In celebration of National Shelter Dog Month, we’ve teamed up with Project Blue Collar to bring you heartwarming stories about how rescue dogs have enhanced peoples’ lives.
Over the summer, PBC collected numerous inspirational stories through their Lessons From My Rescue Dog campaign. Many powerful themes emerged from the stories, and we’ll be sharing some our favorites over the course of October to honor National Shelter Dog Month.
PBC is a global grassroots movement promoting dog adoption. It is striving to tell a different story about rescue dogs––not to engender pity, but but to celebrate transformation and possibilities. PBC gives people a way to show their “rescue pride” and tell their dog’s story. The goal is simple: To elevate the status of rescue dogs as prized pets and inspire more people to adopt.
PBC’s signature Support the Underdog Blue Collar is the symbol of the movement. Taking the concept of the rubber cause wristband and making it into an accessory dog collar, this symbol gets conversations going and lets dogs be the marketers of the movement. The Support the Underdog Blue Collar identifies your dog as rescued, and gives you an opportunity to tell your his or her story. Even dogs who weren’t adopted can join the movement to show their support for rescue dogs.
To date, PBC has “Blue Collared” dogs in 11 countries and all 50 U.S. states. PBC donates a portion of their online sales to rescue groups to support their lifesaving work.
Week One: Forgiveness and an Open Mind
PBC heard so many stories about the importance of patience and determination. Watching the courage it takes to for dogs to overcome fear, no matter how long it takes, provides us with inspiration for our own lives. Although a dog’s fear can stifle them, watching his/her resilience and ability to move forward reminds us not give in to our own fears. And having patience to let the healing take place is an equally vital part of the process of moving forward. With the right encouragement, love, and support, we too, can move beyond obstacles that hinder our growth.
At 13 years young, McGee is one amazing pup!
He spent the first nine years of his life in an Oklahoma puppy mill. I met him after he had spent some time in a midwest rescue, transported to a Colorado shelter, adopted out and returned after a few months. He had endured more cruelty in his 10 years of life than I knew possible. He only had a handful of teeth left in his mouth, his ears and paws were violent shades of red from infections, and I don’t think he had ever been groomed in his life. He looked like a little bear.
From the second I stepped foot in the shelter, my eyes locked on his. He lept on his hind legs and danced around with the most brilliant smile on his face. I never walked away from his cage that day, and we both knew it was the last time he would ever live behind wire bars again.
Over the past three years, McGee has taught me that you never have to accept the cards you’re dealt, and that you can always be just as happy as you choose to be. It has been a very long journey to health and happiness, but never once did McGee give up hope that he would see this day. On his freedom ride home from the shelter that November afternoon, I had no idea how much this little dog would change my life. I am the woman and mother I am today because of McGee’s daily lessons in patience, resilience, forgiveness, and joy.
– Emily Lightfoot
As soon as I brought Cairo home, I started to see a lot of myself in her:
She doesn’t like new things and when things don’t go as expected I get anxious.
She really isn’t a fan of crowds, new people, or loud people and I’m the definition of introverted.
She hates having her picture taken, so do I.
She’s a complete goof when she’s comfortable…I’m a complete goof when I’m comfortable.
She had a lot of work to do on her anxiety…I had some anxiety of my own to acknowledge.
Because of these similarities, I’ve found myself making more progress in the two years I’ve had her than in the 19 that led up to adopting her. I see myself in her. I see my flaws in her and at the same time I see hope in her. I see the determination to work on those flaws, to accept them, to learn from them and to not be ashamed of them. When she makes progress, I make progress. When she has a setback, I learn that I can’t control or fix everything and we keep trying. We’re a positive feedback loop, and while I’m her rescuer, she’s my inspiration and my optimism.
I love nothing more than to turn things around when people offer me pity for her “condition” and point out that she is more than that. She is a rescue, she came with some quirks but she’s by no means broken. If anything, it just gives her more personality. She’s gone from being terrified to be herself, to being goofy and athletic 80% of the time. The other 20% keeps both of us on our toes.
– Diedra Goodwin
Macy has taught me patience, gratitude, determination and not to allow the past to dictate the future.
Macy was adopted as a “Boxer” mix. When her new family took her to the vet they found out she in fact was a Pit Bull. So the family found another vet in a different county and had all but four of her teeth removed, “just in case she suddenly turned.” After that she lived in an airline kennel and was neglected and malnourished, as well as being terrified of everyone and everything.
The day I brought her home she didn’t know how to play, she almost chocked by inhaling her food, and she wouldn’t come out of our other rescue dog Bailey’s crate. Bailey taught Macy how to play and walk on a leash and she never gave up.
Bailey passed last year just two months shy of his 15th birthday. Since then Macy took the lessons she learned and has blossomed. The first few days she was very sad and looked everywhere for her brother. After that she came into her own and her confidence started to show. A dear friend recently lost one of her dogs to cancer and the remaining dog, Cali, was not doing well. So Macy and Cali have daily play dates. I am now watching her teach Cali how to be an only dog the same way Bailey taught her to be a dog.
The lesson I am learning from this is not to allow the past to dictate the future. I am proud to be her mom and inspired to be a better person everyday. For the privilege of being her mom I am eternally grateful. It’s been 9 years this Fourth of July and she wakes up every morning with love, tolerance, empathy and a spirit that could never be put into words.
– Holly Pacella
Just because I keep walking into walls and closed doors does not mean I won’t ever find an opening…
When Lilo was about 6 months old I noticed she would walk into walls and doorways. She would also try to jump into the car and miss. But no matter how many times she got knocked down, she never gave up. She always made it through the door and up onto the car seat! It was discovered that she had cataracts in both eyes. She is now 7 years old and has learned to use what little eyesight she can to get around
– Ellen Hiromasa