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Helping Animals Find a New Place in the Sun

Florida shelter puts out welcome sign for scores of rescued and displaced pets

There was just something about Mia.

  • Bill Ingram/The Palm Beach Post

Heidi Nielsen, assistant director of the Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League/Humane Society of the Palm Beaches, has worked at the West Palm Beach, Fla., shelter for 11 years. She knows what it’s like to want to take them all home. But when she and her husband saw a female mastiff-German shepherd mix who had arrived on a transport of dogs from flood-besieged Mississippi—Nielsen knew that this time, resistance was futile.

“After that long trip, and everything she’d been through, she was right in front of the cage with her little paw up in the air, trying to get my husband to say hello to her,” Nielsen says. The dog looked like a giant boxer with a tail, was only 6½ months old, but already weighed 100 pounds. After a 14-day quarantine and spay surgery, the dog—now named Mia—went home with the couple, joining their existing menagerie of three dogs and two parrots.

This happy ending came out of the shelter’s kind deeds: As a participant in The HSUS’s Emergency Placement Partners (EPP) program, last June the shelter took in a transport of 19 surrendered dogs—including Mia—from the Natchez Adams County Humane Society in Mississippi, in order to free up space for pets displaced by historic floods.

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