We don’t know Cassie’s ᴘᴀsᴛ, but by the way she was found we can imagine how much she must have sᴜꜰꜰᴇʀᴇᴅ and how much her ʜᴇᴀʀᴛ must have been ʙʀᴏᴋᴇɴ. If ever there was a portrait of ᴅᴇsᴘᴀɪʀ, it was Cassie’s standing in the ᴄᴏʟᴅ driving rain in front of a North Carolina convenience store. The dog was ᴄᴏᴍᴘʟᴇᴛᴇʟʏ sᴛɪʟʟ. She seemed to have given up on everything, including finding a sʜᴇʟᴛᴇʀ to hide from the rain.
But others refused to ɢɪᴠᴇ ᴜᴘ on her. Fortunately, when Cassie was found by someone who, even without knowing the dog, did not ɢɪᴠᴇ ᴜᴘ on her. Valinda Cortez had just woken up that Sunday morning and was still in her pajamas and sandals when she stopped in front of the store and saw the dog soaked in the rain. Valinda said:” When I got out of the car, my ʜᴇᴀʀᴛ sᴀɴᴋ.This ᴘᴏᴏʀ ʙᴀʙʏ had been out in the rain and ᴄᴏʟᴅ for a long time. She was ꜰʀᴇᴇᴢɪɴɢ. It was apparent to me that this baby had been ᴅᴜᴍᴘᴇᴅ.” The woman, very touched by the scene, approached Cassie, who even appearing to be afraid did not flinch. In fact, the ʙɪᴛᴄʜ didn’t move. Not even when Valinda put a blanket over her or offered her hand. So Valinda decided not to move either. She stayed in that parking lot with the sʜɪᴠᴇʀɪɴɢ dog for more than an hour, gradually earning her trust.
She eventually called her friend, Sue Massi, who did volunteer ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇ work for ᴀʙᴀɴᴅᴏɴᴇᴅ ᴀɴɪᴍᴀʟs. Sue soon arrived on the scene and was joined by a Buncombe County Aɴɪᴍᴀʟ Cᴏɴᴛʀᴏʟ officer. Together, they gently coaxed the dog into a car and took her to the sʜᴇʟᴛᴇʀ. Valinda said:” Humans let the dog ᴅᴏᴡɴ, but I hope the food, warm blanket and love I gave her will restore her faith in humans.” Indeed, in just a few days, it seems the dog, who was named Cassie, has already gotten her smile back. And, when cleaned up, she looks like a completely different dog. Valinda said:” That picture of her is perfect. Such a difference. My ʜᴇᴀʀᴛ is happy.”
Soon, Cassie will be looking for a real home. And the next time you see an animal in ᴛʀᴏᴜʙʟᴇ, remember Cassie and Valinda’s story. Valinda said:” There are always options. What if I ignored this ᴡᴇᴛ, ᴄᴏʟᴅ, ʜᴜɴɢʀʏ ᴅᴏɢ and moved on? She could have ᴅɪᴇᴅ from the ᴄᴏʟᴅ, been ʜɪᴛ ʙʏ ᴀ ᴄᴀʀ, or any number of other things. It’s not that difficult to find a sʜᴇʟᴛᴇʀ to take an animal. I proud to have made a difference in Cassie’s life.”