Meet the Hopson's...& Ruger

We all see the horror stories out there. Animals that have been abused, neglected, starved, used as bait for fighting, abandoned by a family that wanted a cute puppy but weren't prepared for the commitment... the list goes on. It's heartbreaking. We all WISH we could help. We all WANT to be that person who takes the pain away from their sweet souls. But sadly, for most of us, we rationalize all of the reasons that we can't. We hope and pray that someone else out there will save them, and then we try to push the nightmarish mental images out of our minds so that we can get through our own problems of the day.

Jason and Amanda Hopson are those people that we pray are out there. They are a husband and wife super hero duo that founded Bright Hope Animal Rescue...they are two earth angels. They do what we all wish we were selfless enough to do. They have dedicated their entire lives to the dogs that have been let down time and time again by the human race. Too many times they have been the only love that these sweet creatures ever receive in their short lives. Even when the situation looks hopeless, even if it looks like one of these dogs only has days or hours left on this earth, they continue to take them in, give them all of the medical care that they can, and make sure they die with dignity while being held in loving arms. Most times it is the only love they have ever felt. Every single time they lose one of these babies their hearts are shattered, but they pick themselves up, wipe away their tears, and tend to all of the others that count on them. It's a never ending cycle. I just don't know how they do it, there is only so much heartbreak that one can take.

There are a million Bright Hope rescue stories that I could tell you about, but one really sticks out in my mind. It's about a dog named Ruger. I will copy Amanda's own words here to tell you more about him, and why he touched so many people...

"Here is what this poor dog has been through in the last 16 hours, and we don’t even want to know what happened to him before that. We originally thought he was a lab mix from the original pic. He is actually a great dane weighing in at a horrific 48 pounds, less than half of what he should weigh. He is a senior at 5-6 years of age. He is just a mess all the way around. But Jason and I tend to be drawn to these sweet hot messes. Two things I know this boy needs are love and groceries. Well, we just happen to have love to spare and fattening up a dog is one of our specialties. So here goes Ruger's journey…… Ruger wandered up to a good Samaritans house yesterday. She posted him to a community Facebook page asking for help. We were alerted to this post and made contact with the original poster last night and immediately went to get Ruger. Based on his original pictures, he looked bad. But when Jason arrived to get him, he was much worse than we originally thought. We got him home and settled in on a comfy Kuranda bed with two bedspread on top of that. He was obviously emaciated. He was also very dehydrated and very cold. We offered small bites of food. He wasn’t interested nor would he drink. We went ahead and gave Pedialyte every hour with a syringe. He gained some moisture in his gums. We thought all was going well considering his given state until we could get him to the vet the this morning. Jason and I were alternating every hour. I went in about 12:45 a.m. and then Jason went back in about 1:45 a.m. to give him a bit more. He came in the bedroom and said “He’s not going to make it. He is almost gone”. I went in and I thought he had passed. Completely lifeless, but still breathing. We immediately called the vet and rushed him in. I rode in the back seat with him. Again, I thought he had passed on the way to the vet. Nothing, absolutely nothing. Vet immediately started him on fluids and vitamins and did x-rays. X-rays looked good except for the one of his stomach. His stomach had twisted. We were given two options at that point. The first was to do emergency surgery knowing that he was in no condition to undergo surgery. Doc said that he would give him a 50/50 chance at surviving the surgery, and that 50% was being generous. The other option was euthanasia. Surgery was expensive with very little hope (two Doctors plus emergency surgery in the middle of the night=expensive). Within the first few hours of getting Ruger, we received an outpouring of support and offers to help. We said a quick prayer that everyone would help financially and opted for surgery. We did this on complete faith that we can raise the money for his care. Jason and I stayed with him during the surgery, well mostly Jason…I was pacing back and forth. Miraculously, this boy survived the surgery!!! Can you believe it??? This is thanks to your prayers and to two AMAZING doctors. Dr. Al Claiborne and Dr. Ed Claiborne saved Ruger. If Ruger could make it through surgery in his condition, I knew these two fine Doctors could do it. So surgery was over and the he actually did better during the surgery than he did coming out of the anesthesia……that was violent to watch. Doctors have not been to bed, we have not been to bed…….but Ruger is now resting, so that makes us happy. His chances of survival are up from 50% to 80% now. I honest to God don’t know how this dog is alive and did not freeze to the ground the nights before. Doc said that he could not be any more dehydrated and still be alive and that this was a severe starvation case. He has a VERY long road ahead of him, but we are hopeful at this point. As I said earlier, we made the decision to have the surgery on the faith that donations would come in. So, if you can make a donation of any amount toward Ruger's care……it would be appreciated more than you will ever know. He is in the care of Bright Hope Animal Rescue and donations can be made straight to our vet at 423-639-6777, please tell them it is for Ruger. I have also set up an online fundraiser for his surgery and continued care and have attached the link. Please SHARE with all your friends. God Bless, Jason, Amanda, and Ruger"

Ruger survived the surgery and seemed to be doing much better, but sadly passed away a little over a month later. These are Amanda's words when he passed, " I am fighting through the tears to find the words for this post. I am numb, but yet have every emotion imaginable running through me right now. I am heartbroken, yet feel a since of peace. We had to make the difficult decision to let our precious Ruger go to heaven today. He passed in Jason's arms surround by all his family at the vet clinic. He fought like hell to live. But today, he let us know he was ready. He may have not gotten the happy ending that we were praying for, but he didn't die alone on that cold November night. Ruger had more love than I think any of us even know. His legacy will live on. He has brought together a divided community. He has been the first face of animal rescue that many have seen. He has opened peoples eyes to abuse and neglect that they thought only existed far away and on ASPCA commercials. I have never seen a dog draw peoples compassion such as Ruger. He has been on TV multiple times. He has had multiple news articles done on him. He has been the face of our tiny rescue. Our mailbox has been flooded with letters and get well cards. We knew that when the time came to make this decision that we would know. And today we knew. He let us know. We brought Ruger home last night. He slept peacefully nestled in a dozen blankets on a Karunda bed with a heating pad. Jason and I both slept next to him touching him all night. He got up this morning and crawled up on top of Jason and slept for a couple hours. He was telling him that it was ok. Ruger's illness is still a mystery. So for that reason, we are going to have a necropsy done. In hopes that this may help save another dog. We absolutely did everything humanly possible to try to save him thanks to your support. He is now running free with Primrose, who we lost less than two weeks ago. I don't know how much more our hearts can break. But our hearts are stronger than we think. We move forward. We help another. That is what we do. Godspeed Ruger."

This is just one of their stories. There are so many more. They are always on the verge of financial crisis, yet they continue because their hearts won't let them stop. They are the epitome of selfless. Please check out and follow their Facebook page, check out the two news stories that I have linked below, and if you are thinking about purchasing some clothes from Mood Botique, know that 10% of all sales in June 2018 will go to help ease some of their financial burden.

xxoo, Renee

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