Stray Rescue: From pain to love

Courtesy of Stray Dog Rescue of St. Louis

Bridget Randazzo, print managing editor

The dog was left alone in a garage with an open gash on its back leg. The dog was tied to a piece of wire connected to the wall, holding it back from escaping. The dog was stranded, starving and slowly dying. A call was made to Stray Rescue and within minutes they hurried to the scene.

Stray Rescue of St. Louis is a charity whose mission is to save abandoned and abused canines from the streets and put them into comforting homes. Stray Rescue was founded in 1998 by Randy Grim who goes on rescue missions every day to save dogs.

“I feel their pain, so I keep up the act of ‘Dog Man’ or, as a homeless man calls me, ‘Coyote Man,’ so those canines don’t suffer and die,” Grim said in an online statement.

Grim, along with countless employees and volunteers, respond to calls of neglect, trying to rescue as many dogs as possible. Jennie Foster has been with Stray Rescue for 14 years and aided Grim in saving the lives of numerous animals.

Foster and Grim arrived at the garage in North St. Louis. The abandoned animal they found was a 6-month old female dog, sitting on a cushioned chair, trying to survive as long as she could among this neighborhood of vacant houses, vacant streets and vacant hearts.

“Don’t look at her foot [Jennie], it’s going to gross you out,” Grim said.

They entered the garage. Seeing the frightened animal attached to the wire from its collar, Grim begins to softly talk to the animal, “Here, have a hot dog, have a hot dog. I’m here to help. You’re safe now sweetie, you’re safe.”

To save these animals, volunteers and employees travel across St. Louis, sometimes into highly dangerous neighborhoods.

“You compartmentalize in that moment and can handle it, but later if I stop and watch a video of [the rescue], then it gets overwhelming,” Foster said. “It can be scary sometimes, but I think we all get caught up in the moment of the animals, so fear goes away and we focus on the dog.”

The dog’s leg was in bad shape. They gently released the animal from its wire restraint and rushed the dog to Stray Rescue. The dog’s injury was so severe, Foster was unsure if doctors could save her leg.

Stray Rescue relies on donations. During the winter holiday season, they hold several events and sales to increase adoption and raise money to keep the charity functioning.

Their largest event each winter is the Hope for the Holidays Gala. This year the fundraiser will take place at the Chase Park Plaza with celebrity guests Brett Hull, former St. Louis Blues player, and cast members from ABC’s show, “Castle.” Tickets are $200 per person and silent and live auctions will be held.

An employee who is proud of Stray Rescue’s successful donations is Darrell Antalick. Antalick was a volunteer for Stray Rescue for four years before becoming employed at the organization. This will be his has fourteenth year at Stray Rescue.

“I’m a kinder, more compassionate person now [since becoming a part of Stray Rescue],” Antalick said. “Sometimes when you see how bad people treat animals, or other people, it helps you treat people in a better way. If you’re in a bad home sometimes it takes somebody else to stand up for you and be your voice. These are things that never dawned on me before getting involved in Stray Rescue.”

Hours after being saved from death, the rescue, now named Savannah, sits happily inside a warm crate with her back leg bandaged. Now, instead of wires keeping her chained, she receives food. Instead of abuse, she receives hugs. Instead of pain, she receives love.

“I always say Stray Rescue is more of a passion, it’s more of a lifestyle for us than it is a job,” Antalick said. “Your heart has to be in it, you have to really want to help and it has to mean something to you.”






















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