by Bonnie Glassco | photo by H.N. James
TYPICALLY, THE PURPOSE OF RESCUING DOGS IS TO SAVE THE LIFE OF THE DOG. SOMETIMES DURING THE PROCESS, HUMANS ARE SAVED.
Justin Way is one of those human lives and his five-year-old pit-bull Reese is his savior.
Before we can meet Reese, we must get to know the man behind the four-legged legend. Justin resides in Murfreesboro with his partner Bruce Powers. They bought a home with a yard last July just for their dogs, which includes pets and fosters; however, Justin has come a long way on his journey into dog rescue.
Justin, a former alcoholic with five years of sobriety, had multiple DUI’s and legal issues stemming from his addiction. Justin needed responsibility to help him stay focused. A friend that worked at a veterinarian’s office suggested Justin adopt a dog to help give him purpose. By adopting, Justin knew he would have a living creature that was dependent on him. After some thought, he brought Reese into his life and she changed his life for the better.
Once Reese was in his life, Justin decided that he wanted to help dogs in a larger capacity and hoped that other people could experience positive change like he did. Justin started volunteering at an animal shelter where he helped socialize the dogs by walking them and spending time with them. He also volunteered his time at a pit bull rescue in Tampa.
Justin and Bruce moved to Tennessee a few years ago to their home with the yard perfect for pups to run in and they decided to add to the family. Justin wanted to adopt another dog using a local rescue and he found Operation Education (OpEd) Animal Rescue. OpEd had recently saved a mother and her newborn litter from euthanasia. From this rescue, Justin and Bruce chose Stevie, a female pit mix, who is now a year old. Justin then started volunteering with OpEd. He plays a very active role in all aspects of OpEd Animal Rescue by helping with day to day operations, coordinating events, and assisting in adoptions.
Justin and Bruce also fostered a dog for the rescue. Daffodil was found during the winter in Christiana, TN and was underweight with some medical issues. Justin explained that they use a boarding house when the dog first comes into OpEd Animal Rescue. Once the dog is cleared, they go to a foster home. Justin and Bruce welcomed Daffodil into their home and family where she stayed until she was successfully adopted. Justin expressed the greatest part of the foster experience was finding the best family for her.
Justin’s life was forever changed the moment he rescued Reese. She gave him a reason to get out of bed every day, a purpose, and turned his life around. Justin may have rescued Reese but Reese saved Justin.