Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Heart of Gold.

A few weeks ago, one of my contacts at SoCal Bully Rescue emailed me with a very simple request.... to replace a gift certificate that one of her foster families lost during a house fire. After chatting with my SoCal Rescue friend, I heard the story of the fire, which was started due to a malfunctioning power strip. She went on to tell me about her wonderful Volunteer that not only lost her home during this fire, but she lost her pets as well.

Twenty minutes after leaving her home to run some errands, Val V., got the terrible phone call informing her that her home was in flames. She rushed home as quickly as possible, unfortunately the fire department informed her that the fire was an extremely hot fire and sadly her 3 personal dogs, Fifi, Tonka & Talula, her daughters Min Pin, her 2 cats and her 3 foster bulldogs did not survive.

When she arrived at her home, she asked the fire fighters to bring each of the pets out and she was able to say a last goodbye. It was determined that they all passed due to smoke inhalation. 

After hearing the story (and crying my eyes out then cuddling up with my own pets for a little bit), I let my rescue friend know that she didn't need to worry about the gift certificate. Instead, I spent the next couple of nights creating 3 special pieces in memory of Val's 3 Bulldogs, Tank and Talula and her French Bulldog, Fifi.

Val, who has been a foster parent for SoCal Bully Rescue for the past 5 years was described to me as a person with a 'heart of gold'. Val is known for taking in the senior and special needs pups, which is absolutely a blessing to any rescue organization, as these pups tend to be hardest to place with a foster family. Talula (profiled below) was the pup that introduced Val to the animal rescue world. Since then, she has been hooked, and while Val loves all pets, she is particularly attracted to those that need a little more love.

At home, Val is followed around by a Conga line of dogs, her friends playfully joke that they need a camera in her house to capture all of the silly moments between her and the dogs. Even through this tragedy, Val is jumping right back in to fostering, already bringing 2 new special needs foster bulldogs in to live with her (one with demodex mange & the other a puppy who has lost the use of his rear legs). While her fosters will never replace the babies that she lost, Val knows how important it is for these dogs to have a safe place to call home while they wait for their forever family.

A few days ago on Facebook, a friend took a quote and sent it to me from Val's facebook page, "I would be blessed to be able to care for all of the doggies waiting at the Rainbow Bridge for their humans and have all of my babies with me romping around... Now that would be heaven!"

Tonka was very special boy.  When Valwas fostering him she quickly found out that something was not right with him, he was deaf.  Val worked with him and taught him hand commands and to trust her.
'Tonka' | 12in x 12in painting by The Pet Studio
Her son was in love with Tonka and they decided to adopt him.  Tonka and Val had a special bond that you could see when they were together, whenever she took him out everyone wanted to pet the big beautiful white bully.  He was sweet boy loved being kissed right in the face by his mama.   He was also almost 6 years old. He was the boy always sleeping on the couch. : )
Tonka taking a nap, one of Val's favorite pictures.

Talula was almost 6 years old, also calledLuLu Bear she was the apple of Val's eye.  Talula was Val's first adopted Bulldog from SoCal Bulldog Rescue. and the reason she started volunteering forSCBR.
'Talula' | 12in x 12in Painting by The Pet Studio
Talula was born with one eye and the breeder dumped her off at the animal shelter to be euthanizedSCBR thought she was the perfect fit for Val, the moment Val saw her she knew that was her girl. 
Talula posing in her pink for a photo.
When you went to Val's house you knew you would be greeted by Talula as soon as you walked in the door, she would right there pawing you for a scratch. She was a short, chubby girl who snorted around the house with her smile and her super friendly personality, you couldn't help falling in love with her.  Valtook her everywhere and like FiFi everyone fell in love with her, there was not a mean bone in her body, she was pure love.

FiFi LeWink the French Bulldog (8yrs old)was surrendered with  3 bulldogs and  a Boston Terrier by a backyard breeder who decided he was going back to work instead of selling puppies.  FiFi was in deplorable condition, covered in dirt, it took severalbaths to figure out she was an all whitefrenchie. She had rotten teeth,  dirt in her intestines and was missing in eye because of a fight she had over food at the breeders house, she lived outside her entire life. Once at the vet for a spay, it was discovered she had a condition called Megacolon.
'Fifi LeWink' | 12in x 12in painting by The Pet Studio
With a lot of TLC, special food and supplements she blossomed to be a beautiful, healthy girl. FiFi was a superstar, everyone that met her wanted to take her home, at 15 pounds she could fit in someones purse.Val always joked that she had to do purse checks before people left her house.
Photo of Fifi.
FiFi was a sweet girl she was always near her mom, either following her or sitting on her lap.  She and Val had a special bond.

To donate to SoCal Bulldog Rescue in honor of Val and her pups, Click Here.


Stephanie Conrad
The Pet Studio | Owner | Artist

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