Another piece of my heart breaks

As most of you know I have been involved in OES rescue for almost 25 years in some capacity. Usually I would be the one to go pick up the dog where ever they were around the south and transport it to its new foster home. I was never a good foster because I became too attached if they were with me very long and they would become a foster failure (that’s how I ended up with 7 sheepies years ago). I have seen some horrible sights picking up from shelters that they were dumped at or homes where they were chained to trees. But nothing could prepare me for what I saw 2 1/2 years ago when I got a call that a girl down in the sandhills of South Carolina needed to be picked up from a supposed breeder that didn’t want her any more. Pulling down a long gravel drive in the middle of nowhere I came upon a sight that I was not prepared for…. a puppy mill. Hundreds & hundreds of dogs and puppies, at least a dozen different breeds. As I walked around the site trying to find a person I was flabbergasted at the sheer numbers. But when I did find someone and they went to get the dog I was there for I was horrified. From a very large area in the back of the property surrounded by privacy fence I could hear what sounded like an unbelievable number of dogs. The son of the “breeder” brought out a filthy sheepdog. When I asked why she was that dirty I was told they kept all the adults covered in used motor oil to keep the flies off of them. This was the first time I met a sweet little broken girl named Jewel. I was crushed as I left thinking of all the dogs that weren’t able to leave that hell hole with me. I cried the entire 2 hour drive back home.

Jewel was never supposed to stay with me. After stopping, a couple friends helped cut the oily, matted fur from her and gave her the first of dozens of baths with Dawn detergent to get rid of the oil from her body. The next day she was going to her foster home but I got a call and needed to go get a second dog that had been sold by this mill a few days earlier but wasn’t wanted. The person I met said that she only laid around and wouldn’t act like a normal dog. That was Lina. So she went to the foster set up for Jewel and Jewel stayed with me. It was close to a month before she was ready to go up for adoption by Tarheel OES Rescue and a couple months more before a wonderful woman named Mary Ellen, along with her sheepie Angel, drove down to NC to adopt her. Needless to say I became very attached to this sweet little girl but it was great knowing she had a wonderful loving home for the second half of her life. She got to experience the love that every dog should feel. I even got to see her again at the rescues picnic last year.

I got word today that Jewel had passed away and was now frolicing over the Rainbow Bridge along with Lina who also passed away unexpectedly earlier this year. I am heartbroken and can only imagine how Mary Ellen feels. Jewels I will see you soon sweetie.





  1. Mary Karen

    I enjoyed the photos and comments here and on the “regular” sites. Lily reminds me a little on our TeddyB. We adopted TeddyB. on May 17, 2017. We were his 3rd home. It took us 4 hours at a county animal shelter for him to let us pet him. We let him warm up to us at his own speed. He adjusted to our other OES adopted dogs . Now his sweet OES personality his really showing.
    We too had 7 adopted dogs at one time. All out dogs for the last 30 have come to us through adoption.

  2. Karin Haan

    So sorry for your loss ??
    Tom we have meet you last year at the
    picnic . And it really touch my heart to
    see what a wonderful sheepie dad your
    are. Sending hugs and lots of love ❤️?

  3. Tricia

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Even though her forever home wasn’t with you, it seems that she found a spot in your heart just for her and she will stay there forever. She will always be with you. My in laws have two sheepies and we just love seeing your posts in this group. Our thoughts are with you <3
    Love, Tricia

  4. Sandy Grubb

    You really are the big-hearted man I have always thought you were. So sorry for your sadness Uncle Tom.

  5. Fiona Bowen

    Thanks so much for your love and concern for the rescues out there. They need people like you to help transport them to their new life. I hate that she passed, but your story brings so much more to those of us that read it.. thanks for taking the time to let us know about these 2 sweet babies that got out!

  6. Sieglinde Schupp

    As I read your story I’m crying! You are a very special lady!! I also gave a rescue I love her to pieces! I hope you reported that puppy mill!
    Just remember they were loved for a short time that’s more then what they would if they stayed at the hell hole!! R I P sweet angels!! ?

  7. Wendy Theisen

    Oh I remember that day when you brought jewel back and how long it took to get her bathed and shaved. These two loves made a serious dent in all the hearts that met and encountered these two. I would like to say that I am sure they are in a better place but I know that the love these two felt in the last 2 years made them at least get a glimmer of how special they were. None of us will ever be the same from that experience.

  8. Cyndi Morgan

    Well, you are NOT an old guy first of all. When you say a piece of your heart breaks, those of us who read your words KNOW that is true. We KNOW it takes a little more out of you. Some days feel so hard. The prayers coming your way will help you I know, however sometimes they are just not enough. As you have helped so many, in so many different ways, we hope our words to you help in some way….

  9. Terry Carlson

    I rescued a beautiful little girl from a puppy mill breeder. Once she no longer could have puppies, she tossed aside my little Erin! I got her from the lady, but not before I discovered that she had cancer of the mammary glands. We only had her for 8 months til she died, but they were the BEST 8 months of her life & she passed knowing she was loved!!!

  10. SLee

    I read a post from someone who said every time I loose an OES a part of my heart leaves with them but then another OES comes along and is part of my heart….. Before long my heart is 100% Sheepie! That’s you Tom, your heart has to be 100% Sheepie!!! ❤️

  11. Joanne

    So great to know we have sweet hearted people still around in this evil world One pray at a time it changes it I will pray on this is hope and that is what we have to hold on to. God bless you for all your good work I love my dog and he was not a rescue but a gift He has bad allergies and can’t get rid of his awful smell but I would never get rid of him he was meant to be with me

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