Snooty Giggles’ volunteers are all about happy dances and laughter. After pulling unwanted animals from shelters they say they are filled with joy.
The group’s founder and director, Shawn Aswad, explains that’s how the name Snooty Giggles came about.
“People don’t want these dogs because of either an illness or the way they looked and by the time we get them into the program, we see how wonderful they are,” said Shawn. “Everyone else turned their noses up at them. They miss out and we get the last laugh.”
She runs on about four hours sleep each night, spending a lot of her time in her good friend’s vet clinic and doing rehab with sick or disabled dogs. Then there’s the middle-of-the-night emergencies, potty breaks and doses of medication.
Shawn is tireless. Unfazed.
“These guys are not that difficult,” Shawn sloughs off the amount of time, patience and love she gives to these furry guys and gals in need. “Our goal here is we want people to become less afraid of dogs with disabilities. Don’t be afraid to love something special.”
Shawn has 9 dogs of her own. Most began as fosters but could not be adopted because of their special needs or medical issues. And usually she’s got about 15 dogs on her property at any given time.
Hoopla has no back legs.
Wumbo’s legs are deformed.
Snooty is blind.
Munzie has cancer.
Yoolah is deaf.
Shawn does concede that some cases are indeed challenging. But she’s up for it. And it’s the little victories that keep her going.
“Hoopla had spina bifida, no hips and a deformed pelvis,” said Shawn. “He couldn’t move his back legs – they were fused. It was a huge concern that he was not having quality of life.”
Shawn saw Hoopla through surgery and intensive physical therapy.
“We retrained his body,” she explained. “I didn’t have a lot of hope on how long we could give him. He’s not a candidate for a cart; he doesn’t like to be contained in anything. We finally hit this period of reaching maturity in growth and we’re in this great cycle with physical therapy and now he’s just lightning fast and can go on any surface. It’s amazing to watch him evolve and thrive. I almost called it for him but we kept pushing and pushing and letting him grow and develop. Right now he has an amazing life. It might not be a very long life, but it’s something we never thought he would have.”
Shawn is a big believer in combining modern medicine with as many holistic approaches as possible. She doesn’t, however, believe in coddling.
“They have to learn to do things on their own the way they are able, and they excel!” said Shawn. “It’s incredible to watch.”
And with that push for independence comes compassion.
“Some dogs we just pull from the shelter and keep them under hospice care. Even if we know they’ve only got the night left. Just so they know what love was. Some comfort.”
Shawn wants every dog in her program to live the best life they can, whether it’s for a week or years. And along the way, they dance.
“We celebrate every little thing,” said Shawn. We celebrate playing with a toy for the first time, coming up for attention for the first time, going to the bathroom for themselves for the first time. We call those dancing moments. We do a lot of dancing here.”
That doesn’t mean it’s not an emotional ride, but Shawn and the rest of the Snooty Giggles’ gang have learned a lot from the dogs they’ve taken in over the years.
“We just want everybody to focus on making every day count. If you give dogs the opportunity, they’ll do just that. And that’s how we should try to live too. You’ve gotta be silly and you’ve gotta have fun. You can’t focus on all the bad stuff happening in the world when there are all kinds of great things happening right underneath you!”
That, my furbaby loving friends, is how the humans at Snooty Giggles are getting the last laugh.
Snooty Giggles, which has a network of about 100 active volunteers, operates in the greater Nashville area. The group became a 501(c)3 nonprofit in 2010. Founder and director Shawn Aswad used to fund the rescue through her work as an artist and furniture designer, but now Snooty Giggles has grown so much that caring for the animals has become Shawn’s full-time job (and then some!). Snooty Giggles often incurs big and unexpected expenses as they care for so many special needs animals.
For the month of March, Fetching Apparel is partnering with Snooty Giggles to raise money for this awesome rescue group. Please use the coupon code SNOOTY to get FREE SHIPPING and support this worthy cause at the same time. Fetching Apparel also offers FREE GIFT wrapping; give the gift that gives back!