Mouse is a small little thing with wiry hair. It can be said that she isn’t the most attractive dog around. In fact, one could say she is a little ugly.

This may seem a harsh thing, but even Brooke, Mouse’s owner, believes this:

“Rule of thumb: Pick the ugliest one you can. They have the largest heart and bring you the most joy. Mouse isn’t the most beautiful thing on the planet; but my god, she’s a hoot”

Brooke is a huge proponent of rescuing dogs. She would always have at least six or seven dogs in her home at a time.

She and her family would go to the euthanasia room, and pick dogs sick or well. If it was well, they would rehabilitate it. If it was sick, they would feed it a lavish meal and then humanely take it to her vet and make it feel loved in its last twenty-four hours. Over the course of eight years, she took home over a hundred dogs.

“It was a lesson for my children and it really teaches them they can save a life. I never kept my kids from it. I never hid them from the reality that people dump dogs off. With little or no regard of what’s going to happen to that dog’s life.”

Brooke says now she usually has two dogs, but Mouse likes to be alone.

She tried to have another dog, but it is difficult. Mouse doesn’t play with other dogs. Just humans.

“She’s all I need, and I think I’m constantly all she needs. She’s just misunderstood.”

Brooke has had Mouse for nine years now.

Her family had to put down their dog, Brillow, their first rescue. Brillow was seventeen, and could barely see or hear. She was a significant dog in the family’s life.

“The kids were like we won’t be sad if we get another dog,” Brooke chuckles. “I told my son, ‘We’ll do a shelter run. If we’re gonna keep a dog, it has to be super special, and healthy. It’ll have to be ugly. That’s how they’re so much cuter.’”

“My son was 12, and we had gone to about three shelters. And he said, ‘She’s not here.’ We left the shelter and we were walking to our car and walking around the area. You never know who you’ll find.”

“I think my son must have heard a rumbling and a whimpering. He said ‘Mama… I hear something.’”

“I don’t.”

“I think it’s from that dumpster.”

“Well, I am not gonna dumpster dive.”

“But I am.”

Brooke’s son jumped into the dumpster and when he emerged he was sobbing. Brooke asked her son what was wrong.

He replied, “There’s a little dog in here. She has puppies and they are all dead.”

Over the phone I could hear Brooke tearing up. Brooke went on, “This protective lioness who is postpartum… You don’t think twice. You just grab the dog and you take her with you. We took her to our vet, and she checked out.”

“Gosh… this is so personal… She had a yeast infection. There’s nothing like having to douche your dog after you take her home.”

Brooke laughs, “We just took her into our lives though.”

Mouse’s transition into the home wasn’t exactly calm.

“She tried to kill one of our other dogs. She was such a street dog. We had this Yorkie. We heard curdling screams and we walked into our bedroom. And the light blue paint on the walls was splattered with blood.”

A dog they had had for six years was injured. They took the dog, Jo, to the vet, and Jo healed. Now Mouse couldn’t be left alone. She was trying to establish a hierarchy.

The family had to make a tough decision.

“Here’s this dog that we just found in a dumpster, for a week and a half, and now were gonna get rid of a dog we’ve loved for six years. Mouse or Jo.

The kids made the decision.

“We’re keeping Mouse!”

Brooke’s sister, who also rescued dogs, took Jo, and Mouse stayed with the family.

“I think my younger son had connected with her on a level that has never diminished to this day. There’s nothing like the bond these two have because of how they met. I take no credit for saving her life. That’s all for my son.”

Brooke believes that there is no need to ever buy a dog. To her, it’s not a purchase.

“When you rescue a dog you don’t think about the money. It doesn’t end after the adoption fee.”

“If you’re contemplating rescue, it is the most gracious, generous thing you can do. These animals give back fifty times, a hundred times more than you do. There are so many dogs… In my opinion, if more people did it we’d have a kinder society. It helps you sleep at night because you can go, “Huh. I save a life today.”

With the holiday season upon us, we have to take the time to look outwards and see what good we can do for others. From helping four-legged creatures to our fellow two-legged ones, we have to be mindful of our efforts. For one to receive, someone has to give.

Just know, a pup will always give back way more than it receives.