It’s A Wonderful Life: An Animal Rescue Adventure

Dec 21, 2013 | 2013 Articles, Joyce Brandon, Pets

by Joyce Brandon

Joyce is a part of Animal Compassion Team, an animal rescue in Fresno.

Clarence the angel said to George Bailey in the Christmas classic It’s A Wonderful Life, “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” Have you ever considered the ripple effect of your life or the void left behind in your absence?

Pretend for a moment there is a Ghost of Christmas past. I would love for him to be able to take me back in time and show me how a beautiful dog such as Merry Noel ended up on the banks of a canal fighting for her life. I’ll bet the ghost would show us a beautiful, playful adorable white fluffy puppy. Perhaps she was the center of attention surrounded by children and adoring adults. I can imagine her curled up in a warm lap, content and loved. How did that pup wind up wounded, matted, filthy, and terrified, fighting for survival on the cold banks. Did her family fall on hard times? Did they just lose interest with all the other demands of life? Whatever the cause, this dog was left to fend for itself: until an angel named Brisia walked into her life.


On our Orange Cove rescue Facebook page we received this message: “I’ve been trying to rescue a dog on a canal bank. I’ve been feeding it but it’s so scared of people it won’t come to me, can someone please help this poor dog?” This message came from Brisia who during her morning walks had spotted Merry living under a bridge. Brisia could have chosen to ignore the matted poodle expecting that someone else would eventually help but she chose to get involved. Her decision to look at the problem and tackle it had a ripple effect: her decision to get involved changed this dog’s life. We were able to catch Merry with the help of Animal Control Officer Phil Ciceneros. Merry Noel is now living the life of luxury in an Animal Compassion Team foster home. After bathing her and clipping her, it was discovered that Merry had numerous infected wounds on her neck. Brisia, by calling for help, saved the life of this wonderful little girl.

Subaru Susie

Let’s enlist the help of the Ghost of Christmas Past once again. This time I would love to visit the life of Subaru Susie. I would love to know about the events that led to the night she was tied to the door of ACT’s adoption center and left there with her newborn puppies. Was she ever loved and cherished? Was she a child’s playmate? Did she curl up at the foot of a warm bed at night? What happened to change her circumstance? We will never know the answers to these questions. What I do know is that her life has been changed because of the people that have been placed in her path. You may think it was cowardly to tie her to the door and leave. I suppose that’s true, but; what if it were a last desperate attempt to help her and her puppies by a well meaning human? It could have been a homeless person trying to help or it could have been an overwhelmed owner who had been turned down everywhere else. What if ACT President Brenda Mitchell had turned her away? What if the ACT facility hadn’t been donated by Darrel Ridenour? Do you see my point? There is a ripple effect to each of our decisions. We have the power to change lives, for good or for bad.

I made a list of events involving Animal Compassion Team in a twenty-four hour period last week. I’m sure this isn’t all inclusive and I’m sure this was repeated in hundreds of rescues throughout the country:

• Mom and eight pups rescued from Tulare shelter
• Subaru Susie tied to door of adoption center
• Reedley pilot program for adoptions
• Duncan rescued from Orange Cove

Tulare mom

• Made friends with Min Pin in shelter (euthanasia only option if he remained aggressive – now safe with rescue)
• Reedley shelter dog spotted on Facebook and reclaimed
• Injured dog treated
• Parvo pups treated

Each and every one of the events listed required a team of involved humans. No one person can carry this load alone but when we each do our part magic can happen.

This boy is in Reedley but there are shelter dogs all over the country looking for a home for Christmas. Please go adopt!

George Bailey considered his life a failure. He considered himself insignificant. He was treated to a glance at the world if he had never lived. It was a different place. Our decisions and actions, no matter how small they may seem at the time, have a ripple effect in this big pond we call life. Please know that you matter and the kindness you show someone or something today can have far-reaching consequences. To quote Gandhi, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

It’s a wonderful life because of you.

Check out more animal rescue stories in our Pet Perspective section. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to ACT.

Joyce Brandon is co-founder of Animal Compassion Team, has lived in Squaw Valley for 21 years and has always had lots of four legged friends sharing her mountain home along with her husband Jim, and five children. Joyce works part time for Mountain Valley Community Church and splits the rest of her time between family and animal rescue work. Joyce believes animal rescue is a mission field God has called her to and has given her a passion for.


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