Melia: FOUNDER and PRESIDENT
In May of 2006, I adopted my first dog from the Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley. My mom and I saw her at a Bark in the Park event and a few days later, she came home to live with us. I remember being fascinated by this event, by all the people who came together to host it for the animals and the abundance of animals that were up for adoption. I would have taken them all home if I could.
But Jenny, she was special. She was what looked to be a Sheltie, and she was beautiful. I kept thinking to myself, why would anyone ever give up this dog? She had the energy of a puppy, barked like a Sheltie and would herd anything in the yard like she was bred to do. To me, she was the perfect dog.
Jenny and I spent eight years together before Lymphoma took her from me. She was gone before I knew it. Jenny had always done so much for me and in the end, I felt guilty that I had not done enough for her. I found myself thinking, how would I ever repay her for all the things and life lessons she taught me just by being her? Jenny grew up with me through my teenage years, she moved with me several times and she welcomed many new members to the family. She was always just as sweet as the day I met her. She had a calming nature that just being around her would make a bad day, turn good. Jenny had the purest heart and sweetest soul and she loved me unconditionally. She was my girl.
Jenny had always done so much for me that after she passed, I felt a void. A void that I could not get over. I felt like I needed to do something to take my focus off losing her and that is when I started venturing into rescue.
I was scrolling through Facebook one day and saw a white, mangy puppy listed as “URGENT” on Cleveland For A No Kill City’s Facebook page. I thought about it and at the time working at Powell Animal Hospital, I knew I could treat that baby and heal her. Stella would be the one to start it all. I had no idea what I was getting myself into but I knew I needed something to get my mind off of things and she was just the one to do it.
Since treating Stella for Demodex mange, it has more or less become my addiction. I love to see the transformation and see the dog flourish into a beautiful dog that was once passed up because of it’s skin “funk”. I have now successfully treated over twenty dogs for Demodex with the help of Powell Animal Hospital and their wonderful staff. Stella also opened the door to build a relationship with Cleveland’s Animal Control volunteers. Most of our URGENT “pulls” are from Cleveland, TN coming from Animal Control.
Three years later, I have worked with several different rescue groups and shelters. I have bought my own home to house my personal animals and foster dogs properly. I have a wonderful relationship with Powell Animal Hospital where I met Jena and Alison, my rescue partners. In October of 2016, after a lot of thought, I started Slumdog Rescue Crew.
Slumdog Rescue is a group that is devoted to the underdogs, the ones that get looked over and just the plain ole’ Slumdogs. I started this rescue because all too often I saw the ones with Demodex, the elderly ones or the ones needing amputations on URGENT lists that eventually became the euthanasia list. We are dedicated to rescuing the URGENT dogs from the “slums” of the shelters. We have now successfully rescued and placed over 50 URGENT dogs into loving, forever homes.
Things get hard sometimes, money is tight, your heart gets broken, but then I think of what would have happened that day if I would not have seen Jenny. How different my life would be if Jenny never happened. I hope that one day through my rescue efforts, someone finds their “Jenny”. I hope they are able to see the world in a whole different view, in a “dog’s view”. Because when the day is done, it does not matter if the dog is mangy, old or three-legged, I promise you, that dog will love you unconditionally just like any other. I vow to always love my family, friends, personal animals and foster animals unconditionally, just like my Jenny did. I will always rescue in her honor. She was my girl and will always be my heart.
I now live with my six personal dogs, three cats and my pig, Petunia. I have a pitbull named Meeko (Fulton County), another pitty named Rufus (Cleveland AC), a black fluff-ball named Berkeley (Cleveland AC), a three-legged Chihuahua mix named Letti (Union County Humane Society), and a black lab mix named Belle (Cleveland AC). My animals are my life and will continue to be my life until I can’t continue anymore…