If you were forced to choose between your apartment or your dog, which would you pick?
For 21 year-old Kelsey Westbrook, the answer is clear. “An apartment, to me, is just a material thing,” she tells Paw Nation. “But you can’t get a dog’s life back.”
In July, the University of Louisville senior was serving tables at Joe’s Crab Shack overlooking the Ohio River when she heard a boom so loud she thought a piece of shrapnel had blown off the highway. “Somebody just threw a dog off the bridge,” a customer said, stunned.
“We looked down,” remembers Kelsey. “And sure enough, we saw her little head bobbing in and out of the water. You could tell she was confused. She was swimming in circles and had no idea where to go.” The dog, a pit bull, had just been hurled off the Clark Memorial Bridge and plunged 80 feet into the water below, reports the Courier-Journal.
Kelsey and others ran down to the river, where they tried to coax the frightened dog to shore. “When she heard my voice, she started swimming real hard towards us,” Kelsey tells Paw Nation. The Louisville Fire Department dive team was practicing nearby and rescued the dog.
Once on land, the reddish brown pit bull dog began jumping all over everybody. “She was licking me like crazy,” says Kelsey. “She was wagging her tail and so happy. You would never know what she had just went through.”
Miraculously, the dog appeared to be unhurt. Kelsey took the dog home that day, and later, to a veterinarian who estimated that the pit bull was less than a year old and had already had a litter of puppies. Kelsey planned to find the dog a good home, but changed her mind. “After a day, I thought, ‘Nope, she’s mine. I have to keep her,” says Kelsey.
Friends suggested she name the dog “Miracle” or “Lucky,” but Kelsey decided on a different name. “She’s so happy, like a ball of sunshine,” explains Kelsey. “So I named her Sunny.”
Unfortunately, the day after Sunny’s harrowing rescue, Kelsey’s landlords notified her she had two days to remove Sunny from the apartment. Kelsey balked at the idea, but AretÃ© Real Estate, the company that owns Kelsey’s apartment complex, insists pit bulls are a “vicious breed” and not allowed on the premises, reports the Courier-Journal.
“I’m really attached to her and I love her, and I’m not getting rid of her,” says Kelsey. “If that means me having to find a new place, then that’s what I have to do.” Efforts to reason with her landlords haven’t been fruitful. “I’ve called them upwards of fifteen times and left messages, but they won’t return my calls,” says Kelsey. “They’re not really working with me at all.”
Sunny, meanwhile, has gotten spayed and is doing wonderfully. She’s been shuttling back and forth between Kelsey’s boyfriend’s house and the apartment. “Sunny is such an amazing, resilient creature,” marvels Kelsey. She has become best friends with Kelsey’s two year-old German Shepherd named Nala, who is allowed to live at the apartment for an extra monthly fee.
So many good things have come from rescuing Sunny, says Kelsey. They are planning to hold a fundraiser at Joe’s Crab Shack on October 10 to raise awareness about animal cruelty. “A lot of people will come up to me at Joe’s and want to give me a hug and say, ‘Thanks, I love animals too,'” says Kelsey. “Every day you hear about really bad things going on in the news, I guess it’s kind of an uplifting story.”