Success Stories

Amazing Grace

A photo of Grace and Mni Mni and Grace traveled together with RAR to meet another rescue group in the middle of South Dakota.

On August 6th, staff from the Northern Plains Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA) distribution center, hopped in a vehicle with an American Indian Education Fund (AIEF) scholar volunteer and two furry ladies. Equipped with two kennels lined with PWNA emergency blankets, the quartet traveled three hours to meet another rescue group in the middle of the state to transfer the animals on their next travel leg.

Mni and Grace’s journey started in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation with the predictable and decisive assistance of RAR program partner, Oglala Pet Project (OPP).

During the same time Andrea of OPP was receiving calls about Mni, the porch pup in Bear Creek, she was also receiving the first of many — many text messages and photos from RAR about Grace.

“This is Grace from Allen… I mean the dog is Grace… this is Laura. She’s a stray that has adopted a family and this growth started about a year ago she said that it’s hard for her to go to the bathroom now. They don’t have the money to help her,” was the message relayed from RAR staff. Andrea responded quickly with, “I am not intaking for a while but let me message another rescue I know and see if they would take her… My friend Katie would take her.”

A photo of Grace before her mass was removed. Grace had a growth on her stomach that was making it difficult for her to urinate.

Just 18 minutes had elapsed from this photo on the left and the first text message to OPP. After finding out that Grace could be transported to another rescue on the other side of the state, RAR had the difficult conversation of determining if the family would relinquish Grace permanently.

Marietta, Grace’s adopted mom, shared that they had another pup several years ago that they took to the vet for their leg and over a thousand dollars later, the pup’s leg never set properly. She talked to her family, particularly toddler, Isabella, and they determined if Grace could get the help and likely an extensive operation she needed AND be rehomed to a good family, they were willing to give her a 2nd chance.

Marietta and her granddaughter, Isabella, met Andrea a few hours later to turn Grace over to OPP. Andrea confirmed the pickup to RAR staff: “Got her! OMG that was heartbreaking — it was sad, I wanted to cry but told them they were doing the best thing for her and we would get her the best care possible.”

A photo of Grace after her surgery Grace smiling after her successful surgery.

Andrea had Grace and Mni dropped off at a vet clinic 80 miles north in Rapid City and RAR picked the two dogs up the following day and drove halfway across the state to give them both a fresh start. Grace and Mni were such good travelers and it was hard to say our goodbyes.

RAR has maintained contact with Marietta in Allen, keeping her (and family) updated of Grace’s progress and sending photos. “Clapping emoji — so happy for Gracie! Did they get the tumor? She looks content. She is a good dog,” Marietta said. RAR shared that it wasn’t a tumor, after all, it was an inguinal hernia making it difficult for her to walk, urinate, and function.

Grace was fast-tracked to a vet in Iowa after her condition worsened upon arriving in Sioux Falls. She received an emergency hysterectomy and hernia repair. The rescue shared that it was roughly $4,000 to provide Grace these lifesaving measures, but the surgery was a success and she received the necessary preventable vaccines before being rehomed a month and one week from the day that she was lovingly relinquished.

Marietta still mourns the absence of Gracie, but still wants to remain in contact telling us, “I really would like to bead her a collar — I’ll never forget her even if she was a stray.”

Thank you for the love you feel for these animals in need and for the support you offer to Program Partners and families who love them just as much as you do.

Our Mission: Serving immediate needs. Supporting long-term solutions.
Our Vision: Strong, self-sufficient Native American communities.

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