“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” Will Rogers
Last weekend my husband and I ended our search for adopting an older rescued dog who would like to sit on our laps, play, and enjoy life with us. We found the small dog we were seeking with the help of a loving rescue mission called Pals for Paws, based in Kokomo, IN. Mary, the founder, had listed a Shiu Tzu one year old male puppy called Winky – he has lost an eye, hence the affectionate name. We registered on the web site and expressed our interest in meeting him.
Mary brings her dogs and cats in need of loving homes to PetCo, a pet store in our area, on Saturdays. When we walked in and introduced ourselves, she told us, “The best dog for you is Winky – he’s the nicest, sweetest dog I have ever worked with and I want to keep him myself, but my husband won’t hear of it since we already have three dogs at home. He’s just the dog you are looking for.”
She was right. Winky has the zesty energy of a puppy with the wise countenance of a Yoda. We had sought a small dog and he sure fits that bill, weighing in at 11 pounds. We were also looking for a dog who would do well in a home with no other pets. That seems to suit him just fine and he’s already worked his way into our hearts as fluidly as a hot knife through cold butter. He’s adorable and funny and smart and he has shown a brave heart.
Winky has been through a lot in his short life. He was actually rescued twice – once when he was removed from the house with his original owners; his fur was flea-infested, and his hair was all matted, and he was missing an eye. These were all signs of abuse, neglect and inadequate care for his well-being and Kokomo animal services removed him. The second rescue happened when that agency decided he was not adoptable and should be euthanized; enter Mary, the founder of Pals for Pets and a valiant Super Hero who takes all kinds of dogs and cats and fights for their survival and eventual placement in forever homes.
Mary took this little dog and renamed him Winky; she groomed his sorry little body and shaved his torso in order to rid him of the fleas that had ravaged his fur. She had a microchip placed in him, had him neutered, got him the most important and basic shots, and gave him a safe home to live in while she searched for a new and loving forever family.
Winky proved to be a resilient little pup; Mary has 3 dogs of her own and a kennel full of dogs and cats. He adjusted to this new and somewhat challenging environment, and quickly became the one Mary took with her on outings. By the time I learned of Mary’s rescue mission, he had been promised to another couple – but oddly enough, that couple was involved in a car accident on the day they were to meet him and thus, he was still available on that Saturday when we came to PetCo.
I believe that this “accident” was no accident at all; he was meant to be with us, and while I am sorry that they had a car wreck, I am grateful that he was kept safe for us and we found him in time to bring him home with us.
The love of a dog can move mountains, as Mary’s mission demonstrates over and over again. She has overcome many obstacles in founding this caring mission and so many dogs and cats are in need of loving homes that she is seldom able to take a break and put her feet up. The phone rings and one more animal tale touches her heart and she is back in her car, driving to rescue it, saving it from an unhappy end.
Mary’s slogan is “Saving Lives, one animal at a time.” And her mission philosophy states, “We find beauty in the most incomprehensible places! It is our gift to see beyond the dirt, terror, sadness and defeat and find the true soul that lies within. We speak for those who can’t speak for themselves!” The website adds more information, “Pals for Paws is a dog rescue group powered by an ALL-VOLUNTEER staff who are passionate about improving the lives of pets in their community. We vet, transport and foster pets until the perfect match is made between you and one of our adopted pets. We are a 501 c 3 not for profit rescue that proudly supports NO Kill and Pro Spay and Neuter philosophies. We rescue from high kill, overcrowded shelters from all over the US. We do not euthanize a pet that is sick, heart-worm positive or has a broken leg; we fix it all, big and small. We strive to go above and beyond when caring for and socializing our animals. We understand the importance of getting to know each and every animal available for adoption in an effort to place them in the most perfect home possible. “