moved her “day job” to be in the same building, so that she can be more efficient in both her rescue work and her making-people-look-gorgeous work. Cuts by Kelly moved to the front of the Fur Sisters space in Jax Beach in September of 2017. Go get your human hairs cut!

The new Fur Sisters location is a fantastic asset to our beach community. If you’d like to become involved (and become a “Fur Angel,” as helpers call themselves), Kelly says they’re always looking for people to help walk and socialize dogs, especially on the weekends. You could take a dog for a beach romp! They also always have a need for chew bones, dry dog food, monetary donations, and fosters—most crucial to save more lives!

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Donation items can be dropped off Tuesday through Friday 10-4 or email fureverursrescue@gmail.com to coordinate a time, offer volunteer time, or set an appointment to meet some amazing pups!

Fur sisters currently has several dogs they’ve pulled from high-kill shelters in boarding and the bills are piling up. Kindly Donate to Fur Sisters on #GivingTuesday or offer to foster!

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Winnie the Pooch

Winnie, shortly after being rescued

Reprinted from the Unleash Jacksonville Resolute Issue   |   by April Courtney

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The day Winnie and her siblings were rescued by Rescue + Freedom Project (R+FP), formerly Beagle Freedom Project, this little love pot couldn’t contain her excitement for her new found freedom! She was loving everyone and everything. She sprinted around the yard and was the only dog brave enough to hop in the little doggy pool. Up until this happy moment, Winnie had spent her whole life in a cage being used as a test subject for beauty products.

The world is a scary place for a little beagle who has never seen the grass or sunlight before. Winnie was fostered by a lovely family for a month before we added her to our motley crew. When we adopted Winnie, she didn’t know how to drink water from a bowl, she only ate her food in the dark, and she was petrified of any loud noises. We knew adopting a special needs animal would be difficult, but I didn’t realize how heartbreaking her story truly was. She didn’t trust humans at all and preferred to spend her time in a small fort made of sheets and pillows in our bedroom. She was scared of the television and all noises. We’d often find her on our bed just sitting there and listening to all these sounds she’d never heard before, shaking in fear.

Winnie confided in me to be her safeguard and was my little shadow, following me around the house wherever I went. She’d sleep under the covers, curled up underneath my chin every night. Slowly but surely, she started to trust more and started coming out of her pillow fort. She started imitating our other dog, Jumbo, and learned how to sleep in a dogbed, hang out on the couch, and go potty outside. She enjoyed going for walks and doing zoomies at the dog park. This little scared beagle started to feel safe and started to explore this big new world of hers.

One of her biggest moments (for her and us) was when she finally jumped up on the couch and cuddled with us while we watched a movie. What a great moment!

We’ve now had Winnie for 8 months, and this little girl has turned into the crazy beagle she was always meant to be. She spends her time sniffing around the backyard, howling at her brother to play, and trying to eat any and all food that she sees. She absolutely loves playing couch gymnastics—jumping from couch to couch and seeing how far she can jump off of them. She has blossomed into such a little daredevil, and it’s been amazing to watch her personality unfold.

We fostered another beagle puppy from Rescue + Freedom Project, which only made Winnie come out of her shell even more. She’s enjoyed playing with him and teaching him how to be a dog! Adopting a special needs animal can be challenging at times, but it has been the most rewarding experience of my life. While Winnie still hasn’t given me a kiss on the cheek, I am patiently waiting for that miraculous day!

The best way to help animals like Winnie is to adopt a cruelty-free lifestyle. Switch your products like toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, cleaning products, etc., to brands that don’t test on animals. There’s even an app that makes it very easy to scan a product at the store to find out if it is cruelty free. You can download the R+FP’s Cruelty Cutter app for free!

See an updated video with Winnie for Giving Tuesday right here!

Please DONATE today for #GivingTuesday and your life-saving donation will be DOUBLED by a generous donor – up to $50k!

