Faith’s sweet face gives no hint of the horror she’s endured in her past life. Found wandering the streets in 2013 in Shreveport, Louisiana, with her throat slit wide open, she was emaciated and about to give birth to 10 puppies. Her transformation into life as a happy family pet in Vancouver is nothing short of miraculous.
In the first week of our “Rescue Me” pet adoption series, Carey-Anne Malcolm shares the story of Faith’s road to recovery – and new loving life.
And if you can’t put your finger on what kind of breed she is, it’s because she’s a mix of five: Boston Terrier, German Shepherd, Dachshund, Norwegian Elkhound and Australian cattle hound.
A badly wounded Faith after being picked up by animal control. (Image: Carey-Anne Malcolm)
Faith was picked up by Bossier City Animal Control who immediately phoned SNARR (Special Needs Animal Rescue & Rehabilitation) who didn’t skip a beat and took her in that same day. The founder of SNARR delivered her 10 baby girls in her own home (none survived) and put her on her road to recovery. After giving birth, and once her neck started healing, she was driven over two days by a string of volunteers (one to two hours at a time, including an overnight stay in someone’s home) to her foster home in Colorado, where she stayed for two months with a wonderful family, healing and learning how to be a dog. Her foster momma had a lot of healing to do with her – she was very skinny, malnourished and frightened.
Her foster momma taught her how to be part of a family; she had three fur foster siblings and started learning to love and trust. She was then driven another two days by another string of volunteers to me (I met her last driver at a truck stop over the border) in January 2014.
Faith now calls Vancouver her forever home. She’s my Louisiana girl.
When I got her, she wasn’t quite done fighting for her life just yet. Shortly after she arrived home, she tested positive for heartworm, a deadly and painful disease. After three months of treatment, including being kenneled for two months, she is proudly a heartworm survivor — she is a TRUE survivor. Those worms had no idea who they picked a fight with.
When I got Faith, I reached out to a local dog trainer, Karin Peters, because Faith is reactive to other dogs. After hearing Faith’s story and our concerns, she gave us nearly a year of free lessons as a way to “thank” everyone involved in her rescue. Karin was able to give Faith the confidence and encouragement she needed to overcome so many of her fears.
She has her demons, issues and dark days, but for her to be so incredibly in love with humans, after whatever horrors happened to her, is a testament to her resilience. Dogs are truly incredible creatures, and we could learn a lot from them.
Faith is now thriving with learning doggie manners, inspiring us every day to forgive and move on, and just being a dog.
She is my hero.
I found Faith via her Facebook page that was set up by SNARR within a day of her being found. They often set up pages for their worst cases for a few reasons: to raise awareness of animal abuse, raise money for their care and to network to find their forever homes. This horribly abused dog came across my news feed, and I was just as hooked on every single day of her recovery as everyone else. One day I was looking through photos of her and realized I was looking at my dog. I sent my in application form that same day.
Faith still has the most supportive, compassionate Facebook followers, and I’m grateful for them every single day for getting us through some dark days. Faith’s followers asked me to continue with her Facebook page, and I would never deny them seeing her flourishing when all they had seen of her was pain and horror. They’ve all been so wonderful to us.
I can’t say enough about how many people it took for her to survive, and how eternally grateful I am to every single one of them.
Faith is an absolute toy fiend. She empties her toy box nearly every night all over the living room – the squeakier the toy, the better! (If only she knew how to put them away…) We love taking her camping. She’s just learning to swim. She’s like watching a windmill trying to eat all the waves. She LOVES LOVES LOVES people. She comes to work with me every day and can’t wait to get through the front door every morning to see all her friends. She loves her g’ma (my mom) and does a hundred “sit/downs” when she sees her, before my mom has even said a word. Her character comes out more and more every day and we never really know what excitement we have in store (but love every second).
Do you have a fantastic rescue animal that’s gone through a miraculous transformation? Share your story with Vancity Buzz’s pet columnist Darcy Wintonyk at [email protected].