Look Who Hit The Jackpot… Willie!
Back in February, TAF was asked to help a matted little guy that had been brought into an open access shelter. Besides being a mess, Willie was not showing well in his cage. His fear was getting the best of him and it was a challenge trying to get him out of his cage. With some coaxing, baby talk and a little patience, Willie gave in and earned himself a one-way ticket out of the shelter. After getting a fantastic makeover and recovering from a nasty upper respiratory infection, Willie made some new TAF pups and was ready for adoption!
When Willie’s potential adopters came to meet him he was pretty nervous at first. All that he had known or interacted with was our pups and a few of us. We had to remind ourselves of the condition that Willie was in when we first took him into our program. After being neglected for so long, his world must have been very small and change was scary. Lucky for Willie, his future mom and uncle were pretty darn cool and let him take as much time as he needed. In fact, it was just about one and a half hours before Willie gave his big seal of approval!
With that being said, Willie has found his forever! He no longer resides in Chicago and has moved to a beautiful home in a quiet suburb of Wisconsin. This is a BIG change from the dangerous neighborhood where he was found… his life has done a complete 180 and he is one of the lucky ones. Thank you so much to Willie’s mom and uncle for being so patient and giving him a chance to show you his charm and winning smile! To big kiss that Willie gives his uncle on his adoption day says it all!
On 11/20/19, TAF was contacted about an emaciated puppy that had been repeatedly kicked so many times that he would not make it through the night if TAF didn’t step in to help. Multiple x-rays would show that the largest bone in Kent’s front leg, femur, was broken straight through and his lung had collapsed. He was kicked so hard that even a transverse vertebra, in the area where Kent’s lung had collapsed, was broken. With bruising and multiple contusions on each lung, Kent felt pain with every breath he took. When it came to Kent’s swollen and misshapen jaw, no large obvious breaks showed up but small fractures were not ruled out. Unexpectedly, the collapsed lung became our biggest concern. The damaged lung caused air to build up in his chest cavity. This trapped air created pressure that made it difficult for Kent’s lung to inflate and deflate normally. It also put pressure on his heart. Since Kent was experiencing such respiratory distress, he needed to have a chest tube put into his side to extract the air in his chest cavity. Kent was then placed in an oxygen chamber to provide extra oxygen. Once Kent was stable enough for surgery, an Orthopedic Specialist repaired his leg. As soon as Kent was out of surgery, he was put back in an oxygen chamber and hospitalized in the ICU for days. After everything that I have just explained, would you believe it if I told you that even through all of this, Kent still wagged his tail when you spoke to him. It didn't even make sense. Whether he knew that we were trying to help him or he just wanted a friend, this brave puppy wagged his tail.
When Kent was well enough to leave the ER Vet, he started a long 11 week recovery on strict crate rest and rehabilitation. In that time, we also started working on Kent’s much needed puppy skills and socialization. This was a critical time for him to learn manners and TAF’s momma therapy dog, Antler, took Kent under her wing and gave him direction.
Well, long story short, we are so happy to announce that Kent has made a full recovery and has found his FOREVER HOME!!! Kent pretty much just hit the puppy lottery and landed himself an amazing family. Not only does he have 4 new littles to look after but also a new pup brother. The photos of all of them are beyond adorable! If that wasn’t enough, Kent’s new mom and dad are some of the nicest most down to earth people I have met. They opened their home and just let Kent act like the big goofy puppy. Upon arriving at Kent’s new home, he repeatedly ran through the house, out the back door and into the yard where he played with the kids and his new brother. It was organized chaos at its finest. It was one of the happiest and most rewarding adoptions that I have ever been apart of… it was a long hard road but he made it. The photos in this album show that if you know that a dog can have a good quality of life, you just don’t give up on them. Without TAF’s supporters, we could have never afforded the top notch medical care that Kent received. A big thank you to Kent’s medical team(s) at MedVet Chicago. I think that pretty much everyone from every department worked on Kent and contributed their area of expertise to help him out. We really appreciate it. Oh, Kent’s family had a DNA test done and as it turns out Kent is 62.5% Great Pyrenees and 37.5% mixed breeds. Wouldn’t have guessed that!
On 2/4/19, TAF met a scared little chihuahua who was being brought through the front door of an open access shelter. We were just about to walk out the door and couldn't help but notice how traumatized she was. When the police officer from a neighboring city handed her over, Macey was shaking like a leaf and absolutely terrified. Since she had already done her stray hold in their care, Macey was able to leave with us.
