The storm late on Monday night saw many of us inside, huddled up inside our blankets staying warm while the rain pelted down and the wind was howling. But for Darla Connolly, her night was spent out in the storm rescuing a dog that was in desperate need of help.

"It was about 10:00 o'clock at night and my dogs were barking and they saw something outside. And whatever it was scooted into the field, so I just left it at that.  And then at 2:30 in the morning, my dog woke me again to say there's something going on out there.  I went outside to see and it wasn't raining at that time, but it was windier than a bugger and it was all wet. And here's this little dog curled up in the corner. I grabbed some treats and sat there with her for about an hour, it took me that long to coax her to get close enough so I could grab her," Connolly said. 

Once she got the dog inside, Connolly said there was a lot that needed to be done to help it.

"I left a bowl of food out there when I went out there. She ate the food, obviously. And then once I grabbed her, I took her in the bus with me and she sat on the engine cover on the blanket that I made, just terrified and didn't move until the next day. I pulled the porcupine quills out of her,  she let me do that. she let me trim her nails she was very gentle. She didn't try and bite me or anything." 

Connolly explained that she currently lives in a school bus, so there isn't much space for her and all her animals. But she couldn't leave the dog out in the cold when it needed help.

"I'll do anything for dogs, I'll do anything for animals. I've rescued so many animals over the years, it's not even funny. They know that I will do anything for them like I'm not even working right now, but I don't care what it costs or what it takes, I will look after the dog." 

The dog, which has since been named Iris, now has a clean bill of health after some vet visits, so the focus is on getting her up to a healthy weight. While Iris was terrified at first, it didn't take long for her to warm up to Connolly.

"On the second night, she was sleeping on the engine in the bus. I had a blanket there for her and she decided that she was gonna be brave enough and run to the back of the bus where the bedroom is, so she slept on the floor in the bedroom.  I woke up in the morning and there was somebody on my head, literally on the back of my head. It was her she had jumped on the bed and curled right into my head and was completely comfortable sleeping there." 

dogConnolly found Iris sleeping right beside her!
Photo Courtesy: Mustang Photography

Community support and how to help animal rescues

Connolly said she's received a lot of community support for Iris, which she is very grateful for. She said Iris's vet bills have been covered, but for anybody that wants to support Connolly and rescuing animals, there's several things you can do, like spaying and neutering your pets so they don't breed and leave homeless animals everywhere.

"Everybody has been so incredible. They donated to her vet bill and people are giving me dog food and stuff. So we don't need any more donations. We're covered for that."

"I asked the vet if I could leave some soaps there, so I'm just waiting on the reply because I've been selling soap to cover her bill. So I asked them if I could leave some soaps at the vet to sell and that money would be donated to the next dog that needs it. So if somebody else is in this situation, then they could donate it towards that dog. I know there's a lot of rescues out there but I never know which one to donate to. If somebody needs help, I want them to donate the money to the next puppy in need." 

dogIris is living a new, happy life with Connolly
Photo Courtesy: Mustang Photography

One of the most important things is recognizing pets are a big responsibility. If you get one, don't leave it behind.

"People are dumping their covid pets all over the place. They say they don't have time for them anymore. Now they're back to work and this and that, that's just a cop out. There is not one person in the world that doesn't have half an hour a day to walk an animal." 

Connolly has been involved in animal rescues for quite some time, including rescuing a horse in a bog, rescuing an owl that fell from a tree, and recently rescuing a three-week-old kitten, among other animals she's helped.

As for Iris, Connolly said she will soon be making a Facebook page dedicated just for her.

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