How did I become so passionate about rescuing animals? It’s a pretty good story with a happy ending.

Quite a number of years ago, I heard about a German Shepherd, a breed known for its loyalty and intellect. She had enormous odds against her survival. Her nickname was Wolfie (read on and you’ll understand why). She was on death row and scheduled to die in a shelter in a small nearby town. Her crime? Her owner passed away and she was left without a human in the home, which was terribly perplexing for her. Here’s the backstory:

Wolfie had four dog “siblings” that she had loved and protected, along with her owner. One by one, the other dogs were taken from the home and adopted. She was left totally alone. A stranger came to feed her, but Wolfie was confused by all this and, while still in guard mode, she nipped at the person.

Because of that simple snap, she was deemed “vicious” and hauled away to a horrid shelter, crushed into a small cage, and sentenced to die. As many of you may know, those branded animals are not treated well (understatement) in these shelters.

When the rescue workers went to the shelter to “spring” her from her cell, she shuddered into the corner and growled intensely. SO WOULD I if I had no other way to communicate “Don’t do anything else to me!!!” The rescue workers were asked to leave and were told Wolfie had to die.

God gave me an extremely compassionate heart for the helpless and innocent. I sobbed when I heard about all this. I even begged and cried for her life but the death sentence was going to be carried out on a Wednesday afternoon.

Two days after her death date, I received a call from a caring shelter worker who thought I would like to know that Wolfie just wouldn’t die. She could hardly believe it when she saw Wolfie still standing. The worker was amazed and I was so thankful. It was a Friday and I begged the shelter to give me until Monday to find a way to save her. I had speaking engagements and events all weekend, but I would stop in mid sentence and take calls from rescuers around the country who were all so kind to offer help.

I made contact with a woman in Beverly Hills, California who rescues wolves. She and I, using her skills and contacts, found a few more people in a few more states who wanted to see Wolfie survive.

Long story short, someone in Missouri drove 14 hours to the shelter that was holding Wolfie. Using her special skills, she earned the frightened dog’s trust. Wolfie rode the 14 hours back to Missouri with this rescuer that I will NEVER forget. Wolfie was given a special place to live out her life. She was fenced for a while and each day, the wonderful woman would sit on the other side of the fence and read to her. Wolfie learned from this kind woman that this world is not so bad and that she could love and trust again.

That experience, and getting to know the people of rescue, made me a fan and helper for life! Rescuers are some of the most extraordinary women and men I have ever had the privilege to know. They are unassuming, down-to-earth humans with hearts of gold that we should all admire and emulate. I am in awe of their selfless, indefatigable spirits. They stop at nothing to save an animal. Most are modest people with modest lifestyles who are so very rich in the things that really matter. I don’t feel worthy to be in their company, but I try to help.  

Here are some of the wonderful furry friends I’ve helped rescue: 


I am what is known as a cross poster, meaning I communicate information to others in rescue who go into action, though I do wish I could do more.

How You Can Help, Too!

If you care about helping animals, think about where you could fit. There are rescues that need help with everything from transporting the dogs and cats to safety, serving as a foster until a forever home can be found, simply feeding and walking and caring.

Whatever big or small amount of time and energy you have is so very appreciated. The rewards of seeing a sweet animal have a new life are enormous. As I have said many times, animals and the people who rescue them have the qualities that God hoped we all would have.

To volunteer, look up rescues in your area or contact your Humane Society or the ASPCA. The gratitude is visible in the faces of the animals you help.

From time to time, I will share other rescue success stories and the people who make them happen. Stay tuned for the story of a cat named Marissa.

Tell Me: Have you ever rescued an animal before? If so, please share your story in the comments below.