Mark and Amy Hefestay have been responsible for many happy “tails”—31 in their home and countless others while volunteering. Since 1998, they have welcomed 12 dogs, 17 Guinea pigs (some as fosters) and 2 rabbits into their home. I asked them to share the stories of a few of the dogs they currently own. These are animals which, you will see, need a little extra care. Far from viewing them as “special needs” animals, Mark and Amy like to say, “Their needs make them even more special to us.”
First is Ollie, an 11 ½-year-old sheltie mix, adopted in February, 2006 at the age of 7 ½ months. Mark and Amy had decided they wanted to adopt him before they found out he had ringworm. No problem for them—they devised a plan to quarantine him in a bathroom for a month to keep him away from their other dogs. “It was an inconvenience for a while, but in the end it was well worth it because we know we saved his life,” they said.
In April 2016 they adopted Misty, now a 1 ½-year-old Australian shepherd/cattle dog/Great Pyrenees mix. She has a severe heart problem, and thus a shortened life expectancy. Undeterred, Mark and Amy welcomed her home. “She is the liveliest and most playful dog in our home, always making us chuckle about something she’s up to.” It turns out Misty has quite a number of fans at Dumb Friends League, so Mark frequently posts pictures of her on the volunteer Facebook page and reports she is doing great.
A third dog, Sheriff, a 9-year-old border collie, entered their lives in August 2016. He was a transfer from Brush, Colorado who was thought to have been a farm dog. Mark noticed Sheriff didn’t have much muscle tone, and his back legs didn’t seem quite right when he walked. The vet thought he may have been kicked while working and thus has neurological problems. It turns out he also has chronic kidney disease, and he’s deaf. Perhaps he could no longer work and was surrendered. Mark and Amy say, “He doesn’t need to work at our house, just have fun playing in the yard!” They also say his problems are easily managed with a few medications, carrying him up steps and teaching him a few hand signals … really not that much trouble in order to have such an outstanding dog. He, like Misty, gets his pictures posted on the Facebook page so his fans can keep up on his status.
Mark and Amy, thank you for being such compassionate people and giving so many pets that second chance they need and deserve.
by Robin Russell, volunteer writer
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