Dog Rescue Stories: Walter and Bodhi Found Their Happily Ever Afters

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By Jarissa Aquinde, Positively Woof Rescue and Adoption Story Editor 

Meet Walter!

Walter’s story of adoption starts like many rescue dogs — at a shelter. In July of 2015, a litter of ten pups were born to a female Catahoula Leopard / Pit Bull mix with the most gorgeous ice blue eyes. Soon after their birth, the pups and the mom, known as Stella Blue, were transferred from BARCS – Baltimore Animal Rescue Center and Shelter, to a rescue that could accommodate the large litter and their necessary around the clock care. LaMancha Animal Rescue’s location on a farm and supply of dedicated volunteers, provided the space and manpower required to save Momma Stella and her puppies.

The wonderful volunteers at LaMancha worked in shifts to care for the newborn puppies, whose eyes were not even open. When Stella was not producing enough milk to fed her litter, the staff, made entirely of volunteers, took turns bottle feeding the four male and six female puppies.

Because of the efforts of the LaMancha volunteers, all ten puppies thrived and reached the age where they were eligible for adoption. Seven of the pups were adopted quickly. The first to find forever homes all had the typical Catahoula look with the combination of the unique spotted coats, multiple colors and some with ice blue eyes. At the end of September, only the three brindle pups were left, one male and two females.

As their first rescue dog was getting older, a newlywed couple was considering adding a new male puppy to their family. While searching on Pet Finder, they stumbled across an animal rescue in rural Pennsylvania just over an hour away from their home in Baltimore. The couple had never heard of a catahoula leopard dog and quickly began researching. It did not take long for them to fill out an application for the last of the male pups from Stella’s litter.

After the application was accepted, the couple drove to Unionville, PA to meet their potential new family member. It was love at first sight. The sweet little boy had the calmest demeanor. His coat was a beautiful blue brindle and his eyes a stunning amber. The last male puppy became known as Walter as he left the farm to start his new life in Maryland.

Through the magic of social media, Walter’s humans have been able to keep in touch with most the families who also adopted from his litter. Even though the pups are spread out all over the east coast, the families have remained connected. They even have dubbed themselves the “Stellahoulas” in honor of the pups’ Mom, Stella, who also found her forever home after all her puppies were adopted.

The families have been able to watch their dogs’ brothers and sisters grow into beautiful family dogs and learn about their similar personality traits. The families of the Stellahoulas all met up for the very first time last July for a first birthday party for the puppies.

Walter will be two years old in July and is a happy loving pup living in Baltimore, Maryland. He never lost his calm demeaner and is often referred to an old soul. He is patience, smart and enjoys socializing with other dogs. He has even gained a small following on Instagram where he shows of his bow tie collection, makes jokes, and goes on adventures.

Meet Bodhi.

On August 13, 2016, a photo of a tiny little pup called ‘Moose’ appeared on the LaMancha Animal Rescue page, as the adoption application process for him was about to open. In a matter of minutes, a couple that had recently adopted from the rescue expressed interest. His foster mom, Mary a long-time LaMancha volunteer, thought the couple would be a perfect match but little Moose’s adoption story begins with heartbreak.

The evil that exists in our world can clearly be seen in any animal abuse case. LaMancha volunteer Mary and her husband Mark had been called to go check out a suspicious report of a puppy found near a dumpster in July. Upon arrival, Mark instantly recognized something was amiss. Mary and Mark followed their instincts and removed the puppy from the home immediately.

Unable to identify the age or breed of the puppy due to swelling, Mary, a registered nurse, administered an IV of fluids to the puppy as soon as they returned home. First thing the next morning, they took the puppy to the vet. He was in rough shape: He had suffered significant head trauma, and his head and eye were extremely swollen, likely due to an impact injury. He was most likely suffering from a concussion and it was touch and go his first few days with Mary and Mark. The vet estimated the puppy’s age at only seven weeks.

Mary and Mark named the pup Moose because he was so tiny and fragile that he needed a big name. And he was a fighter. Luckily, he had not suffered any skull fractures, and he continued to improve each day. Worried about his ability to walk and permanent damage from the trauma to the head, they worked with him around the clock.

Within two weeks, the little puppy — who they didn’t know if he would survive the first night — was running around with their dogs. Mark and Mary grew attached to Moose but with eight dogs of their own already, they agreed it would be best to find him a loving home. When the couple who had recently adopted from LaMancha, expressed interest in Moose, Mary knew it would be a perfect fit and that Moose would be a great little brother to the couple’s other dog. After a month fostering Moose and nursing him back to health, Mark and Mary happily watched as he went home with his forever family.

Renamed Bodhi, the puppy who would not give up is now thriving. At ten months old, he is happy, healthy, and the life of the party! Bodhi shows no signs of permanent damage from his rough start to life, nor does he harbor any ill will towards people — he absolutely loves everyone he meets. Through a series of serendipitous events and without knowledge of his backstory, the Baltimore-based Show Your Soft Side selected Bodhi to be featured as part of their anti-animal cruelty campaign. Bodhi’s story may have had a horrific start but he’s certainly found his Happily Ever After.

Follow this adorable rescue duo on Instagram @walterhoula

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Larry Kay is the award-winning coauthor of Training the Best Dog Ever, which became a #1 best seller in dog training on Amazon Kindle. He is Leader of the Pack at Positively Woof, which helps shelter dogs get adopted by making videos and raises awareness and funds. Larry is an award-winning dog filmmaker and has been a frequent contributor to the American Animal Hospital Association and Dog Fancy magazine.