___________________________________________________________

April Courtney adopted Winnie, an animal testing survivor rescued by Rescue + Freedom Project. Winnie + 1,500 more survivors are now free from labs, shelters, cruelty, and captivity because of people like YOU donating, supporting the cause, and promoting a #RescueLifestyle. YOU make all the difference in these animals lives.

To find our more about animal testing, going cruelty free, or adopting a testing survivor: rescuefreedomproject.org.

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Jacksonville Citizens Step Up for Pups

Jacksonville Citizens Step Up for Pups \ SUNNY issue \ by Janice Frank

When a local program supporting Animal Care and Protective Services (ACPS) came an end, a plea was made to the public to help reignite the dog house program. Once led by the Englewood high school wood shop class, dog houses were supplied to ACPS to distribute in the community to keep dogs with their owners and out of the shelter. Unfortunately, with the retirement of the shop teacher, the dog house program came to an end however the need did not.

Luckily, a local man and his son answered the call! Dave Howard and son Luke, a senior at Bishop Kenny, had been discussing potential opportunities for Luke to fulfill his school’s community service requirements. As dog lovers and handy hobbyists, they thought this would be a fun way to spend time together while serving the community!

With a need averaging four dog houses per week, Dave and Luke made a goal to build nine houses and relied on neighbors and friends for some quick fundraising to make it happen. Their request was responded to with great generosity (because our community is awesome), and the pair were able to build nine beautiful houses for dogs that didn’t have shelter! They would love to continue the effort, but need community support. Materials for one house cost about $75, and the project welcomes both business and individual sponsors.

Please join EPIC Outreach for the first fundraising event to help make more dog houses for under served areas of Jacksonville, August 27 at Hamburger Mary’s—Bingo For Dogs!

To see more photos and find out how YOU can join the project, follow The Major Dog House Project!

Hank, Unleash’s Fun Correspondent, doing final inspections.
Strong men lifting things.
Companies like the wonderful MERO REALTY can sponsor houses!
“Paws up! These houses are good to go … get ‘um outta here!”

Cleopatra Needs Another Victory

We first met Cleo in the VICTORY issue—her serendipitous story amazed us! We were recently contacted by her hooman, letting us know she was just diagnosed with cancer. She’ll be well taken care of at SEVO-Med starting next week, but we’re hoping after you read her story, you will please unleash the love and good healing vibes her way as well. She’s a special kitty with lots of life left in her! She is very loved.

Serendipity, a cosmic coincidence
Serendipity, the unfolding of events
Serendipity, that brought us to the moment that we’re in

Do you believe that this makes sense?
Could you conceive the unfolding of events
Do you believe that this is…

Serendipity, serendipity, serendipity?

~ The Cranberries

CLEOPATRA, My Victory Story \ Victory issue \ by Carrie Good

My husband and I were eating Easter dinner at his parents’ home in 2009. I glanced out the window and saw a chubby Tortoiseshell kitty on the sidewalk—I had to go meet her. She was extremely friendly and came right up to me to be petted. When I left to go back in to finish dinner, she followed me. I noticed that her belly was very big, and not just from two cans of cat food. She was pregnant.

I didn’t stop thinking about the kitty after we left, and my mother-in-law said the kitty was basically glued to her back porch. She checked with neighbors and no one knew the cat. We went back, picked up the kitty—who we called Cleopatra, as she looked like a queen to us—and took her to the Jacksonville Humane Society the following day, since we already had two cats. We were told since Cleo was pregnant, they would keep her until we were able to find her owners. I had to imagine she had an owner since she was so very friendly. We waited and waited, but no one came for this sweet girl.

Cleo had four kittens. Once they were old enough, they were spayed and neutered and placed up for adoption. Cleopatra was also adopted, and I thought that’s where this story would end.

Much to my dismay, Cleo’s new owners returned her with the return reason of allergic. I was so upset I couldn’t adopt her due to the unfortunate realization that Cleo didn’t enjoy the company of other cats … at all! But I knew her perfect home was out there somewhere.

