Texas resident Megan Arreguin was going about a typically busy day of animal rescue when she heard about a horrific accident.
A semi-truck had sideswiped a rescue transport of more than 40 dogs and cats, many of whom were now missing or possibly injured, according to news reports.
Arreguin, who officially founded her nonprofit Saving Animal Lives 24/7 in 2018 but had been rescuing local animals for years prior to that, instantly wanted to help.
She learned of an escaped dog named Dama, who was on the run for several days with a leg injury. She also learned about Lucky, a Lab mix found vomiting and suffering from dysentery, and Snickers, a dog with an injured back and a broken pelvis. A fourth dog, Knox, had a broken back.
No one had reportedly stepped up to claim or pay for the dogs’ medical needs, so Arreguin offered to take care — and custody — of them.
“When I save an animal, I’m making a commitment to that animal that they will not need to be saved again,” she told LFT. “I was very clear that as soon as those dogs arrived at my vet and were surrendered for care, and I paid for them, they became my dogs. I committed to them never again being in harm’s way.”
The accident happened on Dec. 10. Since then, the four new arrivals to Saving Animal Lives 24/7 have received life-saving veterinary care at the Crossroads Veterinary Clinic in Victoria.
One of Dama’s rear legs needed to be amputated. Snickers required eight medications to treat skin issues and heartworms, and Lucky is on a new diet, Arreguin said in an online update on Dec. 29.
“All of these souls will now have a chance at real love and a life they deserve,” the nonprofit wrote. “I know we have a lot more work to put in, but we are in this for the long run with them.”
Saving Animal Lives 24/7 closed intake in order to focus on the four dogs, all of whom are doing well, Arreguin told LFT in February.
Knox is “doing amazing” and most days acts “like a happy-go-lucky puppy,” Arreguin said. He’s scheduled for another CT scan to re-check his back’s breakage and the resulting swelling. Knox was incontinent following the accident but appears to be regaining control of his functions, she added.
Dama has healed nicely and doesn’t seem to be aware that she’s now a 3-legger, Arreguin said with a laugh.
“Dama probably doesn’t remember having four legs,” Arreguin said. “She loves to run and jump.”
Lucky has “made a complete turnaround” and is putting on weight. Snickers also is doing well and has been adopted by a family that can monitor and care for him, Arreguin added.
Arreguin said her introduction to the rescue community came years ago when she was on the road and reportedly witnessed the vehicle in front of her intentionally run over a stray dog. She coaxed the dog into her car and sought medical treatment. Her vet, a local animal rescue, and a foster family stepped up to help — but Arreguin was shocked when they told her the situation was “normal.”
“This was not normal for me,” she recalled to LFT. “I had never seen this in my life. I didn’t know that side of rescue. I started fostering, and I got hooked. Two animals became seven, became 20, became 40. And I recognized at that point that I wanted to run a rescue.”
Since then, she has done her best to fill the gaps she sees in needed care for local animals. Arreguin said Saving Animal Lives 24/7 will take in about 50 to 80 animals each month, rehabilitate them if needed, then transport them to adoptive homes in Colorado, where she has an existing partnership with a local rescue.
Arreguin said she feels the animals will have a better chance of living happy lives in Colorado, which she said has stricter animal cruelty laws, a more pet-friendly overall atmosphere (including more employers who allow their employees to bring their companion animals to work), and added that she’s been impressed by the animal care in Colorado that she’s generally experienced.
Arreguin also partners with Crossroads Veterinary Clinic to run a free monthly spay and neutering program, where pet guardians also can have their companion animals microchipped or vaccinated.
Arreguin’s days may be busy and chaotic, but her life is meaningful, and she couldn’t imagine not helping animals when and how she can.
“Rescue is my life,” Arreguin said. “No one else is doing what I am doing, and it’s needed.”
She also wanted to send a huge shout-out to Crossroads Veterinary Clinic for their kindness and support.
“It would not be possible without my vet,” she said.
Those interested in learning more or following Saving Animal Lives 24/7 can check out the nonprofit’s Facebook page here.