More animals saved than ever before. Meet the woman setting records.May 14, 2021 | 9:27am
More animals saved than ever before. Meet the woman setting records
What sets Stray Rescue of St. Louis apart in the animal welfare community near and far? They seek out and take in those who no other organization will help or would simply euthanize because they’re too expensive to heal. They take the abandoned, beaten, bred, fought, injured, terrified, defeated and betrayed. Every year, no-kill Stray Rescue saves over 2,000 animals, and every single one of them are given the second chance they all deserve. But this year, that record has been shattered and more lives have been saved than ever before, thanks to the leadership of one woman with a big heart.
Stray Rescue’s Executive Director, Cassady Caldwell, sees beyond their brokenness. She sees each animal as an individual and knows that there’s no “one-size-fits-all” treatment plan. "My team and I are here to pick up the pieces to make these special heartbeats whole again," she said. "Because these animals come in with a story that would give us all nightmares, it takes them longer to open up, trust and believe in humankind. But with patience and time – always on their unique schedule – we see the light shine in their eyes again."
Dogs with rickets syndrome, gunshots and broken jaws, and even burn victims find a safe haven and a place to heal, no matter the time or cost.
But what makes Cassady so special is that even with a shelter full of animals saved from the dangerous city streets, she doesn’t stop there. There are homeless and injured animals needing help everywhere, and under Cassady’s leadership, Stray Rescue has emerged as the organization others look to for help. She says “yes” to taking in dogs from all over Missouri and beyond. This past year alone, the organization has taken in 25% more animals than years past. Animals who have special needs or are on euthanasia lists. Animals who have no hope and must be evacuated from communities devastated by natural disasters in order to have a chance at life. Even animals at risk of ending up on someone’s dinner plate in South Korea. Never wanting to say “no” to an animal in need – no matter where they are – Cassady has ramped up her focus on growing Stray Rescue’s foster program so even more lives could be saved. And the community continues to step up and join the mission. "I surround myself with people who feel the same way I do. We've built an organization based on the values of compassion and empathy. What we do is difficult work, but together, we make the impossible possible. Together we make miracles happen."
Over the past 23 years, Stray Rescue has become engrained in the St. Louis community and is known for always rescuing animals from the most horrific situations. These dogs and cats are forced to survive as best they can on the harsh streets of St. Louis. They find temporary shelter in abandoned homes and burned-out buildings. They cross busy streets in search of food. They give birth over and over again, they get struck by cars, they’re abandoned and betrayed by their owners. They’re exposed to the harsh elements and extreme temperatures of winter and summer. And yet they survive. "They are warriors. They are the strongest, most resilient creatures. And when they come to us, their struggle is over. We heal their minds and bodies. We teach them how to be a dog. To play with toys, sleep on big, cushy beds, and to accept human love."
Animals who are blind, deaf, paralyzed, shot, suffer from Parvovirus, wounded, and even burned don’t intimidate Cassady. "They're the underdog, and that's who we want to help. The St. Louis community and Stray Rescue Family all across the world is so generous and make what we do possible. It really doesn't matter how much it will cost to save an animal. We know they deserve it, and we'll do whatever it takes to give them a second chance so they can live a life filled with love. That's the bottom line, and that’s what it's all about."
To learn more about Stray Rescue of St. Louis and get involved, visit Strayrescue.org. We would love to have you in our family! There are so many ways to help.
And a big THANK YOU to Lux from 105.7 the Point for doing the voiceover in our video! We love you and all that you do for our animals!