When most people saw Lady Cherie at the shelter in San Antonio, Texas, where she was staying, they passed her by. Her kennel had a sign reading, “Experienced handlers only,” and for good reason.
The white lab mix dog had had a very rough life, it seemed. No one is exactly sure what happened to her, but her skittishness and her physical condition suggest abuse.
She was found in an apartment complex, bloody and with 12 puppies. A local rescue group took the whole family in, and her puppies were all eventually adopted out to good homes.
Lady Cherie, though, was having a harder time finding a home. She is missing a front paw and had numerous scars all over her body. She also has serious anxiety and is incredibly fearful around new people.
Other dogs aren’t her favorite thing, either, and she’s less than friendly towards them. She’s also deaf and vision-impaired, and had a pretty bad heartworm infection for a while, which required medication.
She was adopted some 10 times, and returned — 10 times. People tried, but they just couldn’t handle her health issues.
It takes a lot of practice and time, as well as a certain disposition, to handle a special needs dog, and not everyone’s cut out for it. So Lady Cherie was all alone in the kennel.
And then Tyrella “Ty” Frank and Renee Bourne showed up. They’d been planning on adopting a black dog, but then they saw Lady Cherie lying alone in her kennel. “We just kind of fell in love,” Ty said.
Lady Cherie, along with her 12 puppies, was rescued from an abandoned complex, bloody and traumatized, probably from abuse.
She and her puppies were transported to a city shelter in San Antonio, and later moved to a local rescue organization’s shelter.
The 12 puppies were all adopted out when they were old enough, but Lady Cherie, with all her physical and emotional problems, was having a harder time finding a home.
Her missing paw, anxiety, and skittishness scared people off. But when Ty Frank and Renee Bourne saw her, they fell in love.
But it wasn’t easy. Ty and Renee both had to spend hours on the floor in front of Lady Cherie’s cage to get her to trust them. Eventually, though, Lady Cherie was won over. She crawled into Renee’s lap.
Tyrella and Renee, knowing about her health problems, offered to foster her, just in case the health issues proved to be too much for them. After a week, they knew that Lady Cherie was there to stay.
“She learned how to play in that week, and she learned what treats were,” Ty says. “She started opening up and really learning how to be a dog, and learning that she didn’t always have to watch her back all the time. It was really uplifting to see. She learned what love actually is.”
Even as her emotional issues calmed, her physical issues were still causing problems. Her missing paw meant that all the strain was on her other three legs. She also had recurring infections.
Then came an injury to her legs that made it impossible for her to walk at all. But Renee and Ty, and Lady Cherie herself were not about to let that stop them.
A trip to Home Depot got them a wagon, and the addition of some blankets, pillows, and plush toys make it cozy and stylish.
“We’ve got a foam mat at the bottom, a comforter, and then a dog bed and toys in it,” Ty says. “She loves it. She’s like, ‘Pamper me. Pull me around.’” And it’s pretty great for napping on the go, too.
Just like many other people with special needs dogs, Renee and Ty are also sure to make everyone else aware of Lady Cherie’s limitations with the help of a little sign.
This makes sure that Lady Cherie is kept safe and stress-free, and also keeps others safe and aware, too. Despite her health issues, Lady Cherie is in good spirits.
“In the morning, when we get up, she’s immediately happy,” Ty says. “Her tail’s wagging. and she’s whining and talking to us. She can’t walk, but she’s still happy. Everything revolves around her, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Neither of us would. She’s just worth it.”
Lady Cherie even got a handmade, custom leather collar, complete with beautifully painted flower decorations.
She’s finally getting the love and attention she always deserved, and she’s getting to do what she was always meant to do: be part of a happy family.
However, her health issues continue to cause her pain, and right now, Renee and Ty are raising money to get her the treatment she needs.
Her injuries include a torn ACL from the strain of walking on three legs. She’s awaiting surgery to correct the issue.
If you want to help out this special dog, you can donate on her fundraising page. You can also keep up with her adventures in the wagon on her Facebook page.
And SHARE her story to get her the care she needs!