If you asked Dallas Pets Alive! volunteers to name the most memorable pet transformation they’ve seen, their answer would undoubtably be the DPA’s affable former resident and captain of the welcoming committee, Holly Goodgirl.
From fearful stray to affectionate family pet, Holly’s metamorphosis was nothing short of miraculous. Her adoption journey began in August 2022 when she was picked up from Dallas Animal Shelter. Her initial veterinary evaluation showed malnutrition, a healed, but fractured jaw, a healed, but previously ulcerated eye, and dental disease.
“This was a Saturday and I was told she would not have made it to Monday,” said Jenay Bennett, DPA Foster Director. “She was extremely skinny. She could only see out of one eye. She wasn’t running up to the window like most of the dogs do, to get attention.”
Hopeless and petrified, Holly crawled into the corner and avoided eye contact. She didn’t want to be leashed and had to be carried outside. Within minutes, she surprised everyone with a complete change in attitude.
“Once we were out in the yard, she just started running around and was so happy to be out,” said Bennett. “There was another dog on the other side and they could see each other through the gate. And she started play bowing and wanting to play with him.”
At that moment, Bennett knew she couldn’t bring herself to put Holly back in the kennel. She knew she was injured and not adoptable from the shelter’s perspective.
“I called my husband and said ‘She does not want to go back in there and she cannot stay here. I’m so sorry but we have to bring home another foster,’” said Bennett.
Liberated from the shelter, Bennett treated Holly to bath, a new toy, and a bed to call her own. She was apprehensive around Bennett’s husband at first and would cower when approached. But with great patience and thoughtful care, the Bennetts helped Holly realize she was surrounded by friends.
“Once we let her meet our dogs, there was no going back. Her personality came out in full force. I think, truly, that is what brought her out of her shell, being around our dogs,” Bennett said.
With her medical issues at bay and a secure foster family giving her the love she so desperately needed, Holly flourished beyond measure. The shy, scared stray with little hope was gone and everyone’s best friend emerged. DPA knew it was time to find her permanent placement.
After almost a year in foster care, Holly was more like a team member than a foster pup. She became a DPA fixture and event spokesmodel. She greeted each Adoption Container visitor with joy and happy anticipation, earning herself the unofficial title of the resident greeter and more treats than she could handle.
“Holly brings us so much joy. She was nervous about my husband at the beginning but now they’re two peas in a pod. She thinks she’s a lap dog. Any time I think about Holly getting an application or interest, I immediately tear up, but I know that it’s going to have to be the perfect family. And no matter where she ends up, she always has a home with us and we will always be her family too,” Bennett said.
While this new beginning was taking shape, another adoption tale was coming to an unfortunate close. Another extraordinary DPA adoptee, Georgia, was diagnosed with terminal cancer in early 2023. Rescued several years before that tragic day, her adoptive family treated her like the queen she was until her untimely passing. Heartbroken, they knew the best way to honor her spirit was to adopt again and pass on the love they had for their precious Georgia. Once they saw Holly on Facebook, it was undeniable, she was the missing piece of their pack. They immediately arranged a flight from Washington to adopt Holly and take her home for good.
Before her big send-off, volunteers and friends gathered together to celebrate Holly and her new lease on life. Although bittersweet to see her go, her story illustrates how crucial organizations like Dallas Pets Alive! are to every “Goodgirl” in the community. To learn more, check out our Adoptable Pets, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our Adoption Process page.