Each year, the heroes of our Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International Animal Rescue Teams wade into the worst possible situations to pull out animals who are living without hope. Today, on Giving Tuesday, I want to highlight the stories of just a few of these animals who were among the hundreds our team saved in 2019, and who are now looking forward to happier futures, thanks to their intrepid rescuers.
Pepper was living in a dark, open garage with two other dogs on a property in Kansas when we found her. She had lost all her fur because of a chronic skin condition and was huddled in a corner, almost motionless, when Adam Parascandola, senior director for animal protection and crisis response, found her. But as we experience time and again, animals – even those coming from situations of horrible neglect or mistreatment — show a remarkable resilience and ability to heal. For Pepper and 30 other animals rescued that day, the road to recovery began immediately. That afternoon, when Adam visited Pepper in a holding area, she was already feeling better and even eager for attention and a walk.
Our rescuers first met Mariah and Jonas in October, living in deplorable conditions at a Pennsylvania property. Mariah was locked in a cage, filthy and matted with feces, and an ear mite infestation had caused a painful hematoma to form on her ear. Her matted, crusted feet hid toenails so long they had grown into her foot pads, causing severe infection. Surgery took care of the ingrown toenails, but we were afraid the infection would require amputation – that is, if she survived at all. Fortunately, our veterinarian and technical staff recognized her as a fighter, and set to work treating her wounds at our temporary shelter. Mariah looks much better now and while her road to recovery is not over, she is safe and in good hands.
Jonas was also filthy and matted with feces on his fur when we came upon him at the same Pennsylvania location. He was battling viral, bacterial and fungal infections and his face was so painful and swollen from severe dental disease that he struggled to eat. In addition, an upper respiratory infection made it difficult for him to breathe. What a difference a day makes, as Jonas, too, cleaned and groomed, is now receiving medical care at a temporary shelter. And like Mariah and Pepper, he’s getting all the love and attention a cat coming out of such bad circumstances deserves.
Then there’s Storm, a survivor of a dog meat farm our HSI Animal Rescue Team closed down this year in Korea. Storm, a beautiful white Jindo with five healthy, big puppies living in a cage with her, was dangerously thin, her ribs protruding, and she had an open wound on her lower front leg. The wound was so badly infected after having been neglected for so long that her veterinarian was afraid she might lose the leg. But thanks to extensive veterinary care and the love and dedication of her new family, who asked to bring Storm (now renamed Skye) home right away to give her a place to heal, her leg was saved and she is well on her way to recovery.
The work we do to save animals like Pepper, Mariah, Jonas and Storm is urgent and necessary – it is work we rush in to do because we have the expertise and experience to handle it, and work that our supporters expect us to do. It complements our policy work, too, to end the problem of puppy mills, the dog meat trade, horse slaughter in the United States, and so much more.
By donating on Giving Tuesday, you’ll be supporting the important work of our Animal Rescue Teams as well as all the work we do to help animals across the spectrum, from farm animals to animals used for fur to wildlife who are slaughtered for trophies. The Rena Roseman Legacy Fund recently donated $250,000 to the Humane Society of the United States and they are challenging supporters like you to donate another $250,000 to support our work on behalf of animals. Please give generously. You can always be sure we will use your donations to help those who need your support – and ours – the most.