HARRAH — A fire burned Heather McDaniel’s home to the ground a year ago. When she lost everything, she needed to find a new home. She also needed to find homes for the 55 dogs in her care. The founder of Must Love Dogs Rescue ran the adoption agency on her land near Luther and faced a decision: to start over or give up. So, she said, she made a deal with God. If He could provide a way, she’d keep the rescue open. A little money came in, and McDaniel’s volunteers — all area teens — encouraged her to continue. "It’s really the kids that spurred me to keep going,” she said. "They wanted me to continue doing this because it was an outlet for them to help the community and save dogs. … Really, God just made a way. I can only say that because everything fit into place.” McDaniel moved into a new house outside of Harrah, and rescue efforts began again in December. But as donations have dropped off because of the economy, she’s teetering on the edge of closure. She’s shelved plans to construct a building for the dogs for now. She will keep finding homes for dogs as long as she can, she said. She has 11 dogs in her care. "We just keep hoping to place dogs, place homeless dogs into loving homes,” she said. "That’s our goal. That’s all I can handle.” Volunteer Danielle Bigham, 14, began helping with Must Love Dogs two months before the fire, which investigators suspect was caused by electrical problems. "Her house was gone,” she said. "Totally gone. The dogs were safe, which was a good thing. Nobody was hurt. … We just wanted her to keep going. We know there are dogs out there that need help.” Bigham said she’s proud of how far the nonprofit has come in the past year. "We’re doing better,” she said. "We’re not as big as it was, but we’ve probably adopted out 100 dogs since the beginning of the year. I think we’ve come far. It makes me feel good that I can help somebody out and help the dogs.”
NewsOK Pets: Must Love Dogs Rescue
Dogs up for adoption through Must Love Dogs Rescue are available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at PetSmart, 7177 SE 29 in Midwest City. The rescue accepts cash and in-kind donations, and volunteers are always needed. Donations can be mailed to Must Love Dogs Rescue, P.O. Box 233, Harrah, OK 73045. For more information, call 219-1551 or go to mustlovedogs.moonfruit.com.
Know It Pets