It’s heartwarming and hectic all at the same time at the home of Lindsay Campbell, who opens her home to dying and discarded dogs in need of a loving place to live out their time on earth. Her rescue efforts at Pleasant Hill Pet Rescue in northeast Tennessee involve providing a sanctuary of sorts, and even hospice.
Right now, along with her husband and four children, there are 25 dogs in Lindsay’s home. Some are younger and adoptable, others have serious health problems and need round-the-clock care. Then there are those who are simply old and no longer wanted by their owners.
“It absolutely breaks my heart,” said Lindsay. “How would they feel if someone did that to them? These animals deserve to live out their lives with dignity, it’s just not okay to abandon them at the end of their lives.”
So many times, it’s all about convenience for these people.
“They just want the dog gone,” Lindsay told me. “Most of the people that contact me are the people who have surrendered their dogs to kill shelters and have had the dogs since they were six weeks old. As soon as there are health issues, the dog is blind, they have incontinence, cognitive dysfunction that causes barking or other health issues, they refuse to deal with it.”
Lindsay has always had a huge heart for animals. She ran a horse farm for years and has offered barn sitting and pet sitting services.
“I’ve always had dogs,” said Lindsay. “They were always at the barn with me. My dog Wanda has been my trusted sidekick for almost 12 years – she’s about 13 or 14 years old. She was a stray, hence the name Wanda – she just “wanda-ed” on in. And she’s been the best dog.”
But those trips to the barn together stopped abruptly after Lindsay, who was involved in what’s known as 3-day eventing, had a horseback riding accident. She broke her leg and ankle and had to step back from all her many duties. During that time, she began volunteering with different shelters.
“I can’t not do something with animals,” said Lindsay.
During her time as a volunteer, Lindsay found herself falling for one of the pets she was trying to help. She recalls the mama dog who kept getting passed over by visitors to the shelter.
“We called her Granny and she’d been sitting at the shelter for 7 months,” said Lindsay. “I said I was going to take granny out and take pictures of her and when we got outside and I started taking pictures of her I decided she was just coming home with me.”
That’s exactly what happened. And, the picture Lindsay took of Granny that day is now her Facebook profile picture.
“She had mammary tumors from being bred so many times, congestive heart failure, her hips were shot,” said Lindsay. “Her teeth are rotten and dirty. I was told she was likely going to just be a hospice case. But when I brought her in for her 3-month checkup, the doctor couldn’t believe her recovery. She sleeps happily, follows me all over the 10 acres out here. She can get up and down all the stairs. Between granny and Wanda, they’re my world.”
Since then, Pleasant Hill Pet Rescue has added a whole lot more grannies and grandpas.
“They just want a comfy bed to sleep on and everybody gets their meds,” said Lyndsey, who spends about $4,000 a month on the dogs’ medical needs and food.
She’s working on applying for a grant. But all this hard work and financial strain is worth it to Lindsay who couldn’t stomach what was happening to sick and senior dogs.
At one particular shelter where Lindsay volunteered, she says the facility was euthanizing anywhere from 25 to 60 dogs a month.
“Since we’ve stepped in, 8 dogs have been euthanized in the last 4 months,” said Lindsay proudly.
Now Lindsay’s home looks more like the Island of Misfit Toys. Take little Beetle for example.
“He was an owner surrender at the Kingsport shelter,” said Lindsay. “They said they didn’t know what happened. He had a bone infection that rotted the entire lower jaw out. There’s not a bit of jaw in there. He stunk to the high heavens and he had a hole in his ear – it looked like someone had put a tag in it. His tongue was ripped where it had been hanging out.”
Despite all that, Beetle seems like a pretty happy little guy now that he’s landed a spot in Lindsay’s loving home. She was thrilled when he finally got well enough that she could have him vaccinated.
“We’re hoping we’ll be able to neuter him at some point once we get him a little healthier,” said Lindsay, who is also still working on getting him to eat on his own.
In the meantime, Beetle has found a special companion.
“He absolutely loves my husband,” laughed Lindsay. “He’s attached to him when my husband is home and my husband baby talks him. It’s pretty funny. And they sleep together at night.”
The whole family is truly invested in this effort.
“The kids are really great helpers,” said Lindsay. “They each have their favorites that they do all the extra stuff for. My 15-year-old Olivia wants to be a vet when she grows up and comes with me to help with most of the vet visits.”
It looks like all the pups, old and young, have hit the jackpot since moving into the Pleasant Hill Pet Rescue, a.k.a Lindsay’s home.
“All the kids sleep with the rescue dogs,” she said. “It’s definitely not your average kennel. All the dogs get treated like they’re pets. Everybody gets spoiled. They all sleep in beds, they all pile up on the couch and snuggle with everybody.”
Now that sounds cozy, doesn’t it?
Do you know of an amazing pet rescue story you’d like to share? Please comment now!
If you’d like to donate to Lindsay’s efforts, here is the address:
Pleasant Hill Pet Rescue
433 Pleasant Hill Road
Blountville, TN 37617
They don’t have a website yet but click here to visit their Facebook page.
The Paws of Hope Animal Wellness Center in Bluff City, Tennessee will also accept contributions on behalf of Pleasant Hill Rescue. That phone number is (423) 391-0224.