Rescue and Tonya
Tonya Cartmell  


On March 16th, 2023, we had to say goodbye to our beautiful girl, Rescue, and it broke our hearts.

If you have read Twelve Days of Rescue, you will know a little bit of her story. She was from Louisiana, and we adopted her when she was 10 months old. She was born in a shelter that euthanized dogs and had been pulled by a local rescue when she was put on the list.

We met her in a Pet Smart Parking lot. There were so many dogs in cages. She was small, skinny, and quiet. Her ears looked too long for her head. They gave us a leash, and we took her for a walk. Her head and tail hung down so low, but she seemed to like to be close to us. We walked around and looked at a few other dogs but something about her made us go back. I took her for another walk while my husband Stacey, filled out the paperwork.

After running into Pet Smart to get a collar and leash for her, we went back to her cage and told her she was coming home with us. We put the new collar and leash on her, and she walked out of the cage with her head high and tail wagging. I swear it was like she was telling the other dogs, “That’s how you get a family.” Her tail never stopped wagging from that moment. She would wake us up with it thumping on the bed or the floor.

Having only lived in a cage, everything was new for Rescue. She drooled so much on the way home that my pants were soaked, but she was always ready to jump in the car to go with us. She didn’t care if it was to the park or a 7-hour trip up north. When we grabbed her bed, she knew she was coming, and there was no way you could get out of the house without her.

She spent time every summer at the lake and loved running through the forest. She loved to cuddle and would hog the bed. If you left the house for even 5 minutes, she would greet you like you had been gone for hours or days. Her hound dog howl would let you know she wasn’t happy you left her behind but that she was also very happy to see you.

We could tell that shelter life had left some psychological scars on her. With time and lots of love, she overcame those fears and knew she never needed to fear people again. Thunderstorms and fireworks were another story. It wasn’t until she started to lose her hearing that they no longer bothered her.

In May 2021, she began having difficulties with her mobility. She started falling, couldn’t get up from lying down, could not do stairs, and had a few other health issues. She was 14 years old, and we were worried she was going to get badly injured. On the way to our vet, we stopped at Mcdonald’s to get her a cheeseburger as a treat. It worked like magic. She jumped out of the truck and was wagging her tail so much that her back end wiggled. The vet looked at her and said are you sure she is having all these issues. He talked to us about long-term pain medication that could be used to help her. It worked and gave us almost 2 more years with her. We are forever grateful for that additional time.

In the end, no matter how many summers you share, how many walks you take, how many snuggles you enjoy, it is never enough. After being part of our family for over 16 years, we had to say goodbye to Rescue. We stayed with her till the end. I laid with her on the floor with my nose right beside hers, petting her and telling her we loved her and what a good girl she was. My husband was sitting behind her, stroking her back and ears.

Even as I write this today, the tears are running down my cheeks.