Bonnie Grace Finds a Home

September 28, 2008

Bonnie Grace, a Rescue Dog, and Her New Friend, Jennifer, in Northern KentuckyWe were recently intrigued by a Craigslist ad in which someone sought to adopt a rescue dog. Curious to see how the adventure turned out, we replied to the ad and met Jennifer Harris, a special education (K-12) and middle school English teacher from Northern Kentucky. An animal lover famous in her family for bringing home strays, she saw a story on Oprah earlier this year about puppy mills. As Jennifer wrote: “Ever since then, I really felt compelled that my next dog would come from a shelter or be a rescue. Recently, I made the decision that now was the time to find my new forever friend. I had heard that Craigslist had pets, and that it was a good way of finding animals in need of new homes. . .I was determined that, this time, I was going to rescue an animal in need.”

Jennifer replied to several Craigslist ads in which people posted saying that they needed to find new homes for their pets, but she got little response. She put up her own post seeking to adopt a dog in need of a home, thinking that she wouldn’t get many replies. But, instead, the response was overwhelming. “Within minutes,” she wrote, “I had six responses from people wanting me to take their dogs. I thought the only fair thing to do was go by who e-mailed me first.”

Ripley, Ohio as Seen From the Kentucky Side of the Ohio River in 1846The first response came from a woman in Ripley, Ohio. Ripley is just across the Ohio River from Maysville, Kentucky and about an hour’s drive from Jennifer’s home. Its claim to fame is that it was an abolitionist hotbed of Underground Railroad activity during the 19th century. The Ripley resident said she had a dog she’d sell for $25.00. Jennifer was hesitant. While she’d fallen in love with e’mailed pictures of Bonnie, she knew little about the dog, other than that she’d been someone’s pet and “they decided to get rid of her because they had a baby.” Jennifer learned that “from there, Bonnie was taken to a breeder’s home, who bred Bonnie to make money.” The Ripley owner told Jennifer that she’d bought Bonnie for $25 from the breeder, but that she couldn’t keep Bonnie because she was “too big of a dog.” The story sounded a little fishy, but Jennifer’s friends insisted she go meet Bonnie.

When Jennifer arrived in Ripley, what she found horrified her. “I immediately saw Bonnie chained up outside to a tree. . .right next to a major highway. Before I got out of my car, I knew Bonnie was coming home with me regardless of the type of dog she turned out to be; I was not going to leave her there chained up to that tree anymore. I gave Bonnie’s owner the $25. Then I hooked Bonnie up to her new leash I had bought for her. Bonnie immediately jumped in my car, as if she was saying ‘Get me outta here!’ ”

Bonnie Grace, a Lucky DogDuring the drive back to Northern Kentucky, Bonnie alternately stuck her head out the window and climbed into Jennifer’s lap. Jennifer wrote: “At times, I’m sure it looked like she was the one driving the car, as I am not very tall. She was immediately so loving.” Bonus! Bonnie was housebroken and already knew commands such as sit, stay and up. “I just could not believe that someone could leave such a precious baby chained up outside to a tree; especially (literally) three feet from a major expressway. Bonnie still shivers and gets upset when she hears a semi-truck. But really, I can’t say I blame her. I think I’d feel the same way if I were chained up outside next to a major highway,” Jennifer said.

As they enjoy one another’s company, Jennifer’s priority is “gaining [Bonnie Grace’s] trust, as this is her fourth — and now final — home. My advice to anyone considering a pet is to rescue one. Look on Craigslist like I did, or go to your local pound. There are so many babies just like Bonnie that need us; and the love you get in return is completely worth it. Bonnie’s full name is Bonnie Grace; for in many ways, she has become my saving ‘grace.’ She is the best dog; and I am so glad she is mine!

“A friend of mine has said that animals are healing, and I would have to say that is so true. Bonnie brings life in my house, and she just picks me up when I am having a tough day. She is happy to see me, and she also encourages me to be a healthier person. I have already walked 20 miles this week. . .just from having her!

“Thanks for doing this; I hope it helps other people considering a pet.” You’re welcome, Jennifer. It was our pleasure.

In a final e’mail, Jennifer wrote that the vet thinks Bonnie is about two years old and she wrote: “I also thought this was kind of funny and wanted to share with you. . .Everyone I’ve introduced to Bonnie says, ‘She’s such a pretty girl.’ Well, last night I wanted to know what the name Bonnie meant, so I looked it up. Guess what? Bonnie means: ‘pretty girl’! Isn’t that funny?”

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Photo credit: Jennifer Harris

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