Reading this is not for the faint of heart. Although the animals who have made it to St. Francis can spend the rest of their lives in comfort and surrounded by love, the abuse and cruelty they suffered is unimaginable.
Why would a person intentionally file a dog's teeth to nothing? You might try asking blind Gus, a former bait dog, whose scars and missing ears bear testament to his prior life. If he remembers, he's not talking. Life is too good to think about the past, even if it involves the painful intestinal surgery to remove a jingle bell with a Harley Davidson ribbon which restored him back to life.
Daschund Rosco, another lucky dog, seems to be of the same mind. He had been hit so hard his eyes popped out. Now having undergone surgery to remove his eyes, and treat related injuries he is now sniffing a way to a happier life.
It is rare that the real history of a dog is known. Thirteen years ago in Florida a table fell on Matilda when she was just a puppy. Although the vet said she would not live more than a day or two, she survived. In subsequent years her jaws fused together and she could only lap food. During this time her owner moved to Ohio and cared for her. However, when the owner passed on, and the stepchildren who were taking care of her were asked to move, Matilda was let loose to fend for herself. Due to media coverage, the stepchildren came forward and told Matilda's story. She will continue to live at the sanctuary, but will need special care.
Other stories are not as dramatic, but just as sad: puppies dumped by the roadside, old dogs left to die, victims of divorce and bad economic times, or those suffering from missing limbs, birth defects, tumors. Those lucky enough to make it here can find peace and possibly a forever home, thanks to the efforts of all the people at St. Francis.
A quote from Saint Francis of Assisi dating back to the late 1100s is the mission statement of the sanctuary. "Not to hurt our humble brethren (the animals) is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission: to be of service to them wherever they require it."
Check out the St. Francis site for adoptable animals (http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/OH556.html) to find out how you can be of service. They come in all species, sizes and shapes. Puppies and old dogs, horses and other farm animals know this is a fresh start. Not all have special physical needs, but they all have the need to love and be loved. Some want to snuggle, while others are bouncy and love to walk and swim. Be prepared for graphic "before" photos, but also expect to see the wonderful "after" photos as well.
Volunteers are always needed, and any donations to offset special medical treatment, medication and monthly expenses related to feeding and caring for so many animals are always appreciated.
To find out more click their site at www.saintfrancisanimalsanctuary.org.