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Franklin’s Long Journey Home

After a lengthy stay at the safety of North Shore Animal League’s no-kill shelter, this very special dog finds his perfect match

Franklin is happy as can be in his new back yard, taking a walk in his mobility cart.

No matter how long it takes, North Shore Animal League America is dedicated to finding permanent, loving homes for every animal who comes through our doors. That commitment is why Franklin, the adorable dog pictured here, is alive today—and thriving in a happy home!

The story began on May 28, 2010, when we rescued Franklin from a municipal shelter on Long Island. Franklin, who was just six weeks old at the time, had been born with a severe deformity to his hind limbs, which prevented him from being able to bear weight on his rear legs.

If Franklin had not been rescued by Animal League America, he almost certainly would have been euthanized.

When our rescue team brought Franklin to the safety of our no-kill shelter in Port Washington, NY, the pup’s strong spirit and sweet disposition made him an instant favorite among all our staff and volunteers.

“We couldn’t help but fall in love with him,” says Chris Miller, Medical Support Service Liaison. “He was just like any other puppy, full of energy and curiosity. He didn’t realize he had any disability; it was all he ever knew, so he adapted well.”

We entered Franklin in our Help Me Heal program, in which generous donors contribute to the care of ailing and abused animals, enabling us to provide them with the treatment they need to give them the best chance at a long and healthy life. We evaluated Franklin’s medical options, and our experts determined that the best course of action was to give the pup physical therapy and stimulation, with hopes that he might be a candidate for corrective surgery when his body was fully grown.

Franklin relaxes with his new sibling, Boo Boo.

As he grew from a puppy into a young dog, Franklin was safe in our Ark, snuggled in a playpen in one of our staff offices. The gregarious dog was rarely alone, and he bonded closely with his “officemates.”

Franklin also served an important role at Animal League America, helping socialize some of the more fearful dogs in our care. “Dogs who have been abused or come from inhumane puppy mills haven’t learned to trust, play or love,” says Chris. “It’s helpful to place them with other dogs, so they can learn how to interact and become more comfortable.”

She continues: “Franklin did a great job welcoming some of our more traumatized dogs, including many puppy mill rescues; he set the example for them to begin to trust humans. Ultimately, that made them more adoptable.”

Sadly, however, Franklin had a very hard time finding an adopter to call his own. A big part of the problem: Franklin’s care requirements were substantial. Once he was fully grown, it was clear that surgery would not make his legs functional. Since limbs that do not have feeling pose serious health risks, Franklin had both of his back legs removed. Although he learned to get around very well in a customized mobility cart we had designed just for him, he still was far from your average dog.

Kathy and Franklin share a tender moment.

Franklin spent two and a half years at Animal League America—among the longest stays of any animal ever in our care. His life was far from sad, however. Franklin had quickly mastered his mobility cart, which enabled him to enjoy his many daily walks with our loving and attentive staff and volunteers.

But a home environment is best for every pet, and we wanted Franklin to find that special someone who would love him for the unique dog that he is.

In June 2013, our wish finally came true. Devoted animal lover Kathy Wisnefski had read about Franklin and seen his video on our website, and she was moved by the brave little dog’s story.

Kathy had lost two of her beloved dogs in the spring, and she was heartbroken. She believed that, by taking in Franklin, they could help each other heal.

Franklin in his playpen, with his nice soft blankets to keep him comfortable.

“When I called Animal League America, I thought for sure that Franklin would already have been adopted,” says Kathy. “But I was so glad he was still there, so he could be part of my family.”

Franklin is overjoyed to be the newest member of Kathy’s “pack,” joining dogs Dino, Brewster and Booboo, along with Wilson the cat—all animals whom Kathy rescued. By next spring, Kathy is planning to pack up the whole crew to take some trips in her new RV, and Franklin will definitely be part of the traveling family.

“He’s a great dog, and he really helped lift me out of my sadness at my loss,” says Kathy. “He’s saved me as much as I’ve saved him.”

Animal League America is proud to be part of thousands of rescue, nurture and adoption stories each year. We thank all of the donors to our Help Me Heal program, who made Franklin’s story possible. Without your help, we could not continue to rescue nearly 20,000 innocent animals each year. Please continue to support our work.