The Little Pup that Could
The team at the Boone County Animal Shelter is no stranger to taking in sick or injured animals. But on September 12, 2023, they were faced with a very concerning situation. A passerby found and brought in a severely injured toy poodle puppy (soon-to-be named Annie).
“Annie was lethargic, non-responsive and could barely lift her head when she got here,” recalls Sloane Lee, manager at the Boone County Animal Shelter. “Our medical staff immediately went to work, removing the makeshift bandage on her left front leg to find a catastrophic injury.”
The injury had caused a serious infection that Annie’s small body was struggling to fight off. The leg was cold to the touch when shelter staff examined her. X-rays and a veterinary consultation confirmed that she needed her leg amputated.
Shelter staff were worried about Annie’s chances of survival as she headed into surgery. But, Annie surprised them all with a fighting spirit far bigger than her tiny stature at just 3.9 pounds.
“After several days in our medical ward, with staff closely and constantly monitoring her, Annie was cleared to go to a foster home,” shares Sloane.
Finding A Furever Home for Annie
It was important to find the right home for Annie. The little fighter wasn’t ready to be adopted as she was still recovering from surgery and her infection. Colleen Bray, Director of Boone County Animal Care & Control knew just who to call.
“We needed to find a family that would be willing and able to care for Annie’s complex medical needs as she healed and began to thrive,” Colleen says. “A colleague had mentioned in passing that he and his wife were starting to think they were ready to open their home to a dog again. They thought they were looking for a bigger, senior dog with special needs.”
That colleague was Jason Gamble, Director of Information Services at Boone County. His wife, Sandy Gamble, also works for the County as Quality Control Coordinator in Assisted Housing. They headed over to the shelter shortly after receiving Colleen’s call. As soon as they met Annie, they knew she was meant to be a permanent part of their family.
“We fell in love with Annie immediately,” Jason says. “We knew it was a good match when we saw how quickly she felt comfortable with us, too.”
Sandy agrees. “We were going to wait a few more years before looking into another dog. But once we met Annie, we couldn’t wait. She needed a good home now – and she stole our hearts as soon as we laid eyes on her.”
Today, Annie is an indispensable part of the Gamble family and tips the scales at a whooping 6.8 pounds (nearly double her weight when she first arrived at the shelter). She quickly made herself at home and surprised, and delighted, Jason and Sandy with her puppy antics.
“Having only three legs does not slow her down. She loves running around and playing in the backyard. And like all puppies, she gets the zoomies,” says Jason.
“We are constantly shocked by all she can – and does – do,” adds Sandy. “We just caught her trying to run along and jump off the back of the couch. We’ve had to puppy-proof the house!"
Annie has a bright future ahead, thanks to the Gambles and the staff at the Boone County Animal Shelter. The Gambles plan to adopt Annie as soon as she’s healthy enough to leave the shelter’s care.
“We provide medical care to our animals with complex health issues,” shares Sloane. “In Annie’s case, she’ll be eligible for adoption once our veterinary team is pleased with how she’s healing. She was just spayed and did wonderful.”
As for the Gambles, they can’t wait to share their love of outdoors with Annie. They make regular camping trips with friends – many of which have pups of their own.
“Annie is going to have plenty of playmates on the campground,” they share. Jason and Sandy plan on setting up a safe (and relaxing) space on their boat. “Our last dog loved going on boat rides and being in the water. We can’t wait to share that experience with Annie when the weather warms up.”
It goes without saying that the Gambles are extremely thankful for Boone County Animal Shelter.
“The staff and Friends of the Shelter do an amazing job and are a fantastic resource for the community. They have wonderful animals in search of forever homes. “It feels amazing to be part of giving Annie a second chance at happily ever after,” share Jason and Sandy.
Building A Pawsitive Future
The Ron and Sherrie Lou Noel Boone County Animal Shelter will continue to support – and advance – the shelter when responding to situations like Annie’s. The new location will have dedicated clinical, surgical and recovery suites. The current shelter has only one (small) dedicated clinic space. Separate areas in the new shelter ultimately allow staff and local veterinarians to provide more services to animals in need.
Features of the clinical, surgical and recovery suites include:
- The Joanie Bernard Foundation Clinic with a dedicated space and resources for spaying and neutering of community cats.
- A dedicated quarantine/observation room with a large viewing window, right next to the vet’s office. This allows shelter staff to keep a constant eye on medically fragile animals.
- A prep area for animals getting ready for surgery. Shelter staff will be able to safely prepare animals in a less crowded and stressful environment.
- A new surgical suite with improved airflow to reduce the risk of infection during surgery.
- A quieter recovery area for animals in good health to rest and recover after procedures are complete.
- A dedicated, secure pharmacy that makes it easier for approved staff to access needed medication.
The Boone County Animal Shelter is currently raising funds to support programs and services in their new location. Help pets like Annie have a chance at a brighter, healthier future. Donate today.
The Horizon Fund is facilitating and managing donations on behalf of the Boone County Animal Shelter. Please be sure to select “Boone County Animal Shelter Building Fund” for your donation.
Learn more about the Boone County Animal Shelter.