A few weeks later I learned that Cleo was adopted to a family in St. Augustine. Again, we were relieved. End of story? Nope.

Two years later, my husband was reading the paper and I heard him gasp. He pointed to “Cold Noses — Pet of the Week,” female Tortoiseshell, Cleopatra. This Cleopatra was at St. John’s County Animal Shelter. It couldn’t be. Could it? Would her her family have turned her over to a “kill shelter?” Panic set in. A quick call to St. John’s confirmed my worst fear. The microchip number matched. Now my head was spinning. I stewed about it all weekend. Finally, Monday I drove straight to St. John’s and there she was! My sweet Cleo. I adopted her and brought her back to Jacksonville, where I knew her life would be spared.
With tears streaming down my face, I left with Cleopatra, having no idea of where I was going to take her. I called the Humane Society on the way home. They advised me that St. John’s should have contacted them when they found the chip. They let me bring her in, and they would put her up for adoption, again.
No way was I going to let just anyone adopt her. I visited her every chance I got, and  I was getting more and more attached every time I went. She was so sweet, loved to be brushed, and loved to get her ears rubbed. Each time I went home, I asked my husband if we could adopt her. Realistically, I knew it was a bad idea, but who could love her more than me?

Two months passed.

Out of the blue one Sunday morning, my husband said, “Let’s go visit Cleo. If she is still there we’ll bring her home.” What? OK, let’s go! When we arrived, one of the volunteers took me aside and said that Cleo had an adopter. They were there to pick her up! I went to the cat room and there were Cleo’s new pet parents. A young girl and her boyfriend. I was so excited. I told her all about Cleo. I was feeling relived that Cleo wouldn’t have to spend another night in a cage.

A few days later I received a frantic email from Cleo’s new mom—she was allergic and could I take Cleo for her. My heart shattered. Really? How could this be happening to my girl … again. I agreed to meet her boyfriend at the Humane Society and switch over ownership from them to me. She was finally coming home—for good. I can’t describe how right this felt.

Cleo is now the queen of this house. She is the highest on the totem pole now with five—yes five— other kitties below her. She doesn’t get along perfectly with all of them, but she tolerates them. She is right where she belongs—sleeping next to us every night. The only regret I have is not adopting her the first three times I had the chance! •

Please comment below to send Cleo and her parents your good wishes for her recovery!

Sweet Apollo – Wants to walk the beach with you!

Do you like to jog or walk? Apollo is just the dog for you! He’d make a great companion while you get your steps in! Apollo is approximately 2 years old. He loves the beach—but who doesn’t! When his energy is used up, all he wants to do is cuddle.

The hugs this boy gives will melt your heart!

Apollo is a little shy at first, but once he gets to know you he loves you and when he loves you, he REALLY loves you. There’s nothing sweeter than walking up to Apollo’s kennel and seeing him stand up and push his cheek against the side waiting for his kiss. Apollo would do best in a quiet home with no young children. He likes other dogs, but needs to introduced properly.

Adoptable from Pit Sisters
Email to meet this sweet boy!

 

 

Cruelty-free expert joins Unleash staff!

Happy Monday! We are so very excited to announce another new staffer at Unleash Jacksonville! The adorable Gretel will be guiding us on a fantastic journey to live a more cruelty- free life! Gretel knows a thing or two about cruelty, unfortunately, but she’s living the best life now!

Meet Gretel of the Rescue + Freedom Project.

Hi! I’m Gretel, your Unleash Jacksonville Cruelty-Free Living Expert!

Gretel is a female beagle who was purpose bred for animal testing. She is one of the lucky few that was released by the laboratory to a rescue organization after her testing protocols were completed. Now she spends her days being spoiled rotten by her human mom and has a beagle-dachshund mixed brother and three feline brothers. When Gretel isn’t busy being an advocate for all animals in laboratories, her favorite things to do are chase leaves, wrestle with her feline brother Seamus and discover what treats are in BarkBox each month.

