My name is Sandra McGlynn and I am the Founder of Rescue Paws 4 Furry Hearts. When I was growing up, I was actually afraid of dogs after getting bitten by my family’s German Shepherd. I actually had more of a liking to cats. I had my first pet cat when I was about 10 years old. After my cat Fernando passed away, my mother did not want any more animals in the house.
After I got married and had my son Patrick, who was 8 at the time, and my daughter, Lauren then 5 years old, I decided to foster a dog from Miami-Dade Animal Services, Cutie, in October of 2010 whom I was actually planning to give to a boy in my school where I work as a counselor. I noticed that Cutie followed me everywhere and never left my side. Here I was, the girl who feared dogs, with a new best friend. One day when I came home from the gym, I found Cutie waiting for me by the front door where, according to my husband, she had stayed waiting for me for over 2 hours until I got home. I told my husband, with tears in my eyes, "no one has ever waited for me like that before". After a week, I found myself thinking… “How can I say goodbye to this precious dog who has shown me so much unconditional love in only just one week?” I struggled with the thought of having to give her up. At that point, I knew I was now going to be a “foster failure”. We decided to adopt Cutie, now Ashes, and give her a loving forever home.
After I adopted Ashes, I found a big interest in helping the other dogs in the shelter. I would visit the shelter, take pictures of the abandoned dogs, and post them on Facebook to help them find homes. I even took training at the shelter so I can volunteer and become a foster for MDAS.
One day, as I was cross-posting dogs online, I saw a post of a gorgeous Schnauzer looking for a home through a rescue group. I decided to drive many miles to South Miami to an adoption event to meet this little guy. I took Ashes with me to see how they would get along. It was not a good match for my Ashes but, as I was getting ready to leave, I saw in a pen of other dogs another schnauzer who was so easy to overlook. He had horrific grooming full of patches, looked very nervous, and afraid. I thought "why not see how this guy does with Ashes?" Well, much to my surprise, they did not do too badly. I asked the rescue owner if I can foster “Kyle” and see if he would adjust well to my home to consider adopting him. It was meant to be. I told my husband, for the second time, “I can’t take him back! He belongs with us!” Kyle was surrendered to the rescue by his owner because he was used for breeding. We adopted him on Valentine’s Day of 2012. To this day, Kyle has always been my dog. He growls at everyone that touches him or comes near me. He sleeps by my side every night and will not go to bed until I turn off the lights and get into bed myself. He is one of the most loyal dogs I have ever met. After I adopted Ashes and Kyle, I continued volunteering at the shelter and cross-posting dogs on Facebook.
In late 2013, I decided to transport a mother and puppies from MDAS for Stefanie Miller from Saving Grace and Her Furry Friends Rescue. I met her after I picked up this family so she can take them to their foster home. I started following her Facebook page and one day reached out to her because a friend of mine from work had found a Jack Russell in the street close to getting hit by a car. I asked Stefanie if she can take her to the rescue, and she asked me “Will you foster her?” Talk about being put on the spot! I asked my friend if she can foster her and she did for a couple of days, but when I would leave her house, this puppy kept following me, so lo and behold, Luna ended up in my house! She was quite the pistol! My Kyle was terrified of her and Ashes kept her distance as she wanted nothing to do with this wild child. After Luna got adopted (and not by me), I started to become a little more involved with the rescue.
