Among more than a thousand dogs helped annually by ESRA, many come into our care from extreme circumstances and in poor condition — some are sick, malnourished, infected with parasites, filthy and matted, suffering from neglect and perhaps even abuse. ESRA's mission is to aid even the most down-trodden of these Springers, giving them the extra love and care they need to help them flourish with their foster families in hopes that they may find their Forever Homes one day soon.

Some of our saddest cases blossom like butterflies from cocoons, both physically and mentally, and leave ESRA's care to enjoy the lives they so deserve with the love of very special families. We present a few of these success stories here as ESRA's "extreme makeovers."

Sweet senior Manny arrived at a shelter in Minnesota in pretty poor condition. He was found as a stray, and sadly, no one came to claim him. ESRA came to his rescue and attended to his immediate needs. Most obvious were the tumors surrounding his eyes and eyelids — some were so large that it made it difficult for him to close his eyes. Manny has had these benign tumors removed in addition to a neuter and dental cleaning. He's feeling so much better now. May his Golden Years be the best ever!

Sweet Bradley was a stray who wandered onto someone's property in Arkansas. These kind folks took him to a shelter and offered to pay for his vetting, because they had imagined that he had lived a difficult life. Even though his history was a mystery to us all, his obvious condition was deplorable. He was heartworm positive, had Sarcoptic mange that left open bleeding sores and scabs all over his mostly hairless body and was plagued with intestinal parasites in addition to being grossly underweight. ESRA came to the rescue, and he was transported to Dallas, TX where he spent months in recovery. It is there that he blossomed into the handsome boy you see here today! His demeanor is as good as they come. Lucky Bradley, and lucky the adopter that has offered to share their heart and home with this precious soul.

Senior Springer Bonnie was dumped along a mountain pass in Montana. She was rescued by ESRA in horrific condition. Her coat was so long and badly matted that until she was bathed and groomed, one could not even determine her sex. She was malnourished, had terrible teeth (many which needed to be pulled), and had many fatty masses that needed removal as well. She was a diamond in the rough. Luckily for Bonnie, a very kind and caring family provided her with a loving home for the remainder of her life, which, sadly, was only about a year after her rescue. We are certain that it was one of the best years of her life.

Sometimes "before" and "after" photos just can't tell the story because what a dog has endured and has overcome can't be seen in a picture. You can certainly see that Hanna was much underweight in her "before" photo — she just barely weighed 20 pounds — but you wouldn't know that she also had mammary tumors, internal parasites, a "digestive disorder" to put it politely, and blood counts high where they should be low and low where they should be high. She was very close to death when she was first brought to ESRA. With extra special care and attention from her foster family, feeding her around the clock every hour just little bits at a time of home-cooked beef liver at the start, she gradually regained enough strength for the vet to tackle her other health issues, including spaying her. The perfect Forever Home would have to be one willing to provide a special dietary regimen as well as the love and affection she was starved for! The "after" photo proves that the perfect family was indeed found and Hannah now has a full and shiny Springer coat and today weighs almost 38 pounds — a definite happy ending for this beautiful little girl!

October 2015: Sadly, we report that Hanna has crossed the Rainbow Bridge but she did indeed find that perfect family who loved her and misses her a great deal. She was a sweet and very special girl.

Matted and filthy, Maxwell came into rescue after a year of neglect. First stop — the groomer's. After stripping down his coat, the groomer discovered his back legs, tail and rear had severe urine scald and the open wounds infested with maggots — one of the worst cases of neglect ESRA had ever seen. Nursed back to health in a loving ESRA foster home, Maxwell found his Forever Home very quickly.

Little Maddie came to ESRA with untreated allergies that left her entire body oozing with infection — her ears dripped like faucets. With services and medications donated by a professional groomer and vet, she was quickly set on the road to recovery. Today she is healthy, happy, very beautiful and extremely spoiled in her Forever Home.

Poor senior Benny was pulled from a shelter in Ohio. Blind, malnourished, and with mange, this little guy was suffering from the inside out. He was nurtured back to health by two ESRA foster families, and was later adopted by one of them.

The "before" and "after" photos of Gidget can't show the whole story of how the quality of her life has improved under the care of ESRA. What a good grooming session did for her is obvious. What you can't see is how much better she feels now that she has received treatment for her Lyme disease, daily medication for the severe arthritis in her hips, pain medication for her jaw—diagnosed as osteosarcoma—and vitamins for her failing eyesight. Because some of her medical conditions are insurmountable, total "success" is not our goal for Gidget but we promise she will live the rest of her sweet life as comfortable as possible through donations and care from ESRA supporters who love the "little dog with the big spirit."

Would you like to help ESRA create another “success story?”

The Springers pictured above are just a few of our “extreme makeover” success stories. It is the extra help from donors like you, earmarking your gifts for “any Springer in ESRA’s care” that has allowed these dogs to be transformed into the beautiful dogs that we know today. We thank you all for your generous support. With your help, we are changing the lives of dogs like these every single day.


Your donation is tax deductible. You can pay online by secure credit card transaction, or mail a check.



In return for your donation designated for “any Springer in ESRA’s care,” your gift will be acknowledged here as a supporter of those special dogs in ESRA’s care who need extra help to join the ranks of these “extreme makeover” success stories.

A list of contributors whose gifts supported “any Springer in ESRA’s care” in 2017 can be found at sponsor/makeovers/donors_2017.html


Patty Freeman In honor of the birthday of Monica K. Smith, an ESRA volunteer.
Marilyn Webb  
Maureen Leonard  
Liana Anheier In honor of Oreo, adopted 15 years ago from ESRA. Thanks for matching Oreo to us.
Laurie Ragozzino In memory of Sir Lancelot.
Edward Noss  
Jane Koehnke  
Victoria Nielsen In memory of my sweet Springer babies: Arco, Patrick and Jenny
Alan Arallo  
Anne Mele  
Beth Fink  
Brenda Vice  
Kolleen Wick  
Linda Wessell  
Lisa Shaw  
Michelle Kmiec  
Karen Foster  
Rene Pizzo  
Ad Ademy  
Richard Goodin  
Michael J. Murphy  
Pam Wagoner  
Cathy Honnold  
Lisa Kay Butts God Speed Madison, we thank you for the gift of Cooper.
Barbara Stauffer  
Molly Potter In honor of David and Susan Crouch in memory of their Springer Spaniel, Charlie, who passed away from cancer.
Andrew Knight
Rita Podolak
Kasia Johansen
Katherine Nee  
Leslie Neville  
Amanda Nalley  


A link to contributions made for “any Springer in ESRA’s care”
in prior years can be found here