Devoting your life to the welfare and care of the most vulnerable among us is not an easy task. But you don’t get into it because you think it’s going to be. It’s more of a calling that you don’t necessarily even recognize at first. It can just sort of sneak up on you, and before you know it, you’re in and spending the better part of each day trying your hardest for those that have come to count on you. That’s what it’s like in animal advocacy. You love animals, and you’re passionate about their welfare.
That pretty much sums up the workers and volunteers at animal rescues, shelters, and advocacy groups around the world. Each triumph is your triumph, and each example of human cruelty is your heartbreak, and it’s difficult not to take each personally. You can ask yourself repeatedly why someone would do that to a helpless animal, but you’ll never get an answer sufficient enough to make it even remotely comprehendible. So, you continue to push forward, making the most out of tragic situations.
One by One Animal Advocates
Enter One by One Animal Advocates, who shared their story about a sweet 10-month-old dog named Elliot found on the side of a rural country road. He didn’t move, and his legs were covered in blood. The first thought that came to mind was that he’d been hit by a car, but that wasn’t it. In fact, it was from something far more sinister: the blood on his legs came from a gunshot wound.
After being dispatched, Animal Control saw the small entry wound on top of his head with a much more gruesome injury under his jaw where the bullet exited. Bottomline: Elliot had been shot execution-style and left on the side of the road to die. But somehow, HE DIDN’T!
Who Would Shoot a Dog?
A nearby rural shelter with no medical budget to speak of asked if One by One (ObO) would help. They rushed Elliot to ObO’s veterinarian, where he underwent emergency surgery. When the bullet went through his head, it damaged the optic nerve, causing him to lose sight in his right eye. It also reduced a portion of his jaw to bone fragments and exited out his neck.
They carefully removed all the fragments but could not stabilize his jaw. ObO had to transfer him to a hospital 3.5 hours away, where he had several more surgeries. They ordered synthetic bone to try to rebuild his jaw, but there was nowhere to connect the screws. At the time, the best they could do was flush and suture the oral cavity to reduce infection.
Beating the Odds
During the entire process, despite fear and pain, Elliott impressed each person he encountered with his trusting and loving nature. It’s assumed he likely waited on that country road for his owner to come back and probably would have gone with him, demonstrating (as dogs do) the true essence of loyalty and forgiveness.
Ultimately, Elliot will never regain the vision in his eye, and his jaw will always be a little crooked, but he’s able to eat and is healing well. ObO believes his little offset jaw adds to his handsomeness and charm.
Happy Endings Do Happen
“We would never wish what happened to Elliott on any animal, but it was that horrific event that brought Elliott to the point he is now. He was adopted by a good friend of the vet! He will be loved for who he is, always receive the best medical care, and be a valued family member – a far cry from what his life would have been like,” Heather Aulick of One by One shared.
One by One Origin Story
For a little background, in 2011, several members of what is now One by One Animal Advocates volunteered at a local shelter where they would walk dogs and post pictures to bring awareness of the animals. But they soon realized they needed to do more.
“We initially formed to help our local shelter, but we grew in name recognition and now help shelters in rural areas of our state as well as our two surrounding states (we are located at the tip of where three states meet). Additionally, we accept owner surrenders and community strays, particularly when injured, and we operate a Trap/Neuter/Release initiative.
“We are not a traditional rescue. We consider ourselves the bridge between homelessness and rescue. We rely on our receiving rescue partners to complete the adoption process. We do this because we don’t have the ability to take animals back years later, and our rescue partners do. Instead, we offer safekeeping in foster homes where animals receive medical care and socialization.
When a rescue has an opening, we send an animal to them, and they complete the adoption process, which includes microchipping, application, vet reference check, home visit, contract, etc. We do not benefit from adoption fees and operate solely on grants and fundraising,” Heather explained.