I discovered this fantastic organization through the website of Fulton County Animal Services whom my husband and I are considering adopting a second dog from. While I was looking around their site, to get a better feel for this particular rescue organization, I stumbled upon their resources page which lead me to Save Our Pets Foodbank.
Nadine Turner rests beside her dog, Giorgio, in Atlanta
Save Our Pets Foodbank is a locally established 501(c)(3) Organization with a stated mission “To ensure that our community’s companion animals never go hungry by providing assistance to their families.” They were originally founded in 2008 with the intention of helping pet owners locally here in Atlanta, GA. They have now however joined The Alliance of Pet Food Banks and have helped to establish 300 other pet food banks nation wide. They currently provide a free monthly supply of pet food for families who have filled out their application and qualify, and they are hoping soon to also offer affordable heart-worm treatment for their clients as well.
This wonderful organization has helped more than 300,000 families and given over a million pounds of pet food since it’s founding in July of 2008. To help please Donate or Volunteer and help this wonderful organization help pets in need in and around Atlanta!
Photo of Save Our Pets Food Bank founder Ann King in their food warehouse.
The National Hero Dog Award™ is awarded annually by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA), which is an independent, nonprofit animal welfare organization serving Southern California since 1877. Even though this organization is based in Southern California this award can go to a dog anywhere nationwide. This year the award went to a 5 year-old Shiloh German Shepherd from Millsap, Texas named Bear.
I am featuring this story for two reasons. First it is simply an inspirational story. Second Bear is a shining example of a rescued dog that was an unforeseen blessing to the woman who adopted him, Debbie Zeisler. Last May Bear tried to stop Debbie from going outside, but she ignored him and continued outside anyway. Almost immediately, she was hit with a seizure, causing her to fall down the front steps of her home and hit her head knocking her unconscious. In the area of North Texas that Debbie and Bear live in May brings temperatures of around 100º. Bear ran from house to house, scratching on the front doors, trying to find help and getting no response. Bear was about a block away from their house when an animal control officer from Parker County spotted him. Bear managed to lead the officer back to Debbie who was now conscious though disoriented and confused. Bear then accompanied Debbie to the hospital when paramedics arrived. Debbie has suffered from seizures since a riding accident 18 years ago. Bear has never had any training, but three days after being taken home he started alerting her to possible problems. He now directs Debbie to take her medication every morning and on occasion fetches it for her. SpcaLA President, Madeline Bernstein, is quoted as saying “This just goes to show how amazing shelter dogs can be, if Debbie had not adopted Bear, where would she and Bear be today? The bond between an animal and his human companion is powerful and life-saving.” A sentiment I couldn’t agree with more. Debbie said she initially went to the Weatherford Animal Shelter to get a German shepherd for her mother. When she asked about shepherds, she was told they only had one, but he was in the back because nobody wanted him.When they brought him out it was love at first sight, while she came to his rescue that day she says she has since lost count of the times he has come to hers.
As I search the web, periodicals and books for more information on the importance of Rescued Animals, it never ceases to amaze me about how our canine friends make such a difference in our lives. These animals have an intuition that is above our but we have dominion over them. They give us the unconditional love we all seek. Lucas and Juno is a wonderful story about a dying boy and a dog awaiting to be euthanized.
Lucas, is a four-year-old boy, suffering from Sanfilippo syndrome, of which there is no cure or available treatment. The progression of the disease will cause Lucas to lose his ability to speak, walk and eat; it will also cause neurological damage that will lead to aggressive behavior, hyperactivity and seizures. Lucas’ family want him to experience as much of life as possible.
Juno, a Belgian Malinois, was rescued by Lucas’ father a few days before she was scheduled to be euthanized. The father had looked into getting a trained service dog for a mere cost of $15,000, but was told Lucas was not a good candidate for a service dog. But, persistence and prayer led the father and family on a two-hour trip to a shelter in Tennessee, where they found Juno. Because the father was familiar with this type of animal and had experience in training K-9′s for law enforcement, he immediately knew this would be a good fit for his son.
Juno and Lucas had an instinctive relationship. As Lucas’ oxygen levels decrease, Juno is able to sense this and alert his parents for assistance. Juno is also able to detect Lucas’ neurological changes, therefore he can alert the family before Lucas has a seizure. The father describes Juno as a shoulder for Lucas to lean on and a calming influence. Though Juno is allowed time off, the two are always together, and apparently they were meant to be together.