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Emmy’s Story: 1,300 Miles to Freedom

Literally minutes away from being euthanized, along with her newborn puppies, this sweet dog joins her happy family after travelling from Florida to New York to Connecticut

There’s no doubt about it: Puppies are adorable. It’s no wonder that so many adopters head directly to the puppy room when they enter an animal shelter.

But when Debi and Michael, a dog-loving couple from Connecticut, head to their local shelter, they head right for the dog who needs them most.

“We tend to adopt older dogs because so many people don’t want them,” says Debi, proud Mom of three Mutt-i-grees®: Copper, a 13-year-old Basset/Beagle mix the couple adopted from the Connecticut Humane Society when he was eight; Diesel, a nine-year-old English Pointer mix, also from Connecticut Humane Society and also eight years old when Debi and Michael adopted him; and the newest addition to the family, Emmy, at two-and-a-half the youngest of the bunch—and the one who came within minutes of death.

Debi shares Emmy’s dramatic story, which she learned from Emmy’s rescuer, Tina:

Emmy was dropped off at the door of a Miami shelter with her litter of day-old pups (they still had their umbilical cords attached). The shelter wasn’t open when they were dumped there. One pup didn’t make it. Tina, Emmy’s hero, likes to rescues shepherds, especially black ones. She found out about Emmy and headed for Florida from Connecticut.

When Tina got to the shelter, Emmy was in the euthanasia room. Tina arrived just in time to get Emmy out of there, with her pups. The pups got adopted, and Adopt-a-Dog in Armonk, NY took in Emmy. They soon noticed a discharge from her nose and took her to the vet, who discovered that Emmy had a severe fungal infection in her nose that had destroyed most of the cartilage. When antibiotics didn’t work, she had to have a procedure that required drilling her nose. She was on heavy-duty antibiotics for several months at Cornell Vet Hospital in Stamford, CT, where everyone fell in love with her. Everyone at Adopt-a-Dog was also in love with her.

My husband saw her video on Adopt-a-Dog’s website and sent it to me. We immediately called to say we wanted to come up and meet her. We all went to meet Emmy: Diesel, Copper and us. Everyone got along, but we had to wait about a month because of her infection. Michael and I went to visit her twice during that time. We called frequently to see how she was doing and to keep reminding Adopt-a-Dog that we wanted her. Then, we got the call that the vet released her for adoption, and we brought her home.  

A couple of weeks after Emmy joined our family, Adopt-a-Dog had their yearly dog show, “Putting on the Dog.” We brought Emmy and got to meet Tina, her rescuer. Tina burst into tears when we went up to her with Emmy. She was so happy Emmy had a loving home, and that’s when we heard Emmy’s story. We also got to meet the vet techs that cared for Emmy at Cornell. They were also thrilled that Emmy was adopted!

Debi and Michael are now the happy parents of three Mutt-i-grees (any dog, cat, puppy or kitten from a rescue group or shelter), and they couldn’t be happier with the new addition to their family. “Emmy is a wonderful, loving, high-energy sweetheart,” says Debi. “She loves people, and she loves to run around our yard with her canine buddies.”

Soon after she joined Debi and Michael’s pack, Emmy and Debi took a basic obedience class. Emmy was such a star that the trainer recommended she train to become a therapy dog! When you realize just how close this amazing Mutt-i-gree came to being destroyed, her bright future as a dog who helps others is even more heartwarming.

Debi thinks everyone should adopt, not shop, when they’re ready to add an animal to their family. “There are so many loving dogs in shelters for one reason or another,” says Debi. “We would never get a dog from a pet store.”

A Lifetime of Care

Though no one knows what the future holds, Debi and Michael do know that all three of their precious dogs will always have a home. That’s because they entered Emmy, Copper and Diesel into North Shore Animal League America’s Safe Haven Surviving Pet Care Program, in which we keep animals at our facilities in the event an owner can no longer care for them due to illness or death.

“We joined the Program so we would know if something happens to us, our ‘kids’ would be safe and cared for,” says Debi. “We drove down to North Shore Animal League and were given a great tour of the place. We were very impressed with everyone we met and the facility.”

With the Safe Haven Program, owners can be assured that their animals will be cared for at Animal League America’s state-of-the-art facilities, where they are given food, shelter, affection and medical attention until we can find them a new family.

“Caring pet owners can become part of our program through a will, trust, life insurance policy or retirement plan,” says Eric Lieberman, Senior Manager of Planned Giving at Animal League America. “It’s a simple process that provides peace of mind.” In addition, provisions can be made for surviving pets to be enrolled by the owner’s estate representative or other person with power of attorney, even after the owner has passed away. To find out how you can safeguard your pets by enrolling in our lifesaving program, contact Eric at (516) 883-7900 ext.354, email, or visit