Animal Aid USA /M.O.M.S. Rescue volunteers are raising both awareness and funds to help Christy Sounders live out the rest of her life in a safe, comfortable home, surrounded by her children and pets.
Christy Sounders, a single mother of two young daughters, has spent her life reaching out to rescue animals heading for certain death. There was Nanook, an inbred “chi-weenie” born with a deformed breastbone. Christy discovered the Chihuahua- dachshund mix and threatened to alert authorities to the backyard breeder preparing to kill the seven week old pup unless he agreed to hand it over to her. Nanook has been a member of the family ever since.
In November of last year, Christy learned about Bonnie and Clyde, pit bulls heading for euthanasia in a Georgia animal control facility from which Animal Aid USA/M.O.M.S rescues pets on a monthly basis.
Animal Aid USA / M.O.M.S. Rescue is a group of New Jersey-based volunteer animal lovers who drive more than 1,600 miles to Georgia each month in order to relocate animals from high- kill shelters to receiving rescues and homes. M.O.M.S (Making of Miracle Stories) Animal Rescue was founded in 2010 along with Animal Aid USA, which was founded in January 2012 by animal rights advocates Prince Lorenzo Borghese and Karen Talbot LaSasso. To date, they have rescued more than 2,700 animals.
At the time, Christy reached out to Karen with an offer to foster Bonnie, an offer that saved Bonnie’s life and brought a new friend into the Animal Aid USA fold.
What makes Christy’s act of compassion particularly remarkable is the fact that she suffers from brain cancer. Karen learned of Christy’s illness when Bonnie was delivered to the Sounders home by Animal Aid USA team members Sharon and Ron. At the time Christy’s cancer was in remission. Animal Aid USA/M.O.M.S. Rescue put a “back-up” plan in place in case Christy’s health took a turn for the worse and the need to locate a new foster home for Bonnie (now known as Venus) arose.
As fate would have it, Christy and her girls fell head over heels in love with the newly renamed Venus and had made plans to adopt her. Venus became a lively and happy addition to the Sounders home. When she made a habit of jumping into the bath with Christy’s 4-year old- daughter Ireland each night, it appeared Venus had found a loving forever family.
Unfortunately, fate intervened and plans quickly changed.
While traveling with the Animal Aid USA/M.O.M.S. Rescue caravan on its monthly rescue trip to Georgia, Karen received a call from Christy. Her cancer had returned and was migrating to her spine. She was making the call after signing herself out of the hospital against medical advice.
Christy needed brain surgery to relieve pressure caused by fluid build-up on her brain. But fearful that animal control would take Venus to be euthanized in the event that she did not survive the procedure, Christy postponed her own lifesaving surgery to protect the dog she had already rescued from certain death once before.
Karen contacted Humane Society of Atlantic County Director Steve Dash who immediately accepted Venus into his adoption program. The next step was getting Venus all the way from Sayersville to Atlantic City since Christy is not permitted to drive. Volunteer couple Jim and Jackie Scaife made arrangements to pick up Venus and transport to her to Steve as soon as the sun came up the following morning. Steve kept his promise to the terminally ill mother, and Venus was adopted within days of arrival.
Christy had the operation she needed and went home to recuperate with her children, Nanook, and her other pet Chihuahua, Princess. Months later, after Karen had been unable to contact Christy through Facebook, she received an article about Christy published in the Kinship Circle Newsletter describing the Sounders family’s harrowing survival of Hurricane Sandy.
Stranded for three days after Sandy smashed into their New Jersey community, Christy once again put her own problems aside to rescue her neighbor’s two cats after discovering them afloat in sewage water. In fact, she swam to them to save them.
As the family prepared to stay at the Piscataway Red Cross Shelter, Christy was then sent to Sayer Brook Animal Hospital to board Nanook. Christy later discovered a trailer in which Kinship Circle cares for evacuated animals at no cost, so she returned to Sayer Brook to retrieve Nanook and was handed a $400 bill. Thankfully, County authorities later waived the charge.
Nanook was traumatized by the ordeal, unable to eat or drink and shedding excessively from stress. However, once Kinship Circle’s local volunteers began to care for her, Nanook regained her health and strength. But Christy, who had lost everything to Hurricane Sandy, was facing a new dilemma; her access to the FEMA assisted motel in which she and her family had been placed had expired. She was unable to get to her cancer treatments, and she was unsure of her next move. But Christy wasn’t complaining.
As long as her children and her pets were with her, she felt she had everything she needed.
Last week, after reading about the Animal Aid USA /M.O.M.S. Rescue’s upcoming Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, Christy posted the following comment:
“Karen I so wish me and the girls could be there, would be amazing to take a break from our problems and to be around amazing people and get to see a real Christmas tree since we won’t be having one this year. If anyone is coming from out her please see if they could bring me and the girls with them I can split gas and tolls.”
Upon reading Christy’s message, Animal Aid USA/M.O.M.S. Rescue volunteers sprang into action. Carla Caulk, Director Sales and Marketing Sheraton Atlantic City, contacted Joe’s Limousine who donated a limo to pick up Christy and her girls on Sunday, December 9th and take them to the tree lighting ceremony in Atlantic City. The Sheraton Atlantic City has also donated a suite for the family, and Christmas presents from Christy’s wish list. A small, decorated Christmas tree will be set up in the family’s suite, and Christy has compiled a wish list of gifts for her daughters. Animal Aid USA/ M.O.M.S. Rescue are also providing gifts for the family, including high quality grooming products for their dogs from the Royal Treatment line of products. Trump Entertainment has donated meals from the Sultan’s Buffet at Trump Taj Mahal, and the family has been gifted three passes to visit the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum in Atlantic City. The PBA Local 24 made a donation of $200.00 to help assist Christy and her family.
In 2009 Robert Misseri, Preisdent of Guardians of Rescue traveled with the MOMS Rescue to completely empty out a Georgia Shelter. This monumental effort was deemed the largest single rescue operation in Georgia State history. Robert has been working very closely with Animal Aid USA/M.O.M.S. Rescue and will be securing a permanent residence for Christy to live her final days in a comfort, surrounded by her family and pets. Animal Aid USA is actively working on raising the funds to accomplish this last wish. and to thank Christy for her commitment to the care and rescue of defenseless animals. Your help is needed.
To find out more about how you can help Christy and her girls, Email Animal Aid USA at firstname.lastname@example.org.