Hannah, an American bulldog, was born in a breeding kennel.
At only a few weeks old, she was left in a crate and got her left hind leg stuck. No one knows for how long. Hannah started chewing on her paw to free it. By the time she was seen to, her paw had become infected. It developed gangrene.
Finally the owner took her to the vet. The next day, Hannah's foot fell off. Surgery was performed and her whole left leg was amputated.
Waggin' Tails Pet Rescue of Brodheadsville, whose motto is ironically "Saving pets one paw at a time," took Hannah under its wings, in the form of Suzie Gilbert, vice president of Waggin' Tails. Hannah needed a home to go to after the surgery and Suzie volunteered.
Now Hannah is four months old. She is happy, nourished and loved and charms everyone who comes in contact with her. She has compensated very well with only three legs, but will need physical therapy and a brace on her right hind leg because it is being turned outwards due to the way Hannah has been using it.
Waggin' Tails is a no-kill nonprofit rescue shelter and depends on donations to keep running from heat, to food, to veterinary costs.
Enter Pleasant Valley Intermediate School students and German teacher Susan Featro.
Featro loves animals and encourages her students to think about their welfare. For the last few years, Featro has been encouraging PVI students to get involved by conducting several pet food and supply drives, donating everything to Waggin' Tails, Carbon County Friends of Animals and Meals on Wheels.
"We learned that there are some people who receive Meals on Wheels (who) don't have enough money for pet food, and so feed their pets with their own food," says Featro.
Featro says she encourages the students by telling them that "If we all work together, we can make a difference in the community. Kids often feel they can't make a difference because of their age. But this is one way they can and they get to see the effects they have through their efforts."
In their most recent fundraising event, they raised almost $2,000 to date and collected lots of supplies from food, cleaning products, litter, to pet toys.
Susan not only conducts these drives but arranges an assembly each year to help get the word out.
"The students really do all the work. They took the initiative for this last project. Rachel Urban put containers in several local businesses to collect money. They helped with all the assemblies and encourage their peers to participate," says Featro.
Gilbert brought Hannah in to visit with the students at PVI. It was hard to tell who enjoyed the visit more, Hannah or the kids.
"Hannah has an incredible personality. She's truly one of the friendliest puppies I've seen," she says.
One of the reasons Gilbert wants people to know about Hannah is "People are not always aware of the pain and suffering some animals go through. But when you put a face to it, it makes a difference. The fact is, we want to help her, but we don't have the money. Hopefully a lot of good people will hear about Hannah and want to help," says Gilbert.
Gilbert already has five foster dogs, but when Hannah needed a home after her surgery, she couldn't say no.
"She loves life and she gives back more than she was given. That's why I do what I do. I can't imagine not saving the life of someone like Hannah. These animals are there for you and love you, no matter what," she says.
Gilbert's ultimate goal for Hannah is for her to become a therapy dog.
"Can you imagine a better one? Just think of what an inspiration she would be to others."
Hannah, Gilbert, Featro and the students from PVI have another message they would like to get out to the public.
"Don't buy a pet. Adopt one. Become a pet foster parent or a member of a buddy program. Donate time, supplies or money. Spread the word of the importance of shelter animals," says Gilbert.
(If you would like to help Hannah, you can send a donation to the Hope for Hannah Fund, 2019 Twin Pine Rd., Stroudsburg, PA 18360.
To reach Waggin' Tails, call (570) 992-4185 or visit their website at www.Waggin'tailsrescue.com.
To make a donation of money or supplies to the PVI Pet Food Drive, send to Susan Featro, Pleasant Valley Intermediate School, RR# 3 Box 498, Kunkletown, PA 18058 or drop off at the school, located on Polk Township Road in Kresgeville.
They will be accepting donations until the end of the school year.