When Stands told us New Leash on Life USA had been chosen as the spotlight charity, we were so honored! We were so excited to realize people care as much about second chances as we do!
New Leash rescues dogs and sends them to prison. There, they are trained by inmate handlers. The relationship between inmate and dog is hard to put to words, but this much we know—it’s a win-win, because somehow they rescue each other.
Rescuing dogs from a shelter never gets old. We know within only a few short months the dogs that are sad and lonely will soon be jumping and playing with a family who loves them. But when staff from New Leash go into a shelter for a rescue, we know the hard work is just starting. While the painful chapter of neglect, abuse, and abandonment is over, there’s a lot more of the story left to write. Rescue is only the first step on the journey to recovery and redemption.
Most of our rescued dogs will leave the shelter for prison, and then go through an intensive training program to become the pets they deserve to be. Sometimes, though, we rescue dogs that aren’t healthy enough for prison life—but we just can’t leave them behind. Rosie was one of those dogs.
Rosie’s body was visibly disfigured by years of abuse and neglect. She had a horrible infection that inflamed her eyes. Her ears had been crudely cropped with fishing line, which led to massive scarring and hearing loss. Her stomach was sagging to the floor from being over bred. Yet somehow Rosie smiled and thumped her tail when we met her. We knew we couldn’t abandon her, even though no one knew exactly how bad her medical problems really were.
The staff at the veterinarian’s office was shocked. They couldn’t imagine what had been done to Rosie. They realized they would need a team of specialists to bring Rosie back to full health. Doctors from the University of Pennsylvania discovered Rosie had mammary cancer and would need immediate surgery. She went through the slow and painful process of removing the cancerous masses. In recovery, Rosie flourished. You could see she was so happy to get the constant love and attention she so desperately needed.
It turns out that Rosie was a real charmer!! Everyone loved her! She quickly became a mascot for New Leash. She would go to schools to teach kids about animal abuse. And she would attend New Leash events as the guest of honor, a constant reminder of the power of second chances.
But while it looked like Rosie’s story would have a happy ending, her ear problems continued. Scar tissue trapped moisture in her ear canals and you could tell she was uncomfortable at times with the constant cleaning that was necessary. Conservative treatment didn’t work, so Rosie went in for another surgery. This time to remove her damaged ears, the last physical evidence of her difficult past.
Unfortunately once she was in surgery, the extent of damage was worse than we thought. Doctors could operate on only one ear … the second one would have to wait. Now, two years after rescuing Rosie, she is ready for what we hope will be her final surgery. Doctors have cleared her for surgery on her second ear, which will be scheduled as we raise money to cover the medical expense.
People often think of rescuing dogs as the end of the story, but really, it’s just the beginning. After the rescue, the dogs still need to be chipped, spayed or neutered, and they need medical attention, training, and adoption. It’s a big investment! Because of the support of our amazing community, New Leash was able to rewrite Rosie’s tragic story of pain and abuse into one of redemption and healing.
New Leash is a non-profit organization with a mission to rewrite stories, not just of dogs, but also of inmates, who often feel as discarded and forgotten. You can read about other dogs who have been rescued and the lives that have been changed by clicking here. You can also follow along on Rosie’s progress! Sign up to our newsletter or follow New Leash on Facebook.
PS: We’re currently raising money for what we hope is Rosie’s last surgery. If you want to help Rosie and other dogs like her, please click here.