That same night, Macey want straight into a foster home with TAF's therapy dogs. At first, Macey wanted to keep to herself and so we gave her a room to herself. We put a crate in the room with a few cozy blankets in it so that she could burrow and feel safe. We left the door open so that Macey could choose to come in and out of the room when she wanted to visit. On the day that she was still a bit too nervous, our therapy dog Bentley would go in and cuddle with her.
After a couple weeks, it was time for Macey to find her forever home. Luckily for her, their was the perfect family waiting for a little just like her. With that, we are so happy to announce that Macey has found her forever home! When Macey new family came to meet her, the little girl's eyes lit up and she was completely enamored with Macey. She looked at her mom and said, "Yep, she's the one". I can tell you I have met a lot of children who are not so great with little dogs and quite honestly aren't so well behaved. Macey's newest family member was the sweetest little girl who was calm, gentle and polite as could be. Her parents should be very proud as they have raised a very good kid. Anyway, just had to say that. So... a big congratulations to Macey and her new family! We couldn't be happier!
A BIG WIN for the forgotten ones… On 11/5/18, TAF came across a senior girl that we knew would never make it out of the shelter alive. Even though she had a lot of spunk, Princess Bear had some extremely expensive medical issues. The two biggest issues were a large tumor on her chest and horrifically rotten teeth. To be a responsible rescue, you must be able to appropriately provide medical care for the animals that you pull from an open access shelter. We knew that with the help of our supporters, we could give Princess Bear the chance that she deserved. The odds were not in her favor but we knew this little lady still had a lot of fight left in her. Princess Bear spent several weeks at our primary vet with a nasty upper respiratory infection. During this time, she underwent numerous tests to ensure that she was healthy enough for surgery. Her rotten teeth were doing her no favors and we needed to know if the tumor on her chest could be safely removed. During this time, we also learned that Princess Bear had an intestinal issue that meant she would need to be on a special diet the rest of her life. We weren’t too worried about this because we knew we could provide her future adopters the prescription food they needed to continue her care.
In December, our friends at The Moon Dog Farm offered to foster Princess Bear through her surgery, recovery and beyond. It was pretty great because they did all of the work so we could focus on covering her medical bills. We honestly could not have done it without them and Princess Bear had quite the adventure. She met bunnies, a kitty named Skitty and her BFF pup Gigi… it was something out of a storybook. Fast forward to now, we are so happy to announce that… Princess Bear is cancer free… she no longer has a mouth full of painfully rotten teeth… AND… Princess Bear has found her FOREVER HOME!!!!!!
Princess Bear’s new family didn’t care that Princess Bear was over 10 years old, a bit beat up looking and had dietary issues. All they saw was a beautiful senior girl who had beaten the odds and was in need of a second chance. They loved her just the way she was and wanted to be her forever family. As anyone in rescue can tell you, people like this do not come around often. They were/are an absolute gift and Princess Bear is one lucky dog. TAF must thank our supporters, Princess Bear’s new family and The Moon Dog Farm. Without all of you, none of this would have been possible! Have a wonderful life Princess Bear!!!
Back on 1/3/19, TAF received a call from an open access shelter asking for help. They had in their care a dog that had suffered such neglect that she had to have her front leg amputated. The matted fur that encased her body had such a vice grip around her front left leg that it actually caused it to rot. This life-saving surgery was performed while Lady was still at an open access shelter on 12/29/18.
Once she was stable for transport, Lady was transferred into our care and brought to the ER for next level medical care. With continued medical care, awesome pup friends and some love, Lady was up and running within a month! Amazingly enough, Lady bares no emotional scars. Someone loved and cared for her at one point and something must have gone terribly wrong.
With this brief history of Lady’s journey, we are so happy to announce that Lady has found her forever home! For this adoption, we went out to Lady’s future home to meet everyone. Lady’s new siblings are both seniors and we did not want to stress them out by making them go on a road trip. Upon entering Lady’s new home you could feel the love. Everything was set up for the comfort of senior dogs and it was simply awesome. I knew that she had just hit the jackpot. Every senior dog, or any dog for the matter, should be so lucky. Before saying goodbye to Lady, her new mom told me something that took me aback. She said that Lady would be renamed Tria in honor of my dog Trio… the special pup whose memory has gone on to save thousands of homeless animals lives. I was so moved by this gesture of kindness that I got goose bumps and teared up a bit. I knew at that moment that Tria was destined for great things. In an update from Tria’s mom she write, “You have no idea how fast a 3 legged little can run until she pushes past the baby gate because there might be food on the other side of the house.” It is updates like this that put a smile on your face. So happy for this little 3 legged wonder and excited for what her future holds.
