From the Beginning
Hope Animal Rescue was founded in 2013 by a mother-daughter team who were compelled to make a difference after seeing the fate of shelter dogs in North Carolina. What started as volunteering at a local shelter turned into a life-mission to save dogs after a puppy named Paloma was euthanized. The following is her story as told by our founder, Cathy.
“Paloma was a six month old pup who landed in a local shelter I was volunteering for. I looked forward to seeing her the most each morning because she was just the sweetest puppy. She was so full of playful energy, and the volunteers absolutely loved her. She was a happy little girl despite her dismal surroundings.
I was always surprised she was still at the shelter, but sadly, it didn’t matter that she was an adorable puppy. She had been labeled a Pit Bull.
One morning I noticed Paloma’s kennel was occupied by another dog. I told a volunteer about it, sure someone made a mistake. They hadn’t. She had intentially been taken off of the adoption floor.
She had become nippy with a volunteer, and it was the shelter’s policy to euthanize dogs they deemed aggressive. I was heartbroken. Another volunteer told me that she would take a Kong filled to the brim with peanut butter and just sit with them, knowing their time was coming. Even though it hurt, she said she did it so the unlucky ones would experience love during their last moments.
So that’s what I did for Paloma. I cried the entire time. It broke my heart and I felt powerless to do anything to change it.
They took her on a final walk. I left, but promised she wouldn’t die in vain.
Days later I stumbled upon a plea to help an old shelter dog, so my daughter and I made the trip first thing the next morning. We were going to save him and find him a home, despite having no idea how we were going to do it. No plan, just the will to do something.
Thankfully, there was already someone there to save him, but we couldn’t leave empty-handed. We ended up ‘adopting’ Henry that day (we were not a rescue just yet), and worked on finding him a true forever home. That started the course of our journey and gave me my life’s passion – saving those in need.
Paloma changed the course of my life forever. While I wasn’t able to change the course of hers, we honor her memory by rescuing other at-risk pets. Paloma’s Promise lives on in our mission, and our desire to change the future for those in similar positions as her.
Sadly, we don’t have a picture of Paloma. She was erased from all online sources before we could get one – as if she never even existed. However, she can never be erased from our hearts, where she will live on forever. We’re keeping our promise to Paloma, but we still have much more work to do.”
– Cathy, Founder