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12 Saves of Christmas: Andy, Save #8

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Every year we countdown 12 very special adoptions through our 12 Saves of Christmas series. Check in each day as we get closer to announcing our #1 on Christmas day.

For the past 3 years the ARLGP has been working with K9’s on the Front Line (K9OTFL), a local nonprofit that trains and places service dogs with veterans experiencing PTSD. What is unique about K9OTFL is their commitment to helping shelter dogs too. During our partnership, more than two dozen ARLGP dogs have been placed with veterans across Maine. This is a partnership we are incredibly proud of.

In September, a K9OTFL client, Shawna, drove two hours from her home in Knox to meet three dogs at the ARLGP.

One of those dogs was Andy, a 1-year-old Great Dane that arrived at our shelter from our Mississippi rescue partner, Animal Rescue Front. What we learned about Andy from his first day in our care was that he had no idea his size. Clocking in at 108 pounds of love, Andy thought he was the perfect lap dog. We even put in his description “I would do best in a home that wants an extra-large snuggle buddy.”

As soon as Shawna took a seat in our meet-and-greet room and our gentle giant walked in, she knew he was exactly what she was looking for in a companion:

“Andy was a little hyper with the trainer, but as soon as I took him he calmed right down, didn’t pull on the leash, wasn’t scared of my cane… and when he sat down and looked up at me with those big golden eyes, I just knew that he was coming home with me.”

Since arriving home with Shawna, Andy has provided her with comfort and a support system:

“Andy is being trained as my PTSD and mobility assistance service dog. Focusing on his training helped pull me out of a bad bout of depression that I was stuck in. He’s pretty low key and is a snuggle bug. Having him with me everywhere I go is such an amazing comfort. I feel more at ease in public and having him there as that little bit of extra support to help with some mobility tasks has really increased my independence. He’s also put my husband’s mind at ease; he’s not worrying as much about me when I’m out and about when I have Andy with me.”

People often use the phrase “it takes a village,” and in this case it took a Mississippi rescue and a bus ride to Maine, the important work that K9OTFL does for veterans in need, and our ARLGP team to help both a dog and a veteran find each other:

“Andy has given me my wings essentially. Together, we’ll fly high and conquer the world. I’m eternally grateful for the Animal Refuge League for transporting and saving Andy from a shelter down south. He is my battle buddy. From the moment I saw him, I knew my life was about to get a lot better, and so far, I was right. Thank you for all you do and for bringing me my Andy.”