Mindy, a little tan, 2-year-old pit bull, came to us on May 16 via Animal Control as a stray. She was absolutely terrified. She would not walk and had to be carried to potty.

Mindy quickly stole the hearts of staff and volunteers. They would take her to the play yard and sit with her. We found out that she gives the best hugs. She craves attention.

It is obvious that whoever had her before spent little time with her. She does not know how to walk on a leash and has no manners. Little by little, she is learning to trust and how to be a dog. We’ve had lots of people talk about her but no one had stepped up to give her a home. We knew we had to get her out of the stressful shelter ASAP before she shut down completely.

Enter Susie, an Animal Protection League volunteer. Recently, Susie lost her beloved dog of many years to old age and her heart is broken. She had been reading about Mindy on Facebook. Volunteers prompted Susie to come in and meet Mindy. Mindy, sensing an easy mark, enfolded Susie in a hug. We all knew as soon as they laid eyes on each other it was a done deal.

Susie took Mindy home. She knows it’s going to be a lot of work, but Susie knows that it will be worth it and that Mindy will help her heart heal from the loss of her beloved Gin.

More and more dogs like Mindy are coming to APL every day. Dogs used for breeding, seen only as a way to make money for the owner and easily replaced. I have found that the animals who come to us the most damaged by humans ultimately make the best companions if you are simply willing to take the chance and understand that it is going to require lots of work, patience and an abundance of love. I truly believe that these animals know that we saved them.

Most of my animal companions have a history similar to Mindy’s. Sometimes I will catch them gazing at me with so much love it takes my breath away. They came to me broken and battered and, because of love, they have become what God always intended them to be. Sometimes it feels as if they are giggling and the joy is just spewing out of them. Having another living creature look at me with such love and trust is humbling and makes me remember each and every day why I continue to do this heartbreaking job.

Helping save a battered soul, whether human or animal, can take a lot of work, requires enormous love and patience and can ultimately change your life and fill your heart. Please don’t walk away. Take a chance it could be the most rewarding thing you have ever done.

Maleah Stringer is executive director of the Animal Protection League, 613 Dewey St., Anderson. She can be reached at 765-356-0900 or at maleahstringer@aol.com.

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