HOME AT LAST

Priceless Penny, a love story...

(...or life can be better the third time around)


Penny, the Jack Russell terrier mix adopted by Pamela Terry, right.

Photos courtesy of Pamela Terry
Published: Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 4:23 p.m.

“Home at Last: Tales of Rescue,” coordinated by Hilary Hynes at Alachua County Animal Services, profiles the success stories of families and their rescue pets.

Facts

SAVE AN ANIMAL’S LIFE

Penny is one of many animals that find their way into animal shelters across the country. It takes only a few minutes to visit your local animal shelter or rescue group. That visit could save a life. There are many ways to look for your new four-legged family companion. Petfinder online or Pet Harbor online are two. Alachua County Animal Services is always here to help. For more information on adoption, stop by.

Hilary Hynes, public education program coordinator, Canine Good Citizen evaluator, Alachua County Animal Services, 3400 NE 53rd Ave., Gainesville, 264-6881, 213-1241, heh@alachuacounty.us.

It’s not that Penny wasn’t appealing: Quite to the contrary.

Yet after this engaging Jack Russell terrier mix was turned over to the Alachua County Animal Services Shelter along with her family’s other pets, she languished waiting for a home, as older pets often do.

Then a sparkling appearance on a television adopt-a-pet segment earned her 15 minutes of fame, and along with it, a new adoptive family of her own.

But there was no Hollywood ending to this story — at least not yet. The family soon discovered Penny didn’t appear to be housebroken. A visit to the veterinarian and a course of antibiotics didn’t help. After one accident too many, Penny found herself back in the animal shelter.

So the folks at animal services did what they often do in such cases — turned to social media for help. Up went the story of Penny to their Facebook page, and along came Pamela Terry, who picks up the tale from here:

“I came across this one post by a friend about a little dog named Penny.... It talked about how she had been adopted and then brought back because she had accidents on the floor.

“She had no time left at the facility and was scheduled for euthanasia,” says Terry, a dog trainer and veterinary technician at the Live Oak Animal Clinic in Summerfield.

“Now mind you, I see hundreds of posts about dogs in dire need. I also see them in person daily, as I work at a veterinarian’s office, but something spoke to me about this girl. I spoke with my daughter and we both agreed.”

Terry had a sixth sense about Penny’s accidents. So after adopting her, she asked Live Oak Clinic’s veterinarian Douglas Shearer if he would ultrasound her bladder. Her suspicions were confirmed: Penny had a large bladder stone.

Since Dr. Shearer performed the surgery to remove the stone, Penny has had no more accidents. And she’s been busy in a new role: Comforter-in-Chief.

“About a week after getting Penny, I fell and fractured both wrists,” says Terry. “Penny has not left my side throughout the whole ordeal. She’s been so attentive to me, my little bit of sunshine through all of this. I’ve learned that she dances and loves to cuddle under the covers. She has a sparkle in her eyes that tells me ‘thank you’ every time I look at her.”

Terry laments the countless pets who have become victims of what she calls our “throwaway society.”

“I would ask everyone to give the animals in shelters a second look … a second chance at life,” she says. “You won’t regret doing so. There are wonderful veterinarians out there that are willing to help those shelter pets in need of medical help like Penny. Don’t discount a pet in need. You will be rewarded tenfold every day.”

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