Polka Dogz Pet Rescue of Central Florida is a prime example of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
According to the Humane Society of the United States 2.4 million healthy companion animals are put down in U.S. shelters every year. That comes out to one every 13 seconds. Rescue organizations are making great strides in combating animal abuse in all forms; not just the large organizations like Humane Society of the United States and ASPCA, but, the smaller, lesser known ones such as Polka Dogz Pet Rescue.
These small, regional rescues have also taken on the daunting task of saving the forgotten, the injured and the abandoned. Polka Dogz Pet Rescue, a registered 501(c) 3 was founded in 2015 and started its lifesaving work in a small, but cozy travel trailer. Their main mission is to rescue, rehabilitate, and re-home dogs while educating the community on responsible pet ownership.
Because their focus is on special needs and senior dogs, they are constantly getting hit hard with medical bills. One example of this was the rescue of Dex from a kill shelter in Florida. Poor Dex was in his kennel at the shelter curled up in a ball, filled with fleas, skin lesions, and extremely painful ulcerations in his eyes resulting in his inability to see. He was emaciated from lack of food, and his poor little body was filled with pain. When his family was contacted by the shelter, they stated they didn’t want him, as if he was nothing more than a disposable piece of garbage.
But Polka Dogz Pet Rescue saw the beauty beyond the mangled body and ulcerated eyes. They knew his vet bills would be high, but he was worth it. They arranged for immediate surgery on both of Dex’s eyes but only one was saved. However, despite the loss of the one eye, Dex is now a happy dog who loves to play with his toys, his favorite being his frisbee.
Another Polka Dogz miracle dog is Maverick. He was hit by a car, but the driver drove on; never even getting out to check on him. The dog was left lying there with a mangled leg. To the person who hit him and to the many who passed him by, Maverick was nothing more than another nameless, faceless, stray – a “nuisance” to society.
As if Maverick wasn’t already in pain, another car ran over him again, breaking his back and leaving him in excruciating pain. He would have died a horrible painful death if not for the Good Samaritan who stopped and took Maverick immediately to Polka Dogz Pet Rescue. There he received lifesaving surgery and finally knew love for the first time in his life.
Perhaps, the most amazing, miraculous story of rescue is that of Baby Nina who came to Polka Dogz just months after they started. When she first arrived, she was literally a walking skeleton. She was in the worst condition anyone had ever seen on a dog. But this little girl was a warrior! Even doctors could not understand how she had suffered as much as she did, yet still survived!
Besides being extremely emaciated, she had EPI, Diabetes, Ehrlichia canis, and kidney disease, but this spunky little gal loved life and wasn’t going to give up. For three years, Baby Nina lived a joyous life loved with her foster mom Nina Lizzoli Underwood and the entire family. Dr. Bishop of the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine took Nina’s care very personally and was always there for her whenever she had a setback.
Everyone who knew this brave little girl loved her and was inspired by her zest for life, but even the strongest warriors succumb, and on Saturday April 6, 2019, Baby Nina gained her angel wings. She was only on earth a short while, but she showed everyone who knew her what she could do.
According to Heidi Hardman, President of Polka Dogz Pet Rescue; dogs like Baby Nina, and Maverick defined who they are as a rescue. Whenever they see a dog they aren’t sure they can save, they will think of Baby Nina and know that nothing is impossible.
Watch Baby Nina’s inspirational video here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=690279271391186
Pollka Dogz Pet Rescue has come a long way since they first started operating out of a travel trailer. They are finally in the process of purchasing a place that will include yards for the dogs to exercise and be fully trained and rehabilitated. They will be moving in early May of this year. The new place will also feature a special garden in honor of Baby Nina.
They could never have come this far if it weren’t for the dedication of their president Heidi Hardman and the group of dedicated volunteers and donors who have maintained the rescue and medical treatments of all the dogs.
To learn more about Polka Dogz Pet Rescue, donate, view their adoptable dogs and wish list, visit their website www.polkadogz.org
Or their Facebook page