This success story is going to sound awfully familiar to one of our other success stories of 2013, but bear with us … Spruce is all Spruce! 😉

Spruce survived something awful.

In January of 2012, she and 22 other Jack Russells watched in horror outside as the indoor kennel, where dozens of beautiful baby Chihuahuas were living, go up in flames. They were all in outdoor kennels and could not break free; all terrified by the screams they heard and very fearful that the flames would move towards them. Fortunately, the firemen were able to stop the fire before it reached them. Unfortunately, they were not able to save the babies.

Spruce had lived in this kennel her entire life. She was 8 years old.

After the fire, the kennels closed for good. But that left a big problem: There were still 23 Jacks (and several Chis and Bostons) who needed a place to go. Our rescue and others sprung into action, tirelessly making calls and sending emails to find new homes for all of them. We were full (as we always seem to be), but we opted to take a couple of them.

We showed up a couple of days after the fire to meet the Jacks and see what we were dealing with. It was downright heartbreaking. Everywhere we looked, we saw the charred remains of crates, bowls and toys. All of the Jacks were  shell shocked, licking anxiously on their feet and pacing their kennel runs. Spruce was one of these cuties. She was obviously still traumatized from the event, but she was bright-eyed and had no problem being picked up and loved on by Donna.

We returned to the kennels a couple of times to take photos and write bios of all of the dogs. On our last trip, we decided to take three dogs. One was a Chi, who went to live with Mama Donna’s daughter-in-law. One was Lorelee, who came to live with us. And, of course, the other was sweet little Spruce.

Spruce lived with us for 20 months. In all honesty, we thought it would be longer … possibly forever. Despite her puppy-like disposition, she was 8 years old and, having never lived in a home, wasn’t potty trained. When she first arrived, she didn’t really know how to walk on grass and was a little leery of the volunteers at first. Unlike Lorelee, she warmed up much quicker and was ready to play ball with us in no time.

On Dec. 8, the Brookshires showed up to adopt Lorelee. We were in tears and talking about what a miracle it was. Wouldn’t it truly be a miracle if Spruce found a home as well. And what happened? The very next day, Carla Wendler (who had just adopted Pepper) called. She had lost her 13-year-old baby, Lily, and was looking for a friend for Pepper. It would be a foster situation. She wanted someone she could truly impact by having her in a home and, of course, had to be someone who would get along with Pepper.

She had been out to the rescue over the weekend and had seen and fallen in love with (yes!) Spruce. It was cold at the time, and Carla couldn’t fathom Spruce spending another day outdoors. (Don’t worry, everyone comes in at night and stays warm.)

It took some last-minute scheduling, but we scrambled and Donna met her the evening of the 9th in Atlanta to hand her off and take her to a home for the first time in her life. Within 48 hours, both Lorelee and Spruce had gone to homes for the first time in their 9 years!

We held our breaths while we waited for word from Carla to see how things were working out. It came quickly. Spruce had hit it off with Pepper and was avidly exploring the house. She had even “staked” out a chair to call her own.

It’s been three weeks, and Spruce is now a long-time foster. Mom is open to her finding a forever home … but it’s going to have to be a really special person. 😉 For now, Spruce is enjoying the finer things in life for the first time that many dogs have had the luxury of knowing their entire lives: A warm bed to sleep in, a big yard to play in, a mirror to gaze at herself, and plenty of playtime with Pepper/Ranger.

Here are some adorable photos and video from Mom … If you are interested in giving Spruce a permanent home, please visit her page for more information.