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Meet Gabby, a one year old Australian Shepherd, more commonly just called Aussies. Today she becomes our newest family member, and we could not be more proud.  As thrilled and honored as we are, that's not the story. She'll join our weimaraner Frida, our three human daughters and our son. Brimming with intelligence and joy, we fell gobsmacked in love the moment we saw her. But it was almost not to be.

Grab a hanky and follow Gabby,...if you can catch her.

Beautiful and healthy now, just 3 months ago Gabby looked like this.

I'll spare you the heart break of seeing more and even worse pictures. "Scabby Gabby," as she was piteously dubbed, was almost hairless, covered in scabs from mange. So hideously neglected, her back nails had curled under and grown, literally, into her pads, forcing her to walk on her little doggie ankles.

Gabby was rescued literally hours before she was slated to die. Born into cruelty and neglect, Gabby was saved by a remarkable women who, since devoting her life to rescuing the most neglected and abused animals, has now saved 602 lives. Her name is Karen Kroll.

At any one time, Karen can have up to 10 dogs at "Kroll Manor." Each dog she rescues requires hundreds, and some times thousands, of dollars to save. Karen takes the animals no one else will take, then she pours every ounce of her considerable will into bringing them back from near death, with the help of several sainted veterinarians, technicians and volunteers. Click the Kroll Manor link and it will take you to her Facebook page. Prepare to be uplifted. Prepare to fall in love with her crazy cast of canine characters. You'll be amazed as we were that this is the work of largely one tireless person, with a little help from friends.

I am writing this not just because I wanted to share our joy in receiving Gabby, but to provide some deserved visibility to Karen. Her organization is a registered Florida non-profit and her federal 501.c3, filed months ago, is almost in place.

Aussie & Me - Assisting In The Rescue Of Animals

I asked Karen about her work, telling her how appreciative we were and amazed she has saved over 600 dogs since mid-2011. She told me, "I don't have patience for people who say one person can't make a difference. One person can make a big difference."

Last weekend, we met Gabby for the first time. Here she is with my wife and I.

We were like nervous new parents because we'd brought our other dog for a meet 'n' greet, along with our girls. At the time, we did not know Gabby's story, the work and expense -- and love -- put in to saving her. All we saw was the alert, sweet dog before us. Karen told us of Gabby's story, the surgeries and medication, the time spent making special homemade food. The herculean effort that went in to saving Gabby. It was not until later that evening when we received the gut-wrenching pictures. And Gabby is but one of the 602 stories of an animal saved by Karen.

Thank you Karen, we promise we will honor your work by providing Gabby with a safe, loving, rollicking home.

2:08 PM PT: [Note: I should add that all pictures are courtesy of Karen Kroll and used with her explicit permission.]

Originally posted to Patrick Leary, aka pajoly on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 01:18 PM PDT.

Also republished by PWB Peeps and Kitchen Table Kibitzing.

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