“We thought we’d lost her,” says Hempstead Town Animal Shelter staff member Melissa Fogarty of Tara, the shelter’s single longest resident, who overcame the odds to beat an illness that nearly took her life.
To understand what makes Tara and her recovery so extraordinary, you must go back more than three years to the very beginning, when the little black Kelpie mix arrived with her three tiny puppies.
Tara’s former owners surrendered her and her puppies without a backwards glance; one of the puppies was injured, and shelter staff were given very little information about their past. “They just seemed done with her,” explains Fogarty, who at the time had no way of anticipating that Tara would remain at the shelter for many years to come.
The puppies were adopted quickly, leaving Tara alone and afraid of her surroundings. In the beginning, she spent most of the time with her tail tucked between her legs, and although she was friendly with people, she had a hard time truly trusting them.
As the weeks passed into months, the staff and volunteers at Hempstead shelter taughtTara how to love again. Volunteer Bonnie Zarillo, who works with plants, took her on long walks to the nursery, where she happily sniffed everything in sight.
With no potential adopters on the horizon, the staff saw that living in the kennels was no longer a viable option for Tara. She was getting older, and the stress was taking a toll. She now lives in a crate inside the adoptions office, where she has people around during work hours. She knows when to ask to go potty, and she loves nothing more than greeting her friends and sitting in their laps.
About a year ago, tragedy struck. Tara was diagnosed with a blood disorder, and she rapidly lost weight. She was hooked to an IV, and the vets discovered that she also had hyperthyroidism. On her back, she developed a staph infection, and her skin deteriorated.
Perhaps most shelters would have given up, but the devoted team at Hempstead fought each day for Tara. The resident veterinarian poured all his energy into healing her, and her most recent blood test confirms that Tara’s blood disorder is very much under control. Her life is no longer in danger.
Although her friends at the shelter are more than relieved to see Tara wagging her tail and giving kisses again, they long for her to be adopted or taken into foster. She’s been through so much heartache and trauma, and it’s painful to see her living out her senior years without a real family.
“She really just wants to be loved,” says Forgarty, in hopes that someday soon Tara’s wish will become a reality. She is healthy now, and she has as much comfort as a dog in a shelter can, but she can not be truly happy until she has someone of her own. A crate in a shelter, suggests Forgarty, is no place for a dog to live, especially one like Tara who has gone through hell and come out the other side.
Tara would like to be an only pet in a home where she can feel safe. Her ideal person is someone who can take the time to make her feel comfortable and continue to keep up with her health requirements. If you think you might be Tara’s forever family, please contact the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter at (516) 785-5220 or via email atanimalinfo@. Tara is currently the Hempstead Shelter ‘Dog of the Month,’ meaning that her adoption fee has been waived! Follow her on Facebook at Tara Needs a Home.
Featured image via Hempstead Town Animal Shelter