Share Your Story

In October, we celebrated Adopt a Shelter Dog month and asked our team members to share their adoption stories with us. We love hearing about your furry family members and appreciate everyone who took the time to share their stories with us!

Fierce Love Animal Rescue provides hope for all animals

My name is Rachel Johnson, and I am a co-founder of an all-inclusive nonprofit animal rescue organization. Fierce Love Rescue. It is truly my passion to rescue these different animals with all the FIERCE LOVE and dedication possible! We are a small rescue that relies on fosters, volunteers, and donors to provide everything needed to find these animals wonderful loving homes and veterinary care. I am so very thankful for the amazing rescue partnerships I have built over the last few years and couldn’t have made Fierce Love Rescue what it is without them. We are always in need of help! Please visit to find out more!

Submitted by: Rachel Johnson, office coordinator, Paul Davis

What a difference love makes

Barker Posey the night of her rescue

Memorial Day Weekend of 2019, I was at lake house in East Texas for the holiday. With only the light from the sky full of stars, I saw this animal moving through the brush & woods I was sitting on the house’s front porch, and couldn’t tell if it was a coyote or maybe a fox. As it moved closer, I realized that it was a large dog in terrible condition. I worried if she was feral, and what’s more, did she have a pack of friends behind her? I sat motionless hoping she wasn’t dangerous. My fears subsided when this sad, mangy scary-looking dog nudged my arm asking for help.

My dog, Trixie crossed the bridge about 18 months earlier. She was a rescue and truly the best dog I could have asked for. I had been “shopping” for a rescue dog and was hesitant to commit. I had been looking at so many different rescue groups. Dallas Pets Alive, Operation Kindness, SPCA, SPIN (Saving Pyrenees in Need) I didn’t think I was ready. But I knew I couldn’t leave this dog out in the country to fend for herself. I also, knew that with her nudge, this was my new dog and that Trixie might have guided her to me. At least I want to believe that.

It took several days to catch her & take her to a vet. It was a holiday weekend, remember? I couldn’t get her seen until the following Wednesday in Wills Point, where they guessed that she was a breeding dog from a puppy mill, (evidence that she had been nursing) and dumped when she was sick. Not uncommon in that area, according to Dr. Turner. I cringed at the thought of the impending vet bills. She was so skinny & sad looking, I emotionally prepared for the worst.

But after a week of IV fluids, meds & several medicated baths, she was ready to come home with me. Much to my surprise, she was heartworm-negative & needed only a round of antibiotics as a preventative.

Barker Posey, one year after rescue

Taking a country dog to the big city had even more challenges. Learning about elevators (the magic box), house training, and car anxiety, every week there was something. But this scrawny, 44-pound, 2-year-old mongrel, blossomed into an unbelievably beautiful, gentle 85-pound giant Pyrenees (Yes, a Pyrenees) with just a sprinkle of Lab. I have had her for almost 4 1/2 years now. All I ask of her is that she makes good dog choices, doing good dog stuff!

The images are from the night she was found, 3 months, then 1 year later.

BarkerPosey is indeed my dog.

Submitted by: Toi Cunningham, Lifestyle Director, Residences at Park District, FirstService Residential

A special day for dogs

I organized a Barktoberfest pet event to celebrate the four-legged members of the community and raise money for Rachael’s Rescue, a local 501(c)(3) non-profit rescue organization. Dogs enjoyed a pet vendor fair, pet photo booth, dog musical chairs, dog splash pad, puppuccinos, an obstacle course, pet treat buffet and raffle prizes. Rachael’s Rescue also attended and brought pets available for adoption. We raised $400 for Rachael’s Rescue and several pets found forever homes! Here is a link to some photos and video.

Submitted by: Blair Bernier, Lifestyle Director, Paloma Creek HOA

Abandoned roadside dogs become cherished companions

My husband and I rescued 2 Pembroke Welsh Corgis that someone had abandoned on the side of a highway. They were both in bad shape medically. We found out they were both heartworm positive, and spent just over a year with treatment for them! They traveled from Georgia to Washington (state) with us for a military move, and loved eating snow in the Grand Canyon! 4 years later, they moved to Charleston South Carolina with us and loved playing at the beach! During my husband’s deployments, they were my companions, roommates, snuggle buddies and more! I wouldn’t have changed a thing! Buddy and Prissy are such an important part of our family!!!!

Submitted by: Bethany Kepple, Lifestyle Director, Sweetwater by Del Webb, FirstService Residential

Overlooked dog becomes beloved family pet


My wife and I have always had a soft spot for strays and animals in shelters. On our 3rd anniversary in 2014, we decided that we wanted to adopt a dog. We made our way to the Lake Worth animal shelter to see what the process was as neither of us had ever adopted from a shelter before. Officer Lightfoot greeted us and led us back to the area where they had kept the dogs in the kennels. We saw a large number of dogs (we wanted to take them all!), but there was one guy that was sitting with his back turned to us. His name was Big Ben. Officer Lightfoot stated that he was abused by his previous owners and they weren’t sure how old he was. I asked if we could see him. She brought him over to the waiting area and he walked right over to my wife and I and started wagging his tail. I got down on one kneed and started petting him. He looked up and me and licked me right in the face! My wife bursted out laughing and I did as well. My wife and I looked at each other and we both knew what the other one was thinking. “We’ll take him!”