One day, I get a text from Stefanie with a picture of a beautiful white diabetic schnauzer that was surrendered by his owners at MDAS because they wanted to have him euthanized. She knew I loved schnauzers and could not say no, so I agreed to have her place a rescue hold on the dog. My heart was breaking for this dog because I was able to relate with him since my mom also suffered from diabetes and I had gone through some tough times with her at the time due to her illness. Stefanie told me that another rescue had placed a hold but Saving Grace had a backup hold. I thought...ok... I guess it’s in God’s hands. I prayed for this dog that night. I could not get him off my mind. I asked God, if I am meant to help this boy, then so be it. It is in your hands now. The next day while I was at work, I get a text from Stefanie. "We got him! He will be available for you to pick him up before they close." My heart stopped! My mind was filled with fear of the unknown. I was making a big commitment. Not only was I agreeing to foster a third dog, but a very fragile one at that. I figured God knew what he was doing. When I picked up “Sparky”, I was told his insulin levels were through the roof and he was left at the shelter with no insulin and diabetic cat food! He seemed to be in good spirits, but I had to rush him to the vet immediately. As I drove there with my daughter, I kept thinking, ”Please let him be ok.” When the vet checked his insulin, it was over 400. I was given a crash course on how to inject insulin and given medical instructions. Sparky, whom we renamed Bentley, not only suffered from diabetes but also had pancreatitis. I made a commitment to help stabilize his sugar and with time his pancreatitis was gone and his sugar was under control.
After fostering Bentley for about 5 months, I decided that he was here to stay. I committed to taking care of him when I saved him from getting euthanized and he was meant to stay with me forever. I struggled with Bentley’s health, but I made a commitment to care for him as long as God wanted him to stay in my life. I had many ups and downs with Bentley but not one day passes that I am not grateful to have saved him from his sad destiny. He gave me 5 amazing and memorable years and I wouldn't change one thing about my time with him. He taught me so many valuable lessons but the most important lesson I learned from him was that no matter what cards we are dealt in life, embrace every moment with grace and with appreciation and love with abundance, and don't let unfortunate situations bring you down because life is too short to live it unhappy.
In 2014, I volunteered for 1 year for Saving Grace and loved every part of this journey. I helped save countless dogs and even though this experience can be very heart-wrenching and emotionally and physically draining oftentimes. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It is very rewarding and I have met many wonderful and giving people along the way.
In May 2015 I decided to spread my wings and take a leap of faith. I decided to use the experience I earned from working with Saving Grace to start my own Animal Rescue. The first litter that I rescued came from a home in a trailer park in Miami, where all 6 of the puppies were heavily infested with ticks. It took a few days to ensure all the ticks were gone, but once they were, the puppies were healthy and thriving. They were sadly separated from their mother at 4 weeks and many of them saw me as their "mommy". There was one in particular, Justice, who never left my side. He had multiple meets and greets and all of them fell through. I could not seem to find the "perfect" home for my sweet Justice. I already had 3 dogs and knew that my husband did not want the 4th dog. It was not just about the bond that Justice created with me, but the one I had created with him. He became my second shadow (Kyle was already my first). I decided that letting him go would not only break his heart, but it would also break mine. Justice made me realize that amazing things don't just come in small packages. Justice has been the biggest goofy, adorable, and sweetest love bug in my family. He truly has inspired me just as my other 3 rescues have. I loved my party of 4 and although they are a lot of work and each has their own special needs as individuals, I would not trade them for the world.
On July 23, 2019, I had to say goodbye to my furry love, Bentley, and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't remember the lessons he taught me.
About a month after losing Bentley, I ended up with one of my previous foster mom's dogs to care for her once again. This mom's name is Beauty and it truly defines her. She went from being a very fearful and insecure mom when I rescued her and her puppies back on March 1, 2019, to blossoming into a confident and very beautiful, and affectionate loving dog. I honestly had no intention of replacing Bentley as there will never be another dog like him. However, Beauty had been in the rescue already for over 5 months, went through 2 foster homes aside from being with me now for the second time around. She had already formed a very special bond with me and it was not fair to her to keep shuffling her around to different foster homes. She was getting along great with my other 3 dogs (which rarely happens) and was already making herself at home. So after doing some reflection I decided to keep her and finally give her the loving forever home that she so greatly deserved.
She is such a loving soul and has a very protective and motherly way about her. I know she will be my loyal furry partner for many years to come.
Now is the time to start my own journey through my foundation, Rescue Paws 4 Furry Hearts. I would like to use my talents, tenacity, and strong will to continue to work with Miami-Dade and Broward County Animal Shelters by helping homeless, neglected dogs get rehabilitated and vetted and help find them forever homes. The future of Rescue Paws 4 Furry Hearts holds many amazing things to come!