Give To The Max – Nov. 12th

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Toby’s Story

Have you ever wondered if your life really mattered?  Have you ever felt small and alone, even in crowd?  Toby has.

Toby’s home was very crowded.  There were over 40 dogs running around him day and night.  Sometimes it was comforting to have friends around to play with.  Sometimes it felt smothering.  There were so many warm bodies running all over.   There was never enough space, enough food for them all, or enough quiet.  There was never the kind of attention that lets you know you are special.  Toby wanted to be special.  He wanted to matter.  Toby did not have faith that he did.

They didn’t see many new people at Toby’s home.  Just lots and lots of dogs.  When the strangers came he was afraid.  He did not know what to expect.  He didn’t really know people were bad.  He didn’t really know they were good.  It was an uncomfortable feeling when they looked at him, walked over and scooped him up.  He didn’t struggle.  He didn’t fight.  He let himself be whisked away.  There was no reason to stay.

Toby had hoped things might be better.  He wanted to believe they would be.  When he found himself at the shelter in a cage, alone, finally alone, truly alone, he didn’t think they were.  He finally had his own food to eat, no competing.  He had space all his own, no scrambling for a good place to sleep.  But he missed having a friend to curl up with.  On top of it, nothing about this situation made him feel special either.  Toby still felt inconsequential and very sad.

With support from the kindness and generosity of the Safe Hands Rescue community we had sent a team to Toby’s shelter.  They were there to bring help and hope to the staff and second chances for the animals.  They found Toby, still desperately wanting a reason believe.  We could give him one.

Toby didn’t know what to think when someone talked to him – “me?” he seemed to think.  “Did you really mean to talk to me?”  Yes Toby, we did.  When Toby was first taken into loving arms he could hardly believe it.  He liked it.  He really liked it.  He just couldn’t believe it was for him.  He snuggled in.  He tried to be still and quiet.  He would give no cause to lose what he had found.  No worries Toby, this is yours now.

Toby traveled “home” with Safe Hands to find his forever home.  It didn’t take long.  His new parents are, “crazy in love with him.”  Every morning he goes for a walk, every night he snuggles up with his parents on the couch, in between he chews on his bone, naps in the sun and gets all the love a little boy could ever want.  His parents say they are not sure who is happier, Toby or them. He is cherished.  He is special.  He matters.

Toby found his reason to believe.  You can restore faith for dogs like Toby when you donate today!



Natia’s Story

When Natia struggled to open her eyes she could not make sense of what happened. She did not know what she did to end up here. Here, in a ditch, on the side of the road. Her head was pounding, her body ached more than it already had from her red, raw skin. She closed her eyes again, hoping to wake up when this was all over. Darkness descended, time seemed to stand still.

Natia felt her body being lifted. She was placed in a car. A kind voice spoke to her, told her he was going to find her some help. Natia saw flashes of light as she struggled to understand. She was passed from one hero to another. Jackie took her in her arms, wrapped her in a soft blanket, and took over. She would do whatever it took to make sure Natia had a tomorrow. Her world got just a little brighter.

Natia may have been on a battlefield but she was no longer alone. One by one the army behind her grew. Safe Hands made arrangements for immediate medical attention. The incredibly caring and compassionate Dr. Green stepped in. An extraordinary advocate for the voiceless, our friend Isabella took Natia into her home and provided round the clock care. As her army grew, so did the light inside. Natia began to shine.

Natia’s skull was fractured, she suffered from malnutrition, her skin was badly infected. With guidance from the good doctor and daily treatment and TLC from Isabella Natia began to heal.

When Natia was strong enough she travelled to Minnesota. Today she is the happiest little girl and makes friends everywhere she goes. In spite of her rocky start she is incredibly joyful and loving. Indeed she reflects back all the love and light that was bestowed upon her. Her new mom says, “She’s our little ray of sunshine even on the darkest of days!”

My friend Jackie likes to say Safe Hands is a light in a dark place. The truth is, all these people in Natia’s story are all light in a dark place. You can be too. Your support of Safe Hands Rescue will help them all truly shine.



Hattie’s Story

The world was a big, crazy, scary place. She was just a little girl.

