For those of you that know me well, I’m a huge fan of dogs! Well, pets in general but I prefer my pups more than anything. When setting out to begin my 2017 year of running I wanted to make a difference in the world of Dog Rescues. My choice was to team up with BlackJack Animal Rescue out of Tennessee. They’re the people who found Stella and once I got to know their story, I had to step up my game.
Blackjack Animal Rescue is a small group of people out of the Bristol, TN area (and beyond) that are doing everything they can to make a change in the lives of dogs. The work hours are long and the job can be overwhelming at times. The southern states especially seem to have problems getting these dogs into homes. At times, it seems easier and more cost-effective to just put the animals down. This doesn’t sit well with the owner/operator of Blackjack Rescue Sharon Bryant. She sees dogs (especially Catahoula Leopard Dogs) the same as I do, amazing spirits that want nothing more than to be with humans. The soul of a dog is special and Sharon, along with her team of angels work tirelessly to save as many dogs as they can and find them good homes. The average adoption fee is $300 but let me tell you, this covers the animal being fully vetted, micro-chipped and usually transport to just about anywhere! The fee also helps to cover the never-ending costs of maintaining all the animals in foster care but also helps to save more dog’s lives.
After getting to know Sharon more and seeing all the faces that she works to bring back to health, train, foster and eventually get homes, I knew I had to step up and help. I’ve been working on bringing awareness of this population problem and lack of help in the southern states as well as raise funds through my running of races, blogging and regular postings on Facebook. The hope is to get extra donations to this amazing outfit so that they can turn the tide of killing these animals. I’ve reached out to the running community, co-workers, friends and family to assist in my efforts. http://blackjackrescue.org/ is the website and they have a paypal system set up so that you can do either a one time donation or a regular monthly one! If you prefer to mail checks, just send one off to Blackjack Animal Rescue 260 Old Stage Trail Bristol, TN 37620. There’s also a wish list on the website if you’d like to help with food, toys, bedding or a Thundershirt! Yes, I did donate a new Thundershirt to the rescue this year so that some wonderful pup would feel safer during storms. Everything is tax-deductible as Blackjack is a 501c3 non-profit organization.
I have a little more that I need to share about rescue dogs and what they can do for your life. This being my own story. I had an Aussie Shepherd/Catahoula mixed dog (Silver) that was part of my life for a very long time. He lived to be 17 years old and was my world. When Silver passed, I realized that I had a hole in my heart that only a dog could fill. I hated coming home to an empty house and missed that wagging tail at the end of my work day or upon any return home.
I started my search locally and eventually found Blackjack Animal Rescue. They specialize in Catahoula Leopard dogs, so I decided to keep watching the intake and hoped for another silver. I contacted Sharon and told her my story which in turn prompted her to start sending my pictures of so many beautiful dogs! I just couldn’t believe all these adorable speckled pups were in need of a home. Well it happened, she notified me of a dog that was running loose on an expressway and was brought in by a member of her group. She was a bit skinny, no tags, not fixed but pretty much healthy. She sent pictures to me of “Stella”. I just knew I had to have her. We were heading for the TN area for vacation and made arrangements to meet Stella at a local dog park. Wow! She was not only beautiful but so playful and full of love. Needless to say…the rest is history! A couple of years later Stella is living the good life here in Ohio with us and my heart is once again full.
While she’s not Silver, she brought all new and exciting things to our home. Stella is scared of the back yard (long story) so she requires regular walks just to go potty. This means that Karla and I have to walk the neighborhood 3 or more times in a day. While at first it seemed like craziness, it’s turned into a blessing in disguise. We’ve met numerous people in our neighborhood and have become good friends with them. (Thanks Stella) We’re walking and getting more exercise than ever before. (Thanks Stella) We’re able to spread the word about Blackjack Animal Rescue and teach people more about the Catahoula Leopard dog! (Thanks again Stella) You see, as Cesar Millan once said “You’ll never get the dog that you want, You’ll always get the dog that you need.” I needed Stella in my life and she’s changed it forever. Keep this in mind if/when looking at rescue dogs. They’ll bring more to you then you’ll ever be able to give to them. They want nothing more than to be loved by you and be with you.
I needed to share this so that more people will understand how important dogs are in our world. I also want more people to get involved and help rescue these special animals. We have several great dog rescues in our area that can always use help. I’d love to see more people help me with our friends in the south. They need us up here in NW Ohio! We need to bring more Catahoula Leopard dogs this way. We need to save lives that are being snuffed out at an alarming rate at the high kill shelters in Texas, Louisiana, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee. So please, take some time to get to know Blackjack Animal Rescue. Like them on Facebook and follow along! Donate and save a life! I need you to help me make this happen. Runners…it’s time to shine. We can do this…Together.
I’ll see you on the Road!