Picking Up Reece's Pieces

On Wednesday, I received a desperate answering machine message from a woman named Pat in Gulfport, Mississippi.

The neighbor's Pit Bull mix had finally broken loose from the rope used to tie her to a tree, and the dog immediately fled to Pat's home... and stayed there... seeking refuge. When Pat walked outside that morning, the dog was sleeping on her porch, right next to her cat.

Reece's neck
That's when Pat saw the dog's painful, horrific injuries.
The dog's tie-out rope had clearly been embedded in her neck for quite some time, and the wound was at least 2 inches deep. She also had other scars covering her body.

Seeing the dog's condition, Pat refused to risk the chance that the dog may be returned to the owner, but she also couldn't stand the thought of the dog facing euthanasia.

So, Pat started calling animal shelters and rescues, in search of immediate, legitimate help for this dog.

Of course, due to the "Pit Bull mix" label --coupled with the dog's severe injuries-- Animal Control informed Pat that euthanasia would be their only option for this pup. Therefore, she attempted to contact any animal rescue group she could find.

She left tons of messages, but since rescues are always full and/or overloaded, most of them never called her back. Every other rescue told her, "We don't take Pit Bulls. Try Lucky Dog Rescue."

Again... as I've said many times, Lucky Dog Rescue is NOT a "Pit Bull rescue."
While most of my rescue dogs are, in fact, Pit Bulls, I also rescue many other breeds, and mixes of those breeds. However, since I focus on the worst-cases... and the least adoptable dogs (due to societal bias), then, yes... most of my rescue pups are Pit Bulls. (Plus, I just-so-happen to freaking LOVE Pit Bulls!)

Further, because many animal rescue groups in Mississippi are unable to take Pit Bulls due to Breed Specific Legislation (BSL), and most of the other Mississippi rescues will not take them (for one reason or another), I tend to be the "fall-back."

"If the dog is a Pit Bull, call Lucky Dog Rescue."

So, after Pat exhausted her search for a rescue located somewhere closer to her area than mine, she contacted me.

I was walking a dog when she called, so she left a message. When I got back, I checked the answering machine... and heard the desperation in Pat's voice, as she said: "Please, please, PLEASE call me! I'm so desperate to save this dog! She needs help right away, and I've been told you're the only person who will help me! Please!!!"

So, I took a deep breath, picked up the phone, and returned her call.

When she answered, I said: "Hey, Ms. Pat. It's Ashley with Lucky Dog Rescue, returning your call."

Reece, when she arrived at Lucky Dog Rescue
Through obvious tears, she responded: "Oh, Ashley!!! Thank you for calling me back, honey! I've left messages with rescues all over the state this morning... begging people to call me back. You're the only one who did."

I said: "Ms. Pat, I have to be honest with you. As much as I want to help this poor dog, I'm beyond over-loaded with rescue dogs right now, so I'm not really sure that I can help. But I promise I'm willing to do everything I can to try and find someone else who can."

Then... I heard sobbing on the other end of the line.

She cried: "Ashley, please! I am begging you! I've already tried everyone else. Anyone who was willing to talk to me... was only willing to help... by giving me your number. If you can't help this dog... you and I both know... no one will... and she will die!"

I knew she was right, but I just needed a minute to think. So, I promised to call her back, and then, I hung up.

Shortly thereafter, with no plan in mind... I picked up the phone and called Pat again. Honestly, at that moment, I had no idea what I was even going to say to her... but I knew she was desperate for help, so I didn't want to make her wait any longer.

Well, before I could even give her an answer about whether or not I was able to help, Pat said: "Ashley, I want you to know... if you're willing to help this baby, then I'm willing to make the 3 hour trip from here to Meridian to bring this dog to you."

Suddenly, without another thought, I simply said: "When can you be here?"

Reece, on our way to the vet
The next morning, Pat and her husband drove more than 3 hours to deliver my new baby to Lucky Dog Rescue.

When they arrived, it was love at first sight.
I named her Reece.

That day, I began the process of picking-up the pieces of Reece's broken heart... and putting her back together again...

And in return, Reece's smile reminded me... of what I do... and why I do it. It's never about me. It's always about them. And when they really need you... you always find a way...

*Reece has a long road of recovery ahead of her. In addition to her severe injuries & massive level of infection, she is also heartworm positive, which requires extensive, costly treatment. If you'd like to contribute to Reece's care and her future, please click the link below to donate: