Darla’s Story

Darla knows that hope comes in many forms. Clinging to life, Darla and her two puppies were discovered in a rural Missouri ditch. Hope first arrived in the form of a kind-hearted man who rescued the trio and brought them to the safety of his home while he began searching for shelters to give them a second chance.  Through our collaborative transfer program, in which the APA works with over 100 animal rescues and shelters throughout the Midwest, Darla and her pups, who may not have survived outside much longer, made their way to the APA.

After their arrival, Darla’s puppies were nursed back to health and quickly found wonderful adoptive families. Darla’s journey, however, became a bit more complicated after APA staff noticed a lump on her chin. An x-ray determined that Darla had osteosarcoma, an aggressive, terminal bone cancer in her jaw. Despite her bleak prognosis, Darla was eating well, in good spirits, and her pain was being managed—it was clear she was thriving from the love and care received at the APA. That wasn’t enough though. We wanted Darla to experience the comforts of a warm, loving home for the rest of her life, however long that may be. So, the APA reached out to our dedicated foster volunteers to search for a twilight foster—someone to provide love, care and hope for Darla, as she, too, had so much love left to give.

Little did we know, Darla was destined for hope of a different kind.

Isabella had just moved into her own apartment with her dog, Ginger. She had been considering an addition to her furry family and one day decided to visit the APA. Not knowing exactly who she was looking for, she started by visiting with kittens…but then asked about animals that nobody wanted or had special needs. An APA staff member told her about Darla and her condition, and Isabella asked to meet her. Darla was brought out and placed in Isabella’s arms—Darla’s sweet disposition, gentle spirit, and soulful eyes, full of hope, captured Isabella’s heart. Though uncertain of handling the responsibility and heartache of adopting a dog with declining health, Isabella instantly fell in love. She knew Darla would be her new family member.

Over a month post-adoption, Darla is still wagging her tail, eating “like a queen,” and running with more energy and speed than Isabella’s other dog.  Isabella and Darla are living each day to the fullest together—creating a life full of hope and happiness.  Hope for Darla…by way of the APA.

Once she placed Darla in my arms, I melted—my heart became full.  -Isabella

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