Gretel was born March 13, and her nicknames include: Gret Gret, Baby Gret, and Gretster, Gretty Betty.

You can follow Gretel on Facebook or Instagram @rfpgretel

Gretel looks forward to sniffing out the best cruelty-free products for us!

Unleash Jacksonville adds a Master of Fun Correspondent

Hey everyone! We’d like to introduce you to the faaaaabulous Hank!

As the Unleash Jacksonville Master of Fun Correspondent, Hank will cover ways you can get into trouble in Jacksonville.

Meet Hank. Dog of many trades. Master of FUN!

When Hank was first rescued by The London Sanctuary, he was a bit of a sad sight. After being dumped in a rural area to fend for himself, he was found emaciated, tick infested, dehydrated, and flat-out exhausted! But it was hard for the folks at TLS to feel sorry for him for very long … as soon it would become plainly evident that Hank did not see himself as a victim at all!

With his free spirited nature, Hank quickly became the life of the hounds at TLS! His charm was a hit with the ladies, and his zest for adventure and funny antics became a welcomed amusement. He just couldn’t get enough of life and was into EVERYTHING … including the dryer!! (What, he was only helping with the laundry)

These days, in his forever home, Hank’s intensity for life and adventure have not changed, but he’s doing more than just laundry! Now, a Bon vivant, he has a passion for canine nutrition, considers himself a food snob and is a huge proponent of raw feeding! Although a serious, raw foodie, he does enjoy the occasional indulgences. His favorites include Chic-Fil-A, pizza and Dog Sundaes from Whit’s! On the healthier side, he loves when his mom makes him smoothies! (Kale and blueberry are his favs). He is a ball aficionado (and by aficionado, we mean unhealthy obsession) and even has his own customized ball with his name engraved on it!

When visiting grandma’s, he takes on the role of sous chef and taste tester. He’s even good at pre-cleaning all the dishes before getting them into the dishwasher. As an advocate for animal rescue, he promotes adoptable pets, highlights awesome rescue groups and even drives other hounds to adoption events!

When not busy working, you are likely to catch him at JCAW hiking the trails, swimming and even treeing squirrels and raccoons. A social butterfly, he also attends affairs where food, dogs and the people who love them are in abundance!

Interesting fact: Hank speaks with Constance, the Pet Messenger (a pet communicator), to voice his food preferences.

You can follow Hank on Instagram – hangin_wit_hank

Meet Blue, he’s badASS.

Written By Blue of Blue’s Miracle, as published in Unleash Jacksonville’s RESOLUTE issue.

ADOPT BLUE! He’s sweet, playful, and loves kids! See videos and follow his progress on Facebook!
Want to show your love and support for Blue? Check out his fundraiser sticker and shirts!

All eyes on me—gosh, I’m a lot nervous … but I’m honored to be featured. This is crazy! I’ve never written anything before. Sure, I did pee a really cool pattern onto the side of an ottoman once—I’m thinking maybe this will be similar in experience to that? I don’t particularly think I’m all that special, but I do have a story for you. Are you comfortable? Can I get you anything? A soft little lick on the hand, perhaps?

My name wasn’t always Blue. It really doesn’t matter much what it used to be—I go by Blue now and I like it. Beautiful things are blue, like the sky and the ocean and my foster mom’s feet in the winter—it’s been a real cold one, eh? I was given the official name “Little Boy Blue” by the staff at First Coast Veterinary Emergency in October of last year, when I was brought in by my family. I heard them tell the nurse I’d gotten caught in a fence and could no longer walk. No longer walk is right! I could barely move, I was in so much pain. The sweet nurse asked my family if they’d like to find out what was wrong with me. I saw them hand my family an estimate. Mom and dad put their heads down and shook them back and forth. Not what I wanted to see, I was hoping for more of a nod up and down. They pushed the estimate away and scribbled on another set of papers. I believe that meant I was signed over to the clinic to be … uh … euthanized.

