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She struggled to talk through breathlessness and tears, explaining that she had called other local rescues and they told her that there was no way they could take her 13 year old dog Zoopie. She said every rescue she called said, "We'd never be able to adopt her out," and "She'd probably end up being euthanized."

I was reminded, once again, that rescue isn't just about animals, it's about people, too.

Image -  - S.P.A. promised Shonna that Zoopie would be kept safe.

S.P.A. promised Shonna that Zoopie would be kept safe.

I met Shonna at Westview Veterinary Hospital on November 29th. I tried to remain as unemotional as possible to help Shonna deal with saying her last goodbye to her Zoopie dog, who she rescued as a puppy. Zoopie was her best friend, she said. But Shonna cried and had difficulty breathing. Zoopie was led back to the really nice boarding area at Westview. Shonna was struggling to breath as she left.

Two days later, Shonna was hospitalized. She said the stress of her life changing so drastically had really taken a toll on her.

Zoopie was frightened and didn't know what to think of this major life change. She just lost the only friend she'd ever known. She nipped in the air when the kennel girls approached her. She was not adjusting well. She kept her tail tucked tightly between her legs.

But then Lynne Stanley, a kind-hearted S.P.A. volunteer, offered to spend time with Zoopie. To try to let Zoopie know that everything would be okay. Lynne visited Westview twice each week, sitting on the floor of the middle room with her, giving her all of the time she needed to learn to trust.

Image -  - Zoopie looked forward to Lynne's visits.

Zoopie looked forward to Lynne's visits.

Lynne said, "During the first visits with Zoopie I kept thinking, this poor girl's world has been turned upside down, so of course she is frightened. I wanted her to learn to trust again, to know that there are still people she can feel content with and know she is loved. Each visit I could see small improvements, as slowly she began to let her guard down, to be herself again. Enjoying treats, playing with new toys and taking in the belly rubs. I would whisper in her ear, 'Zoop girl we just have to be patient the right person is out there for you'. I am so happy her dream has come true."

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"I told you your dreams would come true, Zoopie girl!" said Lynne.

Lynne sent weekly updates of each of her visits. The staff at Westview had been working with Zoopie, too, Lynne said.


Image -  - Zoopie loved playing ball with Lynne.

Zoopie loved playing ball with Lynne.

Zoopie was now jumping up and down, wagging with her tail high in the air when she saw Lynne coming to visit. She gave kisses to a selected few, at first... but now she was willing to kiss just about anyone willing to kiss her back!

S.P.A.shared Zoopie's story and soon several kind-hearted souls said they wished to donate to help S.P.A. cover Zoopie's boarding expenses.

Image -  - Zoopie's frown turned upside down!

Zoopie's frown turned upside down!

Sarrah Ottney read about Zoopie, looked long and hard at the photos posted of Zoopie, called S.P.A. and asked if her husband, Jon, and she could visit Zoopie, asked if Zoopie could meet Rookie, their resident two-year-old dog she rescued when he was a puppy, more than likely a Basenji/Chihuahua mix. Cuter than the dickens.

S.P.A. introduces dogs slowly, in a particular way.

Image -  - Zoopie immediately loved her new family!

Zoopie immediately loved her new family!

Rookie was a perfect gentleman, and by the end of the half hour introduction, Zoopie and Rookie walked into "Rookie's" house together.

Image -  - Rookie with Sarrah meeting Zoopie.

Rookie with Sarrah meeting Zoopie.

Rookie seemed to sense that it was important for him to comfort Zoopie. And that's exactly what he did.

Image -  - Home Visit went well. Zoopie said,

Home Visit went well. Zoopie said, "YES!".

Zoopie ran all through the house, hurrying up wooden steps to see the upstairs (this really surprised us) wagging really hard as if to say, "Are you kidding me? Do I really get to live here?"

Without hesitation, Zoopie attached to Rookie, Jon and Sarrah and did indeed feel safe. And by the way, we let Shonna know. The attached videos were emailed to her.

Image -  - Jon and Zoopie have become genuine friends.

Jon and Zoopie have become genuine friends.

Another worthy life saved.

Sarrah's personal Recount:

My name is Sarrah Ottney and I proudly have expanded my family by one beautiful, loving black lab/blue heeler mix dog named Zoopie.

People have always told me that things happen for a reason. Well, Zoopie is proof.

Through my job as a teacher at Vanguard Tech Center, I am an advisor on a community service project through Skills USA. My students chose to help a local organization through this project, and by looking online for local places to help we stumbled across SPA Ohio's website.

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"We love her already!" said Sarrah and Rookie.

We were uncertain what the organization did, but we made the phone call and within minutes we were welcomed into the SPA family. The students will finish up their project this week and have collected items such as cat food, dog treats, kitty litter, paper towels, and laundry soap, cat trees, metal dog yard signs, and money collected from selling homemade puppy chow at lunches.

While helping with this project, I found myself returning to SPA's website and reading the story about an older dog who had to be given up by her mom for medical reasons. I have a dog at home, and he is the leading man in my life...besides my husband (most of the time)!

I love my puppy so much that I could not imagine having to give him up because I was too sick to care for him. All I could picture was my puppy being boarded for months when he was used to sleeping in bed with us, cuddling on the couch, and getting kisses on the forehead everyday. It made me sick. So after discussing it with my ever-loving and patient husband, we decided to ask a few questions about Zoopie.

A few questions led to a meeting at Westview Veterinary Hospital, which turned into an amazing and successful dog-to-dog introduction, which progressed into a weekend sleepover, which permanently turned into a forever home.

I have to give my dog some credit, too. Rookie has always been an only dog. He has never had to share his house, toys, food, water, or especially his mom and dad. He was so welcoming and accepting of Zoopie, we were all shocked.

Zoopie has had a traumatic year, and we didn't know how the two would get along.

Now, when I watch TV at night, I have two heads on my lap wanting to be petted.

Now, when my husband and I go for walks, we each have a leash.

Now, when we give treats and kisses, we simply double them.

Zoopie has only been part of our family for a couple of weeks, but she is family.

We love her so much and are trying to help her have the best rest of her life as possible. When she sits next to her new brother and looks out our large, front picture window, I can't help but think that she didn't have a window to look out of for the past few months. She must have been so confused, heartbroken and scared.

I just hope every day she is with us, for the rest of her life, she knows she is loved.

She is happy, and safe, and has a home with our family, forever.

Thank you S.P.A. for saving this special girl's life,

Sarrah Ottney

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