Family Focus

Dogs rescued from Union County hoarding situation adapting well

CHARLOTTE, NC — Fifteen months after Channel 9 first reported on a group of dogs rescued from a Union County hoarding situation, we went back to catch up with them and see how they’re doing now.

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When they were first rescued, according to their foster families, they didn’t know how to act like normal dogs, because they had been so neglected. Some had been chained to furniture. They were rarely let outside. But they’re making tremendous progress.

The dogs and their new owners recently reunited at a park in Weddington. It was clear, they’ve come a long way since we first met them in December of 2016.

At the time, each dog was skittish and confused. One dog, Jackson, was extremely nervous, unsure of people and unable to walk well on a leash. Today, he’s more relaxed and has even mastered the art of shaking hands.

His new owner, Donna Sickmiller, has had Jackson since shortly after his rescue. She says he was afraid of everything in the beginning.

“It can be challenging, and in these particular dogs, it is definitely challenging, but it’s so worth it,” she said of helping them to adjust.

Another dog, Hailey, was also extremely nervous when she was first rescued. Dave Walters of Ft. Mill, SC, has had her since February 2017. He says Hailey now loves vanilla ice cream and still has to plan an “escape route” whenever she is in a new place. However, he says she is getting better by the day.

“Still very timid around dogs and people, but we’re gonna make it,” he smiled.

When Julie Puckett of Weddington adopted “Sonny,” she discovered some special challenges. He doesn’t like women’s purses and won’t go near any visitors to their home if they have one.

“We don’t know what the situation was, whatever happened to make them that fearful. It makes you sad, but it also makes you want to love them all the more, to make up for what they went through,” she explained.

She says his nervousness and uncertainty also made it difficult to teach him how to behave. “We were really scared about disciplining him. How do you discipline a dog that’s scared of everything?”

The dog having the most difficulty after their rescue, however, was Nick. When Channel 9 first met him, he wouldn’t make eye contact and he rarely left his crate.

Nick now lives in Raleigh with his new owners who say he is a happy dog and is adjusting well to his new life.

Miley is the only dog from the group not yet adopted. Her foster mom, Mindi Jaynes, says Miley needs a family that will be able to spend a lot of time with her and that has another dog she can learn from.

“Most dogs grow up in a family; they’re around a lot more people than Miley was,” Jaynes explained.

She says when the right family comes along for Miley, they’ll realize what a special dog she is.

“They are all probably the sweetest dogs I’ve ever seen. They’re just gonna take a little more time to come out of their shells,” she said of the rescued dogs.

Furever Angels Animal Rescue is still working to find a permanent home for Miles, as well as plenty of other dogs.

You can contact them through their Facebook page: