What Bunny Did for Love: A Rescued Dog Saves His Foster Owner's Life
"Please, Don't Say No!"
All day long, Will Sherman, 37, couldn't shake the odd sensation in his head. "It's like someone opened my skull and poured in a cupful of needles," he told a colleague at his job writing computer software for the state of Florida. When he checked in with his wife, Cindy, over the phone, he mentioned it casually. "Maybe it's stress," Will said.
He had good reason to be stressed -- the fragile bulldog he and Cindy had adopted just two weeks earlier had developed a bad cough. A friend of the Shermans had spotted the abandoned dog wandering alongside a rural highway near Tallahassee, where the Shermans lived. She picked up the stray but didn't have room for another in her own menagerie. She thought Will and Cindy, who have an animal-lover reputation almost as big as their vet bills, might, although they had no other dogs at the time.
"She knew we're suckers for hurt animals," says Will, who won't divulge the exact number of rescued critters they keep but hedges that it's somewhere in the teens. (Suffice it to say that he calls Cindy, 39, a stay-at-home mom although the pair have no children.) "It helps us sleep at night knowing we're doing all we can to help."
The bulldog that padded into their condo the next day -- newly treated for fleas but wasp-waisted and suffering from eye and ear infections -- certainly needed help. Will gave her a once-over and immediately locked in on the spirit flashing in her eyes. "She had the zest of a 7-year-old kid on the first day of vacation," he says. "I could see right away that she was the kindest, most crazily happy, appreciative animal I'd ever met."
Cindy says, "Will's eyes were begging me, 'Please, please don't say no!'"
It was an easy sell. "I'd seen Will get teary when he talked about his childhood dogs," Cindy says. Her husband, like the bulldog, had been bullied as a kid, she knew. Her fear that the cats and dog would fight quickly subsided; the new dog, who they named Bunny, seemed sensitive to cat etiquette.
At Bunny's first vet visit, far from being balky or difficult, she relished the attention. "No matter what they were doing to her, she'd just stick out her snaggly, underslung jaw and look at me with the most heartbreaking submission," says Will. "She was as sweet as could be, which was amazing, considering I was practically a stranger."