Every pet has a story... especially the special animals of Durango Animal Connection. They have overcome more than most, and are subsequently overflowing with love and gratitude. Read on to learn about some of our most special stories...
Beru: The Power of Love
Beru was picked up as a stray on the Navajo Reservation and her litter of 5-week-old puppies and taken to the Gallup-McKinley County Shelter in March of 2019. Her pups were transferred to another rescue when they were old enough. Beru stayed there at the shelter because she was an extremely shy girl who needed a special place to go.
At the shelter, she was very scared, shy, and sad. She was placed on their "urgent" list because of how timid she was. There was something special about this girl, and we decided we wanted to give her a try. So the Gallup shelter transported her to us here in Durango in early April.
When she first arrived, she hid in her crate and was terrified of everything. She wouldn't even move if we were in the room. She sat as still as a statue. We spent much time in those early first days just sitting with her, talking to her, and loving her as best as possible. She was too afraid to move around us, so we just sat with her. We didn't see her eat, stand up, stretch or walk around. She did all of those things when we weren't around.
Then one day, about a month later, we discovered she loved peanut butter! It took her about 3 months, but slowly she started coming out of her bed a teeny-tiny bit to eat the peanut butter she loved so much. Slowly, we could tell that she was starting to feel happier! And we were feeling happier, too!
We spayed, microchipped, and vaccinated her. We also started her on anti-anxiety medication. And, we just kept loving her and being very, very patient with her. Then one day, about 5 months later, Beru did something courageous. She came out of her safe kennel that she'd been "hiding" and walked around outside and met the other dogs here. After this day, everything changed! She started coming out every day to play with other dogs and even started running around with us walking right next to her! She was sooooooo... happy!
After 8 months of being at Durango Animal Connection, we think she's the happiest pup we've ever seen! Beru still has a lot to learn, but she couldn't be more loved here with us. She is still afraid of most people. She is very scared of leashes and is too timid to come inside. We're not sure if she'll be adoptable someday or if she'll stay here with us. But we wouldn't change our time with her for anything in the world. We love her so much!
One dog’s journey out of a frightened, abused place to trust and love.
Tenen: Nurturing Through Sickness into Health
The power of perseverance to nurse a sick pup to vibrance and adoption
This handsome boy came into our care early in 2021 and was originally from the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation in Towaoc, CO. He was under a year old when he was surrendered to animal control there, and had been living in a car with 5 other dogs. He was in rough shape! He was extremely malnourished and was suffering badly from tick borne disease. He had nose bleeds regularly and had a hard time even being steady on his feet.
We named him Jesse and took him to our amazing vet for immediate care. We started him on antibiotics, steroids and nutrient rich food and treats to help him regain his strength. His blood platelets were really low from the tick borne diseases, but slowly the nose bleeds stopped and began to settle in. We could see that he was starting to trust us and realize that we were here to love and help him. He still had a hard time jumping or running, but we could tell he was starting to feel better. His cute, playful side started to come out and we thought he was adorable!
Within a few weeks he had a visit from a wonderful Durango couple who instantly fell in love with him. Today his name is Tenen and he lives happily with his parents and a kitten who they recently adopted from us as well. Tenen had to stay on steroids for 4 months and had some issues with low platelets and bloody noses after adoption. But his parents are devoted and attentive to his needs and have met them so well! After several months he was healthy enough to get neutered and is living a happy, love-filled life today!
Darla: Overcoming Loss to Love Again
A kitten’s story of overcoming grief to adoption into a loving home
This beautiful girl has a bittersweet story we'd like to share with you. This is Mama and she came to us during the summer after being rescued in Shiprock, NM.
We were originally asked if we could take in a litter of 5 newborn bottle feeding kittens who were in rough shape. After agreeing to take them in, the finder let us know that they also found the mama cat, but that she wasn't feeding or caring for them. But we said yes to taking in all 6 of them anyway.
One of the kittens had been born with a terminal birth defect and since that kitten was suffering badly, it was humanely euthanized prior to transport up here. A second kitten passed away on the drive here. When we got the remaining 3 babies and mama we took them right to our vet. The 3 kittens had badly infected wounds on their paws and most likely hadn't eaten since birth. Mama didn't have any milk and wasn't interested in feeding them, yet she clearly had just given birth so we knew she was their mom. It was a really heartbreaking sight. We did our very best to bottle feed the kittens throughout the night but sadly they all passed that first night. It was really hard but we know that they passed away in warmth, comfort and love.
And what we had left was this darling, sweet, young cat who was clearly ready for some serious TLC! We had her cleaned up at The Groom Room, gave her lots of nutritious foods and lots of love. When she was ready we had her spayed, chipped and vaccinated.
Soon afterwards she met her wonderful new family. They had another young cat who they adopted from us last year and the 2 kitties are now best friends. We get lots of updates with pictures and videos of Mama (now Darla) and her big sister Binx snuggling and grooming each other. They really love each other and it makes us so happy to see!
JUDY: A new home for a special kitten
A heartwarming story of a perfect home for a kitten with a disability
In the summer of 2021 we received a call from a woman in NM whose cat had had kittens. All of them were normal kittens except for one special one that she really loved. She said she thought the kitten had "swimmer syndrome" and was advised by veterinarians and shelters in her area that it needed to be euthanized. So she reached out asking if we could take her instead.
I had read a tiny bit about swimmer syndrome and thought that might be something we could work with, so we said yes. But upon arrival and a visit with our wonderful vet, Judy was diagnosed with "manx syndrome". Because Judy was a manx kitten, the nerves at the end of her spine didn't develop properly. She didn't have any control of her bladder or bowels and, although she got around really well, her hind legs didn't function normally.
We cared for Judy in the following weeks, sometimes putting a tiny make-shift diaper on her so she could hang out with us on the beds and couches, and even began learning how to express her bladder. We found an amazing local couple who have a ton of experience caring for cats with disabilities like Judy's and they were just incredible with helping us learn how to care for her.
Eventually they fell in love and knew that she needed the kind of daily care that they were experts at already. Judy was adopted into their family and it really couldn't have been a better fit for her. Today she is happy and thriving and so very loved with her family here.