I watched them leave and I wanted to go with them, but I couldn’t make my body move the way it always had. “Wait! You forgot me!” I screamed in my head. They never heard my headscreams before, so not sure why I thought now would be different. But I was really freaking out and everything hurt so badly … I was desperate. “Don’t leave me. Don’t leave me. Don’t leave me.”

Well, sigh, they left. You probably guessed that. If they hadn’t this would be the end of a super boring story. But it’s not, and it’s about to get better, so stick with me.

Back in the treatment area, I lay in a kennel. I didn’t cry, but the pain was un-be-flippin-lievable. The staff was so kind to give me a pill which helped a lot. They would peer in at me and I would look up at them, and I tried as hard as I could to talk to them with my eyes—they were all I had. I wanted the staff to know that other than the fact that I had a broken back, I was a healthy, happy, sweet 6-month-old pup, and maybe someone could call mom and let her know she forgot to put me back in the car. Or call dad? We were good buddies! I really didn’t understand where my family went. I continued to talk with my eyes.

Then it was … my time. Dr. Tim Holloway was ready to see me. He put his hand on my head and sighed. I could read his mind. He didn’t like this part of his job. (Great! Finally something I could use to my advantage!) I poured on all the sweet I could, as if my life depended on it. Sweet eyes; check. Little soft hand licks; check; little head tilts; check. Cute face; checkcheckcheck. Some of the other staff was vouching for me—I kept hearing them say really nice things about me. (Thank you, thank you—you know who you are!) The next thing I know, I’m back in my kennel and they were all standing around it talking about something called a “McNicholas.” I tried to pay attention, I tried so hard. But all I wanted to do was sleep.

I woke the next day to the face of an angel. My angel. She was, gosh, how do I describe her? Well, okay, so you know how dogs have the ability to see someone’s heart through their chest? When I woke up that day, ALL I could see was a huge heart with red hair pulled back into a cute little clip—classic Anette Nixon. She was cooing to me and petting me softly and making me feel warm inside—loved, I guess is the right word. I fell for her immediately. (I loved her even more when she brought me roasted chicken and helped me eat it out of her hand, but that’s jumping ahead.) Anette told me I had eyes that look directly into a person’s soul … which was really nice to hear, since that was how I liked to communicate at that time. She got me.

I came to find out on that first morning what a McNicholas was—I’m glad I didn’t have to wait too long, it was killing me! Turns out, it wasn’t a thing, it was a person! Haha, what a silly mix up. It turned out Dr. Holloway from the night before thought I was very sweet (way to work it, me) and he wanted the opinion of DOCTOR Tom McNicholas to find out if anything could be done. Apparently, Dr. McNicholas is … well, let’s just say he’s the best, and he knows a lot about fixing what’s broken.

Dr. McNicholas reviewed all the charts and graphs and stock reports and digital shiznitz and decided my back was broken. Surgery could possibly be done, but there was no guarantee that I would walk and the surgery would be very very difficult (and expensive). That’s when my angel, Anette, quickly stepped in and said, “Great! Let’s do it! We’ll start a gofundme for Blue. We’ll get the funds.” Anette is very convincing and she gets things done. That’s why I love having her on my side. Surgery was scheduled.

My back was so broken—so crunched to bits—that my first surgery took 5 hours! Think about what you can do in 5 hours. That’s practically a whole work day, for those of you a with job. For those of you without jobs, that’s 5 episodes of Ellen, or 10 episodes of Family Feud! The staff of First Coast Veterinary Specialists was working on my messed-up back for FIVE HOURS. Shew. I owe them a drink.

