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RECYCLED LOVE: Recognizing an animal advocate


Chewie is a handsome, active four-year-old yellow Labrador retriever. - Jody O’Brien
Chewie is a handsome, active four-year-old yellow Labrador retriever. - Jody O’Brien - Contributed

Imagine having three demanding full-time jobs that you must tend to each and every day. Now, I want you to imagine accomplishing each of those professions and never complaining about how busy you are. I know an extraordinary woman who does this. Her name is Nahleen Ashton.

Ashton is not only the president and co-founder of Misfit Manor Dog Rescue; she also runs a dog-grooming business and is trained in canine Bowen therapy (CBT). Her husband, J.C. (Jean Claude), is by her side and he has a full-time challenging career outside their rescue undertakings. They lovingly own six rescue dogs and five rescued cats.

Ashton has been rescuing dogs for more than 15 years and she does not see herself stopping her endeavours anytime soon. She has had a lifetime fondness for animals and it shows with the work she has championed through Misfit Manor Dog Rescue.

At Misfit Manor Dog Rescue, the majority of dogs who come through the doors have special needs. Some may have health issues that require extensive medical assistance or they may require palliative care. Ashton said if a dog does need palliative care, she has dedicated fosters who can tend to the dog’s every need and the dog will lovingly receive the best ending possible. Ashton said she works with an amazing group of devoted foster families.

Misfit Manor Dog Rescue currently has 19 dogs in care and two of the dogs are being fostered in Ashton’s personal home. I am highlighting one of the dogs in foster care with Ashton, as I genuinely feel he accentuates the life-saving work she performs every day.

His name is Chewie and he is a handsome, active four-year-old yellow Labrador retriever. He arrived in Misfit Manor Dog Rescue’s care because his family moved overseas. Chewie has extraordinary special needs, which means he will be with the rescue for the foreseeable future.

Chewie lost his four feet to frostbite at just four weeks old, leaving only one single pad on each back foot. He mastered getting around by hopping like a rabbit and the rescue is now helping him with his mobility.

He was put on pain medication by Misfit Manor Dog Rescue’s veterinary clinic, which changed everything for him, as all four legs have large calluses. He goes for physiotherapy and weekly rehabilitation, which is helping him move more like a regular dog. The visits include hydrotherapy, teaching him how to use all four legs in natural motion.

A custom-made cart with two wheels is in the process of being made for him. He will have to get comfortable moving in a forward motion with the cart, instead of hopping. The last step will involve prosthetics designed specifically for his needs, but that is further down the road.

Ashton said Chewie absolutely loves going for car rides, is extremely social with other dogs and loves nothing more than to play with toys and please people. I believe Chewie has found the right person to look after all of his needs and to prepare him for his forever family.

I am confident there are many rescue dogs in Nova Scotia whose lives have been saved because of Ashton. I hope Ashton continues to perform her extraordinary rescue work.

Please be kind to animals.

Tracy Jessiman is a pet portrait artist who lives in Halifax with her husband and their three pets. She is a volunteer with Animal Rescue Coalitions of Nova Scotia. She has been rescuing animals most of her life, but more intimately, animals rescued her.

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