Hello Friends, Happy March!
In my quest to share a little bit of Asheville’s animal rescue and photography, I introduced you to an amazing little dog named Einstein last month. This month, I’m introducing you to a darling little guy named Toby. He was pulled off the road in Western North Carolina in 2014 and pulled into the shelter system in Transylvania County. Frightened, hungry and a little out of his mind – he was held at the shelter and stayed for a few months. His intake picture says much more than I can. His shelter notes mention that he was shy, timid, frightened and cage aggressive. (Not a great combination for a quick and easy adoption.)
A few months later, he was noticed and pulled into an amazing rescue organization called Charlie’s Angels Animal Rescue based in Fletcher, NC. (Here’s a little bit of info from their website:)
About Charlie’s Angels Animal Rescue
“Charlie’s Angels Animal Rescue was founded in early 2009 with the goal of rescuing animals
from the high-kill animal shelter in Transylvania County, NC. In 2008, records show that 71
percent of the animals brought to the Transylvania County animal shelter were euthanized. By
2009, 80 percent of the animals were being saved thanks in large part to the efforts of Charlie’s
Angels volunteers. The organization’s founder was Evelyn Bridges, who left the group in 2012.
What began as a small group has evolved into one of the leading animal rescue groups in western North Carolina. Charlie’s Angels now rescues animals in counties throughout Western North Carolina and in Upstate South Carolina.In 2012 Charlie’s Angels expanded its scope of services and opened its own shelter in Henderson County, NC. The organization remains dedicated to rescuing homeless, abandoned, and often neglected animals from area shelters and helping them find their “furever” homes through local adoptions or through transportation to one of the many rescue groups the organization works with in Northern states.”
Toby’s road to rehabilitation
Once Toby (previously named Hero) was in rescue, he started to come out of his shell. He was placed in a foster home and with time, love and incredible patience, he was able to relax a little bit. He still showed signs of stress and had a tremendous dislike for most men but love was winning. Hero was safe and I think he understood that he was going to be okay. He still had a long road to go before he would finally find a permanent home.
Back in November 2015, Hero finally found a place to call forever home. He was adopted by a wonderful family in Arden, NC and they had nothing but love, patience and infinite understanding of his situation. He still wasn’t too cool with the men of the house but he really seemed to get along with his adopted Mom, Kristen. They formed an immediate bond and I think that helped Toby understand that he was going to be taken care of and loved for the rest of his life.
Toby’s forever home
Over the next year, Toby began to understand that he was finally home and that he had a welcome place at the hearth. It was a slow progression but Kristen talked about the moment when she felt like Toby really understood that he was home. She picked up a special bandana at the pet store and brought it home as a gift. When she pulled it out of the bag, He sniffed it and allowed her to hang it around his neck and shoulders. She said that suddenly, there was a quiet change that came over him. He sat there and looked at her but his body language had changed. He sat straight up, looked at her and then started prancing around the room!
Kristen said that she believes in this moment, Toby understood that he had been given a gift. He finally had a place where he wasn’t going to leave. He was always going to have a full belly and that he would be loved till his last day. She likened the bandana to a Harry Potter story…you know where Dobby the house elf had been given a sock?
Toby’s photo session
Toby wore his scarf for his session with me and pranced around the studio like he owned the place!
I learned another thing about Toby during our session that happened by accident. At some point during photos, I noticed a speck on the backdrop and discovered that it was a stink bug. I absolutely hate squishing bugs in the studio and would rather let them go outside… I most certainly didn’t want to squish a stink bug. (You get double negative points on that one because they get you with that one last stink smell. ) Kristen pointed to the bug and said, “Toby, stink bug!”
Much to my shock, Toby ate the stink bug. He’ll get right up in your face for some praise and blow his stinky breath all over your face. Kristen and her family are continually working on trust with Toby. They are always quick to give love and treats when he does something wonderful too. Toby has come a long way since his official adoption.
Once Toby took care of the stink bug and demonstrated his new trust skills, I decided that it was time to dump the toy bin and let him pick a very special toy to take home with him. At first, I think he was a little overwhelmed, but he soon settled down to find just the perfect toy for him. He sampled and squeaked every single toy in the bin until he found one that was absolutely perfect.
The rest of the session was full of laughs and plenty of peanut butter.
I can’t even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed meeting and photographing this remarkable dog. Hearing his story and all the pieces that fell in to place perfectly for his adoption makes me think that sometimes, the universe puts things right smack in front of us for a grand reason. Personally, I think it was meant to be that Toby found just exactly what he needed in the Stover family and likewise Toby helps fill their hearts with joy. I think Charlie’s Angels knew that he needed to be in their care and I think that while his transition from originally being in a terrible street situation to the shelter was rocky, it was ultimately the perfect thing to happen.
It makes my heart so happy to hear about these stories of rescue, rehab and rehome. It makes the rescue effort worth it. Good things happen when we all reach out and work together for a common cause.
If you want to make your heart happy in rescue, consider donating to Charlie’s Angels Animal Rescue in Fletcher, NC. They do amazing things with grateful hearts and will welcome you into the rescue effort with open arms. Check out their website and give them a “like” on Facebook. I know they appreciate all love and so do I.
Until next time, my friends…
Wag more, bark less