Remember me? Forgotten animals need love to heal

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She'd been sitting at a shelter in Orangeburg for months and now, Bekka's time had run out. Hours from becoming a shelter statistic, an angel appeared.

Valued Lowcountry foster Chris Mokan saw Bekka and was so moved by her story, she called Palmetto Animal League and asked us to intervene. Hours later, Chris pulled up at PAL with Bekka in her car.

One glance told all you needed to know. Bekka had seen the face of inhumanity and survived. She was recovering from surgery to remove a collar that was left on her for so long and so tight it had become embedded in her neck.

Day after day, she must have suffered in unbelievable pain as manmade material cut into her flesh. I can barely stand the thought of her crying out, "Remember me?"

Bekka couldn't be leashed at all. She became so panicked when she saw a collar or harness, she had to be carried. Bekka's best chance at a new life was to spend time at home with PAL's dog behaviorist, Kevin McHale.

The gradual, purposeful, life-changing work Kevin was about to begin with Bekka would be the foundation of all trust.

"Due to her severe anxiety, Bekka's leash training will be a long and repetitive process," explained Kevin. "In the last four months, she has made slow but steady strides. She now takes walks outside the house and even out of my yard."

While Bekka's fur grew back on her scarred neck, the emotional toll of the abuse she endured remains. We recently got word that Bekka is going to receive the best gift imaginable - an adoring family! Kevin's brother fell in love with her.

"She's such a playful, sweet and well-behaved pup," said Kevin's brother, Kyle McHale. "It was adorable how she got my dog Max to loosen up so quickly and join her in play."

When Bekka is ready, she'll join Kyle and his family near Orangeburg - where her story began. The dog who survived gets to come full-circle, and I can almost hear her proclaiming confidently to those who caused her suffering, "Remember me?"

For every cruel person in this world there must be twice as many angels who support animal rescue. I see them daily at PAL. They are adopters, fosters, donors and volunteers. They're caring people like you.

Join us at PAL for a candle-light vigil Sept. 26 at 5:30 p.m. to honor or remember those pets who've touched our lives, leaving us better people. We will rejoice for those rescued, like Bekka.

And we'll shine a light for those still waiting and crying out, "Remember me?" For details, visit PalmettoAnimalLeague.org/RememberMe.

Amy Campanini is president of Palmetto Animal League.

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