by Lorin Michel Tuesday, September 24, 2013 10:48 PM

Regular readers know that I’m a dog lover. On my Facebook page, most of my page likes are dog-related. When I post, it is often a picture of Cooper doing something Cooper-ish. Before Cooper, I posted pictures of Maguire being Maguire. Most if not all of my FB friends are animal lovers and many devote a great deal of time to animal rescue organizations. I always marvel that they have the strength to surround themselves with dogs that have been horribly abused and neglected. They take these creatures into their homes, foster them back to health and then work to re-home the dogs to a family that will love them like they’re supposed to be loved.

My friend Diane has long been involved in animal rights and rescue groups, and currently spends a great deal of time fostering puppies often accompanied by their mother, animals that have been dumped at an animal shelter and are scheduled to be euthanized. Instead, she has converted her garage into a puppy den. I asked her once how many puppies she had nurtured. I don’t remember the total but I believe it was in the hundreds.

She currently works with an organization that, until she started working with them, I had never heard of. This isn’t necessarily relevant because there are dozens of animal rescue groups in every city in the country. Only the big ones seem to get press. But this one is becoming bigger and getting more press. Today there was a story on Huffington Post.

Meet Bill and the foundation named in his honor.

Bill was a 10-month-old Golden Retriever and Lab mix that Jo and Peter Forman found starving and filthy, foraging in a trashcan for food. It was August of 1988. Dog lovers, the Forman’s took him home, gave him a much needed bath and fed him some quality food. He became part of their family and brought laughter and joy for another ten years before dying of cancer. That’s when Jo and Peter decided that if they had saved one dog, they could save other dogs that had been abandoned, neglected and abused.

It’s a common meme in the animal rescue community because they all have a common goal. The amount of animals that are abused never ceases to distress me. I read the stories and I find myself in tears, wondering and asking to no one in particular and to humanity at large, how could a human being do this to a living creature? Just in the last few days someone posted on Facebook about a family who had moved out of their Palmdale home and left their dog standing in the driveway, watching them drive away. This kind of story is one posted too often, as are the stories of animal hoarders and those of abuse. Also this week I read about a Massachusetts puppy they’re calling Puppy Doe, who was tortured and killed. There is a reward of at least $5000 being offered by the police and local groups to find who committed un-shareable horrors on an innocent pit bull.

Today, on HuffPo, there was a story about a severely neglected dog named Carly who had been dropped at a Los Angele Animal Shelter. Annie Hart, who runs Bill Foundation, didn’t know which one so she recruited a team of volunteers to go look for the little dog with the matted fur and the horrible eye and skin infection. It took four days but they found her and took her to a vet who shaved away the matted fur and worked to treat the extensive skin issues. Vets who work with rescue groups are used to seeing abuse cases. They are no doubt appalled but they treat the animal and then release the dog into foster care. But this vet fell in love with Carly, so much so that she fostered the dog herself until she could be placed in her forever home. That was in May. Carly is now happy and healthy, and living with a loving family.

It’s hard to watch at first, but it has a very happy ending because of Bill Foundation.

Bill Foundation, named for the beloved Golden Retriever Bill, works continuously to save dogs. Their tagline is “Dog by Dog” and their philosophy is that it takes a village. They have a community of volunteers, donors, fosters, adopters and fans who are as inspired as Diane, as inspired as all of us, to help.

Dog by dog. That’s worth celebrating every day. 

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