Has a rescued animal inspired you to care more deeply about other animals?

“A Valentine’s Day Dog” was first published in the Angel Animals Story of the Week on September 19, 2010.  Reprinted with Permission from the Angel Animals Network.

By Dannyelle Deerman

On Valentines Day, my husband and I decided that due to health issues, children were not an option for us.  We began looking for a dog who could fill the void of not having a child together.

We found Karma, formally Kama (Hindu for love), at a shelter. The cost of adopting her had been marked down, because she was at the shelter for over eight months. They were desperate to find a home for her.

As we walked between the cages of barking dogs, Karma was the only one not barking and wagging her tail.  We were warned when we adopted her that she had no socialization skills and had never been inside a home before.

They offered that if we decided she was more than we could handle, we had thirty days to return her to the shelter.  To be honest I was very concerned about our being up to the challenges this dog might be bringing into our lives.

When Karma first came home with us, she wouldn’t eat. We tried everything. We ended up finding out that she had been fed venison by the shelter because it was the only thing she had ever eaten prior to arriving there.

The people who had her before had several other dogs and left them on a small plot of land. They threw road kill or whatever they could get their hands on to the dogs. They never had dog food.

So for the first month Karma was with us, we fed her venison. A man my father works with hunts, but his wife won’t eat deer.  We were able to slowly wean Karma over to regular dog food until thankfully she would eat dog food alone.

But that was just the beginning of our baby girl’s issues.  She had never dealt with people.  She was terrified of all noises, and people scared her. I was not sure exactly why, but she didn’t want to be around anyone or anything.  She hid in her little corner of our house and ventured out only at meal times and when she needed to use the outdoors. She only had two accidents in the house.

My husband and I have learned more about unconditional love and patience from this animal than you can imagine.  A friend once told me that you don’t always get the dog you want but you always end up with the dog you need.

Due to Karma coming into our lives, we ended up rescuing another dog — a pit bull from a fighting ring.  She brought along seven little bundles of joy about a month after joining our family.

Casey was dog aggressive and not sure exactly how to act around people who weren’t pouring acid on her back to make her mean. She ended up going to my dad, since he was looking for a companion dog. Casey has so changed my dad.

I was slowly losing my dad to old age.  I had to watch as my grandmother slipped more and more each day, and my father was in the beginning stages of the same health problems.  Now Casey and my dad are only apart when he is at work, and she travels with him everywhere.

We never would have opened our home up to another dog if Karma hadn’t taught us that all pets are a blessing.  They bring so much happiness into your life and teach you things you never knew you needed to learn.

With each new accomplishment with Karma our belief in God is renewed. I personally think this beautiful girl came to us because we needed her as much as she needed us.  My grandmother always told me everything happens for a reason.  Karma made me understand that.

Karma has been with us for over six months now.  She is not the dog we brought home on Valentines Day.

The dog we brought home was a very scared animal who ran from the room if you dropped anything.  The dog who greats me every day when I walk through my front door, walks well on a leash, loves to hike trails with us on weekends, allows other animals to sniff her without issue, and has become an adopted mom to Casey’s pups. I marvel at how far she has come in so little time.

Karma has also motivated my husband and me to become activists in breed-specific legislation.  We now do our best to inform others how these laws can affect you even if you don’t think they do. We started our own website to inform people about what BSL happenings are going on their cities.

We also are doing our best to educate people about how pets aren’t just animals; they are family members.  Animals give us so much, and all they ask in return is love and a family they can call their own.

Visit www.angelanimals.net/nlimage42.html to view images of Casey and Karma.
Dannyelle Deerman is a 43-year-old grandmother of five beautiful granddaughters.  She is a full time student at Devry University working toward her master degree in accounting.  She also runs an organization that rescues pit bulls called New Life Rescue. She fosters and finds foster homes for dogs and screens applicants for prospective homes.  Dannyelle lives on a farm in Chapmansboro, Tennessee.  She is married to a wonderful man, Isaac, who helps her with the dogs. She has three daughters 24, 22, and 17. The youngest is still at home but preparing to leave for college when she finishes her senior year 2011.


Has a rescued animal inspired you to care more deeply about other animals?
Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network – Where Pets Are Family!

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