From shelter life to a loving home is what this lady from Virginia, USA, is providing to rescue animals

Sheena Seegoolam

Special needs dogs may be one of the most challenging for shelters and rescues to adopt out, and most of them may never find their forever home. Yet, your perfect companion might just have her own pair of wheels to move around or needs verbal commands instead of visual ones. During the pandemic, the increase in dog companionship spiked but more rescue dogs means more dogs with special needs or behavioural issues. That’s when people like Sarah step in. 

In a small town in Virginia, USA, Sarah is fostering her 38th rescue from the local shelter, K9 Justice League. Seven years ago, living in a small townhouse with her small dog, she made the decision to welcome a medium sized rescue dog. Struggling to adapt, Sarah had to move to a bigger house but quickly realised that she wanted to get involved and become a foster. Her first rescue was named Silly and he is now living his best life with his forever home.

In Canada, rescue organisations are unregulated; the Canada Border Services Agency can’t give statistics on the quantity of rescued canines entering the country. Be that as it may, a large number of strays are imported every year from somewhere else, in shelters for the United States. Many canines are additionally moved south for reception from northern parts of the country. According to Hannah Sotropa, assistant manager from the Toronto Humane Society, fostering saves lives. Nearly thousands of rescue dogs are brought to the shelters where sadly not all of them thrive in the environment. Shelter break fosters and medical foster homes are one of the few possibilities the shelter provides to the rescues.”No matter how well a shelter is run, a shelter is still a shelter, and it is no home” Hannah says.

“ How amazing it is to have all these dogs in and out of your house and find them a forever home”, says Sarah. The patience, and love she had learned from these foster rescues are like life lessons. These dogs are unable to share their life story with us, how they have been badly treated and ignored in a cage. Day after day, Sarah spent countless hours breaking them free from their stressful past lives. Susie was one of those cases, this beagle mix was so undersocialized and shut down, Sarah had to pull her out of her crate for nearly 30 weeks to take her outside.  

Since 2014, Sarah has had 37 rescues in her home, staying weeks or months until they find their forever homes. Most of the dogs she fosters arrive shy, suffer from severe anxiety, blind and deaf. She becomes their ultimate support system. Throughout her foster journey, her second foster, Hank, became a foster fail. Sarah could not let go of her fluff buddy and decided to adopt him herself along with her two other dogs. Hank was diagnosed with cancer 1 year ago and had to have his leg amputated. Hank, now being part of the family, steps in to help with the foster rescues. He corrects poor behaviour and actually learns best from him as they speak the same language. He is very much dedicated to his job as the alpha dog. He is also the resident special needs dog. 

Sarah and Hank(tripod)


Adoption is an incredible and rewarding experience, we are able to give these animals a second chance. As all the shelters and rescue organisations say vouch of adoption, don’t shop.

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