Timmy looked up at Terry Maguire-Casillas with something close to adoration in his brown eyes. The gentle brown Labrador and blackmouth cur mix, about 7 years old, stood in his wheelchair, his front left foot raised and curled, his pointy tail beating a rhythmic, contented thump-thump on the wheelchair’s metal frame.
Timmy has had a hard life, but now, things are a lot different.
“Timmy was rescued near Hattiesburg,” Maguire-Casillas said. He and another dog escaped from their abusive home on a large parcel of land, but some of the other dogs there weren’t as fortunate; their bodies were found on the property.
“He has a lot of BB pellets and shot still in him,” said Kristy Sheffield, practice manager and animal behavior specialist at Lakeview Animal Hospital in D’Iberville. Timmy has a shattered front shoulder and arm, hence the wheelchair. The evidence suggests the shots occurred over time, not during just one incident.
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“We were hoping he could get a prosthetic. A lady saw him online and donated the wheelchair. I think she might have had a dog that once needed it,” Maguire-Casillas said.
She is the president of Tired Dog Rescue, a nonprofit organization on the Mississippi Gulf Coast that offers foster homes and opportunities for adoption for animals that likely wouldn’t make it in a shelter. The group focuses on cocker spaniels and miniature Schnauzers but will take in other smaller breeds or, like Timmy, special cases that need TLC.
The dogs often are older and might be deaf, blind or heartworm positive. Sometimes they have been abused, sometimes they were abandoned. Some just linger too long at a shelter, looked over in favor of younger, more “perfect” models. Often, shelters will contact Maguire-Casillas if they have a candidate.
“I’m in here all the time,” she said with a laugh, referring to Lakeview, which regularly handles the dogs’ health care. It’s not pro bono work, though; Tired Dog Rescue accumulates a vet bill, which they attempt to cover through donations and money collected from fund raisers.
Victoria is a stunning silver buff cocker spaniel who was in getting her final checkup before going to her new home in Connecticut. In “Lady and the Tramp” style, she certainly turned the eye of Harold, a thin but sweet-spirited hound who was dropped off on someone’s property, Maguire-Casillas said. His weight has been slowly but steadily increasing since Tired Dog Rescue took him in. He’s being treated for dry eye and, like most of the others, heartworm.
“Heartworm is pretty much the norm for us,” Maguire-Casillas said.
Another cocker, Audrey, is getting cherry eye repair, dental work and spaying as well as heartworm treatment.
Some dogs, like Anna, a dapple dachshund, come from good homes. In Anna’s case, both of her owners were older and one suffered a stroke, so they had to give her up.
The dogs live with foster parents until they are adopted. Sometimes, the best-laid foster plans don’t turn out as expected.
“I’m a foster failure,” Lakeview technician Betina Elia said, laughing. She had fostered four dogs from Tired Dog, but she fell in love with all of them and adopted them.
‘This is an issue’
Maguire-Casillas started Tired Dog Rescue in 2008 when she and her husband saw a cocker spaniel in a pet store. While searching online for information about the breed, she came across information on rescue organizations.
“I said, ‘Oh my gosh, this is an issue,’” she recalled. The interest led to acquiring Stanley, who is still part of the family. Today, Tired Dog Rescue handles about 150 dogs a year. When an animal becomes available, there is an application process.
“We do a home visit, and there’s a meet and greet,” Maguire-Casillas said. “We also let whoever is adopting foster the dog for a couple of weeks to make sure it’s a good fit all around, for the dogs as well as the people. We try to match them as well as we can with the family. And our fees never go higher than $250.”
Sheffield has given Timmy the green light for going to a foster home.
“He can go to a foster home now; he’ll have to wait to be adopted until after his heartworm treatment,” Maguire-Casillas said. “We’re always looking for more foster homes.”
Timmy looked up from his wheelchair as she talked. A rug had been placed on the wood floor ahead of the dog; he’s not fond of the slick, cold floor. But instead of moving forward, Timmy just looked content hanging out in the device.
“I’ve seen him nod off to sleep in it,” Sheffield said as she slowly began releasing him to go outside for a break. Timmy gave her the same soulful expression.
“Yes, I definitely think they’re grateful,” Maguire-Casillas said. “Rescued animals know the difference in their lives, and they show their gratitude.”
About Tired Dog Rescue
Tired Dog Rescue, based on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, is a nonprofit organization on the Mississippi Gulf Coast that offers foster homes and opportunities for adoption for animals that likely wouldn’t make it in a shelter. The group focuses on cocker spaniels and miniature Schnauzers but will take in other smaller breeds. The dogs often are older and might be deaf, blind or heartworm positive.
The organization relies totally on donations and on money received through fundraisers.
For more information on Tired Dog Rescue, go to tireddogrescue.com, visit the organization’s Facebook page by searching “Tired Dog Rescue” or call (228) 254-6305.