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From Homeless to Hero

By PetcoFoundation on Oct. 20, 2016

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Meet three Helping Heroes—shelter pets, whose lives were saved, and who in turn became heroes to others. These pets highlight the true potential of shelter pets and showcase the loving impact they bring to their communities.

Noting their accomplishments, job titles and fancy coats, you’d never guess they were once down on their luck and in need of rescuing themselves. Thanks to some special organizations that recognized their talents, these pets were saved and transformed into Helping Heroes who work tirelessly to save and improve the lives of others.

Truman the Therapy Cat
Once an aimless wanderer, Truman knows what it is like to be stuck in an unfamiliar place you don’t want to be. Scooped up off the sidewalk by a Good Samaritan, Truman found himself at an animal shelter in Connecticut.

Now, an internet star with his own Facebook page, he brings joy and comfort to individuals in senior living communities as a certified therapy pet with Pet Partners, an organization that promotes human-animal therapy.

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It was because of his calm temperament and easygoing personality that Truman’s vet first suggested he become a therapy cat. Nowadays, his schedule is full of visits, especially to those who have no one else in their lives.

Truman works primarily with the elderly, and even those with memory issues remember his name. “He’s very good at recognizing just who needs him the most,” said his human handler Mary Moses Kinney. “He will climb right up on their bed to snuggle them back into good spirits or visit them in physical therapy to cheer them on. For many of the people on Truman’s visit request list, he is the highlight of their week.”

Skye to the Rescue
Skye, a high-energy Border Collie, was awaiting rescue in a South Dakota animal shelter. Labeled as an escape artist, his adoption prospects were limited.

Thankfully, someone recognized he needed a job. The Search Dog Foundation, an organization that trains rescued dogs and pairs them with first responders to find people buried alive in the wreckage of disasters, was called in to evaluate him for search and rescue work. He was a perfect fit!

Skye was paired with Andrea (Andi) Sutcliffe of Texas Task Force 2 in Dallas, TX and trained at the National Training Center at the Search Dog Foundation in Santa Paula, CA.

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Since 2013, Skye has deployed to several disaster sites, including wreckage from a few tornadoes and a parking garage collapse in downtown Dallas.

“Skye is a hero in so many ways,” said Andi. “He is driven, focused and will search tirelessly to find the victim that needs to be rescued. The bond and trust that we share is like no other. I trust my dog and my confidence in him never wanes. I lost my father to cancer in March, my sister is now battling brain cancer, and I get human plasma infusions every four weeks due to low antibodies and the inability to fight off infections. Through all of this, Skye has been my constant source of comfort. He is there when I am laughing, he is there when I am crying, he brings me joy, he is MY hero.”

Dell the Service Dog
Dell, a lab mix, was wandering the streets before he found himself at a shelter in North Carolina. After a local organization identified that he had the characteristics sought for service dogs, he joined the training program with K9s for Warriors, an organization that saves shelter dogs, trains them for service and pairs them with veterans in need.

In 2015, Dell became a “battle buddy” for Bryan Foltz, a war veteran deployed to Iraq twice, the first when he was just 18 years old. Involved in a traumatic accident, he battled PTSD and was on 18 different medications. After being honorably discharged in 2006, Bryan felt lost.

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But that all quickly changed after Dell entered his life. With his new dog by his side, Bryan quickly regained hope and confidence, helping him to overcome fears that had left him debilitated for the last 10 years.

Because of Dell, Bryan has a new sense of freedom. “It is very strange how Dell helps with confidence to enter a situation,” said Bryan. “He allows me to focus on something besides my fears. I enjoy being able to go out and be part of the community again.”

Every year, the Petco Foundation and Natural Balance come together to support the incredible work of service, therapy and other working pets who save and improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people across the country during our Helping Heroes campaign.

Since 1999, thanks to your generous donations, the Petco Foundation has invested more than $10.5 million to support Helping Heroes with a special focus on organizations that save homeless animals and transform them into heroes. From now until Oct. 23, join the Petco Foundation and Natural Balance by making a donation to help us support these Helping Heroes who work every day to save and improve the lives of so many.

Stay tuned next week as we continue the series and share more stories on the lifesaving work of our four-legged Helping Heroes!

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by annag
‎10-21-2016 04:22 PM

I know a great organization that placed rescue dogs as service dogs for autistic kids, dogs for mobility impaired individuals and companian dogs.

Cell Dogs Pathway to hope

pairs at risk youth with shelter dogs and makes them adoptable. Please consider them for your hero awards.

I know a great organization that placed rescue dogs as service dogs for autistic kids, dogs for mobility impaired individuals and companian dogs.

Cell Dogs Pathway to hope

pairs at risk youth with shelter dogs and makes them adoptable. Please consider them for your hero awards.

Posted on Oct. 21, 2016
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