Awake before the sun even dreams of rising, Judy Obregon has a job to do.
In the early morning hours, as darkness slowly lifts its veil from the deafening of night, Echo Lake Park seems a quiet and peaceful place. But it holds a rather tragic past…
Echo Lake Park sits on the outskirts of Fort Worth, Texas. On the surface it appears an ordinary park like any other; a picturesque setting with trails for walking, a fishing pond and a small playground where young children are often seen and heard laughing as they tumble down the slides. The reality is much more dreadful.
The surrounding community is nefarious for its high crime, including drug dealing, gang activity and dog fighting. In the early years, Echo Lake was synonymous for dumping bait dogs who were already dead or those who had been so badly attacked, they were barely clinging to life. Today, it is a hotspot for abandoning dogs of all kinds.
Judy Obregon, the founder of The Abandoned Ones, rises at 4:00am every morning to drive through Echo Lake Park and the surrounding back roads in search of abandoned dogs who have been let down by humanity. No matter how dire or dreadful the situation may appear on the surface, Judy Obregon does not turn her back on any animal in need.
This kind of love and compassion is rare, however this deep-rooted passion to be a voice for the voiceless, is exactly what led Judy to one very special girl.
Grace was not a typical rescue for Judy. She was not found in the usual dumping grounds within Echo Lake Park, rather Judy received a telephone call in early 2019 from a concerned citizen about a pit bull who appeared to be starving in the backyard of someone’s property. Given the safety concerns found within this community, this simple phone call could have been enough to put the caller in danger. Judy however, has an intrinsic ability to put people at ease and gain their trust, and this concerned citizen knew their identity would be protected. Strangers are not often welcomed with open arms and Judy knew it was a risk, but it did not stop her from doing exactly what she knew she needed to.
When she arrived, she walked along the length of the fence hoping to catch a glimpse of this mystery dog. In one corner of the yard stood a shabby, decaying shed. Underneath it lay a sweet and scared girl.
Judy knocked on the front door, not knowing who or what would be greeting her on the other side. The homeowner insisted the starving pit bull was not his, but Judy's motto is to never leave a dog in need behind so she persisted. The homeowner finally agreed to relinquish ownership of Grace over to Judy and her rescue organization. They never officially stated that Grace was their dog, but did eventually admit the property belonged to them and Grace had been dumped and abandoned there. Through conversations among neighbors however, it is believed the original owner had been incarcerated and family members - the owners of the home - threw Grace into their backyard and left her there to die. Circumstances aside, Grace had finally been rescued.
Although she was now safe, Grace’s journey to recovery was far from over. The moment Judy placed Grace inside her truck it became clear that she was not only suffering, she was barely alive and needed immediate medical attention. She was severely emaciated, had a large cut running along the length of her rear leg, had bite wounds in her front leg and both were infected. She was riddled with heartworm, various other infections, and it was clear to her medical team that she’d also been forced to breed. Grace was skin and bones and despite seeing cases like this regularly, Judy was brought to tears.
It took about four and a half months of intense treatment to prepare Grace for adoption. Part of her treatment included the use of adorable pajamas to help keep her skin safe and her healing body warm. Her sweetness and charm, coupled with her adorable fashion sense made her a hit with everyone she came into contact with. Judy knew families would be lining up to take her home. And line up they did. Yet none seemed to be the right fit for Grace. Until one day a woman named Kim was scrolling through Facebook and stumbled upon a post about a dog in need of a forever home. After reading Grace’s story, she knew she had to have her.
Two years later, Grace’s life as an abandoned and dying pit bull is a distant memory. Today she is living the life of her dreams. She has a doting mom, a loving dad and lots of fur-siblings. She goes to work with her mom every day and each morning, excitedly awaits for her mom to get her dressed for her important duties as the Team Enrichment Coordinator. Grace even has her own business cards. She is one of the lucky ones and truly lives up to her name as the most Amazing Grace. She hopes to inspire others to get involved. Share, advocate, educate, donate, foster and/or adopt a dog in need.
To follow Grace’s loving journey, you can follow her HERE.