In today’s world, many of us use social media on a daily basis. It is not uncommon for people to post pictures on Community Pages of lost or found animals, in the hopes of reuniting them with their family. It is also not unlikely for us to see many posts depicting injured, abandoned animals in need of help or animals in shelters in need of a rescue organization. In the winter of 2017, Jessie Sides could not just scroll past a picture of an abandoned dog on Facebook. Jessie knew in her heart she needed to do something to help.

The dog appeared to be a terrier mix, commonly referred to by many as a Pitbull. Weekly postings of this dog depicted its health was deteriorating. These social media posts indicated it had been impossible for anyone to get close enough to rescue her. Jessie drove half an hour to the abandoned five-acre parking lot pictured on social media. Although area residents told her the dog was vicious, Jessie’s heart told her the dog was acting vicious out of fear. It seems the dog had been there for the past two months. From her car, Jessie could see the dog shivering from the cold, winter temperatures. The dog didn’t have any shelter from the brutal elements and Jessie noticed she was not using one of her back legs as she would raise one foot and stand on the remaining three legs.

ISF Grantee AstridEvery day for three weeks Jessie drove to the parking lot to check on the dog. She told ISF, “I was determined to get this girl to trust me and give her food and warmth and love.” Although the growling, starving dog would not let anyone get near her, she eventually accepted food Jessie would throw her from the car window.  One day the dog began to follow Jessie’s car as she began to drive away, but when she stopped the car to coax the dog to come inside, the dog wouldn’t move. It was then Jessie knew the dog wanted to go with her, but was frozen from both the winter weather and fear. Soon after, Jessie took a chance by taking a ball to the abandoned dog. She got out of her car, cautiously optimistic and threw the ball. To her amazement the dog ran on three legs and fetched the ball!  She trusted Jessie and wanted to play! Jessie began running while saying, “Come on girl” and the dog ran after her. Jessie opened her car door, tossed a hamburger inside and the dog jumped right in! Finally, the abandoned dog, now known as Astrid, was rescued.

Astrid was taken to Shivery Animal Clinic in Louisville, Kentucky where it was learned she was micro-chipped. Sadly, when her owners were contacted they stated they had sold the 3-year old dog on Craigslist three months prior and they did not want her anymore. Astrid needed someone to step up for her as she was suffering from a completely torn ACL and atrophy of her posterior right knee, lower leg, and paw. The vet concluded the atrophy was a result of non-use. The vet stated without surgery Astrid was in danger of losing the use of both back legs as she put a lot of stress on her other knee to compensate for her injury.

ISF Grantee AstridJessie was fraught with worry for the dog she rescued, for she could not afford the necessary surgery. Desperate times call for desperate measures as she considered many options to provide Astrid with the best chance for help. One of those options was contacting The Ian Somerhalder Foundation and Astrid was awarded a Medical Emergency Care Grant for Animals.

In April 2018, Astrid had surgery to repair her torn right ACL and leg. A metal plate was used for the repair. Following surgery, Astrid received laser treatments to decrease any scar tissue. Soon after the repair, Astrid did not appear to be in any pain, nor did she limp or drag her leg when walking or standing. Astrid’s surgery was a success and she healed without any complications or setbacks.

Astrid found her forever home with Jessie in May 2018. Her microchip was officially transferred in Jessie’s name, after her previous owners signed the necessary documents and stated in writing they no longer wanted her. Jessie told ISF, “I knew Astrid had to stay with me to heal inside and out. She runs, plays, and jumps without any issue. She loves to go on walks and swim. She is the happiest dog ever and she will grow old with my family and me. She means so much to us.”

Astrid can be seen today on social media playing her favorite game, fetching a ball. It is no surprise to anyone this is her favorite game. On a cold, wintery day in an abandoned parking lot, Astrid learned to trust enough to play ball, leading her to live a quality life all animals deserve.

Written by Theresa Blangiforti

Edited by Bob Stone

ISF Grantee Astrid with Jessie


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