Teresa Valentine of Carlyle has been rescuing and fostering dogs for over six years after being introduced to Bright Eyes Dog Rescue (BEDR), a registered non-profit organization based out of Regina.
Valentine was introduced to Bright Eyes by Katie Mryglod and has been blessed and grateful ever since. She says it’s truly a wonderful group of people to be working with.
Bright Eyes Dog Rescue was founded in January 2010, based on a dream to offer something for dogs that through no fault of their own were either abandoned, abused, feral, injured or surrendered and in need of loving and caring homes. As the 100 per cent volunteer-based membership has grown, so too has the commitment to these precious dogs.
BEDR is delighted to have found homes for over 2,000 dogs and puppies, and still counting.
The rescue takes each abandoned, abused or injured dog and places them into a foster home with a family where it is given much love and attention, and also socialized, before the search for its forever home begins.
Valentine has always been a pet lover herself, owning her own dog, a teacup Chihuahua. In the beginning, the dogs were sent to her to foster and the year following that she became a frontline worker. Fortunately she’s been able to find homes for all the foster dogs and cats she looks after.
She’s kept busy in this line of work. In a matter of a day she could have up to 14 dogs to care for. She has had more than 40 at one time in her garage, in separate kennels.
The work includes bathing, grooming, feeding and taking them for their daily walks and visits to the vet if needed.
“It’s a lot of work,” admits Valentine. “There was a litter of puppies that had to be bottle fed.”
Valentine does have volunteer helpers that are willing to walk the dogs, etc.
“They are a huge help!” explains Valentine “I couldn’t do it without them.”
There aren’t a lot of pet groomers in the Carlyle area and because some of the foster dogs are in desperate need of a bath, hair and a nail trim, Valentine decided that it only made sense to take the dog grooming course herself. Now that she has taken the course, she set up her grooming room in her basement and has many other customers bring their pets to her as well when they’re in need of a trim.
She named her pet grooming business Pretty Paw Day Spa. And if that doesn’t keep Valentine busy enough she also has a career out of the home with 12-hour shifts at a long-term care facility.
Although Valentine couldn’t pin it down to just one reason what the best thing is about looking after rescue dogs, she says: “To pick them up and watch them bloom.” She explains that sometimes they’re scared, they may not be used to getting the chance to come indoors.”
Valentine definitely gets attached to her rescue dogs. Usually when they leave after fostering them, there are a lot of tears, but they’re happy tears. She’s sad to see them go but happy for their new life.
“It makes your heart happy to know that they’re going to a loving home and they’re not going to be abused.”
The age of the dog and how much care they need determines how long Valentine fosters each dog. She’s had some for up to two months because they needed to ‘come out of their shell’ and just be more trusting of people.
Some of the foster dogs have been adopted from as far away as Vancouver.
Valentine says she has so many memorable moments in this line of work and they’re all different and all unique.
“The very first foster dog I had was a three-year-old named Whitney, she came from a hoarder situation. She wasn’t abused….she just had no human contact. She was raised in a kennel. We had her for three months, she came out of her shell. She would go for walks with me and follow me to work.”
Valentine is informed of the history of each dog so she can better understand how to care for each individual dog. And the same information is passed on to the adoptive owner.
“The first two bottle fed puppies, miniature pinchers, were also hard to let go. They were fed with an eye dropper every hour,” reminisces Valentine, who adds “You get pretty attached to these ones.”
Valentine goes above and beyond to help the dogs, and it’s all volunteer.
“I’ve built a really good relationship with White Bear,” explains Valentine. “Night or day they call me and I help them no questions asked about a dog that needs my help, whether it’s a litter of puppies or a stray.”
Every dog that’s taken off the reserve is signed for.
Bright Eyes is an amazing organization and they operate on donations. Donations may include food, dog beds, kennels and most of all cash donations to go towards vet bills.
“My husband and my daughter help me out a tremendous amount,” says a very grateful Valentine.
“When I first started fostering I didn’t expect to be this involved,” explains Valentine.
It can be exhausting at times but when she steps into her garage and sees all the dogs with their tails wagging and barking so excitedly to see her, that all melts away. The dogs love her unconditionally.
“My life is full,” says Valentine “but it’s very rewarding.”
“Everyone makes the comment ‘I don’t know how you can do it’ but I reply ‘I don’t know how I can’t.’”
“When you hand the dog off to their new forever home, it’s just heartwarming, you might shed a tear or two or cry all the way home, but it’s a happy cry!”
If you have a love of dogs and would like to help out, please give Teresa Valentine a call at 577-8631 for more information about Bright Eyes Dog Rescue.