Sometimes, Rescue Looks Like This (continued)

“You wouldn’t believe how some of these dogs come to us. I’m including all of our wonderful volunteers and foster families and also just as important are the groomers who donate their time and services. There are our transport teams and our veterinary partners. Our job is to get the dogs to a point where they are adoptable. Then, we become matchmakers. I believe that’s the key to our long term success; the time and effort we take to match a dog with the right family.” Arlynda spoke about the group of

Arlynda’s twin brother Arlyn with Charlie, brothers Teddy and Charley, and foster dog Mooch.

volunteers Terri Ensign, founder and direc- tor of VIP Rescue Florida, has put togeth- er. “It’s like no other combination of good people I’ve found anywhere else,” said Arlynda. “Personally, I have made lifelong friends, people I know I can count on.” In appreciation, Arlynda hosts a

Poodle Party for VIP Rescue of Florida volunteers, fosters and alumni at her home each year. Invitees are encouraged to attend with their dogs. It's not uncommon to see 50 Standard Poodles and Standard Poodle blends in attendance. “Seeing those dogs annually that have been helped along the way, all flourishing now with their new families, running around playing, it fills my heart with joy. I know my time volunteer- ing has been worthwhile.” The dogs she’s met through rescue are

Miracle dog Luke.

what gives Arlynda the strength to contin- ue her volunteer work. “I learn something new with each dog and with each experi- ence. The journey has included miracles, tears of joy, stress, and some heartache. Dogs are much more resilient than people. They are faithful and loyal to the end. You find out what you are made of, some days, in rescue. I hope to have another 10 years of rescue left in me.” When asked to think about her most

memorable moment as a volunteer with VIP Rescue Florida, Arlynda took a long, deep breath. Then silence. “Luke,” she said. “Luke came to our

Arlynda with her heart dog Charlie. 30 THE NEW BARKER

rescue group as, what looked to be, the perfect specimen of a Poodle. But, our vet- erinarian found that Luke had colon can- cer. It was inoperable and Luke was given just months to live. I don’t know what else to call it other than divine intervention, after meeting a woman who believed in and lived a totally holistic lifestyle for her- self and her pets. She wanted to foster Luke until his death. That was three years ago,

and Luke is still alive, living his best live ever with this woman.” Since the pandemic, VIP Rescue of

Florida has had a shortage of available adoptable dogs. The dogs have pretty much all been adopted. “The big thing we’ve noticed is that, now when we post a dog, we receive 20 to 30 applications for adop- tions. Before, maybe five applications came in. Another thing. Senior dogs always took longer to adopt. But now, it’s not taking as long to adopt them. People are staying at home, keeping their dogs, spending time with them, and wanting to foster or adopt another dog. It’s made a huge difference for us.”

VIP Rescue Florida is also helping

keep families together by providing pet food to those struggling financially. “People have lost their jobs, bills are mounting. We don’t want them to have to worry about pet food. If you’re struggling, please give us a call. There are other options rather than owner surrendering to a shelter,” said Arlynda. About the photograph of Arlynda

running on the beach with her three dogs: “My best friend, who is a photographer, took that picture. She visits me once or twice a year and every summer we would load up the dogs and head to our favorite place, Camptown in Beverly, Florida. It was our getaway and my chance to not have to think about rescue, while quieting my mind. When the beach was empty, I would run back and forth with the dogs and Jodi snapped this photo.” We asked Arlynda if she could recall

what was going through her mind the moment the photograph was taken. Another long moment of silence. “That was several years ago, when I still had all three dogs,” she recalled. “Bijoux is the white dog who died at 12 years old. The black dog is Isabella. The brown dog...that is Charlie, my heart dog; my forever dog. He died at 14 about a year ago. That moment was the high point of my life; three dogs, my best friend and my favorite place to just be. No greater moment than that moment.”


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