If you ever wondered if the individuals in animal rescue groups have a hard time saying goodbye to the pets they rescue and nurse back to health — you will want to read this story.
Atlas found the perfect home with a life on the road, but the adoption almost didn’t happen because of the bond he and his rescuer shared.
Atlas is a St. Bernard/Collie mix that was rescued from a trailer park by Tania, a Dog Coordinator for the Heaven Can Wait Animal Society in Las Vegas, NV.
Tania said, “I received a call from a woman who found Atlas wandering down the street with a nasty cut on his leg. He was severely matted and filthy and terrified. Although the woman attempted to do the right thing, she had him chained to a tree in the middle of the summer with hardly any shade. Dog food was strewn on the ground and covered in ants and there was only a bit of water in a filthy plastic bowl.”
When Tania took Atlas to the HCWS headquarters he was too afraid to walk inside, so she picked up “all 55 pounds of him” and carried him in. His tail was tucked between his legs and he refused to look at her. Tania gently bathed and brushed him and let him rest for the night.
“After a few days of spending time with Atlas, I walked into the room to get him ready for his daily walk and he almost tackled me to the floor. He was wagging his tail and licking me to death. Atlas was a completely different dog and so happy to see me!”
“From that day forward Atlas would bounce like a bunny in the yard and run and play with the tennis balls I threw for him. He never left my side and when it was time to go in, if he ran ahead he would peek around the fence to make sure I was coming,” said Tania.
Rehabilitation and Adoption
Finally Atlas was ready to move to the next part of his rehabilitation. Tania took him to the Pups on Parole program where dogs live with female inmates. It is a transition program that gets homeless dogs ready to live with a new adopted family.
Tania was able to see Atlas twice a week during his training sessions, but she knew soon he would be ready to find a permanent home.
She tried to prepare for the day when she would have to say goodbye, but she wasn’t ready for a call from a trucker.
Norma, a cross country truck driver wanted to adopt Atlas. She saw a picture of him online and desperately wanted to give him a home. Norma had recently lost her dog who had accompanied her on the road for many years.
At first Tania declined Norma’s adoption request because she wouldn’t be able to check-in on Atlas if he lived on the road. Tania had secretly hoped for an open adoption for Atlas where she could drop by whenever she wanted.
But Norma did not give up. She bombarded Tania with references of family, friends, veterinarians, pet stores and even pet friendly restaurants all across the country.
Then Norma came to town to meet Atlas. When the introductions were made Atlas ran to Norma like she was his long lost buddy. Tania knew she had to make a decision.
“So I did what was best for Atlas and let him go to his new home knowing that he needed what was best and that Norma could provide it for him.”
Atlas loves his new life as a traveling dog and is spoiled rotten by Norma. Tania said, “He’s been to more states and landmarks than I have!”
Norma understands the bond between Tania and Atlas and sends pictures and updates from the road. She even brings Atlas to visit when they pass through town.
“He’s gained weight and is the biggest goofball you will ever meet — he even sits in the front and helps navigate,” bragged Tania.
And recently Atlas became a big brother when Norma adopted another dog named Tyson.
Click Here to see more pictures of Atlas on the road.
Photo from: Heaven Can Wait Animal Society