This January, a couple reached out to San Diego Humane Society for help. The responding officers were shocked to find more than 92 Yorkshire terriers and mixes in the couple’s North County residence. Four-month-old Rylee was among the last dogs to be rescued.
Over the next several weeks, SDHS discovered there were even more Yorkie-mix dogs hidden at other locations. Once all the dogs were recovered—nearly 200 total—SDHS volunteers began to rehabilitate them. Volunteer Serene Paxton met Rylee while cleaning kennels and participating in the Reading with Rover program, in which volunteers read to rescue dogs to help them acclimate to humans.
Rylee immediately stood out to Paxton—the tiny pup was born with severely deformed rear legs. “She was so sweet and pulled herself around,” Paxton says. “She was unique and had special needs, but I wanted to foster her and give her a life outside the shelter.” Rylee had just received a donated wheelchair and needed to become accustomed to it before being fostered or adopted.
Paxton kept volunteering and waited for her opportunity. “A few weeks later, I got the call that Rylee would be available for adoption the next day at noon. I showed up at 10 a.m.,” she says. “Rylee is such a joy. Now that she’s stronger and socialized, she gets around so fast that sometimes I can’t catch her.”
Though Rylee runs a little differently than Paxton’s other dogs, she doesn’t mind. “She doesn’t know she’s disabled or notice that she’s different,” Paxton says.
“I hope that more people consider disabled dogs, because I feel that they have a little extra love to give.”