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As Sarabi enjoys bacon and cheese filled treats at her new forever home, it’s hard to believe she was once among a pack of starving pets slave to a hoarding case.
“When we first brought her home, she was very nervous and timid and would not do anything but lay under the kitchen table,” Sarabi’s new owners, Andrew and Taylor, recall. “After about a week she was learning her name and using the bathroom outside. This was a huge step. By the second week, she was playing with us and meeting us at the door every day wagging her tail.”
Sarabi came from a hoarding case in South Georgia where a resident had been collecting dogs for years. His neighbors complained to the authorities on many occasions as the dogs often roamed in packs scavenging for food.
When authorities arrived at the scene, they discovered dogs hidden in abandoned cars, pipes, crates, and even in a historic church that was on the property. More than seventy dogs were surrendered and the resident was arrested for animal abuse.
With a $17,500 emergency relief grant from PetSmart Charities, the Thomasville-Thomas County Humane Society was able to vaccinate, medicate, transfer, sterilize, microchip, foster and/or adopt this very large number of dogs including Sarabi.
“When we adopted Sarabi, we had no idea the impact she would make on our lives,” says Taylor. After adopting Sarabi, Andrew was in a car accident that landed him in the hospital for over two weeks. A friend of the couple offered to take in Sarabi while Andrew was in the hospital. Taylor would visit Sarabi at her friend’s house between work and tending to Andrew in the hospital.
“I realized that Sarabi had become my “happy place,” says Taylor. “Seeing her made me feel warm, safe, and happy. Knowing that she would be there waiting for me and seeing her smile and wag her tail was one of the best sights.” Taylor would take videos of her and pictures and send them to Andrew. The videos gave him peace knowing she was ok and also helped him heal faster by giving him the inspiration to keep pushing. “She came at a time when we needed her most to help keep us going and keep a smile on our faces by seeing hers,” says Taylor.
Unlike Sarabi, many of hoarded dogs had not been socialized and or experienced human contact at all. Lack of socialization made it challenging to foster or transfer the pets to other facilities but, thanks to the grant, shelter staff was able to continue working with the dogs.
To-date, 31 dogs have been adopted; two dogs are in foster homes and 10 dogs have been spayed/ neutered, microchipped and are ready for adoption. Without this grant, many of the dogs would have been euthanized, but with the added resources, the Thomasville-Thomas County Humane Society has been able to save them all.