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Last Updated:
7/6/2023 9:45 PM

Animal Success Stories

 Many people ask "What is rescue and how does it work?” These are just a few stories!








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Gilligan was adopted from Michigan Cocker Rescue in 2010. Prior to his move to Michigan he had lived in a puppy mill. After arriving in in the Detroit area some time ago he was initially adopted by another family. He and another Cocker were left by themselves in a foreclosed home. Gilligan was then taken to the Detroit Pound. He met someone at the pound who saw that he was wearing a Michigan Cocker Rescue tag. The person called the rescue, which helped eventually lead him to me. He was matted real bad and had been shaved the previous day. The Rescue had named him Scruffy. The name aptly fit at the time. Somehow I knew that œScruffy had a much more suave demeanor than he was showing the world. The male dog came home with me and jumped into the car. Later my husband came up with the new name of Gilligan for œScruffy. Gilligan was a companion for a shepherd/husky dog of ours named Jack. Another cocker spaniel named Walker had died a few months prior. Gilligan adjusted well to our home. However, he did and still does have some separation anxiety issues due to his background. He also had to have twenty six teeth pulled, likely due to a previous poor diet. Gilligan initially had issues where he thought we were going to return home when gone and would actually appear to have panic attacks. When I would take him in the car he would get nervous thinking I was going to dump him off somewhere. Slowly over time the issues have decreased. He still does not like to be left alone for long periods of time. He loves riding in the car. Gilligan has been a very loving dog. He loves people, dogs, and children. I decided that he might be a good therapy dog. Gilligan and I took a pet therapy class in 2012 after my husband passed. I had previously taken Gilligan to a head injury rehabilitation place down the road for visits with the residents. He was very friendly with the residents and they loved him back. In class Gilligan was a bit nervous. However, the instructor approached me on the first class and stated that she thought Gilligan would be a good therapy dog. We practiced several requirements for the test. However, he did not take it. I did not feel that he was quite ready for it and decided to work with him some more. He could do the requirements at home but did not do them all in class with a number of other dogs around. I decided to do visits with Gilligan at an area nursing home that did not require certification. He was a œnatural so to speak. Several of the staff approached me to state this. Over time I found that it became more difficult for me to do the visits due to some health issues I was experiencing. Fortunately, Gilligan has more visits planned in his future. One day our groomer called and asked if she could work with Gilligan and have him try to pass the therapy dog test. She had a previous dog named Lily who she used to do pet therapy with. She felt that Gilligan was a natural as I did. Gilligan remembered several of the things we worked on in 2012 and improved on others. He also has fewer separation anxiety issues than in the past. He is not as nervous. Gilligan passed the therapy dog test in early April 2015 with flying colors. His groomer is planning on taking him to participate in œRead a Book to a dog at the local library. It is a program in which children come to the library and read books to dogs. It is fun to watch. All I can say is that Gilligan has been a gift. He has brought a lot of love into my home. He knows how to relate well and seems to know that he has a job to do. He has gone from a œScruffy to a gentleman of a dog with a purpose. He is a shining example of a success story for the Rescue.


As our older dog, Dewey, was aging, my husband, Eric, had talked periodically about getting a second dog. After several months, I got on board with that idea - Eric had found cocker nation on-line & called Becky - she put us in touch with both Grand Rapids foster homes. We visited Mende first & met Rusty - he captured our hearts instantly - neither of us could believe we'd end up adopting the first dog we visited. :-) Mende provided Rusty just what he needed when he was rescued. We were able to bring him home about a year ago. He was pretty withdrawn at first & took him a few months to feel secure. As more time has gone on, he has turned into the sweetest, cuddliest, entertaining dog. We love him so much! It has been rewarding to observe him being able to trust again & getting over most of his fear issues. After we lost our older dog a few weeks ago, we have really appreciated Mende staying in touch with us & helping us potentially find another buddy for Rusty. We appreciate Cocker Nation & all you do for our furry friends. Amy


James came into our rescue about two years ago. Although his owner did not want to give him up, he was a victim of our economy. James went into a super loving home. He goes on daily walks, and is quite the hit of the neighborhood! Thanks for allowing James such a wonderful life!

Sadie and Sammy

Samosa and Sadie were given wonderful new lives.  Their owners are dedicated and very loving cocker parents who spoil these two little babies! Thank you for providing them with so much love!


Johnny came into rescue with some special needs. He was adopted by a great guy who did not mind his special needs at all. Here are some of his most recent pictures. Thanks for providing Johnny with the best care!

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