e598947dd885a0ff65d05ef23ff9dc15This year for Valentine’s Day, rather than be swept away by a sea of red and pink everything, I wanted to do something to celebrate true love. So I put out a call on our Facebook page asking readers who have rescued a pet to share their experiences.

The responses that flooded the Pawsh inbox were overwhelming to say the least. I found myself nestled on the couch with a box of Kleenex nearby pouring through tales of happiness, sadness, hope and simple wisdom.

It would be enough to make any heart burst, but what I adored most of all was the fact that each of these replies were honest, raw examples of true love. Today I would like to share five of these great love stories with you…

{by Jodi Phillips-White}
dog-valentines-day-storyI found my first dog, Riley, 14 years ago.  Or rather she found me.  Riley ran up to me, this wee puppy of a thing, and practically tumbled into my ankles 14 years ago on my birthday.  I was in college and I had the day off from classes and work (the benefits of sharing my birthday with Martin Luther King Day).  I had been pretty lazy (I was in college after all) and decided I needed to get moving, get out of the house, and treat myself to something special. So I headed out to the mall, but before I even got into my car, I had found that something special. Enter Riley.

I immediately dropped to my knees and scooped this little dog up.  Around the corner came a neighbour chasing after her wildly. He explained that he had found her recently living under the porch of a friends house.  He left her there a day or two to see if her mother would return for her, but no luck.  He further explained that he had just taken her home with him, but could not keep her; his next visit would be the pound. That’s when I interrupted him…

To this day, on every birthday, I celebrate finding Riley.  This year we celebrated our 14 years together by taking a nice leisurely walk and sniff around the Chattahoochee nature trail and she had a special dinner of venison and sweet potato.  I know she’s getting up there in doggie years, but I plan to celebrate her every year on our birthday.  She has not only been the best dog a girl could have, making a journey from college to adulthood with me – through school, four moves from state to state, numerous neighbourhoods, jobs, relationships, etc. – but she grew my heart too.

{by Sally Bramstedt}
dog-valentines-day-4I am 27-years-old and have never personally owned a dog before. A few of my friends have four legged companions and I felt that was time for me to get one – honestly to see what the fuss was about. A friend of mine pointed out Kayla to me. We had previously been collecting items and donations for this shelter when my friend saw Kayla. She was only 10-weeks-old had been abused/neglected. She was scared of everything and everyone.

When I called the shelter to see if she was still available they told me that she was, but that she might not be a good dog as she was so timid and scared. I went to meet her that afternoon and sat at the door of her pen. I didn’t approach her, just watched. After about 10 minutes this shy little ball of fur uncurled from the bed and approached me. Then she crawled on to my lap and that was it — my heart was hers. The shelter attendant told me it was the first time she had seen Kayla approach someone.

Now, over a year later, I take her with me wherever I go (as long as dogs are allowed there, of course) and she has come out of her shell to be one of the most affectionate, playful dogs ever. Like I said, I have never owned a dog before and never knew the love and happiness that they can inspire in you. She makes me smile even when I’m sad, she makes me laugh and it feels like my heart will burst with happiness. I recommend everyone to experience this kind of love.

{by Sheena Main}
dog-valentine's-day-5I adopted Daisy in 2010 from a rescue in Los Angeles. I was specifically searching for a dog with special needs on Petfinder because I knew that dogs with a disability have less chance of getting adopted into a forever home.

Daisy was born without her front legs functioning properly and walks on her elbows. When I saw a video of her, she was in a doggie wheelchair, yet despite her disability she was wagging her tail and seemed to be filled with joy. (She was about to be euthanized right before she was rescued.) Since my husband and I have adopted her, she has grown even stronger. She no longer needs her wheelchair to get around and can run just as fast as the other small dogs.

She inspired me to change my perception on life as well. I’ve suffered from depression since I was a child, but she showed me that life isn’t so bad. She is the one that encourages me to keep moving forward everyday. I may be the one that rescued her, but she rescued me in so many different ways.

{by Catherine McAllistar}
dog-valentines-day-2An old yellow dog showed up on our doorstep December 23, 2011. He was in rough shape and needed immediate veterinary attention. He had open tumors, a nasty ear infection, and was in really poor health. There was no microchip and nobody reported him missing. We decided to call him Lucky and give him the life he deserved.

We were overwhelmed by the support of an online horse community (ultimatedressage.com), friends, neighbours and family. With their help we were able to raise over $1600.00 in donations, most of which were anonymous, to cover his surgery and aftercare costs.  All of this would not have been possible without the fantastic team at the Grenville Dundas Vet Clinic in Kemptville. Dr. Lynn Lambourne and her team went above and beyond for Lucky!

Lucky was a sweet old fellow who was gentle and loving. Thanks to so many people he was able to have a fantastic year filled with much deserved love. Sadly Lucky passed away February 4, 2012. He is greatly missed.

{by Cyndi Lessard}
dog-valentines-day-3We adopted Logan from Paws of Austin Great Dane Rescue when he was four-years-old. We were looking for a puppy, but when we met Logan the connection was instant and we knew he had to be ours. He jumped up and put his paws on my husband Trey’s shoulders looking him right in the eye as if to say “take me home” (he has never done this again to anyone in the four years since we adopted him).

From the moment we picked him up at the foster home Logan has been like a moon orbiting around me and providing a “Mommy compass” by always pointing towards me whether I am in the room or not. He went from being raised outdoors with no training at all to a much loved therapy dog that volunteers at schools, nursing homes, libraries and rehab centers spreading cheer and lots of drool. He helped heal me too. We have a special bond that is difficult to describe – Logan is my true “heart dog”, that once in a lifetime dog that you know will break your heart, but is worth every moment of the short time you share.

Thank you everyone who took the time to share your beautiful love stories with Pawsh this Valentine’s Day. Your stories are inspirational and offer great hope to those animals who are still waiting for their special someone to find them. Happy Valentine’s Day! Hold your furry ones close! xo

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