We welcomed Miss Muffet into the Retired Retrievers family on Saturday afternoon. This old, blind, mostly deaf Cocker Spaniel actually has the Pittsburgh Steelers to thank for the fact that she is out of the shelter. More on that in a minute.
This picture on the right is the picture that tugged at our heartstrings and caused us to say, “Yes, we will take her!” Miss Muffet had been picked up as a stray and spent the next 6 weeks at an animal shelter in the Florida Panhandle. Shelter staff and volunteers worked hard to get her rescued because it broke their hearts to see her spending her days bumping into the walls of her kennel, rather than being loved and cared for in a home. After seeing her sweet face and knowing how long she had been at the shelter without any interest, we said we would help.
The shelter where Miss Muffet was being held is 445 miles away from Savannah. We’ve rescued dogs from that distance before, and we’ve helped other rescues transport dogs from that distance (and even greater distances) before. However, after committing to Miss Muffet, we realized that most of our transport connections are up and down I-95. To get Miss Muffet would require going two hours south on I-95 to Jacksonville, and then taking a sharp right and going another five hours west on I-10. We reached out to our rescue connections for help, but quickly discovered that the I-10 corridor between Jacksonville and Tallahassee and beyond can be a tough leg to fill.
After not having much success on our own, we took the shelter volunteers up on their offer to post a plea for us on Facebook. So they did, and lots of people shared it. About 30 minutes later we received a message from someone named Stefanie, who said she was heading to Jacksonville on Saturday and asked if there was something she could help us with. Our prayers had been answered (Insert angels singing here).
Stefanie wasn’t connected to the shelter and wasn’t connected to us. Someone had posted our plea for help in a Facebook group that she is a part of – and this is where the Pittsburgh Steelers come in. Stefanie lives along the coast between Panama City, FL and Fort Walton Beach, FL. She is a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan and the Steelers had a game in Jacksonville this weekend. So she and her friend Lindsay were planning to drive the five hours to Jacksonville on Saturday for the NFL game on Sunday (Really, we can’t make this stuff up. Miss Muffin getting out of the shelter was meant to be).
We exchanged contact info and Stefanie called us (to make sure we weren’t crazy people and) to determine whether or not we were a legitimate rescue (side note: if someone you don’t know ever asks you to pick up an old blind dog from a shelter for them we recommend you do the same). We provided a few references and must have seemed okay, because Stefanie agreed to pick Miss Muffet up on Saturday morning. We made a plan to meet in Jacksonville on Saturday afternoon. And we did.
The kindness and generosity of people never ceases to amaze us. It would have been so much easier for these two young women to take their road trip without having to go out of the way to pick up a stinky old dog from a shelter (and yes, she was stinky…in their car for 5+ hours) and then have to meet up with us in a grocery store parking lot. They went out of their way to pick Miss Muffet up, they donated one of their beach towels for her to sleep on in the car, and they loved her and cared for her until handing her over to us.
Animal rescue work can be draining. We often see the results of people not caring for animals. We end up with old dogs because someone else let them down. So when we have these experiences where kind-hearted people go out of their way to do something generous without expecting anything in return, it renews our faith in the world and gives us the inspiration to keep doing what we do.
Thank you to the staff and volunteers of the Walton County Animal Shelter (especially Jennifer!) for advocating for Miss Muffet and giving her the time and assistance she needed to be rescued. Thank you to Stefanie and Lindsay for saying “yes” when life presented them with an opportunity to help an old dog in need. And thank you to the Pittsburgh Steelers for having a game in Jacksonville last weekend.
If you’re interested in adopting Miss Muffet, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. If you’d like to donate to support her care, please click on the Donate button. We are a 501c3 public charity and all donations are tax-deductible.