One Last Big Win For 2018, Brady Finds His Forever Home! In August, TAF was contacted about an 8 month old puppy that had endured abuse since the day he was born. The abuse started in his home and continued for the many weeks caged at the vet. Due to a $179 unpaid bill, Brady’s vet refused to let him go and did not provide him with adequate medical care. When Brady finally came into TAF’s care, he was around 20 pounds underweight and his skin felt like a combination of tissue paper and hardened leather. Suffering from demodectic mange, a secondary skin infection, infected eyes and yeast infections in his ears, Brady was in a living hell.
With a lot of pain medication, we hit Brady’s ailments aggressively and with everything we had. We knew that if we could not quickly improve Brady’s quality of life, a hard decision would need to be made. Within a week, it was obvious that our medical approach was working and Brady was improving with each passing day. We knew that in the months to come, Brady would make a full recovery. While Brady was physically healing, it was imperative to start working on his mental health. He was at such an impressionable age and had no socialization skills. He was fearful, untrusting and on the defense.
Besides spending one on one time with Brady, we had a trainer come in 5 days a week to work with him. We did everything that we could to physically and emotionally put Brady back together again… and we did just that. After 5 months of treatment, we are so happy to announce that Brady has found his forever home! His new mom is head over heals for him and it couldn’t be a better fit. Brady’s new mom is very knowledgeable about German Shepherds and is 100% on board with keeping up with his training. She has the best attitude and a heart of gold. If Brady can be ½ as positive and happy as his new mom, he is going to have an amazing new life. TAF would like to thank everyone that donated towards Brady’s medical care and rallied for him from the beginning. We could not have done this without your help. Unfortunately, Brady’s abusers never saw their day in court. Every individual, or group, that has had firsthand knowledge or proof of Brady’s abuse has been unwilling to go on record to help TAF press charges. Without their backing, we have nothing. At least when all was said and done, Brady got his happy ending. That is something to smile about.
With A Crooked Smile, Abe Goes In For The Win! Back in March, TAF was contacted about a very old dog with a deformed face at an open access shelter. He had been there for over a month and his chances of getting out were slim to none. Upon meeting Abe at his cage, he actually wagged his tail and greeted us. Abe must have known that we were there to save his life.
In the coming days, we would find out that Abe’s heart and lungs were infested with heartworm. At that point we had to make a decision based on Abe’s temperament and quality of life before, during and after heartworm treatment. After discussing Abe’s medical options and adoptability, we decided to go through with treatment and give him the chance to live. He had already survived unbelievable odds and we weren’t about to stop him now. In the 300 days of being homeless and ill, Abe made it through every obstacle set before him and did it with a smile… a beautiful crooked smile.
The week before Christmas, TAF put out a plea to help find Abe a forever home. Quite a few people reached out to help Abe but for one reason or another it didn’t work out. That is until the perfect application came in for Abe. A quiet home with two senior dogs and a lovely couple that were willing to see if they could make it work. Soon thereafter, Abe and I would go and take a visit out to the suburbs to meet his potential family and see if it was a good fit. After having a couple of days to think it over, Abe received a text on Christmas Eve. It was simply a picture of a Christmas stocking with the name ABE on it. After almost a year, our old man had just found his forever home… a forever home for Christmas.
TAF is so thankful to everyone that shared Abe’s post and did everything that they could to help. From the Chicago Fire Department, people across the country and around the world, everyone was rooting for Abe. For those willing to open up their homes and take in a senior dog, we have so much respect for you. It is you that give the greatest gift of all… twilight years filled with peace, love and happiness. To Abe’s new mom and dad, you have answered not only Abe’s prayers but also thousands around the world. You are true rockstars!
TAF came across Lily as we walked down an isle of cages at an open access shelter. She was hiding under her bed and all that you could see was her face peaking out. Lily's owners had just given her up the day before and she was shaking in fear. It was pretty rough to see and we took her home with us.