Out of surgery and on to healing up we go! At this time, I didn’t want to eat anything. I was feeling the pain, but still not letting anyone know. (But they knew. And I knew that they knew. And they knew that I knew that they knew.) Nothing smelled good and I was getting skinny. >>>
I think I mentioned before that Anette started hand-feeding me roasted chicken and that’s about all I would eat. For her to buy chicken meant she really loved me, because she loves all animals so much that she doesn’t ever eat them.

It was during this time that Anette started assembling my “team”. She reached out to Carolyn Edwards of Friends of Jacksonville Animals (FOJA) and they pledged to help with half the cost of my surgery—wuf wuf! (Thank you FOJA!) Anette then called her friend Amy to help start getting the word out about me. Amy called (or more likely texted, she hates talking on the phone) her friend Tyler to help start raising funds to pay for the rest of my surgery and future rehabilitation. I got my very own Facebook page so people could follow my progress and Tyler set a up a gofundme. So many generous people gave money even though they’ve never even met me! A community of love—I felt it all around me. That meant more than anything.So … where am I now? Well, you’d know if you were following my Facebook page, silly. Take a minute and do that now. Blue’s Miracle.

Anette put out a plea for someone to take me home from the clinic because she thought I was getting sad. Which is true. I’m a people pup. ENFJ. Social. I like cuddles, bro, don’t judge. Anette’s aforementioned friend, Amy, who had come to visit me at the clinic said I could come hang out at her house for the weekend. That was many many many bowls of food ago, so—I’m not great with time, but I’m loving this long weekend!

Also! I have wheels! Anette reached out to K9 Carts, which is a great organization, and they sent me a cart just my size. When not in my cart, I still pull myself around with my front two legs really super fast. I’m still working on remembering how to use them pesky back ones. I’m going to rehab at Veterinary Acupuncture and Wellness, which is sometimes fun (and, may I be frank? Sometimes not.) They have a water treadmill, which is pretty cool and I get lots of treats. They have a Dr. Jessie Burgess who is very smart and extremely beautiful—I may have a crush but don’t tell her, I’m working my angles. She does electro acupuncture and laser to help me heal and stimulate nerve function. I love every single staff member at VAW and look forward to going there. A huge thanks to owner, Dr. Jenna, for believing in me.

Can I tell you I’ve met the most gorgeous people throughout this experience? Yah, it’s been a real crap deal what happened to me, but the people I’ve met … almost makes it worth it. Constance the Pet Messenger did a psychic reading and she just seemed to know so much about me! Doryan Cawyer from Jade Paws comes to visit me quite often to do stretching, massage, and reiki. I get really excited to see her and always feel so wonderful during and after our sessions. I had a fantastic Christmas with another foster mom—Pam Davis! She was so kind to me while Amy was away. She got me my own stocking and let me play with her Alvin and Bubba. I loved hanging with them!

So many people have sent me toys and treats and belly bands and my friend Becky even bought me a cozy bed. I also have my own stylist—Custom Dog Bed Creations by Holly! She makes all my sexy collars. Salty Paws Healthy Pet Market has been SO GENEROUS to sponsor my food and CBD oil. They gave my foster mom a ton of samples so that I could pick what I liked.

There are just too many people to thank—but most importantly, I’d like to thank Dr. Tim Holloway and Dr. Tom McNicholas and all the staff at First Coast Veterinary Emergency for sparing my life. That’s not what normally happens in those situations.

Life can be kind of scary sometimes, since I don’t have a rescue backing me. I have my tribe, though, and they really take care of me! Now all I need is my own new family. Someone who believes in me and will let me cuddle with them whenever I want and will love me forever.

Thank you for letting me tell my story! I’m not giving up. There’s too much sweetness in life left to discover and too many wonderful people I need to meet! Walk on, my friends.

Much love & many little
hand licks,
Blue

ADOPT BLUE! He’s sweet, playful, and loves kids!

 

Blue is not with a rescue, but is surrounded by a community who helps care for him. See videos and follow his progress on facebook!
Want to show your love and support for Blue? Check out his fundraiser sticker and shirts!