On a Thursday morning, March 2001, while driving into work on a desolate back road
where dogs and cats are dumped, as are other animals, and there is no hope for their
survival, I found three adult female German Shepherd Dogs that had been deserted
there. In reality, there is no hope for any animal dumped in this area; just a horrible
death of starvation, being hit by a car, or having an alligator get it as it seeks water
from the pits. It was evident that all three dogs had been used for "backyard" breeding
and were no longer needed. This could have been because each one was heartworm
positive - Heidi the least infected. All three were extremely thin, frightened, and
unsocialized. I stopped that night with food for them and I went down in a ditch to feed
them (some people told me I was crazy but I could feel there wasn't any danger from them). I feed them twice daily through the following Monday morning. That first night I sent out literally dozens of e-mails pleading for help to catch them because of the dangerous area they were in. The ONLY person that responded was Dennis McCullough from Hillsborough County Animal Services. He came out with others the following Monday and they were able to dart two of the girls, but missed one - which turned out to be Heidi. That evening, I went by that area and I was able to get her into my car and home. From that evening forward her name was Heidi and she was our girl. She was sensitive, gentle, and seemed to know and understand whatever we wanted. In July 2001 I underwent a second lung cancer surgery. Heidi was by my side 24-7 until my full recovery some five weeks later. She sensed what I needed and would get a member of the family to come to me if I needed something. It is hard to explain but it was like she could read my mind. The night of September 10, 2001, which was the evening before the horrible and ill-fated September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States, Heidi died suddenly of an aneurism. I truly believe and I have always felt, as does my family, that Heidi was an Angel sent to me when I needed her the most and once her "job" was done with me, she was needed to help lost souls cross over that next morning. I was graced with having her in my life for five and a half months. What an impression she made on me and now so many others. In her honor and memory, Heidi’s Legacy: Dog Rescue was started to save other wonderful companions.
Written by Lori Hoffman, Founder of Heidi's Legacy Dog Rescue
Lori, we love and miss you.
Fearless leader, tireless advocate for the animals, devoted wife, mother, director, caregiver to the weakest and most in need, re-habber of lives who had never known an ounce of love and compassion, steerer of the ship - the founder of Heidis Legacy Dog Rescue. Lori Hoffman. We all knew she did something really huge and took her direction knowing it was something very beautiful. But now that she has left this huge cavern and void, it’s the realization of just how big it all is and how she did it best. Because for Lori, this was not just about saving the lives of animals. When Heidi saved her life at a time she needed it most, it ran far deeper and came from the depth of her very soul. Some call it purpose, but it was far deeper than that. If you were blessed to experience it and go along for “the ride” of any of her rescue missions of the animals, you know exactly what we mean. There was almost a magic to it and without words needed, you just knew there was absolutely NO obstacle that could get in her way or stop her from making it happen. It seemed nearly effortless at times even in the most difficult of circumstances or distances, or the countless logistics of the right people in place, transportation, emergency medical care, decisions made for treatments....she guided it, made rapid fire decisions, and delegated when needed in respectful authority in the utmost of humbleness and gratefulness. It was almost as though you could not stop thinking about what a privilege it was to be experiencing it in wow fashion. The very thing that enabled her to never stop doing all that was necessary to spare these deserving lives was very contagious, and that purpose and passion that drove it, just seeped into your very soul too. There was such a goodness to it; an unseen light emulating from it that you could just feel it.
Grace. It was done with such grace and never for a moment, was it about her. She was completely selfless in both her efforts and direction of them. Her eyes were always to the animals and if you were graced to help in any way, you did the same. Ego had zero room anywhere in the countless acts of lifesaving efforts, because with her direction, it was nearly that of humble privilege to be serving the lives of the animals - not just doing for them as in acts of favor, but doing what was supposed to be done like enforcing the law of the goodness of the universe. When she overcame cancer with Heidi’s love helping to guide her there, Lori became one of the very best of those entrusted with the gift and keys to both doing, and in teaching others, what it truly meant to do good upon this earth.
There isn’t a doubt in any minds of those closest who have shared her life’s passion, as to what needs to be done. Because what she started isn’t just a rescue effort, it was and will always be so greater a purpose. It is about righting the wrongs, fixing the broken, respecting the living, breathing lives, relieving the suffering, stopping the deaths of the innocent, and most of all, to love. She never took her eyes off what needed to be done and those needs are always without end. We go forward with an even bigger purpose - to not only meet the needs of the countless animals who need us, but to do so in great honor of her and all that she started. Her light not extinguished; she lit it and spread and multiplied it into the souls of those she touched and taught. We know she will be guiding and directing us with the same spirit of love. It’s in our souls too. Now we have much beautiful work to do.
Long term volunteers and friends, Lenore Day, Kelly Van Nevel, Lori Scutti,
Vicki Parsons, &Tena Hillman
If you can’t adopt, foster.
If you can’t foster, sponsor.
If you can’t sponsor, donate.
If you can’t donate, educate.”