Hattie tried to hide behind her brothers. She felt like she should run but the stabbing pain in her leg held her still. She didn’t know how long they’d been there in the ravine. The grass grew taller than her head. There was a steady stream nearby. She could not remember a time before. Before her skin burned and her hollow belly ached. Before she felt so empty, beyond hunger and fear to a place she could not feel it anymore. Before the shooting pain took over. If life was a game, Hattie was not winning.

So when the men came and she heard their voices calling, she felt like she should run, but she could not. These were hard times and tough choices. Should she choose to quit or to continue? She had nothing left to give, nowhere else to hide, still so much left to lose. She closed her eyes and breathed in. She felt shadows fall across her face. It was time to tell this place goodbye. It was time to change the game.

Hattie felt herself lifted up. She left the darkness of the thicket. She felt the sun as she emerged. She did not know it yet but the hands that pulled her through would be the ones that healed her. Her brothers came too and off they all sped.

Hattie arrived at the shelter and was handed into the safety and security of Jenn’s arms. Hattie was afraid and there was still the unrelenting throb in her leg. Her fragile skin was raw from the constant scratching. She hurt. Jenn saw what Hattie tried to conceal. Her leg was broken. She tried to be brave. Jenn saw through her façade. Hattie was just a scared and broken little girl. Jenn picked up the phone, Safe Hands was on the other end of the line. Thanks to people like you who believe in and support our work Hattie joined our rescue that day. She would get all the care she needed.

After spending some time in the hospital Hattie was able to come “home” to Safe Hands where she found her forever home. Today her name is Carley. Her mom says it means “little fighter” which is perfect with all she went through to get here. She has a canine big sister and the two are best friends. She loves going for walks and car rides, playing outside, Petsmart and her family. She sleeps in bed at night cuddled up between her human parents. She is very much loved, cherished and has made her family complete.

You can change the game for dogs like Hattie when you donate to Safe Hands Rescue!



Caden’s Story

“Your skin, oh yeah, your skin and bones, turn into something beautiful” – Coldplay

Resilience is rooted in a tenacity of spirit—a determination to embrace all that makes life worth living even in the face of overwhelming odds. So many of the dogs we rescue are true survivors. They have lived through things we can often only imagine. We piece together their stories mostly from the ravages of their damaged and weary bodies. And while we may not know the details, we know. We know they have somehow found a way to carry on through immense hardship. We know they have suffered unremittingly. Their very presence in front of us bears witness to these unalienable facts. Such is the case with Caden.

Caden was found in a remote area, on the side of the road, looking lost and confused. He was raggedy, much of his fur was missing, and his skin was red and raw. He bones stuck out. His sore and infected eyes implored his rescuer, “will you help me?” He was just three months old.

We received a message from a friend, in it was photographs of this sad and sorry looking boy. Caden’s life had been overwhelmingly bad. What kept him holding out for something more than holding on? What gave him the determination and courage to keep going day by day? Caden can’t answer these questions. We could answer his. Yes Caden, you are in Safe Hands now.

It was time to uncover the beauty within this sweet boy and let it shine. He spent a week in the hospital and then was released to our friend’s care until he was well enough for transport. Isabella worked miracles. She faithfully tended to his needs with a regimen of medicated baths, antibiotics, ear and eye drops and covered his raw and delicate skin with a moisturizing balm. He had a warm home, a soft bed and big love. His sweet and gentle nature, playful charm and sly smile filled her home with as much joy as he received.

Last month Caden traveled to Minnesota and in just a few weeks’ time he found the something he was holding on for. Caden now has a family to call his own. He was adopted last weekend.

You can be the key to making moments like this possible when you support Safe Hands Rescue!



Baxter’s Story

Baxter was having a really bad week. One moment he was living his life, minding his own business, the next he was on the dog catcher’s truck. It happened so fast. Did his owner give him up or even know he was gone? Had he inadvertently wandered too far from home and was snatched up? He really didn’t know. He did know he was feeling very glum.

