The first two years of Tali’s life were undoubtedly rough. When Gateway Pet Guardians volunteers saw Tali roaming the streets of East St. Louis, they first noticed that she was accompanied by her 3-month-old puppy, later named J,Jr. The second thing that stood out was a piece of rope hanging from her neck. Upon closer inspection, it was clear that the rope was embedded, and that the emaciated American Staffordshire Terrier and her puppy needed help as soon as possible.
The founder of Gateway Pet Guardians, PJ Hightower, went straight into action caring for Tali and her puppy. PJ, who has been feeding the stray dogs in East Saint Louis every day for the last ten years, followed J, Jr into an abandoned house where he and Tali had been staying. She was able to rescue J Jr that day, but unfortunately, when PJ went back outside to try to get Tali, she had run off and couldn’t be found…that day, at least. To see more of J Jr’s rescue day, watch the video.
We didn’t give up on Tali that easily, though, and PJ continued to search for her every day waiting for the moment she would show herself. That day finally came about 2 months after J Jr’s rescue. Since Tali was so shy, we had to set a trap for her. She quickly went in to eat the food since she was so hungry, and that turned out to be the best decision of her life!
Tali was immediately rushed to Hillside Animal Clinic, where their amazing veterinarians went straight to work. The embedded rope was carefully removed from her neck, and she was also treated for Heartworms and Hookworms. Tali was then able to have a joyful reunion with her puppy!
For the next few months while living at the shelter, Tali realized she could finally trust humans and began coming out of her shell more and more. She quickly became a favorite of all the Shelter Volunteers because of her loving attitude and adorable quirks. Tali fell in love with her Shelter Guardian, a volunteer who took her on fun adventures, to training, and even for a few overnight stays at his home. A story he and every other volunteer can tell is how Tali would carry around a small pink pig everywhere she went. When she went to the play yard, so too went her pig. If we took her on a long walk, we knew that pig was coming too. Even though Tali had a rough start at life, she was never bitter…she would greet each person with a tail wag and a kiss!
Although Tali was safe and well cared for, it took a long time to find her forever family. She spent nearly two years at the shelter, which is much longer than any dog should have to spend in a shelter regardless of how nice it is. While she enjoyed everybody at the shelter and was grateful for her new life, we could tell what she wanted more than anything was a family and a couch to call her own. When it was starting to seem like she was going to become a permanent resident at the shelter, her luck changed!
Last Thanksgiving, Gateway Pet Guardians ran a foster campaign and was able to move all the shelter dogs into foster homes for the weekend so that the dogs could enjoy the holiday too! Tali was lucky enough to land with an awesome lady who introduced her to her soon- to- be dad. Tali’s dad had been looking for a dog for quite a long time, but hadn’t found the right one yet. As soon as he met Tali, it was love at first sight! Less than a week later Tali could be found snoozing, with her head on her dad’s leg, on her big comfy couch. We couldn’t be happier for the sweet girl who finally found her furever home!