By Lyda Gould

Bonnie’s rescue began at a truck stop in Rawlings, Virginia, about 50 miles south of Richmond.

In the August heat, it was hard to miss the emaciated female hound pacing back and forth around the gas station. As a concerned passerby was refueling her car, she noticed the dog and glanced at the ignored and decaying food and water someone had left her. The woman attempted to get nearer to the hound, but she evaded. With her attempts deflated, the woman got back into her car and drove away.

As the night went on, our would-be rescuer, Nancy, couldn’t get the image of the lost and weak dog out of her mind. The following day she called the truck stop and learned that the dog was still there. Nancy generously paid for a local shelter to humanely trap the dog and bring her in. Unfortunately, the rural shelter discovered that the dog was covered in tick bites, but they lacked the resources to provide any other exam or standard health tests. Nancy further learned that the shelter was not a “no-kill” shelter and the dog would be put down within a week.

Nancy jumped to re-home the dog. She placed calls to a number of no-kill Virginia shelters with no luck, until, she spoke with Barbara Cohen of the SPCA of Northern Virginia. After talking with Barbara, Nancy agreed to drive the dog, whom she called Rawlings, to an SPCA partner veterinarian for a full exam. Rawlings was soon on her way to a safe haven; comfortably packed into a blanketed crate for the drive, she didn’t make a peep, except to express her serene appreciation in the sound of her snoring.

Rawlings was soon transferred to the SPCA, where she was re-named Journey. With lots of attention, healthy meals, and positive interactions with other dogs, which she loved the most, she tentatively came out of her shell.

Journey was not with the SPCA for very long before she was noticed again. Only this time, the circumstances were different.

Dan always wanted to have a dog and the timing was finally right. As a responsible pet owner, Dan understood the time and commitment owning a pet would require. Wanting to adopt led him to the SPCA and to Journey. Dan was drawn to Journey’s disposition and to her story. The two seemed similar in a way, both a little timid on the changes coming to them, but both looking ahead. Maybe there was a little more reservation on Journey’s part — Dan had to carry Journey to his car and then up the stairs to his residence on her adoption day — but, as Dan wrote to us recently, “while it certainly is added work and responsibility, the benefits far outweigh the costs. For owner and hopefully also for dog.”

Today, Journey is officially and permanently named Bonnie. She’s Dan’s jogging partner, she loves being outdoors, is very social, and she doesn’t have to be picked up to go anywhere (except when it’s bath time)! This is a far cry from the aimless, wandering hound spotted at a rural truck station last summer.

It is this network of animal-lovers, whether you’re an adopter, a foster-parent, volunteer, or you’re simply moved to act out of compassion for other beings, that continues to drive the work of the SPCA. Thank you, to all you animal-lovers, here’s a post-Happy Valentine’s Day to you.

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