This past September we told you the story of Grace, a 2-year-old Cane Corso/Dane rescued by Friends of Dekalb Animals (FODA) in Atlanta, Georgia. Just a few weeks after our story published this gentle giant searching for a loving home found a home, but it just happens that Grace was destined for a different forever home, one with a Life with Dogs reader.
Grace was found in May 2013, underweight and hurt, and FODA nursed her back to health and waited for the perfect family to come along and take her home.
Four months after her rescue, Grace was adopted by a couple in Texas, but unfortunately this didn’t work out and Grace had to be pulled from the home. This is when our reader Diane Mibach, an engineer for CAL FIRE, residing in Marin, Calif., comes into play. Mibach was meant to be Grace’s forever mom.
“I’ve always wanted a Great Dane but I am a huge fan of mutts because I believe they get the strengths of all breeds involved,” said Mibach. “[Grace’s] story was amazing and there was something about the picture – the eyes, the pink cast, the ribs showing. She just touched me and I couldn’t close her page. I kept it open for a week before I sent an email asking about her. I just couldn’t stand not knowing whether or not she found a good home.”
On September 18, 2013, Mibach contacted Grace’s foster parent, Katharine Luongo with FODA, but by this time Grace was already going through the adoption process with the Texas’s couple. A few days later her adoption was finalized.
“I started the conversation with ‘I live in California so I don’t think this will ever work but her story captured me and I just want to hear that she is ok and finds a good home,'” recounts Mibach.
“I was bummed when she was first adopted but I felt that if we were meant to be it would happen and I was happy she found a home. I ended the conversation with, ‘If this is meant to be it will happen.'”
Mibach continued to search for a dog to adopt. She wanted to rescue an older dog, one that had been waiting for a home for a while. There were several other dogs Mibach was interested in, but life had it that those dogs were either not ready for adoption or adopted by someone else. In the end, destiny reunited Mibach with Grace because they were meant to be together.
“[By the end of September] I contacted [Katharine] asking for her address because I wanted to donate some pet carriers. She responded with the info and then added… ‘Grace’s home is not working out. We removed her to a temp foster home. She is nervous but ok. I was going to contact you today in case you wanted to drive to Texas,'” remembers Mibach.
It was just unbelievable that after so many weeks and after having her heart broken with Grace’s original adoption, this gentle giant Mibach had fallen in love with was once again available. What was even better was that Grace was 1,000 miles closer to Mibach’s home.
Immediately, Mibach submitted an adoption application and it was approved. Now the only thing to work out was Grace’s transport from Texas to California.
When Grace was pulled from her original adopter’s home, she moved temporarily with a pilot for Pilots N Paws. Flying her to California was a possibility, but due to weather delays and conflicting schedules, the only way for Mibach and Grace to come together was via road trip.
A volunteer agreed to drive Grace to New Mexico and Mibach took off on October 12, 2013, on and 18.5 hours, 1,170 miles long road trip (round trip was approximately 2,340 miles).
“Grace didn’t get [to Las Cruces, N.M.,] until midnight and she was sitting up in the back seat,” said Mibach. “I went out to greet her but [Grace] was scared and the car was her safe place. I grab the leftover steak from dinner to see if that would help. She loved the steak but still wouldn’t get out. So I got in the car and sat next to her. She gave me a kiss and a little wag of her tail.”
After some coaxing and plenty of love Grace came out of the car. For the first few hours she was still scared but in time she relaxed and gave Mibach lots of kisses and tail wags.
The way back home to California was more enjoyable. Mibach and Grace made stops along the way to visit friends and enjoy the scenery, and once they got home, Grace new she was home.
“Her whole demeanor changed. I think she knew she was home. She was genuinely happy. She really just settled right in,” said Mibach.
Even though it took a heart break, many weeks, and over 1,000 miles for a happy ending, in the end Mibach doesn’t regret waiting so long and going the extra miles to bring Grace home.
“I wouldn’t do anything different. It worked out like it was supposed to and I truly believe that!” said Mibach. “[Grace] is amazing and just keeps getting better everyday! I am so lucky to have found her and she was worth every mile!”