I’ve always said that while all animal rescues are awesome (well, not all), Stewie to the Rescue is a special kind of rescue because our mission is to help animals keep the home they already have.
And the story of May, a pit bull whose owners were being evicted from their apartment, is a perfect illustration of why Stewie does what we do…
To recap, Erica Daniel of Dolly’s Foundation, which is based in Florida, forwarded me an email from Aida, who lives in New York.
Aida, Rohan (her husband), and their pit bull, May, were about to be evicted from their apartment in Queens. Like so many dog owners, Aida was more concerned with what would become of her pet than herself.
Aida and Rohan had taken May in when they found her in the garbage, a 6 month-old abandoned puppy. She is now 5. Although May is warm and loving with her family, she is slow to warm up to strangers and, like a lot of dogs, she is also leash-reactive.
Rohan and Aida had accepted the possibility that they would have to stay (at least temporarily) in a homeless shelter after eviction. But that left May with nowhere to go, because NYC shelters don’t allow pets. And Aida wasn’t willing to abandon May to an uncertain fate at the NYACC – she knew May’s chances of being adopted would be slim to none. She was scared that May would be euthanized. Aida was prepared to live in her car with May, if she had to. The situation looked grim.
It was going to be difficult to find a place for May, and the clock was ticking. The family was due to be evicted on Easter Sunday, and we had just days to find somewhere for May to stay.
At the last minute, I found a kennel to take May. But two hours later – on eviction day! – the kennel called to have her picked up because they didn’t feel they could cope with the by-now very stressed out May.
As a backup plan, we took May to stay with Aida’s mom. But that was a very temporary solution because her apartment building doesn’t allow pit bulls. It was only a matter of time before someone spotted May and turned them in, which could mean that her mother could lose her housing too.
By this time, we were ALL stressed out – Aida, Rohan, and May!!! I felt an overwhelming sense of responsbility for this family. The whole reason Stewie to the Rescue was started is because I know firsthand how painful it is to lose a family pet. I didn’t want to turn my back on them. I didn’t want them to have to fend for themselves. And I certainly didn’t want them living in their car.
And then the most amazing thing happened…
A rescuer who had heard of the story, put me in contact with Claudia Duque, another rescuer. Claudia recommended that I contact Penny Smith-Berk, who runs Northwind Kennels and Community Cats in Bedford, NY. Penny not only has years of dog handling expertise, but she is passionate about helping people too.
Penny agreed to shelter May. Northwind Kennels was the perfect place for May to be safe and properly cared for. And now Aida and Rohan had a chance to take a deep breath and try to get their life back on track, without having to worry about their dog.
But this story gets even better…
Aida and Rohan had been looking for work, without luck. Although they were delighted that May was being so well taken care of, they were also sad that they couldn’t afford the gas to visit her every day.
Then, during a trip to the kennel, they learned from one of the caretakers that there were going to be a couple of job opportunities available. One of the employees was leaving, and that position hadn’t been filled, and a volunteer who received room and board in exchange for work was also leaving.
Seizing this opportunity, Aida immediately asked for a chance for her and Rohan to be considered for these positions. And that’s exactly what happened! Aida and Rohan and are now living and working in Bedford.
I received the good news in an email from Aida last week:
“Hi Harris – I miss talking to you. Am sorry I have not written you or called. I have no phone service out here.
Well, here is the update, May is happy and so am I. I have been working cleaning the cats houses, Its not easy work but, I love it. All my life I always wanted to work with animals and now at 47 yrs old am doing it. You can teach an old dog new tricks.
What you did for May and myself is something I will never forget. Not only did you save May but also me. You never left me alone even on my worst days. When I needed a friend not only did you listen to my crying problems but you cared about my well being. Thank you, not alone did you save May but you gave me a second chance to believe in myself. We can never repay you for all the hard work and countless hours you put into helping May and me reunite. Our first night together was wonderful I held her tight and she never moved her nose from my face. It was our way of saying to each other I miss you and because of you we never have to.
Thank you Harris we love you.
Of course, Aida’s email made me really happy, but this happy ending wouldn’t have been possible without Penny. Stewie made a donation to Northwind Kennels, but no amount of money can repay the chance Penny gave this family to survive and be together again.
P.S. You can help us create more happy endings for pets and their people AND get a cool t-shirt as well! Just click here to get your t-shirt. (Or just donate!) Thanks!