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Why start a dog rescue?

Why start a dog rescue? I get asked this question frequently and even if I'm not asked directly I can tell it's on the tip of the tongue of someone bursting to ask me. Well, the answer is pretty simple. To save animals. At least in my mind it's simple and a good enough reason, but sometimes it feels like I'm out here alone. Even those that say they love animals and are dog lovers turn a blind eye to those most in need. I suppose they take that out of sight out of mind approach. I can't do that. I'm incapable. While it can be a handy tool, compartmentalizing has never been in my tool belt. I feel everything...deeply. I don't have to see it to feel it. I don't have to witness the suffering of an animal to be affected by it. Just knowing is enough for me and I do carry it with me. To this day, I remember being in the car as a child driving through the winding Colorado mountains and the driver running over a rabbit. I saw the scared animal run across the busy road and felt the car as it hit it. I can still hear my young voice screaming. I can still feel the tears running down my face. I can see it and feel it as if it were happening right now. Now, it of course was an accident and these things happen but it helped to shape the rest of my life and the person that I am. My father still tells the story of when we were hiking and came across a deer carcass stuck in barbed wire fencing. The deer had been dead for quite awhile but I kept weeping and begging my dad to cut it out and save it. I still see that poor deer carcass to this day. So starting a dog rescue/animal sanctuary really shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.

I've always been someone that wanted to change the world. Make it a better place. In fact, growing up I wanted to join the Peace Corp. South Africa doing AIDS work was where my focus was. However, at that time they were sending new recruits to Central America and so I decided not to join. In reality I was afraid to leave home and my family for two years. If only I could go back in time and tell that bright eyed and big-hearted girl that there is more than enough time. That two years is nothing and to be able to make a difference in people's lives would be well worth it. I've always been a humanitarian, environmentalist, philanthropist and animal activist. I've always wanted to make a difference in this world. I have always been sensitive to those suffering and needing help. When you help to heal others you heal yourself.

So why dogs? I grew up with dogs as I am sure most of you reading this did and I love them. I’ve always had a special connection to dogs, all animals. There is something magical about the soul of a dog. They come onto this Earth plane with the sole purpose of wrapping humans in a blanket of love. Showering them with unmatched loyalty and devotion. They are here to heal us from our traumas, show us our potential and teach us to love ourselves wholly and completely. I know that my dog Layla saved me on a number of occasions. I cannot even type about her now without crying. She truly was an angel and even that doesn’t do her justice. Just a ball of love and light. The best girl. And here’s the thing there are millions of Layla’s that are killed in shelter’s every year. According to the ASPCA, two million animals have their lives stripped from them every year. That is more than the entire human population of Phoenix, AZ every year! How can this be? How are intelligent creatures can we allow this? Something has to change. I want to be apart of that change. I want to save as many Layla’s as I can. I want to show them love, unconditional love. I want to show them safety and give them a second chance at the life they deserve. We are ALL creatures of this Earth. We ALL deserve to live. We ALL want to live.

I moved to Texas from Colorado about four years ago and started volunteering at my local shelter. I was a foster mom in my native Colorado and helped a number of dogs find their forever loving homes. That was my first taste of what really goes on in the animal world, in the shelter world. Shelters are supposed to be just that, shelters. But what most of them are are killing machines. My dog Maggie was one of my fosters. She was going to be killed at a shelter so I fostered her to save her life. I quickly adopted her and have never looked back. Now all of of my dogs are rescues and there is something undeniably special about them. Once volunteering in Texas I really learned about the shelter system. While the shelter I volunteer at is one of the best, in my opinion, it opened my eyes to the true animal cruelty that takes place. Dogs beaten, starved, bred almost to death than thrown out with the garbage, dogs tide up and drug behind cars. The list of abuse goes on and on and on. I just couldn’t stand for it and made up my mind to do something to help. Volunteering is an incredible gift to shelter animals. Volunteers love them, walk them, bathe them, give them so many treats they get a little chunky. Without volunteers shelter animals would suffer greatly. I have met some of my favorite people volunteering and have learned immensely about dogs, training methods and just life in general. But still I wanted to do more.

There were a couple of dogs at the shelter that I feared for. While I was able to find a home for one, the other I feared would not make it out of the shelter. It just wasn’t a place he was thriving. While he had myself and another handler, he was a “difficult” dog and I feared for him. So I decided to start a dog rescue. While it was always my purpose, I believe, the stars aligned and made it happen. Now it has been a year that I have been the President and founder of Layla’s Heart Ranch and Rescue and I cannot see myself living any other life. This was always my path. There will always be those that don’t understand living a life of service. There will always be doubters and those wishing for failure. But when you follow your heart, in my case my rebel heart it will always lead me to where I need to be. Where that is, is right here on this ranch saving the lives of the innocent. Speaking for them and fighting for them.

So why start a dog rescue? Because I am an animal lover. Because I am a soldier in the war of animal welfare. Because I want to and can make a difference. Because I want to spread love and light. Because I want to leave this world a better place. Because if not me, who? Because very being deserves to live. Because it’s my purpose. Because animals need more people standing up for them. Because I want my life to mean something. Because I want to.

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