Student Reflection: How I Changed a Dog’s Life

Before and After — The following is a student reflection of a dog rescue mission they were a part of.

Hi! I’m Alyssa and this is my story about how I changed a dog’s life.

I was getting ready to go the Sobriety Carnival Friday afternoon when my good old houseparent said my older sister, Diana, was on the phone and wanted to know if I wanted to go save a puppy who was homeless in front of a store in Ft. Thompson. I was super excited because I love dogs so I said yes. She said my younger brother was going to come, too.

We took off, and once we got to the store we saw a little black dog curled up in a corner laying on the snow. I felt so bad! I wanted to grab it and make it warm and say it’s going to be okay.

We brought treats and a leash and started tossing treats out to her, but when we got close the pup got scared and ran off. We laid out some treats and she got a little closer but there were a lot of cars and when one pulled close to us and slammed the door, she got scared and ran.

We talked about what might have happened to the pup and thought maybe someone threw her out of a car or abused her. Just thinking about that made us all say that we are going to save this dog no matter what.

We laid more treats out and went in the car so the pup would come close again and while we were there, a lady came out with a bag of dog food for the puppy and poured it on the ground where she had been curled up. We thanked her for her help and shortly after the pup came around and began eating the food really fast. We said some prayers that the dog would trust us and come with us so we could help her.

After a while the puppy got a little closer, but still not close enough. We decided we would leave a dish of water, the treats, and a blanket for her since it was getting late and we needed to leave. We didn’t want to leave the dog, but we had to. We came up with a plan for the following day to try again in the morning and bring hamburgers with us this time!

The next day, we grabbed our supplies and we started to drive back to Ft. Thompson. While we were driving, an eagle flew over us and we knew it was a good sign.

When we got to the store, the puppy wasn’t there and we were worried something happened to her. It was so cold out! We drove around the building and then noticed the pup across the street at St. Joseph’s church. We said a prayer to St. Francis and St. Joseph for help getting her.

When we drove to the church, the pup came running up to our van. But, when we got out she was still a little scared. Maija began setting up the live trap and my brother, sister and I were making a trail with the treats that would lead up to the trap with the burgers in it. Just then, a white van pulled up and the puppy ran up to the two girls when they hopped outside.

Maija asked if the pup was theirs and they said “No, but we’ve come up here the past few days and she knows us.” Maija was very surprised and asked if the girls could help us get a leash on the pup. They did and it worked! We were all so happy that our prayers were answered!

I held the leash and the pup started getting closer to me and my brother. We gave her some treats and water and she came up to the back of the seat and let us pet her. She was really soft. We named her Jamie-Jo.

We went to St. Joseph’s to get the big kennel for her to be more comfortable on the drive and to let Jamie-Jo out for a walk. When it was time to leave again, Jamie-Jo didn’t want to go in the kennel so we called a home and a houseparent came over with food. When she got near Jamie-Jo, she was scared again. We figured out that she was more scared of adults than children, so Tia, the houseparent sat on the ground with my brother until Jami-Jo settled down. My brother was then able to get her into the kennel.

Then we took off for Mitchell to meet another girl who works with a shelter called Almost Home Canine Rescue. She was going to be a foster parent for Jamie-Jo until she could find her a home. My brother and I got really sad because Jamie-Jo was leaving us but we were also happy because she was going to a good home.

Maija and the girl had to move away from the kennel because Jamie-Jo was scared to come out so my brother and I talked to her and got her out. We walked her around for a bit and got her into the other car. We then said our goodbyes to Jamie-Jo. I was really sad and wished I could have kept her, but I was super happy she was going to be okay.

When I got back home I told everyone about the journey. I was getting ready for bed when Vicki came into my room to show me a Facebook post from Almost Home Canine Rescue and the before and after picture of Jamie-Jo. I read they renamed her “Larken,” which means fierce. I like that name and I’m so glad she’s safe and that I changed a dog’s life from a bad life to a better life.

Author: St. Joseph's Indian School

At St. Joseph's Indian School, our privately-funded programs for Lakota (Sioux) children in need have evolved over 90 years of family partnership, experience and education. Because of generous friends who share tax-deductible donations, Native American youth receive a safe, stable home life; individual counseling and guidance; carefully planned curriculum based on Lakota culture and individual student needs and tools to help build confidence, boost self-esteem and improve cultural awareness. All of this helps children to live a bright, productive, possibility-filled future.

10 thoughts on “Student Reflection: How I Changed a Dog’s Life”

  1. Thank you all for rescuing the puppy! She had probably been mistreated by an adult so she was afraid of big people! I’m sure St Joseph and St Francis helped some, too. Curled up in the crook of my arms as I type this is the son of a rescued Mom, a beagle. Mom was so happy to be adopted she gave her new family Christmas presents, 9 puppies! I adopted a male who is mostly black with white on his chest. I’ve named him Pepper. He is so full pf orneriness! But he does love to cuddle and is pretty smart! Now, Pepper doesn’t look like a beagle so I think he must take after his Daddy. Pepper is just one of several rescued pets our family has adopted and I think more people should look at rescue centers for a new pet! God bless you all and stay warm!

  2. Dear Alyssa,
    You wrote such a lovely story. I could follow everything you, your brother and friends to help Jamie-Jo. You were so kind and gentle with her. You had such good ideas on how to help her.
    What impressed me most about you was how loving and generous you were when you had to part with the puppy Jamie-Jo or
    as she is called now Larken. That is a beautiful name. I am so proud of you!

    1. I’m Larken’s new father and I would like to thank all of you for your kindness and courage to rescue Larken. It’s a shame what she went through but all of you involved in the rescue should know that she’s getting the life she really deserves. She’s in Brookings now and I’ll be thinking about all of your kindness as Larken and I live our lives together. Thanks again. Kevin

      1. Kevin, thank you so much for reaching out! We appreciate the update to know Larken is safe. We’ll share this with Alyssa. Thank you!

  3. Dear Alyssa
    As a dog lover myself I am so proud of the help you gave this little dog. I loved reading the story and could picture the happenings in my mind. You did a great job telling the story. I think you may have a future as an author. I too love the name Larken. St Francis and St Joseph helped you to help the dog. God bless you in your future endeavors

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