How do you restore a dog to psychological health who has known nothing but abuse? How do you persuade such a dog to trust and love people again? At The Heart and Soul Animal Sanctuary we have an answer: The Giant Doghouse. There are no cages or pens in this house. It’s actually a home—a group home for 25 to 30 rescued dogs, presided over 24 hours a day by our founder and director, Natalie Owings.
The Giant Doghouse is filled with soft beds, which are covered with freshly laundered blankets or towels. Soothing music plays quietly. The dogs wander in and out. They are free to play outside, to explore the woods, to lounge, socialize or nap on the wrap-around covered porch. At mealtimes they are given top-quality, nutritious food, ladled with a meat and vegetable. Any dog would enjoy living in such a home. But its effect on dogs who have known only hunger, cold and damage is truly remarkable.
Take Peachy. A beautiful hound mix loving puppy, who came from a litter of 11.
When rescued, it was discovered that not only was she pregnant, she was infected with Ehrlichia, a tick-bourne disease carried in the blood, which causes anemia, fever, joint pain, and bleeding disorders. Ehrlichia is fatal if not treated properly.
The rescuers called Natalie, at The Heart and Soul Animal Sanctuary, for help and advice. She put them in touch with her veterinarian, who then conveyed the proper treatment plan to El Paso, to save this very sick mother and her puppies. Fortunately, the puppies were not affected.
The Heart and Soul Animal Sanctuary absorbed all of the responsibility and expenses for this family. While the mother initially remained in El Paso for many months of treatment, her healthy puppies were transported to the Sanctuary at the age of 8 weeks.
Their first visit was to Smith Veterinary Hospital in Santa Fe, where they received their first check up, and initial vaccines. One of the puppies was immediately adopted by one of the vet technicians. The 10 remaining puppies were then transported to the Sanctuary on December 23rd, 2015.
Such is the power of love—and the Giant Doghouse—to restore even badly damaged dogs to health and happiness. It’s stunningly clear that this environment supports the fundamental rights of dogs. By contrast, cages promote loneliness, howling and mental degeneration.
Have you ever wondered what it feels like to be a trashed puppy? Some living beings who are trashed are lost forever; others find their way to light at the end of the tunnel. They will all accept help along their lonely journey.
One afternoon some women found their way to the Sanctuary with a completely emaciated, frightened, white, young dog, maybe a year old. We came to name this youngster Danny, short for Danny Boy.
Such soft, longing dark brown eyes I had never seen. We carried Danny into our giant dog house nursery, a very comfortable, quiet spot where Danny could start, to recover from his year long struggle to survive outdoors. He was so thin he looked just like an orthopaedic model in a veterinary exam room.
Danny started eating; that was a start. He adored the food. He laid down on the soft bed, burrowing his nose into the warm blankets. He had never experienced blankets before, much less a bed.
I took Danny into the Smith Veterinary Hospital where he was neutered and examined by Mike Dobesh, DVM. Dr. Dobesh concluded that Danny had been severely damaged by starvation and might not be able to absorb nutrients properly. Dr. Dobesh did an x-ray of Danny’s abdomen and described his intestines as “doughy.”
Clearly it was our job to care for Danny day by day with luscious foods, puppy formula, vitamins, cheese, scrambled eggs dripping in margarine and lots of treats.
After several months of care Danny is now the fastest runner on our daily dog walk, and very popular with the other Sanctuary dogs. His intestines are now soft and pliable.
He still gets all the luscious food he will eat and his vitamins. Danny has gained about 8 pounds, is thriving and oh so happy. He might always be thin but his energy, love of life and shining eyes are so rewarding.
If you find a lost puppy, or trashed young dog, don’t leave him there. You might be his last chance. He could be another Danny Boy, and become the love of your life.
A wonderful, sweet dog. Both black legs and pelvis ware broken. This nice dog, Buddy, is one of many
intentional hit and run victims in New Mexico annually. The Heart and Soul Animal Sanctuary
rehabilitates as many as possible and finds good homes for them.
The veterinary medical costs for such a dog is from $1000 to $4000. Every one is a sweet animal, deserving of a loving home.
Surgery followed a week of transfusions. Today, Buddy walks and has a good home.
This is the heart of what we do at The Heart and Soul Animal Sanctuary. We are here to give these dogs a second chance at a happy life, with as much freedom to be themselves as safety will allow. That is our gift to them. Our great regret is that we aren’t able to take in every dog who needs and deserves a life like this.