24th Annual PAWS WALK

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In an effort to take advantage of the warm summer sun, the 24th Annual PAWS WALK will be held the evening of Tuesday, July 29th at Lindenwood Park and will include:  music, games, FREE food/beverages…and of course, the PAWS WALK itself!  Here at HSFM, we consider pets just another part of the family.  For this year’s walk, we want toE-as-Grand-Marshal emphasize family, both two-legged and four…one fun-filled night the WHOLE family can enjoy.  All while supporting the shelter animals of HSFM who are patiently awaiting a family of their own.

We are very happy and proud to announce our very special alum, Esperanza (whose name means Hope), will lead this year’s walk as the Event Grand Marshal.  As the Grand Marshal, Esperanza will not only proudly represent shelter animals everywhere but also, just as the meaning of her name, signify Hope.  Hope to all our homeless pets that there is a special family out there for each of them and that they will be well taken care of until, they too, find their forever homes.

Esperanza’s Story:  Esperanza came into our care in November of 2012.  Her owner had come to our shelter looking for free food from our community pantry, and when the staff saw what he had in his van, they couldn’t say no.  Esperanza and 3 of her siblings were in the van, and the gentleman said he had even more dogs at his home.  What made Esperanza stand out from the others, though, was that when the gentleman let the dogs out of his van, Esperanza didn’t walk out.  She literally drug herself along with her front legs, her back legs tucked up under her and covered in open wounds, resembling bed sores.  Apparently, she had been born paralyzed and had spent those first 5 months of her life dragging herself around.  Her owner did not even have enough money to feed her, let alone enough to have her paralysis evaluated.  The staff opted to allow him to surrender her and her siblings at that time, and offered to help him with the rest of the dogs when space became available.  Esperanza’s siblings were quickly adopted, but “E”, as she became known in our shelter, needed more care than we felt we could give her, so we started contacting sanctuaries.  Sadly, each time we had a lead on a sanctuary willing to take her in, something would fall through.  Luckily, our shelter had several volunteers who fell in love with E.  Between the six of them, they chipped in money to buy her a cart, and would come to the shelter every day to spend extra time with her.  Eventually, Julianne & Jeff Canning – two of the volunteers, opted to foster E in their home while we waited for a sanctuary.  At the end of the summer, their schedules became too hectic to keep her, and she went to be with Matt & Maria Amundson, two of the other volunteers that had helped get her the cart.  Matt & Maria not only took E in, but they worked with her to get her using her rear legs more, so much so, that she can now stand for a minute or so without assistance.  Although she will likely never walk on her own, her progress with them was outstanding.  In February of this year, a sanctuary finally agreed to take her in.  However, we knew that Matt & Maria might not be able to let her go.  E had become part of their family, and they were already doing exactly what the sanctuary would have assisted her with, in regards to in-home physical therapy.  After much discussion, they decided that they couldn’t let her go and officially adopted her on March 15th, 2014.  She was happiest there, and there she will remain for the rest of her life, one special dog becoming a permanent part of a family with two very special people.

Here are a few words from Esperanza’s adopters, Matt & Maria Amundson, on how she has impacted their lives:

“Things are crazy and we love it.  Certainly there are days that can be very challenging but at the same time very rewarding.  She has taught us to appreciate the little things, the small accomplishments.  Watching her walk across the room or drink her water while standing on all four legs is so amazing.  The everyday things we take for granted, she reminds us that you can’t take those things for granted.  She’s an incredible dog.”

“She has special needs and requirements.  It takes a lot of work and commitment.  But, at the same time, I can’t imagine not seeing her happy face every day when I get home from work.”

This happy story would not have been written without you.  Hundreds of “Esperanza’s” come through our doors each year and thanks to donors like you, they stay with us until they each find a loving family who is willing to give them a second chance at a home.  It is our hope that you will “be there” for these animals and join us in raising much needed funds for the 24th Annual PAWS WALK – Stride for Strays!