What sets Stray Rescue of St. Louis apart in the animal welfare community near and far? We proactively seek out and rescue companion animals that either no other organization will help or would simply euthanize because they are too expensive to heal. We take the abandoned, beaten, bred, fought, injured, terrified, defeated and betrayed. We see beyond their brokenness and are here to pick-up the pieces to make these special animals whole again and find their forever families.
Every year, no-kill Stray Rescue saves over 2,000 animals, and every single one of them are given the second chance they all deserve. But this year, that record has already been shattered and more lives have been saved than ever before, thanks to the leadership of one woman with a big heart.
Stray Rescue's Executive Director, Cassady Caldwell, sees beyond the rescued animal’s brokenness. She sees each animal as an individual and knows that there's no "one-size-fits-all" treatment plan. "My team and I are here to pick up the pieces to make these special heartbeats whole again," she said. "Because these animals come in with a story that would give us all nightmares, it takes them longer to open up, trust and believe in humankind. But with patience and time – always on their unique schedule – we see the light shine in their eyes again."
What makes Cassady so special is that, even with a shelter full of animals saved from the dangerous city streets, she doesn't stop there. There are homeless and injured animals needing help everywhere, and under Cassady's leadership, Stray Rescue has emerged as the organization others look to for help. She says "yes" to taking in dogs from all over Missouri and beyond. This past year alone, the organization has taken in 25% more animals than years past. These are animals that have special needs or are on euthanasia lists. Animals who have no hope and must be evacuated from communities devastated by natural disasters in order to have a chance at life. Even animals at risk of ending up on someone's dinner plate in South Korea.
Never wanting to say "no" to an animal in need – no matter where they are – Cassady has ramped up her focus on growing Stray Rescue's foster program so even more lives can be saved. And the community continues to step up and join the mission. "I surround myself with people who feel the same way I do. We've built an organization based on the values of compassion and empathy. What we do is difficult work, but together, we make the impossible possible. Together we make miracles happen."
Animals who are blind, deaf, paralyzed, shot, suffer from Parvovirus, wounded, and even burned don't intimidate Cassady. "They're the underdog, and that's who we want to help. The St. Louis community and the Stray Rescue family all across the world is so generous and make what we do possible. It really doesn't matter how much it will cost to save an animal. We know they deserve it, and we'll do whatever it takes to give them a second chance so they can live a life filled with love. That's the bottom line, and that's what it's all about."
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