Freya is Freed from Foster!

By Anna V. Garrison

I was absolutely not ready for another foster.

I had good reason: I was allergic to my last foster and had just finished spending nearly three weeks suffering from sneezes, a runny nose, and watery, itchy eyes.

But this particular kind of stubbornness means nothing in the world of animal rescue. All it took was one picture to force me to open my home to a third dog.

In all honesty, my choice of foster wasn’t that surprising. Freya was part border terrier – a double threat since I love terriers and have my very own border terrier mix. She was on red alert at the Downey shelter and animal advocate, Ruth Silny, had been tirelessly networking her through Facebook and emails.

The day I pulled Freya from Downey, she immediately displayed the typical rescue pup gratitude. She trotted along beside me with her slip leash and when I sat, she placed her front paws in my lap and nuzzled and licked me for attention.

Freya tells me immediately how thankful she is to be saved!

Freya tells me immediately how thankful she is to be saved!

Fast forward three months later. I was exhausted. Freya and one of my pups were having jealousy issues. Freya’s chewing stage had damaged more than one household item. And so far, I had only had one interested party without an adoption application that had lost interest at some point. I prepared myself to revamp Freya’s profile, take more pictures, and make some videos.

But miraculously, some holiday karma hit me just in time. I was suddenly hit with three separate emails from interested parties. The first one gave me a great feeling (something else rescue advocates understand very well) although I was worried when I realized they lived almost 400 miles away. I’d done out of state adoptions before with great success, but that success always depended on the adopter and my intuition.

As it turned out, my gut was right. I had nothing to worry about. Freya’s new parents were in love with her from the first sight of her picture. A meeting at the park only sealed the deal!

Now, the former red alert shelter dog is living it up in her new home for the holidays with her new name: Darla! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Darla! We hope you enjoy your gift: a forever home!

Darla is living it up!

Darla is living it up!


It's a match made in heaven!

It’s a match made in heaven!

Gifts that Give

Consider giving a message of love this Christmas! A creative friend of UHA,  Ellen Ballon Dante, created this beautiful necklace to raise awareness of all the animals in local shelters that need forever homes. Purchasing one is a fun way to make a donation to the United Hope Animals in need AND spread the message. ALL the proceeds of this necklace will go directly to shelter dogs in need. The necklace is gold filled and sterling silver and run $90 (roughly 40% goes to the dogs). Solid gold is available for special order in yellow, rose and white gold. For ordering information, contact deityjewels@gmail, and be sure to mention United Hope for Animals:

Holiday Pet Portraits

If a pet portrait is more to your liking, be sure to attend the Holiday Dog Portraits event on Sunday, December 2nd from 1-5 p.m. at Urban Pet in Los Angeles at 7515 Beverly Blvd. Proceeds will go to charities, including United Hope for Animals. 

The Joy of Adopting a Senior Dog: In Memory of Maggie

For dogs unfortunate enough to find themselves left to chance in a shelter, their age has a lot to do with their odds of adoption.  The likelihood of an elderly dog getting a second shot at life and a loving home is frighteningly low.  However, because they often come with lots of good life experience, training, and manners, they can be the best companions.  You might find that opening your heart to a dog that has less time on this earth is too risky, but it could be worth it, even if for only a short while.  That old dog could be your best comrade and your favorite company, your most precious friend.

One little senior dog found herself advocated for by a team of United Hope for Animals volunteers when she needed it most.  She was abandoned at the Baldwin Park Animal Care Center, and she was weak and ill.  A typical Friday evening turned into a team effort to rescue this sweet pup, who would soon be named Maggie. While volunteer Claudia Angel phoned vets for a last-minute appointment, Director Laura Knighten coordinated with the shelter and with volunteer Janette Cooksey to transport her away from the shelter and to the life-saving medical care she required.  As it turns out, Janette not only gave that helpless elderly terrier a ride, she gave her a home.



Janette so beautifully writes of the joy she found in adopting a senior dog:

In July 2011, I was asked to pick up a Wire Fox Terrier from the Baldwin Park Shelter.  The Abandoned Terrier Rescue Association would then take the dog in to their rescue. 
I will never forget when I saw her in that kennel. We were told that she was a 1 year old pregnant female. Instead she was an elderly dog in very poor health.
With the help of Claudia Angel and Laura Knighten, I was able to adopt her that day.  Unfortunately, she was so sick I had to rush her to the vet.  Dr. Mitchell at Montrose Pet Hospital kept this poor little girl for a week.  She had pneumonia, along with many other health problems.  We weren’t sure she would make it.  But, she was a tough little girl and survived.  I picked her up from the vet a week later and brought her home.  The Rescue still wanted to take her in (no matter how old she was), but I felt so sorry for her.  I decided to keep her.
I have always adopted adult dogs (5 or 6 years old).  I have never adopted an elderly dog before.  The vet estimated her age between 15 – 17 years old or older.
She had many physical health problems.  She could not hear, had limited eyesight, she had no voice (she had been debarked), Cushings Disease, Liver Tumor, concave back and very bad teeth.  When the vet cleaned her teeth she told me that she had never seen such bad teeth in a dog.  Not only did teeth have to be pulled, but there was a foxtail wedged in the root of her tooth.
I could tell by looking at her that this sweet girl had a horrible life.  I believe she spent her entire life as a backyard breeding dog in a kennel having puppies. 
As I drove home from the vet with her, I heard myself saying “what am I going to do with this dog?”  She’s old and sickly.  And I shamefully admit I didn’t want to adopt her.  Little did I know the amount of love and joy this elderly dog would bring in to my life.  I named her….Maggie.
When I first brought her home she would cringe when I would try to pet her. She had no social skills. She was afraid of humans.  As time went on she let me pet her, hold her and she would give me little kisses.
Her greatest pleasure was meal time.  I don’t think I have ever seen a dog so excited about her meals.  Maggie had a joy for life.  She enjoyed the simple things….meal time and a soft bed.  She seemed so appreciative of everything I did for her.   Every time I looked at her, she would make me smile.
Maggie sleeping

