Monday, April 15, 2013


Today's story is very powerful. It was difficult for me to write because it hits very close to home. The story is about Coco, and how she helped Sylvia and her husband heal. This is one of those stories many of us already know; sometimes rescue dogs rescue us.

Sylvia and her husband had hoped to have children. Those hopes were dashed after Sylvia miscarried three times, all past the first trimester. Feeling she just couldn't put herself through any more attempts, they packed up their dreams of being a parent. As anyone who has ever been through something emotionally devastating can tell you, you can push those feelings and grief aside but they don't go away. 

 One day a rottweiler wandered onto their property, and they cared for him until shelter personnel came to get him. After he was gone they realized he had helped fill a little of the void in their life. This sparked a trip to the Upland Animal Shelter in California, and that's where they found Coco.

She was on death row, waiting to be euthanized. Sylvia says, "As I reached the last kennel there was this golden beige shepherd pit bull mix female with ribs protruding and bald spots on her body. She curled up into a ball and shivered but with big beautiful eyes she looked at me and I looked back at her and said this is the one, she needs us, I want to help her."  The shelter people actually tried to dissuade her because they didn't think she'd make it. She had been found roaming the streets, and they considered her a victim of abuse and neglect. She was refusing to eat and she had trust issues. Eventually they gave in but promised a refund if she didn't survive.

When they first brought her home she wouldn't eat, so Sylvia and her husband sat and hand fed her, and she gained trust. They did this every day, and also stayed with her in the yard. They groomed her and snuggled with her each day too. As time went by her hair grew in and her ribs showed less. The day finally came when Coco rolled over on her back and showed her belly, giving total submission to Syl and her husband. 

Coco continued to thrive with her new family. They built hurdles for her to build strength in the yard and walked her everywhere. 

She was fine-tuned into their every emotion too. When they were ill, when they were depressed, when they had anxiety, Coco noticed. Coco was an angel sent to help Sylvia and her husband. Even when they lost their home and business due to the financial crisis of 2008, they kept Coco and their other rescue dogs. 

In the midst of such a devastating loss, after it seemed like God had already given them too many setbacks to bear, the dogs were a reminder that they weren't done with their purpose in this world.  

Coco and her fur siblings (and we will share them soon) are now living in Florida with Sylvia and her husband, who have found a home and a new path in life. 

Through it all, Sylvia considers Coco a life and marriage saver.  There is more than one way dogs can be life-savers, and Sylvia and I both know that. I bet some of you do too. Have you shared your rescue story yet?  People need to know how it can feel to save a life, and sometimes vice versa. 

You can follow Sylvia, Coco, and her other pets on Instagram @lovely_syl. You'll get to see pictures like this one!


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