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Special Report: Mission of Kindness, Part 1
CORNING, NY -- Most people would consider our pets a part of our family, but there are too many that are mistreated, abused, and abandoned. Fortunately, there are good people out there willing to step in and rescue those pets - taking them from bad situations, and finding them loving homes.
They're called animal rescuers - and one woman from Corning, Christie Speciale, is trying to make a difference - one animal at a time. She launched her own rescue organization in Corning last year, and is in the process of building a shelter. She was inspired to take action, after the death of her own rescue dog, Tanner. Her organization now bears his name - Tanner's P.A.W.S. - Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety.
"I really wanted to do more, I've done a lot of volunteering for local shelters, fundraising, fostering, and decided that I really wanted to start my own because it's definitely needed," Christie explained.
Tanner's P.A.W.S. rescues dogs that have been abandoned, neglected, stray, and at risk for euthanasia, along with a variety of other reasons. She says many dogs they take in are surrendered through no fault of their own, like their owners can no longer take care of them, due to a medical condition or other cause.
On a bitterly cold January day, Christie is rescuing two puppies abandoned by their former owner in Addison. We're told he moved away - leaving the dogs to fend for themselves, or die - no water, no food -in January when temperatures dropped below zero overnight. A good Samaritan took them home and called Tanner's P.A.W.S.
"It's frustrating, and to know that these dogs are between 4 and 5 months old, and they're not housebroken, malnourished and yet so sweet, and their temperament is just absolutely amazing," said Christie.
Emaciated, scared, but loving and gentle, Christie loads the dogs into her SUV, and drives them to their foster home in Corning, where they'll be warm, fed, and loved by a couple who already have two Great Danes. Nichole Thompson opened her home to the puppies after Tanner's P.A.W.S. placed a call for help through Facebook.
"Knowing just how awfully, bitterly cold it was and knowing how good my dogs have it here and in a nice warm house, I just thought I have to help," explained Nichole.
Two weeks go by, where the dogs are treated to good food and treats, warm beds at night, and lots of love and attention. Now named Beau and Riley, the dog's personalities shine through - and their energy knows no bounds.
"Riley loves nothing more than to be outside, running around, he's just full of energy, he's just riled up, that's how he got his name," Nichole said. She's been working on their manners, and the dogs are eager to learn.
"Beau learns a little bit faster than Riley, however, Riley is extremely food driven, he will do anything for food, for a treat," said Nichole.
The pups are still on the thin side, but the great news is, they're now healthy - up to date on shots, and even neutered. Nichole says they are great family pets - and doesn't mince words for the man who left them behind.
"I would tell him I hope you never have another animal again, and I really hope that somebody abandons you like that," she said.
For Christie, it's seening the dog's journey from a bad place to a loving home that reinforces that she's doing the right thing by helping animals.
"Knowing that they're now in a better place, helps you process it and helps you realize that that you're doing something for them, and they're not in the horrible situation that they were once in," she said.
* Riley was adopted this week! However, Beau was adopted but was recently returned; he is now available for adoption at the Horseheads Animal Shelter: http://www.townofhorseheads.org/index.asp?pageId=6
For more information on Tanner's P.A.W.S.: http://www.tannerspaws.org/
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tannerspaws
Adoptable dogs on Petfinder: http://www.petfinder.com/pet-search?shelterid=NY1141
P.O. Box 1125
Corning, NY 14830
*Tanner's P.A.W.S is holding a bowling fundraiser on Friday, May 17th
To view part 2 of this special report, click here: /news/local-news/mission-of-kindness-animal-rescue-2-022813