Officer Lightfoot had tears in her eyes. My wife asked if she was okay, and she stated that Ben had never gone up to anyone before and showed affection. He was always very reserved and did not like attention. She also stated that she was crying because he had been in the shelter for almost a year and a half and he was actually scheduled to be put down within the next few days. We returned the very next day and picked him up. Everybody says this about their animal, but I stand by my statement when I say that he was the best dog that has ever lived. He was nothing but happy and always had a smile on his face (he was a golden retriever/chow mix so he had a big body and a short snout – constant panting, always smiling). He never showed any aggression towards other animals or towards anyone that he ever came into contact with. He didn’t play much, he just wanted to be loved on and he wanted you to know that he loved you too! He passed away in July of 2021 from Degenerative Myelopathy (Lou Gehrig’s disease). He went peacefully in his sleep.

Harvey and Ben

A couple of months prior to Ben’s passing, a coworker of my brother found a box a dogs behind a dumpster at their work. He brought home Harvey and my wife and I took him in. He is still with us, and he is awesome. He is a dalmatian and lab mix and he is full of energy. He continues to bring joy to our home and we love him and our other dog Jerry (3 legged chihuahua) so much. I always encourage others to go to shelters first when deciding to get a pet as you never know what you will find. You might just find a lifelong friend that will stay with you forever.

Submitted by:  Lincoln Roquemore, Assistant Compliance Manager, FS Commercial

Cruelly neglected dog transformed into family’s best friend

JesseHer name is Jesse and she turned nine (9) years old on August 14th. She was completely neglected, weighing approximately 75lbs with open wounds when we first adopted her & she stole our hearts. Fast forward five (5) years, she is weighing a solid 90lbs with the most beautiful shiny brindle coat. She could be mistaken for a human as she loves to cuddle, play tug of war, back scratches and giving forehead kisses. Our Jesse rescued us and filled a piece of our family we didn’t know was missing – she is beyond loved!



Submitted by: Stephanie Tufamo, director of internal audit, operations, Planned Companies

A house is not a home without a pet

My name is Chris, and my wife and I are… are serial adopters. (Insert dramatic music here.)

It started years ago, when I first moved to San Antonio and got my first apartment. I opened the back patio door, and lo and behold, a kitten’s tiny cry rang out from the bushes. She was a little brown tabby, that default feral color, with an eye slightly sideways and a permanent kink in the tip of her tail from a fight for survival when she was even smaller. And in she walked, through the back patio door, and promptly flopped down on the floor—the Kitten Distribution System had done its work, and little Kiara was adopted. (Or maybe she adopted me. That is how it works with cats, right?)

Fast forward three weeks, and I’m up in the morning for work. Check outside, look at the weather—it’s a nice day out, the sun is shining, and there’s… a noise. I look down and, on the other side of the glass, there’s a gorgeous white cat with a tiny little beret of color sitting outside, a collar of tiny beads around his neck given by someone who’d adopted him but let him out to fend for himself when they moved away, mewling with a broken meow. “Meh… ow! Meh… ow!” I turn on the TV, turn on the fan, the AC, go get ready for work. ‘If I don’t see it, it’s not there. I can’t afford two cats, I can’t afford two cats. I’ll just check outside before I go.’ And there he was, still sitting there, still with the broken meow. So of course, I open the patio door again. “All right, all right, I get it. Get in here,” I sighed… and then there was a Siryn in our lives.

Years went by, the cats were gone, and my wife—who had already previously adopted one dog from the Animal Defense League here—and I were looking for a new-to-us dog. It took a few tries to find one who’d be more our own speed—nobody hyper, and not quite a puppy (older dogs need love, too). But sooner rather than later, little Molly—a tiny black Schnoodle (Schnauzer/poodle mix) who’d come to them after being used, we presume, either as a breeder or in a puppy mill and was startled by loud noises and large people and who hated other dogs—came bounding into our lives. It took a few years of patience and kindness, but she learned to trust the two of us…

…just in time for Digger to show up.

Digger was a special case—a German shorthaired pointer whose paws were already far too large for his tiny body. He was already quite the handful, so happy to simply be around humans, and an excellent escape artist wo loved the outdoors. So much so that one morning, the family in the neighborhood who had adopted him and brought him home opened their front door and out he went… just to have the door closed behind him. Abandoning him to his fate. And even as he wandered the neighborhood form house to house my wife and I wondered if his own curiosity would get him hit by a car as he chased it… or worse. There was no question—in he came. (It was only after we’d had him for a few days that the guilty party who’d turned him loose left an offering, part mea culpa and part thanks, of dog shampoo, food, and treats on or doorstep once they knew he’d found his forever home.)

So you see, we are indeed serial adopters. We did it once… twice… five times. They came to us in many different ways and different places, but each one found their forever home with us. And I swear, we’ll do it again—the love we’re received and shared with our adoptees has been absolutely immeasurable. A house just is not a home without a four-footed friend to share it with.

Submitted by: Chris “CJ” Ahrnsbrak, Support Services Coordinator, FirstService Residential San Antonio