By Dawn M Chiossi
While it has been said that cats have nine lives, dogs are much more like humans having only one. Yet those that say it have never met Maggie– the latest miracle from Morris County’s Eleventh Hour Rescue.
Pure instinct led this three-month-old puppy on a journey that ultimately led her to Eleventh Hour Rescue Shelter. She didn’t know it yet, but it was the best journey of her life. Founded in 2004 as a non-profit haven for animals, Eleventh Hour Rescue is made up solely of caring, empathetic, and fiercely dedicated volunteers focused on saving death row dogs and cats from kill shelters. Treating their animals like family, these volunteers provide all the love, care, and medical attention they require until they can find their forever homes and the humans that will love them. To date, Eleventh Hour Rescue has saved 30 to 40 thousand dogs and cats from being euthanized.
“Our mission is to be an animal’s voice, to never put a dog or cat down, to always try to save their lives, and to treat them all like they were our own; even in the cases of illness, sometimes even dangerous illnesses,” enthuses Eleventh Hour Rescue’s Linda Barish. “Maggie’s a three-month-old mixed-breed Shepard/Retriever mix that came to us from Georgia,” she explains. “Someone dumped Maggie’s Mom, Whimsy, and her four puppies at the side of the road in a rural area. Miraculously, they had made their way to a house that had dogs—perhaps they were searching for shelter or food—and the owners called one of our rescue partners to help them. They were filthy and riddled with ticks and fleas. Shortly after they arrived from Georgia on June 28th, we tested Whimsy’s pups and found that several of them were suffering from Parvovirus. Any puppy can get Parvo,” Barish relates. “It is highly contagious (spread through fecal matter), which can become an even deadly infection of the stomach and small intestine if not vaccinated for early.”
In Maggie’s case, warning bells clamored for everyone when they noticed that the mixed breed was not acting very puppy-like. Where puppies are generally constant balls of unstoppable energy, Maggie was lethargic and not eating. She also had other concerning symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. When the tests proved she tested positive for Parvo, Eleventh Hour Rescue volunteers immediately whisked her to Emergency Animal Hospital for life-saving treatment. “We were shocked when her temperature went to 107 degrees and she was almost unresponsive. It was not good. We strongly suspected she needed a blood transfusion,” Barish says sadly.
That sadness quickly turned to surprise when this plucky fighter made it through the night and pulled through. Maggie’s still in the hospital with her diagnosis now labeled “closely guarded.”
Although Eleventh Hour is thrilled that she is progressing slowly and doing well, they are ever cautious about her condition; she’s not out of the woods yet, and there is another problem that everyone can relate to–money.
Knowing that vet bills can be extremely expensive, as much as humans’ medical care, and determined to treat Maggie as best as possible, this nonprofit quickly set up a fundraiser to help cover her vet bills. “We are a non-profit all-volunteer organization. Unfortunately, we do not receive any monies for it,” Barish relates. “Every dollar we receive for our animals care has to come from donations.”
Rallying around her, animal lovers everywhere have responded heartwarmingly. Already they have raised an impressive $7,290 of the $8,000 goal.
In a couple of weeks, Maggie is slated to have another surgery, this time to fix wounds on her skin she sustained from her spay in Georgia. Barish and the rest of Eleventh Hour Rescue are looking forward to bringing this little girl home to receive round the clock care so that she can recover and lead a perfectly normal life as any dog should.
“We’ve received wonderful feedback on Maggie,” Barish prides. “There’s a ton of people who have offered to adopt her. We have many applicants.”
Like anyone who loves their job, Barish realizes that rewards often come back one-hundred fold. Every animal that comes through their doors has a place in their hearts, and will always have a home with Eleventh Hour Rescue, even after adoption. “We have a saying here, ‘once an Eleventh-Hour animal always an Eleventh-Hour animal,’” Barish tells. She states that their organization is unique: Every adoption contract expressly states that a dog or cat must be returned to the rescue if the adopter can no longer take care of them. “This way, coming back to us, the dog or cat will always receive the love and care they need and deserve.”
With hundreds of volunteers doing all they can to help their four-legged friends, Eleventh Hour Rescue has proved itself to be a great network, and so much goes into their resources. “It’s the best thing I’ve ever done,” Barish asserts. “The commitment and compassion everyone has for our animals is just amazing. We (at Eleventh Hour Rescue) do it for the happy ending. Loving these animals for their whole life long, it is so worth it.”
As such, these animals are given a second (or third, or fourth) chance at life, just like Maggie.
Barish shares that now this delightful mixed breed is enjoying sleeping with her stuffed animals and loving all of the attention she is receiving. “She’s such a sweet, special girl,” Barish prides. “Maggie knows she’s still around for her life and she’s definitely getting ready to be spoiled.”
To learn more about Eleventh Hour Rescue, Maggie, or any of the animals who reside there, or to donate, please visit www.ehrdogs.org/.