Woman steps in to save dog from being killed, even though she'd never met him

Woman helps save on dog on the shelter euthanasia list from being killed. He had a leg that needed to be amputated and severely infected eye.
By Nicole Hamilton

Benny couldn’t have known it, but with his life hanging in the balance, someone he’d never met was trying to save him.

Jessica Obregon was checking out Facebook one day when she saw a post about a dog named Benny at the Palm Valley Animal Center. The condition of the young dog’s leg was so severe that it would require amputation. He also was blind in one eye due to an infection, and unless he had a place to go in the next 24 hours, he was at risk of losing his life.

The longer Jessica looked at Benny’s photo, the more determined she was to help him find the life he deserved — one far beyond the shelter walls, in a home with a loving family. “Not today,” she told herself. She wouldn’t let today be Benny’s last day, let alone let him spend it in a shelter.

Operation Benny

Benny the dog wearing a green vestIf there was ever a time to use the term “now or never,” this was it. Without hesitation, Jessica started sharing PVAC’s Facebook post about Benny with her friends and local rescue groups, trying to find someone who would step up to help.

Then she called PVAC and talked to Selina Sandoval, the shelter’s rescue coordinator, who felt a wave of relief when Jessica told her she was prepared to do anything to save Benny.

In recent months, a team from Best Friends has been working alongside the team at PVAC in an effort to increase the shelter’s save rate. And while that save rate is climbing, PVAC still receives more cats and dogs each day than it can find homes for.

That means when injured pets like Benny are brought to the shelter, their lives come with a deadline — that is, unless someone like Jessica says, “Not today.”

“Benny was scheduled to be euthanized at the end of the day he entered the shelter,” says Selina. “But because Jessica intervened, his life was saved. It’s a nice reminder that people are good.”

Jessica even offered to foster Benny while she raised the funds to pay for his surgery, but as it turns out, that wasn’t needed. With Jessica’s promise of help, PVAC could make plans perform Benny’s surgery at the shelter.

Any day is a good day to save a life

You don’t need a lot of time or resources to help save a shelter pet. In fact, Jessica already had a full plate the first day she saw Benny. For starters, she had busy day ahead at work and she also had to get everything ready for her graduation party the next day. Plus, she also lives in a full house with her husband, parents, brother, sister and two of her own dogs. But even with space at a premium, her family was happy to make room for Benny.

Before she left for work, she tossed a blanket in the car, just in case she would need to pick up Benny later. “I just went with my gut,” she says. “I didn’t know how he’d be with my other dogs or anything about his personality. I just knew he needed my help.”

Jessica got her co-workers to help spread the word about Benny to friends and family. As the hours passed without any offers to foster or adopt, Jessica made plans to visit PVAC after work so she could bring Benny home.

To make sure she wouldn’t miss the critical end-of-day lifesaving deadline, she even timed the drive from work to PVAC. This was not a day to get stuck in traffic.

It ended up being a drive she didn’t have to make. Because while Alex Stephenson was scanning the Facebook pages of Edinburg-area rescue groups, looking for a dog to adopt, he saw Jessica’s post. And just as Jessica did when she first saw Benny’s photo and story, Alex said: “Not today.”

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A post shared by Laurie P. Andrews PAWS Center (@lpapaws) on

Bow ties and belly rubs

Benny the dog wearing a cone after his front leg was amputated

Alex contacted the shelter to learn more, and after talking to a staff person he said the words that really put Benny on the road to a new life: “I’ll take him.”

Benny was able to have his amputation surgery at PVAC the next day, and he also began receiving daily medication for his eye. After giving Benny a few more days to rest and heal, Alex went to the adoption center to bring him home.

Today, Benny’s eye has completely healed. He loves belly rubs, going on boat rides and playing with his dog (and people) friends. He’s a sweet, laid-back and loving guy, and he even tolerates it when Alex dresses him up in bow ties.

Benny the dog running in the grassIt’s the life Benny completely deserves, but one he might have missed out on — if not for Jessica’s determination to save the life of a dog she’d never even met.

You can save a life.
Foster a pet near you.

Photos courtesy of Alex Stephenson

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