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Sarah Dugan is a foster who has been working with Brick City Rescue, Inc., 501 (c) (3) domestic animal rescue, FEIN # 82-2472466, located in Lincoln Park, New Jersey, for the past 6 weeks. She has been the sole foster for a brutally abused bait dog named Hope that turned up in Newark, New Jersey, terrified, shaking and covered in lacerations and blood. The video of Hope shaking and trembling in fear has caught a lot of social media attention and her story has quickly spread across North America like rapid fire. 

"I've watched her face her fears; the dark, the wind, being outside, the car etc. and slowly but surely she has overcome them! She has truly taught me the definition of strength and persistence. To be able to trust again after the trauma she has endured is remarkable and over the past six weeks I've been blessed with the opportunity to watch her continuously tackle new obstacles" says Hope's foster Mom, Sarah.

From the moment Hope stepped into Sarah's home, she has documented their entire journey together and all of their online followers have witnessed the phenomenal transformation on Instagram @hope_our_hero. Perhaps the most incredible thing that followers have witnessed is the bond that Sarah and Hope have created together. Fellow Animal Rescuer and Activist from Canada, Chala Speciale, describes their bond as "something she has never witnessed before between a human and an animal!" 

Sarah Dugan was originally signed through Brick City Rescue to provide foster care to Hope on February 27, 2018. However, once the two formed this unbreakable bond and Hope began slowly learning how to trust and open up to Sarah, she decided that she wanted to submit an adoption application to the rescue. In a statement to Brick City Rescue Sarah had mentioned that she does not feel she has the proper leadership skills required to properly train Hope but took it upon herself to prove to the rescue how much she loves this dog and wants to legally adopt her by inquiring into the services of Dog Behaviorist, Janice Wolfe who is known as New Jersey's Dog Whisperer. Janice agreed to help Sarah work with Hope and help her be the best leader for Hope and give her everything she needs as far as training goes. Janice had created a perfect plan for Hope's training program and had even personally reached out to Brick City Rescue herself. She has also generously offered her services for free and also offered if need be to bring Hope to either her New Jersey or Missouri farm to work with Hope until she is ready to be adopted. Janice has also agreed to adopt Hope personally or co-adopt her with Sarah to ensure Hope is given the proper training environment to maximize her growth. Janice goes on to say "I believe in speaking with Sarah and communicating with her extensively over the last couple of days, that she is the one who can bring this dog full circle".  The rescue has not responded to Janice's correspondence.

Despite these efforts, Brick City Rescue has decided to remove Hope from Sarah's care. Hope's online community of over 1200 followers are up in arms over the decision, heart broken, frantically trying to pull together to help Sarah fight for Hope. In Hope's last Instagram videos with her foster Mom you can see the two of them falling apart while spending their last night together. Through tears, you can hear Sarah sob the words "I'm so proud of you. You're so strong. You're my baby" while Hope consoles her. 

Hope's followers have been emailing, calling and messaging Brick City Rescue around the clock in an attempt to help them understand the bond that Hope and Sarah truly have. In a direct message to Brick City Rescue sent on April 17th, 2018 Chala Speciale tells them that they are making a mistake by solely focusing on Hope's behavioral training i.e. crate training, learning boundaries, being reactive to other dogs, etc. and not on the fact that Hope is finally starting to heal (physically and mentally) and acting like a dog for the first time in her life. "Removing her from the only human she has ever trusted and loved is not the smart move here. The moment Hope is separated from Sarah, they are going to see to a whole new array of issues surface that go way past just behavioral training, for example, emotional and psychological issues, depression, separation anxiety, etc. They aren't going about this the right way. They keep saying they have Hope's best interests in mind but I don't believe it."

Chala has a three-year-old rescue very similar to Hope in almost every way, she was abused and is terrified of males, leash reactive etc. "I could never imagine having her taken from me to go to behavioral training because she would break down mentally, she would deteriorate. The only way she could be trained would be in the environment where she feels safe and loved. A broken dog is like a broken person, no amount of training or therapy can just snap them out of their past. It is all about the love they are given and trust that is built every single day. Without that, you have nothing. A dog will shut down. I have seen it and experienced firsthand in rescue." 

On April 18th at approximately 3:00 p.m., Brick City Rescue picked up Hope from Sarah's home while she was at work. Sarah has cooperated with Brick City Rescue and given them access to her home to take Hope while she was at work. This entire experience has been extremely emotionally draining on both hope and Sarah.

Going forward, Sarah Dugan, Chala Speciale and hundreds of supporters and animal activists, are doing everything in their power to take Hope and Sarah's story to the masses. Followers and fans of Hope and Sarah want their questions answered by Brick City Rescue. They want to know why Hope was taken out of a perfectly loving environment. "We just want transparency, every post, every comment, every message about Hope is deleted and blocked by them. They are keeping stuff from us and we want to know what it is and why" says Chala.

While the rescue is deleting all of their comments and messages on Instagram, Hope's fans and followers are fighting on to reunite Hope with her Mom, the only person she has ever loved, Sarah. 

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