Setting the Pace: Sasha’s Second-Chance Story

Dear Friend of Animal Aid,

When we first met Sasha, her body told the story of neglect. Patchy fur and irritated skin from poor diet and probable food allergies long untreated. Sore hips and stiff limbs from a life spent looking through the crossbars of a crate. A frame ten pounds underweight and sensitive to unfamiliar touch. That last part is particularly important, because neglect is a psychological state as much as a physical one, and rescue animals carry those scars just as keenly.

Her body told another story, though, this one of acceptance, of resilience, of hope. We saw it in the way her eyes lit and ears perked when she spotted us; in the expectant tilt of her head and eager sway of her tail; in her inspiring ability, despite past treatment, to find joy in her human companions. Animals are constantly teaching us, even in those moments when we’re focused on the idea that we’re the ones helping them. Sasha had every reason to give up on humans altogether, yet she chose to trust—to nuzzle her sugar face into our hands and let us be her second-chance people. When she said yes, so did we.

Animal Aid was founded by a community called together in the name of animals just like Sasha: the neglected, the abandoned, the abused, the forgotten. It was a community united by a belief in our collective responsibility to be their caregivers, guardians, and friends, choosing to work harder, do more, be better, for them. 50 years later, we’re able to continue carrying forward that commitment each day because of your support. Because you’re as determined as we are to be there for animals in need, we’ll always be ready for our next mission, and many more second chances to come.

So many experiences were new or refreshed for Sasha when she entered into Animal Aid’s guardianship and the home of a loving foster family. The ability to roam free in a house, to play tug-of-war, nap on the couch, or simply wander from room to room with her humans. The opportunity for long walks in the fresh air, taking in the sights and smells of rain-soaked neighborhoods, backyard barbecues, and even the ocean after an exhilarating car ride out to the beach. The chance to stretch her limbs in her own backyard, enjoying the cool grass against her paws and sunshine on her back. With the addition of a prescription diet and some much-needed veterinary care, we’ve witnessed a transformation begin to take place in Sasha: the healing of her skin, the loosening of her gait, the strengthening of her physique.

Emotional healing works at its own pace, of course, and that process is different for every animal. For Sasha, neglect resulted in fewer opportunities for socialization, which in turn has made her sensitive to situations that may be commonplace for many dogs but are much less familiar to her. It’s a fairly small thing to be understanding of, given how understanding she has proven to be, and we’re extremely grateful for the ability to give our adoptables the time and resources they need because we are part of a dedicated community.

Sasha’s story is her own, but unfortunately it’s not unique. The needs of each animal who comes into our care are often difficult to predict, but the fact that they’ll need it is beyond a doubt. Your commitment allows us to serve rescue companions wherever they are in their journey—to not only take those next steps with them, but to allow them to set the pace. It’s what gives us the ability to welcome them with open arms into our rescue, to maintain an open mind as we learn about their needs, to present an open heart as they begin to get to know us, and, one day, to hold open the door that leads into their forever home. Sasha’s still waiting for that last one, but in the meantime we’ll stand by her and teach her and learn from her and love her and let her set her own pace. And when she is ready to say yes, so will we.

On behalf of all of us at Animal Aid, thank you for supporting our rescue and dogs like Sasha.

Warmly,

Paige España
Director of Operations

P.S. Animals who have faced neglect expect very little yet deserve so much. Help us give more rescue cats and dogs the care they’ve been waiting for by making a one-time or monthly contribution to Animal Aid today.