A dog had spent most of her life tethered by chains, unable to experience freedom. So, when she was finally rescued and able to run free, it was a completely new concept to her. Needless to say, then, her first liberated steps were completely magical.
Dogs Deserve Better is a non-profit animal rescue organization based in Smithfield, Virginia. Since 2002 the group has rescued countless canines from lives of suffering. However, its main area of focus is to bring tethered and penned animals out of the cold and into people’s hearts.
In 2015 the founder of Dogs Deserve Better, Amy Hines, was driving in Kentucky when she came across a harrowing sight. In the yard of a property, Hines found a number of desperate doggies all chained up with no shelter in sight.
Given that they had been exposed to the elements, the animals had succumbed to frostbite as well as parasites and malnutrition. One of the dogs was in such a bad way, in fact, that Hines originally believed it was dead. However, upon closer examination, she established that the animal was just about alive.
Although Hines had been in Kentucky on a personal trip, there was no way that she could leave these poor pups behind. As a result, she jumped into rescue mode, communicated with the local authorities and decided to contact the animals’ owner.
But as she made her way onto the property, Hines was confronted with another discovery. One of the dogs, who had managed to find shelter in a shed, had recently given birth and was the mom of three month-old puppies. So the dogs’ situation suddenly grew even more urgent.
Following a tactful chat with the animals’ owner, Hines was able to rescue the most vulnerable dogs right away. A few weeks afterwards, she returned to the property to collect the mother and her puppies. However, the owner decided to keep hold of three of the animals, although Hines was hopeful that she could rescue them, too.
Hines began liaising with local rescue staff who supplied food and bedding to the remaining dogs while negotiations with the owner continued. It was a long and arduous process, and sadly one of the animals passed away due to hypothermia while awaiting its rescue. However, Dogs Deserve Better eventually saved the final two dogs.
In the end, Hines had managed to rescue a total of eight dogs, which were taken to the organization’s rehabilitation center. There they were able to taste freedom for possibly the first time. And judging by some footage taken following their arrivals, it tasted very sweet indeed.
The video in question was posted to the Dogs Deserve Better Facebook page in 2016. The footage features two dogs from the rescued eight as they enjoy their first “freedom run” around a 6-acre field. And it’s clear to see how much they appreciate the opportunity to finally stretch their legs.
In the heartwarming clip, the two dogs can be seen tentatively making their first steps into freedom. They nervously sniff their way around the field until finally breaking into a joyous run. “You can almost see that magical second when it ‘clicked’ and she realized she was unchained,” reads the video’s caption.
The two dogs continue to skip along the grass, as their rescuers look on in delight. At one point, someone behind the camera comments, “They always find that mud puddle, don’t they? Look at her go. Just what she needed.”
The dog carries on exploring her newfound freedom, this time venturing further than ever before. She jumps through puddles and bounds across grass, just as one onlooker states that “it doesn’t get any better than that.”
Before long, the two dogs come together and start chasing one another around the edge of the field. It’s quite possibly the first time that they’ve ever been able to play with each other. And neither of the animals could have seemed any happier.
Needless to say, the moving footage captured hearts after it appeared online. The video received 18,000 reactions and was shared more than 5,000 times. It also attracted a number of comments from people offering the rescued dogs their well-wishes.
Beneath the video, an admiring viewer wrote, “I wish all chained dogs could have this opportunity to run like this. No animal deserve to be chained or sitting in small crates. They have four legs and need to use them.”
Someone else added, “Such freedom and joy, just love the video. Thank you so much for giving this dog the freedom it so deserves! Very uplifting and happy to see.” Another user agreed, writing, “This is how precious dogs should be: free to run, play and be happy, not tethered for their whole life which is unacceptable cruel and inhumane.”
Moreover, these experiences of freedom were not the end of the rescued dogs’ stories. All eight of them continued to recover from their ordeals until they were ready to go up for adoption. And from there, most of them have already found new owners.
A statement on the Dogs Deserve Better website later revealed, “All but one are in their forever homes and we are confident that he will receive his rescue ‘lottery’ in the near future. Never have we seen such broken spirits transform so quickly.”
And perhaps more importantly, the dogs’ former owner saw the error of his ways and now advocates against the chaining of animals. “We love this story,” Dogs Deserve Better wrote. “Not only were the dogs saved, but the owner was educated and will share his newfound knowledge with others along the way.”