JoJo’s journey began, and nearly ended, as she lay by the side of the road in the west Texas desert.
JoJo, an American Pit Bull Terrier, belongs to a sometimes feared and misunderstood breed, so the hours and cars drifted by with no help. Finally, someone stopped and took the injured dog to a shelter in rural Texas. An examination revealed a severely broken leg in need of specialized surgical repair. From the Heart Rescue stepped in and offered to pay for JoJo’s surgery and extensive rehabilitation. “No other rescue organization would take on an injured pit bull,” says Brandy Gardes, founder of the El Paso-based nonprofit.
JoJo’s incredible journey continued when her foster mom, occupational therapist Ann Marie Giron, began to take JoJo to work so she could inspire humans recovering from orthopedic injuries. With a shaved hind leg, large rows of staples on her incisions and an external fixator sticking out of the top of her hip, JoJo went into service as a therapy dog to those in need.
Now JoJo and From the Heart Rescue have been named the grand-prize winners in the Purina Pro Plan Rally to Rescue Doing More for Pets Rescue Stories Contest. As part of the grand prize, From the Heart Rescue will receive $5,000 worth of Pro Plan brand pet food coupons. Gardes and JoJo were honored at the National Dog Show Presented by Purina in Oaks, Pa., on Nov. 20.
“It took a village to mend JoJo back to health,” Gardes says. “After countless hours in rehabilitation and therapy, JoJo healed extremely well, restoring her body and growing her spirit.”
JoJo has since had her fixator removed, and continues to help the patients at the orthopedic hospital, offering inspiration and love to people who are in pain.
“We are very proud to recognize JoJo’s tremendous strength and the committed team of From the Heart Rescue,” says Robert Tochterman, brand manager for Purina Pro Plan. “It is with their remarkable compassion, together with JoJo’s foster family, who have welcomed JoJo into their home permanently, that has allowed JoJo’s journey of love to continue for her lifetime.”