The 5-year-old English springer spaniel doesn’t have long blonde hair and legs that go on for miles, but she does have a remarkably sweet face that won the heart of Gainesville resident David Latimer.
Latimer adopted Glory last April through English Springer Rescue America, a nonprofit agency that rescues the spaniels from shelters and incapable owners. Just a few months after welcoming Glory into his home, Latimer created posters for ESRA featuring none other than his prize pup.
ESRA rehabilitates the sometimes boisterous spaniels with training and veterinary treatment and then places them with owners who have passed a screening process.
Each year, the national rescue group saves more than 1,000 English springer spaniels from abusive situations, neglect and possible death in animal shelters.
Glory’s handsome long ears and puppy dog eyes are on multiple ESRA posters distributed nationwide that invite dog lovers to www.springerrescue.org, where they can adopt an English springer spaniel for a small fee.
"She looks very confident. She did a good job," Latimer said. "She can also look very pathetic at times — which is also good for the posters. Basically, she’s saying, ‘I’ve got a problem. I’m out on the streets. ESRA has picked me up and I need a home."
Latimer said he saw Glory’s face for the first time last year when he visited the organization’s Web site. She was living in Alabama where ESRA had taken her in after a soldier living in Ohio was no longer able to care for her. In Ohio, Glory was chained to a tree most days and received little attention or exercise.
"We met in a McDonald’s parking lot, and I looked at her and I never gave her back," Latimer said.
Since then, Latimer has become very active in ESRA, and has even written two books about the agency’s rescued dogs.
His most recent one, "Mondo Cane," details the stories of 52 ESRA dogs, some of which are happy tales. Others, however, describe cruelty cases that might break your heart.
Barbara Welty, ESRA coordinator for Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana, said the group helped find homes for 51 English springer spaniels in Georgia last year.
Each January, ESRA holds a rescue parade, typically at the Lawrenceville fairgrounds, where spaniels rescued in the past year jaunt around the ring with their new owners as their rescue stories are told.
"There’s a lot of wet eyes at the parade of rescues," Latimer said.
Welty said one of the key problems with discarded or abused English springer spaniels is that they are bred to be hunting dogs and often have more energy than their owners bargained for.
"Some people don’t realize the energy level of a springer, and say, ‘oh, no, I can’t handle this’ and call us," Welty said. "They’re a versatile breed. They’re always up for a good time, but they can also be calm dogs that lie at your feet while you work at your computer. They’re also very people-oriented and very loyal."
Potential owners interested in adopting a spaniel can begin the screening process by filling out an application online.
Welty said anyone interested in assisting ESRA can care for homeless springer spaniels by volunteering their time, providing a foster home for a dog, or by making a donation to the nonprofit.
"Every dime goes to the dogs," Welty said.