He arrived at a place that smelled of the despair and desperation of far too many dogs. He heard their worried and sometimes angry voices as they barked and howled their stories for all to hear. He did not like it one bit. He quivered. Stiff with fear he was handed over. He landed with no ceremony or introduction into a kennel filled with dogs.

Not every dog in his run was nice. Baxter kept his face turned down. He tried to lay low and watched as the world turned outside his prison cell. Day turned to night and back to day again. He wished he were invisible. He was so hungry, his stomach rumbled a protest. He just had to try to sneak a bite. The pain was instant and blaring. He saw the flash of teeth, felt the sear as the jaws locked down on his tender nose and face. He screamed.

We found Baxter at the shelter. Forlorn and cowering in the back of a wire crate, his body shook with aching and anguish. Part of his nose was hanging loose. There were deep wounds on the soft of his nose. He wondered why he was here in this place. He wished he were anywhere else. He desperately needed someone to put his world back together again. Instead, he’d been shuffled aside. Try as he might, he could not fight the despair deep inside. He’d given up hope for a future any better than today.

Sorrow and heartbreak poured out of his eyes as he peered into ours. This would be the moment that everything changed for Baxter. Wish as we might, we could not undo his past. Because we have amazing supporters we knew we could change his future. We could ensure these last days were the worst it got. There would be no looking back. Baxter was our boy now.

Baxter was quickly transported to a nearby vet hospital. His infected wounds were tended, his pain was eased, he found relief. The surgeon put his face and nose back together again. Baxter was warm, comforted and most of all, safe. He had what he needed to heal his body. Now he just needed to find the family to heal his heart.

Brent and Janet had lost one of their dogs. Their remaining girl Tippy was depressed. Brent, Janet and Tippy had an empty spot in their hearts. So did Baxter. The moment they met was the second time in Baxter’s life everything changed for the better. It was a perfect match. Today Baxter and Tippy are the best of friends. They enjoy trips to the family farm, the dog park, the North Shore and lots of snuggle time on the couch. His dad says, “Baxter is one of the sweetest and most loyal dogs we have ever encountered. We love this dog with all our hearts. He is our “Little Dude!”



Otis’ Story

He was so tired. Not the kind of “I stayed up a bit too late” tired, but the tired that aches all the way to the bone, numbs muscle and mind and renders movement obsolete. Otis tried so hard to be strong. He wanted to play with his brothers and sisters. His brain was foggy but he could see them romp. He could not understand why his body would not move.

Otis had not had it easy in his young life. Born as part of an unwanted litter he was taken from his mom before he was weaned and left with his brothers and sisters in a cardboard box at a rural shelter. He did not even weigh two pounds. Otis tried to eat the food he was given, but his stomach was not ready for that yet. He was weak from being so hungry all the time and anemic from fleas on his skin and worms in his belly.

This is how Kristene and Joe found him when they were visiting our friends in Kentucky. They knew he was in trouble. They put him in their car and sped through the night to bring Otis and his siblings “home” to Safe Hands. They did not sleep, barely stopped. They knew Otis was running out of time. And so Otis arrived, too tired to stand or even sit.

Too weary to lift his head, barely opening bleary eyes, Otis was heading into the final battle of the fight for his life. The outlook was bleak. Otis had gone it alone so long, it was our turn to take over now. We set to work and sent the odds packing. We refused to accept the option of impossible. Otis was wrapped in soft blankets, kept warm and dry, syringe fed, medicated, comforted…and loved. We held vigil round the clock, determined to keep the bad things away.

Otis took all the love and care bestowed upon him as an ember to spark the fire within. He was determined to make the most of all he was given. Moments turned to days and Otis grew stronger. He played with a toy, he sat up, then stood and took his first shaky steps. One week later, Otis took off running and he hasn’t looked back since!

Otis’ new mom and dad say he is truly one in a million. He loves snuggles, playing ball, riding in the car and going to the lake. Most of all, he loves being around people and other dogs and spreading the joy he’s found. He seems to know just what each person or animal needs and happily obliges. His smile is contagious, his spirit is huge. Otis loves big. His parents say, “We are extremely fortunate to have adopted Otis from Safe Hands. We couldn’t imagine our lives without him.”
You can be our ally in making moments like this possible.
Support Safe Hands Rescue on Give to the Max Day!


