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 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.

This "before" photo of Apollo was taken ten days after he was brought into ESRA's care, nearly dying from starvation. His foster mom worked almost four hours shaving away his matted hair and soothing underlying urine burns. His handsome "after" photo is ESRA's reward for ensuring him a happy and well-fed future!

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 2016 can be found at sponsor/makeovers/donors_2016.html


Mary Dzubak In memory of Molly Marienau
Dake Filip In memory of all my Springers, past and present.
Jill Pratt In memory of Sophia
Stacey & Kenny Smith  
Bradley Wilkins In honor of Rich & Joanne, our Lab friends.
Nita Watkins  
Patricia Viveros  
Linell Mcgallian  
Rene Pizzo  
William Eardley In memory of Branldy & Suzi
Jan Gessert In honor of all ESRA volunteers.
Beth Fink  
Charlotte Kilpatrick In memory of Lucy and in honor of Pam.
Julie Seiter In memory of Charlie, Muppet & Sam.
Carolyn Baldwin In memory of Sadie.
Lynda Burns  
Barbara D'Anna In memory of Bella
Lisa Pongracic In memory of Tuco and Buddy, beloved Springers of Michael Hill
Steven Thede In honor of Winslow and Paddington Thede
Lisa Cooley In honor of Elcie, my rescue Springer.
Bakdrop Socks  
Suzanne Knight  
Sarah Fritz  
Kathryn Grossi In support of Ruca ESRA# 2016-318AZ, in memory of Rio.
Edward Noss  
Matt & Heather Hess  
Maureen Leonard & Pamela Horine In celebration of Baxter.
Sue & Bob Burke  
Mike & Marge Perkins  
Suzanne Hulsey  
Jane & Charles Hilliard In memory of Ally & Gracie.
Donald & Annette Doer In celebration of Lady Margaret.
Christoper & Maria Crawford  
Winifred M. Gordon Foundation  
Christopher Timmons  
Amrita & Ashish Vatsal In honor of Sabel
Allen Eastlund In memory of Cody and in honor of Danny, Bonnie, Olivia and Emmie.
George Boettcher, Jr In memory of Ripley (2003 - 2016)
Whitney Pierson  


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