By ALICIA LEONARD
During the first week of June, 2008 a quiet phenomenon started to take place. A young, abused bull dog found in Pensacola received temporary shelter and treatment through Alaqua Animal Refuge and Freeport Pet Clinic. After interviews and a front page headline by the Herald – who coined the moniker “Amazing Grace” due to her sweet and forgiving temperament – a star was born. Soon TV and more press reports on Amazing Grace followed. Communities and animal lovers rallied and soon funds and community support began to pour in.
Today, Amazing Grace is on the road to recovery and Freeport Pet Clinic veterinarian Dr. Gerri C. Barr and staff are starting to prepare Grace for a new, happier home than the abusive past she has endured. Grace’s injuries are almost healed and her energy and spirit are evident while meeting this reporter. “She’s all puppy and also a very special dog and we need a special family for her to join,” said Barr.
Most of Grace’s wounds have healed. She still has a small patch of skin that has not scarred over yet, but she has successfully undergone heart-worm treatment. Barr said of the experience, “It’s really shown us how many people were touched by Gracie’s experience. People have called, come in, made donations toward her care and inquired about finding her a home.”
What type of home will Grace need? “A home full of love,” said Barr. “We would like to find a family or a person who has the time and ability to give Grace all the love she will need. It would be nice if they have room for her to exercise or time to exercise her regularly, as she has a ton of puppy energy and is rather strong. She gets along great with everyone. She may be a little too strong for a family with very small children, but she would do find with kids in middle school or older. The main thing is love. She needs a family with lots of love and patience. We just want to make sure she is placed with the right family, hopefully for a lifelong placement after what she has been through.”
A few families have inquired about taking Grace home, but no decisions have been made yet. Barr said Grace will always have the scars showing her prior abuse, but her heart remains open and sweet. She should not have to have any more regular medical care than any other dog, he said.
The community’s response has left a mark on Barr and his office staff.
“People have been amazing,” he said. “We have received such an outpouring of concern, calls and donations for Gracie that we are moved to be a part of such a wonderful community that rallied around this dog and our efforts to help her have a normal and pain free life. When we find the perfect home for her, it will be a very happy ending to the long journey Grace has had in recovery. To the community, we say thank-you and if Grace could speak, I’m sure she’d second that.”
Anyone who feels they have that special home in need of Grace, please contact Dr. Gerri C. Barr at the Freeport Pet Clinic at 850-835-1500.
DR. GERRI BARR and vet assistant Rachel Montgomery of the Freeport Pet Clinic hold the newly-healed and full-of-energy Grace for her “close-up.” The animal, found in Escambia County, had been severely abused. Walton County residents have rallied around gentle bull dog with donations and calls of support. (Photo by Alicia Leonard)