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Avaline’s Story

It didn’t happen all at once. There was no big bang. It was much more delicate, the unwinding of her life. In fact, it happened so slowly she didn’t see the warning signs. Their attention waned. They stopped playing games with her every evening. She tried and was brusquely pushed aside. She felt sad for them that they were too busy to play.

The affection came less frequently. So did her meals. She made excuses. They were distracted, preoccupied. No matter, she scavenged. Fortunately they weren’t careful with the garbage and she could find some meager bits to eat. Day by day the slights and neglect took a toll. Her once full and shiny coat took on a dull sheen and began to fall out. She could feel tiny feet crawling across her skin. She tried to scratch it away. She slept under the porch, her feet were dirty, her nails were long. Her body became painful.

Her mind was still clouded by happier times in the fading past. Their outline faint, she clung to the belief that they would soon return. It was so much easier to pretend than to believe those days were over. Sometimes at night as she looked at the shining stars up above the fear would creep in. She felt very small. It started to feel that she’d been lonely such a long time.

It started as a hairline crack but then it shattered. The life she once knew lay in tiny pieces on the floor. The people were gone and little Avaline was truly all alone. She was hungry. She was weak. She ached from the struggle of making one day move into the next. With no reason left to stay, she wandered down the road.

And that is when Avaline’s heroes stepped in. A benevolent woman saw Avaline trudging down the road and did something unusual in that place and time. She stopped. She called the diminutive, downtrodden dog over. Then she called the kind-hearted Dr. Green.

Avaline was bedraggled. The odor that emanated from her wee body was noxious. Her skin was oily and smudged with dirt. Yet, when Dr. Green looked at Avaline what she saw was diamonds. She saw a mesmerizing and charismatic imp. She saw a survivor. She saw the cherished and loyal companion that Avaline longed to be. She picked up the phone and made yet another call. Just like that Avaline was in Safe Hands. Safe Hands Rescue supporters joined her team of heroes that day.

Avaline spent several weeks in the hospital recovering from her tribulations. Her hunger subsided. Her joy flourished. She felt safe. She charmed staff and visitors alike with her plucky optimism and cheerful nature. Her world was put back together, bigger and brighter than ever. Avaline travelled home with us last month and just a few days ago she joined her forever family. One that will love her for always.



Oscar’s Story

The first time I saw Oscar he was scared, shaking, sick and trying as hard as he could to curl in a ball and disappear. His eyes, full of trepidation, told stories of unbearable sadness, bewilderment and confusion. I loved him at hello.

Oscar came from a hoarding/backyard breeding situation with some terrible conditions. He lived without proper shelter, scrambling for not enough food with too many other dogs, illness and injury without treatment and a lack of any love or care. He was initially so afraid he trembled when touched.

Oscar experienced unbearable pain and suffering at some point in his early life. Three of his legs and his hip all bore evidence of trauma. He limped badly and lay in funny positions in attempts at comfort. The ache of a broken body that had not healed right was constant.

Oscar’s spirit was restored long before his body. It did not take long for him to realize he liked toys, affection, soft beds and treats. He took this new life he was offered and embraced it with all of his being. He has the most brilliant smile. He is so grateful for this new opportunity and life. He loves his foster family, his good friends and canine foster siblings unabashedly. He is a clown, a good buddy, and so amazingly happy!

It took longer to figure out how to help his damaged bones and longer still to get him through the surgeries that followed. So far he has had one femur lengthened to correct a significant length discrepancy and had surgery to correct a dislocated kneecap and to repair a torn cruciate ligament. He has at least one surgery remaining, to relieve pain and hopefully to improve function in his hip. Through it all, Oscar remains stoic, gentle, sweet and full of joy for each new day. Oscar is a warrior, a champion and a loyal best friend. To know Oscar is to love him. He makes the world a better place just by being in it.

Oscar’s past life was not easy. He did not know what it was to be loved and cherished. Now, in Safe Hands Rescue, he truly does.

These are the miracles your gift on Give to the Max Day make possible.

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