After spending a few days at the vet, some time at The Moon Dog Farm and a sleepover with Hazel Grace, Antler, Bentley, Eeyore and Steve, it was time for Lily to meet her forever family. Lily was a little scared at first but when we brought Hazel Grace and Bentley into the room, Lily's new family saw just how playful she could be. When she saw her new friends, she lit up and her true personality shine through... the rest is history. Lily now has a wonderful family that adores her and she will never want for anything, again. Just think of it, a scared homeless pup just got her forever home in time for Christmas..
On September 26th, TAF was contacted by an open access shelter about a horribly neglected dog that had just been brought into their facility. We had no idea just how bad Sang Su’s condition was until we saw him in person. He looked like a matted ball and he was a complete mess. We all assumed that he was a Shih Tzu or Lhasa Apso mix because of the texture and look of his fur. These two breeds, along with the poodle, are also some of the most neglected when it comes to abuse due to lack of grooming.
That very next day, Sang Su’s whole outlook on life was literally about to change… After being placed under anesthesia, it would take four medical staff 2 hours to cut through all of Sang Su’s urine soaked fur. What they found underneath the matted mess that encased his body was truly unbelievable. Sang Su was not a Shih Tzu or Lhasa but a Cocker Spaniel mix! It was a complete shock to everyone! His long tail was actually matted fur that spiraled and just kept going. Sang Su only had a nubbin for a tail and he turned out to have long ears. We were completely blown away when we saw him walk into the lobby from the back room at the vet. It was like a reality reveal party on T.V. and Sang Su just received a makeover.
Medically speaking, Sang Su’s ears were an infected mess not only on the inside but parts of the outside, too. They were so full of sores and now that his ears were free, all he wanted to do was shake them. Because of this, Sang Su started to form hematomas on his ears. To prevent him from needing surgery, Sang Su needed to wear a wrap around his head to keep his ears still. Sang Su also had a secondary skin infection, infected eyes and major inflammation in the areas that his fur was pulling so tightly next to his skin. Emotionally, Sang Su’s was very unsure and just wanted to be held. His eyes looked vacant and he showed no signs of happiness. One can only imagine what this poor dog has been through and the loss that he has endured.
Finally, the day came when Sang Su was healthy enough to be introduced to some of TAF’s therapy dogs. It was that day that he got a little pep in his step and some happiness back in his heart. Our dogs were able to do something that us humans couldn’t. They taught Sang Su how to be a dog, again. It was like they flipped a light switch and Sang Su remembered how truly wonderful life can be.
With that, we are so happy to officially announce that Sang Su has found his forever home! Sang Su now has a mom that adores him and thinks that he is absolutely amazing. It was love at first sight and we couldn’t be more thrilled with this happy ending… Sang Su got his second chance.
Beating the Odds, Senior Maude Has Found Her Forever Home!
Back in July, TAF was contacted by an open access shelter about an underweight itty-bitty senior Chihuahua with a respiratory infection and a large abscess on the side on her face. The shelter had done all that they medically could for Maude and knew that she needed next level medical care. With the help of TAF’s supporters, we were able to pull Maude and bring her straight to the vet. There she had x-rays taken of her face to see if there were any obvious signs of trauma or an infected tooth. At that point, x-rays were inconclusive and it was decided to start Maude on antibiotics and see how it played out. Since she was so old and showed signs of heart disease, we honestly didn’t know how much she could take.
Once back in our care, an amazing foster home stepped up and offered to nurse Maude back to health. This family really took on a big commitment that might have ended sadly. As the days passed, Maude’s health started to deteriorate. Even though she had been on antibiotics, the infection on Maude’s face had spread to her sinuses. Knowing that we could no longer wait, Maude went in for emergency surgery. Once under, it was determined that an infected root was causing the abscess in Maude’s cheek to fester and needed to be taken out immediately. Well, Maude was one tough lady because her heart never wavered and she made it through surgery with flying colors. She had even begun eating that very same day. Once on the road to recovery, Maude was started on heart medication and really began to thrive. She even put on a pound! As you can imagine, after investing so much emotionally into this little 5 pound beauty, her foster home could not let her go.
So… we are so happy to announce that after 5 months, Maude has found her forever home! Of course, Maude had already chosen her family. We just made it official! A big thank you to Animal Welfare League for taking care of Maude and transferring her into our care. Also, to the people that donated towards Maude’s medical care and rallied for her. Lastly, a huge thank you to Maude’s foster/forever family. Because of you, this 10(+) year old senior will have the best twilight years ever… YAY for Maude