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The Underdog Who Soared

by Carole Feeny |

  • : Bigby inspired me to start Project for Paws in 2012. I compose care packages for shelter dogs throughout the nation with handmade dog collars and donated treats and toys. Bigby represents the dogs that are still waiting for someone to stop at their kennel and see their hidden gem just waiting to be discovered. Bigby is my Project for Paws mascot. He is an ambassador for other terriers and other shelter dogs who are looking for their best friend to come around and find them. Bigby is part pitbull and he has taught me so many things about those breeds, and changed some minds along the way as well. Bigby has made me a more patient and understanding person. Sometimes when I don't feel like I have time for somebody, whether human or canine, I remember the time I spent to uncover Bigby's hidden gem. A gem that has shined so unimaginably bright. Bigby makes me feel grateful for the little things in life. On hikes over the bluffs surrounding Devil's Lake, WI, sometimes Bigby will just stop to sniff a dandelion - even though there is a scenic view of the water right in front of him. He's taught me that the littlest things can also be the prettiest. He is patient and gentle and forgiving and endlessly loyal. He forgave an entire species that had once treated him so terribly. After all that he's been through, all he's felt, all he's seen, all he's LIVED, he still wakes up with a smile on his goofy face - ready to conquer the day. It takes a pretty remarkable creature to be able to do that. We all could learn a little something from him. Bigby teaches me countless things, but now I know that every animal is a soul waiting to be discovered, to be loved. Every soul is waiting to wag their tail.
  • : People are people. That's a proven fact. Dogs are dogs. But, when you combine a dog-person and a rescue dog, you see a spark. My spark with my terrier Bigby brightened my life unimaginably. When I first met Bigby I was just thrilled that a second dog was being welcomed into my family. When we brought him home, we discovered his signs of past abuse (fears of men, quick movements, and yelling) and his food aggression. The outdoors was the one place where he was brave, where we could see his diamond in the making, where he was truly a gem. That motivated me to help him recover, grow braver, and understand that he was finally home. I find moments when I know that we were destined to help each other every single day. Sometimes it's when we stop during a hike and he just looks so on top of the world and I thank every single soul who brought us together. Sometimes it's when we are camping in the summer and we fall asleep side by side under the stars. Sometimes it's as simple as sharing apples or carrots for an afternoon snack. But, usually it's just when I remember how bigger and braver and happier he's grown from the day I brought him home. The endless sparkle in his eyes, his gentle touch, his forgiving soul, his loyal bond is why I never gave up on him... and why he never gave up on me.
  • : Heartland Animal Shelter
  • : Lili V.
  • : 7/22/11

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