Richmond Pet Lovers “Show your love” contest winner, Richmond, Virginia

We have become huge fans of Richmond Pet Lovers.  Please frequent their website as much as we do at www.richmondpetlovers.com!  They are a wonderful resource for all things pet related.  Everything from pet friendly events, groomer information, a fabulous blog, great local deals and much more, Richmond Pet Lovers is your one stop shop for everything pets in the Richmond area.  They also have an amazing dedicated staff that we have loved working with.  We were lucky enough to partner with them on their “Show Your Love” contest.  Those who entered submitted a story detailing how their pet found their way into their heart.  So many heartwarming and tear-jerking stories were sent in.  The one that stood out (and won!) was Katy and her beagle Molly.  You MUST read this story, I have pasted it below.  It is pretty amazing.  Molly was the sweetest dog while in our studio. We look forward to seeing the whole family again!

Katy and Holly’s story:

Holly and I met on the side of the road. Actually, she met my car before she met me. I used to drive down a long country road as a shortcut to get to work each day. The road was surrounded by woods and farms. Being in a rural county, it was not uncommon to see hunting down running loose. Being an animal lover, I always stop to try to catch animals when I see them in the road. I even stop to move turtles.

One day, I saw this skinny little beagle with the sweetest face running along the roadside on some farmland. Naturally, I stopped to try to catch her. She was very timid and scared. She ran from me. I could see her ribs and it was obvious that she had recently given birth (though there was no way that her babies had survived). I packed my lunch that day so I used my lunch to try to lure her closer to me. When I threw something, it scared her even more and she ran the other direction. As I drove away, I watched in my rearview mirror as she went back to get the food I left.

I saw the dog several times over the next couple weeks and stopped every time. Each time, it was the same story. When I’d throw her some food, it frightened her and she ran the other way. But each time, as I pulled away, I’d watch her in the rearview mirror as she went back to the food. A couple times, I had Oreos packed in my lunch (I know – chocolate is bad for dogs but this dog was going to starve to death) so I started calling her “the Oreo dog.”

I contacted animal control and they were also unable to catch her.

One warm summer morning, I was driving down the country road beyond the farm where I usually saw the Oreo dog. There were woods on the side of the road and the brush in the ditch had grown pretty high. Suddenly, the little dog leaped out of the ditch and BOOM! I hit her with my car. I screamed. I quickly turned around fearing what I would see but I couldn’t find her. I slowly drove back and forth a couple times until I spotted her laying in the tall brush. She was sitting up and was alert but did not move. Since she normally ran from me in fear, I knew she was hurt. With my heart pounding out of my chest and tears gushing, I scooped her up and put her in my car and drove directly to the nearest vet.

When I got to the vet, I explained what happened. They said since she was a stray she would go into the county’s animal control program and they would try to find a home for her. I was in no way responsible for her once she was part of the animal control program.

Feeling terrible, I left and went to work. I could still smell the dog on my shirt. She was all I could think of all day. I called to check on her in the afternoon and the vet told me she was very lucky and only had a fractured pelvis. I was somewhat relieved but my heart still ached.

The next day, I went to the vet on my lunch break to visit her. She was so afraid when the vet pulled her out of the cage for me to pet her. She was trembling. I knew the chances of a family adopting the shy beagle were very slim. I figured she was probably a hunting dog that was not good at hunting so her owner just released her. Knowing what happens to strays who are left at the shelter for more than five days, I couldn’t just leave her there.

That evening, I talked to my husband and told him I wanted to bring her home. It was a difficult decision because we already had two dogs. Well, not that difficult. The next day, I brought her home. Because she jumped out of the bushes when I hit her, we thought it was fitting to name her “Holly.”

When we got home, Holly was still very scared. I put her in our fenced backyard and our other two dogs were very curious. She ran to the back corner of the yard and stayed there for two days. I had to put her food and water back there with her.

On the third day, she slowly began to explore the yard. Finally, she came up the steps onto the deck and peaked in the glass door looking in the house. We constantly tried to comfort her and she was slowly beginning to trust us and wanted to get to know us.

After we had her for about a two weeks, we were taking her for a walk – trying to teach her how to walk on a leash. Something startled her and she took off running. She leash slipped out of my husband’s hand. We called several friends to come help us look for her. We weren’t even sure if she knew her name so calling her was pointless. With the leash attached to her, we were afraid she would get tangled up in the woods. We searched until it got dark. I was up until midnight making “lost dog” signs and hung them up throughout the neighborhood. When we went to bed, we left the gate to the back yard open just in case.

We got up first light to start searching again. My husband left in the car and I was going to walk. For some reason before I walked out the front door, I looked out the kitchen window into the backyard. There was Holly sound asleep in the doghouse. She had found her way home.

As the weeks and months passed, she became much more comfortable with us. She came to love us and our other dogs and became part of the family. She especially loved our big lab/chow mix. He was an older dog so he laid around a lot. Holly would backup into him and lay down so she could snuggle with him. She also liked to lay with our hound mix on the couch and slept on our bed at night.

Today, nearly 10 years later, Holly is a chubby little beagle who loves life and gets along great with our two young sons. Sadly, she is an only-dog now. Her sweet face it turning gray. But she still loves to go for walks and gets excited at the sight of her leash.

The way that I met Holly is so unusual that I know she and I were meant to be together. Usually, people get to choose which pets they adopt. Not me. Holly chose me. Twice. I fell in love with her the first time I saw her looking so pitiful and skinny. Though she was scared of me, she knew I was there to save her life. I did. And we all lived happily ever after.

~ by Wolfgang Jasper Photography on August 15, 2011.

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