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Saving Clayton will help save others

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IN JANUARY, a sporting-dog rescue group asked Lori-Lynn Clayton, of San Angelo, Texas, to look at a dog in her local shelter thought to be an English springer spaniel, or Brittany. He was a springer, emaciated and near death.

She struggled to get him released, battling shelter workers and then veterinarians who said it would be better to euthanize him. She got on the phone to Beth Maryan, the north Texas representative for English Springer Rescue America, who agreed to help, and arranged a flight for him with Pilots N Paws volunteer Tyler Chapman to Carrollton, Texas, where he could get the specialized veterinary care he needed. Kim Mrozek stepped up to foster the dog, soon named “Clayton,” once he was well enough to leave the hospital.

No one can quite pinpoint why, but people who saw the dog’s picture fell in love with him. As specialists fought to reverse the effects of starvation and dehydration and figure out why his body wasn’t absorbing nutrients, people across the country and around the world followed his progress on ESRA’s website and then on Facebook, where Mrozek set up a dedicated page for him called, simply, Clayton.

Within 18 hours, the Clayton group had 600 members and eventually rose to 1,759. They called themselves the Clayton Nation. The social-media exposure ensured that Clayton’s extensive veterinary bills – $23,000 for three weeks in intensive care – were covered, and then some. Mrozek estimates that people donated about $50,000. “It seemed like every time I would post about him, people would go to his ESRA site and start donating money,” she says. “There were people sending $500 at a time. He had more donations than any special-needs dog ever.”

Not every pet can be a Clayton, but Christie Keith, social-media manager for the Shelter Pet Project, the Ad Council’s public-service campaign promoting pet adoption, says social media is an incredibly powerful tool that has revolutionized the pet adoption landscape.

“It enables individuals who don’t even work or volunteer for shelters or rescue groups to help spread the stories and photos of pets who need homes or are looking for other kinds of help,” she says. “They can do this literally with the click of a mouse or a click on their mobile device, and there is no barrier to them being able to get a pet in front of people who aren’t connected to the rescue or shelter world: their friends, their family, their college roommate.”

Although his life hung in the balance for two weeks and he needed a feeding tube for two months, Clayton’s story has a happy ending. Tony and Mary Davies, of Durand, Ill., adopted him after following his story from the beginning. They drove to Texas in May to pick him up, and on the way back made stops so that other Clayton supporters could meet the springer celebrity. He made a smooth transition to life on their 20-acre farm.

“It is a glorious sight to see this dog who was knocking on death’s door finally get to live the life he deserves,” Mary Davies says.

When he’s not playing with the Davies’ other dogs or digging holes, though, Clayton keeps busy with important work. He makes appearances at ESRA functions to raise money for other special-needs springers.

“He is giving back, and we are grateful for everyone who has helped him,” Davies said.

Pet Connection is produced by a team of pet-care experts headed by “The Dr. Oz Show” veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker and award-winning journalist Kim Campbell Thornton. They are affiliated with Vetstreet.com and are the authors of many best-selling pet-care books.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/20140713_Saving_Clayton_will_help_save_others.html#uwrlRpZ3zCsstW49.99


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6 thoughts on “Saving Clayton will help save others”

  1. ellie anschuetz says:

    I first connected with Clayton’s plight in January when he was first pulled from the shelter by Lori Lynn Clayton. With the wonderful group from Pilots and Paws she was able to arrange for them to transport him to Dallas. Without them poor Clayton would have never gotten the care that he needed. After that Kim Mzorek and family created a website for him that became Clayton Nation, which has grown so large we were able to pay for Clayton’s care and many others. These pilots are dedicated and caring and have helped so many who would have, otherwise, suffered without the proper care. I thank you all so much.

  2. Kim Mrozek says:

    I was Clayton’s foster mom. Thank you so much Kim Thornton for the beautiful article about Clayton. He is a miracle boy and his journey has raised awareness for the need for foster homes, volunteering our time and donating funds to help Springer’s and other dogs in need. I personally received so much more in return from helping a beautiful dog with the most gentle soul. I gained over 1,700+ friends and now we will all continue to help other Springer’s in need in his name. I hope more people will join the group “Clayton” on Facebook to continue Clayton’s journey and help other dogs in need. Thank you ESRA and Beth Maryan for taking the chance to save Clayton!

  3. Linda Prouty says:

    Thank you, Pilots N Paws for all of the great work you do and especially for your help with Clayton. Your generosity saves lives !!

  4. Anita Greenbaum says:

    I heard about Clayton before he was pulled from the shelter. I was able to follow his story when he went to live with Kim and her family. The group that has formed because of this has been helpful to so many more dogs and many people have become involved in rescue. This group will continue to support one another and many more dogs will benefit. Thank you ESRA, Pilots and Paws.

  5. Sheri Leider,LCSW says:

    Aside from this unbelievably true story of the plight of this sweet Springer Clayton who won our hearts who was saved from death’s door and months later is now a happy,healthy example of what can happen when loving strangers can come together for a common cause with their hearts, prayers and wallets; but not only that, Clayton’s plight, which brought together all these people from all over the world to form Clayton’s Nation(myself included as an ESRA member for many years and owner of several Springers), this has also helped people who felt despondent in their own lives having nothing to do with dogs and lifted their spirits and brought them out of their own depression.I am a psychotherapist by profession and have shared this story with several of my patients and because of this , they have reached out to others on the internet for support for whatever they have been personally going through. So you see, this has become much bigger than “just a dog who was sick”

  6. Kim Matthews says:

    I’ve worked in rescue for over 40 years and spent the majority of my time the last five years volunteering with ESRA. I’ve had a lot of dogs pass through my hands and my heart but only a select few have captured the heart and soul of a group of people like Clayton. The Clayton Nation has shown the rest of the world that true compassion is not gone from our lives. It has demonstrated once again that a group of people working together can accomplish great things. It has truly been a team effort and we are forever thankful for Pilots and Paws for helping our Clayton get his second chance.

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