Rescue Stories

Jackson County Rescue Stories and Happy Tails

Do you have a happy tale about rescuing, fostering, or adopting animals? Please send your one-page story (250-300 words), with or without a picture, to our email address, Stories about HSJC animals are welcome, but are not required. We want to celebrate all rescue activity in Jackson County.

To get our story page going, HSJC held a competition for stories at our 2015 Mimosas for Mutts event. Read those five stories here. The winning stories were “Meet Thelma and Louise” and “Moses,” but all the stories are moving accounts of animals and humans. Our president Cheryl Iski has also contributed one of her many rescue accounts.

Meet Thelma and Louise

two beautiful golden retrievers who have quite a story! A woman was driving on a 2-lane highway in Alabama when she saw what she thought was a dead golden retriever laying on the side of the road. She was a kind woman and stopped her car. She immediately saw that the golden named “Louise” had been hit by a car but was still alive and needed immediate attention. She called a friend who came and helped her load Louise into the car. As soon as they had Louise in the car, they saw something coming out of the woods toward them. It was another, very scared golden….It was Thelma and she wasn’t going to let her friend go off with these strangers without her! They both had matching collars so they were definitely traveling together. Thelma was loaded into the car with Louise and off they went to the Vet. Louise had a broken hip and knee and had two surgeries to repair them. Thelma was fine. The kind woman paid for both their Vet bills and took Thelma home while Louise recovered. They would go visit Louise in the animal clinic almost every day. After Louise healed enough to travel, Adopt A Golden Atlanta was asked to find them “A Forever Home”. That is where we stepped in….We had just lost a wonderful Lab in October 2007 and we adopted Thelma and Louise the following January. They are the most wonderful, beautiful girls who are loved dearly by our entire, large family. We feel really blessed that they came into our lives…..story from Vicki Duby


We were devastated when we lost our 15 year old Boots back in March of 2013; then along came Moses…………… I was having dreams about a silver and black tabby kitten before and after Boots’ death. My husband and I both agreed to let time past before adopting another kitty but the dreams continue. We both missed Boots so much.
One day during lunch one of my coworkers said let’s go to PetSmart. They have kitties from an animal shelter that need a good home. We walked over to the kitties. There he was the cutest silver and black tabby kitten. Moses’ eyes followed me as I walked around. He took his paw and touched the glass panel. I took my hand and placed it on the glass panel and told him that he was going home with me. I made the phone call and picked Moses up after work. Once we were home, we showed Moses where his food & water, litter box, scratching post, etc. was. When I dumped the toys on the floor in the living room, his little eyes got so big. We could see his little thoughts: “WOW! All of this is for me! Jackpot! I found the promised land.” Moses was like a little bouncing ball; running back and forth; playing as hard as he could.

Moses loves to sleep in baskets and play in water. He has brought a lot of joy to our home. Although, I wish there was a way to reset his time clock. Moses wakes me up every morning at 4:30. Who needs an alarm clock when you have Moses! Story from Pam Matheny

My Puppy Beats the Odds

In April 2002, during a veterinary visit for another pet, I asked the vet if he would look at someone else.  I pulled out of my purse a tiny puppy, explaining that he was only one week old.  His age was verified, then came the words, “He won’t live, but if he happens to be alive in five weeks bring him back and we will start his vaccines.”  Five weeks later I returned with Spike the Beagle, the puppy who wouldn’t possibly survive.

Spike entered our lives after being abandoned and also denied nutrition by another mother dog.  We learned this during a visit to our corner store.  The sad cries of a very young and hungry puppy filled the air as the caretaker of the store explained, and then asked if we would take him.

I wondered how I would care for this pup while my son begged to bring him home.  I didn’t know how to take care of such a young animal and was actually frightened to try.  I explained this, along with the fact that we had already made plans to visit Disney World soon, and that we couldn’t leave such a young puppy for boarding while gone.  My son was 10 at the time, and wouldn’t you know?  He gave up that trip to Disney!

At Spike’s 6 week visit the vet was amazed, saying that animals that young normally die from aspirating when bottle fed.  My words were, “As a mom my thought was to burp him like a baby.” His eyes told me that I had done everything right.

Spike lived a full and happy life, such a character, and we miss him every day.  13 years didn’t seem long enough, but we loved him with all our hearts. Story from Kathy Bowman


One winter morning I stepped out of my front door to get the newspaper, and there was an adult male cat that I had never noticed before huddled up on the doormat. He looked pitiful and cold, and I felt sorry for him. So I gave him some cat food. Like any cat he began to hang around for more food, so I called him “Max, the moocher.” But unlike most feral cats, not only did he want food, but he wanted attention, affection, and he wanted to come in. It was obvious that he had been a housecat when he was a kitten, but he no longer had a home according to every neighbor that I asked.

