Some stories are hard to tell. They need to be told anyway, because they need to be heard. This is one such story. Not all stories have happy endings, but Angel and her devoted team of people are working hard to make this story turn out much better. And, although we are only at the beginning of this story, it has already significantly improved.

The folks that reached out to Second Chance Humane Society to take in Angel thought she had been hit by a car. When she arrived she was in too much pain to even walk. We immediately got her pain managed and through X-rays learned this young gentle-natured dog had been shot in several places of her 20 pound body and had been living in horrific pain for numerous weeks.

Her back left knee and front right ankle were shattered from bullets. Due to the elapsed time from when her injury occurred, her back leg could not be saved and had to be amputated. Her front leg was set in a cast in hopes the bones will fuse together as they heal. X-rays also showed a bullet and additional shrapnel in other parts of her body.

So that is the horrific part of Angel’s story. We, including Angel, are determined not to let it be the whole story. And the most important parts of the story tell of her determination, gentle spirit, and infinite love, even after all she has endured. Her strong will is what gives us so much hope that she will make it.

And she is bouncing back incredibly well so far. Thanks to the compassionate people, veterinarians, foster providers and shelter staff who have rallied to protect and heal her, the light is returning to her eyes as she feels safe, loved and nurtured. She has already pushed herself to hop around on two legs and she has never stopped greeting everyone with a wagging tail even when too tired to move the rest of her body.

My nine year old son and I have been part of Angel’s 24/7 foster care team. My son has quickly come to care for Angel deeply. He is witness to her efforts to navigate around our home and how this innocent being’s life has been forever changed. I have been struggling with how to answer his questions about why someone would hurt Angel in this terrible way.

Often times the first reaction from people who hear her story is anger toward whoever would do this. I understand this reaction. I feel it too, particularly when I look at where her hind leg is supposed to be. Anger is often the precursor to taking action, so I allow it some space.

But I also hope we do not let anger protect us from the sadness of this situation. Grieving for Angel’s wounds can also teach us about forgiveness and hope. She is so forgiving. And she is becoming joyful too. She is simply remarkable.

A critical focus of the Second Chance Humane Society mission has always been “promoting the human-animal bond”. Clearly our work is still very much needed. Clearly there are people who still do not understand that animals are valuable beings to us and our world. Angel’s story is urging Second Chance to revisit how we can better deliver our message.

The good news is that all the people rooting for Angel to pull through do understand this message. So this becomes one of the most vital parts of this story, and the reason it should be shared. The thing is, you can’t meet Angel or even hear about Angel and not have your heart thrown wide open. Angel’s story tells my son to trust that love wins.

Second Chance has been saving lives for 25 years now. This is not the first time we have seen such cruelty and unfortunately it likely won’t be our last. We hold deep gratitude toward our compassionate community that supports our work. It is too soon to know the outcome of Angel’s story. We will keep you updated on her journey and we welcome continued positive thoughts and support for her recovery.

Kelly Goodin is the executive director of Second Chance Humane Society servicing San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties & beyond. Learn about adopting a homeless pet, life-saving shelter programs and services or to make a donation to the shelter pet medical fund at