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From Death's Door to Berkeley Heights: A mother dog's journey Home for Good

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BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Home for Good Dog Rescue’s Vet Tech Amy enters the familiar Shelter in South Carolina, from which so many of our dogs have been rescued. Hesitantly, she walks down the rows of packed cages. The all-too familiar cry of desperation greets her ears, the stench of abandonment burns her nose.  Over one hundred dogs who know only pain, packed into rows, up to five unrelated adults per cage. Trekking forward through these innocent victims; Victims of abandonment, abuse, starvation and undeserved hate, Amy sighs with the weight of choice. If only we had the resources to pull every desperate dog here.

“We are forced to leave behind more dogs than we save,” co-founder Rich Errico explains as he shutters and turns his head: “I can’t even think about the ones we had to leave behind.”

It is a hot July afternoon in South Carolina as Amy spots Golden Setter mix Remi cowering in the corner of her enclosure at the shelter. On the scared golden dog’s cage door is the deadly sign: “Caution, will bite—OK to euthanize.” Over-packed shelters like this one have a high rate of incoming abandoned dogs, and are therefore forced to kill at a high rate to make space. If a dog is surrendered by an owner, it is put down that same day. If it is found as a stray, the dog is held for five days, and then either euthanized or given one month for a chance at adoption. After that month, said dog who has been living in miserable conditions for 35 days, is killed. The “OK TO KILL” is enough to bring Amy into Remi’s cage. Pulled from the home of a neglectful hoarder and in horrible condition, it is immediately obvious: This dog wouldn’t hurt a fly. And so the process of saving another life begins, with Home for Good Dog Rescue.

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After pulling Remi from a dismal fate and bringing her to a loving foster in South Carolina, Home for Good analyzes the condition of this pup. The fact that Remi is sweet, starving and scared is not a surprise. The fact that she is pregnant, however, is. Remi will wait four weeks to give birth in her foster home in SC, and then spend another six weeks nursing her SEVEN healthy babies while she herself is nursed back to health.

Fast forward ten weeks, and Remi has arrived in New Jersey at the official Home for Good office in Berkeley Heights. The shaky legged mama dog steps out of the van after an 18 hour overnight drive with 26 other rescue dogs. The hungry, exhausted dogs are greeted at 6am by HFG’s morning crew of volunteers ready with soap, nail clippers, and endless kisses. Inches from deaths door, Remi and this group of dogs will go to their temporary New Jersey foster homes to live in comfort until their perfect new family is found and they are home for good.

Where are Remi’s puppies now, you may wonder? All seven of them are healthy and chubby off their mother’s milk, and as we speak they are being tucked into blankets and crated in the back of Home for Good’s van for their own 18 hour journey to New Jersey. Remi was adopted within three days of arrival by a wonderful family who promises to make up for all of the love she never had. Remi’s beautiful babies will never know the horrors that their mother endured, and it is Home for Good’s ultimate goal to never have a rescue mission where we look back and shudder at a dog left behind. By, Megan Wolff

*Home for Good runs entirely off of fosters, volunteers and donations. If you are interested in getting involved and saving lives, please visit homeforgooddogs.org.

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