He was literally “The Cat Who Came In From the Cold,” and he turned out to be the most gentle, loving, and loyal cat. He would walk around the block with my wife and me, he would let me carry him like a baby, and he was friendly with strangers, although he drew the line with dogs. We, of course, had him neutered when we decided to adopt him. He was even patient with a kitten that another feral cat had presented us when that kitten almost unceasingly attacked him in play. Although she wasn’t his offspring, since she had markings almost identical to Max, we called her “Maxine.” We had Max for over 10 years, and when he passed away we marked his grave with a stone that reads “Max, The Greatest Cat Ever.” We still have Maxine, and Max is with us in spirit. Story from Roger C. Vogel


I got my chihuahua Molly in 2006 as a puppy while visiting Georgia when I was 8 years old and my dad was deployed in Iraq. She was my second dog. I already owned a chow chow named Rosie, I got her for my first birthday. Molly went through everything with me. We grew up together. She was with me adopting a tortoise, rescuing a ferret from a shelter, taking in another chihuahua from a house that couldn’t take care of or want him anymore, taking care of a kitten that was too young to be away from her mom after she was saved from drowning in a tire, adopting a cat that was left to live outside, saving three cats that were tied in a plastic container with wire from the trash, and raising four kittens that one of the cats I saved from the trash gave birth to. Shortly after the kittens were born, Rosie passed away on November 25, 2014. She was 15 years old. Her passing filled my dad and I with sadness. We moved to Nicholson, Georgia on June 20, 2015. It was a long drive with 13 animals in the car with us. On August 6th, Molly was diagnosed with IMHA. On August 7th at 6:53 p.m, my whole world fell apart. At only 9 years old, Molly was gone. I cried for days straight. I couldn’t understand what I did wrong, why couldn’t I save her? I love and miss Molly with all my heart. Not a night goes by without me thinking of her.

She loved me as much as I loved her, my best friend. A month after she passed, I did the only thing I knew I could do in her memory. I rescued a lab mix named Steve from Athens Animal Shelter on August 28th. He’s brought my happiness back. He reminds me every day to be strong and keep moving forward. I couldn’t save her, but I could save him. He was on the euthanize list the previous Friday before I got him, but by some amazing chance he was saved at the last minute, allowing him more time to get adopted. Then I came in. We saved each other that day. I would be lost without him. I cried from the day Molly passed to the first night he slept in my bed. R.I.P Rosie, R.I.P Molly. I love you both. Thank you Athens Animal Shelter for allowing me to take this amazing boy home with me. I love him. Story from Lexy Stark


It was the beginning of August this year around 10pm when I was headed back from visiting my Dad in Nicholson.  I got a call from a friend who was upset about a dog they had been trying to help in their Jefferson neighborhood.  The dog had been there for weeks, no one claiming him as theirs and in need of medical help.  The small yellow cattle dog resembled a coyote if you didn’t know better.  I was approaching her neighborhood as she told me his story.  I asked if it was too late to stop over and she almost cried with relief.  When I pulled into her driveway, they greeted me, and he was on their back porch.  Open wounds on his face, his ear seemed infected, he just wanted to be helped.

Once we got caught up, the person who had him asked what his name would be.  I said it was her duty to name him because ultimately she saved him.  She agreed Eddie – from Eddie Money’s song “Give Me Shelter” was most appropriate. I agreed to take him with me to hold overnight and take him to an HSJC vet in the morning.  He jumped in the backseat of my car like he owned it.  Once getting to my house I made a bed out of a comforter and placed it on the floor of my back bedroom.  He laid down and didn’t move once that night.  Of course I put food and water and checked on him through the night but he was enjoying his bed and slept soundly.  I got him to the vet that morning.  They said he had been through a lot of trauma, he was approximately 10 years old and in need of surgery to put his face and ear back together.  We shared his story on Facebook and friend and supporter, Dr Gaile Daley, called the vet and paid the bill.  He rehabbed in foster care at my house until he was back to feeling like himself again.

HSJC had a booth at the Hoschton Fall Festival where he did great with the other dogs and kids.  I received an email and called someone who had interest in meeting him.  The couple brought their dog Dawson, who had lost his brother the year before to cancer and was ready for a playmate again, he too being a senior dog.  They got along from the time they met.  They agreed to take him and try him out since we offer a trial run to those who adopt from us. Well, needless to say, Eddie is in his forever home with his new family.  It’s because of caring community people that reach out to us, it’s because of the HSJC foster program that we are able to help.  Thank you for anyone who has given us their time, their story, their donations ~ truly we appreciate you.  We are an all-volunteer organization that depends on independent contributions since we are not part of any government entity. Story from 
Cheryl Iski, HSJC President