Maggie in her bed

I have loved every one of my dogs, but Maggie was special.
Only a dog….only Maggie could have the forgiveness in her heart to love people again. After being treated so badly her entire life she was capable of loving people.
I learned more from this little girl than I ever thought I could. People would say that she was lucky that I took her in.  But I was the lucky one. She gave me so much.  Friends told me how kind I was that I took in this elderly, sickly dog, but it was Maggie that showed me how wonderful an elderly dog can be.
Although I only had her for a short time….I had to put her to sleep in July 2012, she taught me so much.
Maggie gave me an appreciation for the elderly dog. I would not hesitate to take another one in.  The senior dog that no one wanted became one of the sweetest dogs I have ever had. 
I miss her so much.  It was Maggie….this elderly, sickly Wire Fox Terrier that showed me how wonderful an older pet can be.
I am honored to have had Maggie in my life.  That elderly, sweet girl that I will never forget.  It is for her that I continue to rescue / adopt senior dogs.
Because of Maggie I recently adopted Buddy (aka Washington), a 17 year old Miniature Poodle who was surrendered by his owner to the same shelter.  He is such a sweetheart.


Thank you,  Maggie.  Thank you for showing me how wonderful an elderly dog can be.
 Thank you, Janette, for sharing with us Maggie’s story.  We are glad that she was able to spend the remainder of her life in loving arms.  
Maggie and Buddy have been lucky enough to retire in peace with people who truly care about their happiness.  Yet, so many senior dogs are passed over in their shelter kennels purely because of their age.  These dogs deserve to spend their golden years being loved.  Who knows in what condition they’ve spent their lives, but it was with people who gave up on them.  They need our attention just as much as the young pups that so easily steal our hearts.  
 If you are considering adopting an adult dog, please think about giving an elderly dog a chance.  

A Girl with a Heart for Animals

The average person may find it difficult to stand up for something they are passionate about and make a difference—especially when people say they are too young or too old.  Eleven year old Casey didn’t let that stop her from listening to her heart and making the decision to help animals.  She wanted to put her efforts into volunteering at a shelter for her Girl Scout project, but was told by many shelters that she was at least 5 years too young. Despite being discouraged, Casey did not give up. With UHA’s help, Casey finally was allowed to pursue her goal of doing anything she could to make the lives of these animals better.  

Casey, Girl Scout Volunteer

Casey Volunteering at Glamour Shot Day

“For my Girl Scout Bronze Award project, I wanted to do something to help a dog rescue program.” Casey said. “Most of all the rescues or humane societies require volunteers to be 16 or 18.  When we took one of our  rescue dogs for a check-up at Montrose Pet Hospital, I asked Dr. Mitchell if she had any ideas about who I might be able to work with.

“She helped me find Claudia with United Hope for Animals. Claudia met with my mom and I to share ideas.  She thought that it was important to get the word out about the great dogs at the Baldwin Park Shelter, so I decided to make a flyer and post it around La Canada, La Crescenta, Montrose and Pasadena.  

“I also wanted to do something for the dogs, so I made treats for volunteers to give them on Glamour Shot day.  My parents volunteered to work at the adoption events at Petco so I could go along to help.”

The tragic statistics for animals admitted to the shelter added to Casey’s determination. Without a rescue group to advocate for them, many animals have a mere 4 days at the shelter before they are euthanized. This upsetting information fueled Casey’s desire to change the lives of these pets, and her efforts have grown to be much more than a single project.  

Armed with the knowledge she has gained working with UH4A, Casey wants other kids her age to fight for what they’re passionate about, no matter what. According to her mother, she has built valuable communication skills and her confidence in herself has grown.  

 Casey’s mom, Lisa, shares how this project has affected her daughter:

“It has been wonderful watching Casey find an avenue to share her passion about homeless animals.  She spent a lot of time online and with Claudia learning about how United Hope for Animals works.  Spending time at the Baldwin Park facility opened her eyes to the fact that there are many, many people who do not care as deeply as she does about their pets.  She was shocked by the number of people in line to surrender their animals.  

“Casey has become a true advocate for these animals.  She keeps track of the animals that are available and follows up to see who has been adopted or rescued.  She sends emails and talks to family and friends about the importance of spaying/neutering and adoption.  She even collected money for United Hope for Animals in lieu of birthday gifts this year.



“United Hope for Animals put Casey’s donation in use to help pay for Buster’s medical bills.  Buster is a lovable guy who was suffering from an easily-preventable infection of the anal glands.  Read more about Buster’s story here.

 “Casey plans to work on her Girl Scout Silver award this year through United Hope for Animals again.  She looks forward to becoming an official volunteer at the Baldwin Park Shelter when she turns 16.  Until then, she is determined to continue helping with the adoption events and raising awareness about the problem of homeless pets.  

“How many eleven year olds do you know who would ask for donations instead of presents for their birthday?  How many kids would spend so much of their time helping others?  Change always starts with one person listening to their heart.  It doesn’t matter who they are, how old they are, or where they come from.  In this case, the power and passion of one child has made a difference in the lives of so many animals in need.”

United Hope for Animals is proud to help Casey help animals in need.Thank you, Casey, for being such a terrific teammate of United Hope for Animals!