Blog : A Case of Mistaken Identity: Victoria’s Journey

By Mary | Apr 9, 2014 | in

Mary Doane first encountered Victoria, a sweet, two year-old, black lab, through one of her South Carolina dog-rescue connections. Victoria was languishing in a southern kill-shelter. She'd tested positive for heart-worm and her future looked grim. Doane, founder of Mary's Dogs and Adoption in Deerfield, NH took action to save Victoria's life.

Doane immediately got to work and started campaigning to raise money for the lovable, puppy-eyed dog. Doane reached out to the community by starting a financial campaign on She posted Victoria’s photograph and basic information next to a caption reading: “We can save her! This should NOT be a death sentence! It's not going to be!” Online contributors helped raise over $800 to help save Victoria.

Sadly, because of Victoria’s heart worm diagnosis, she needed a foster home outside of New Hampshire where she could heal and recover. New Hampshire has strict laws prohibiting heart worm positive dogs from entering the state until cleared. This restriction is one of many that potential pet adopters might not know about.

Doane originally started her pet rescue operation after she realized that most families are undereducated on how to properly care for adopted dogs. It's for this reason Doane started her own dog adoption organization as a way to properly educate pet owners during difficult transition periods. Since February of 2011, Doane and her resuce team of eight others has worked closely with kill-shelters in North and South Carolina to help find homes for dogs in need of a loving family. Mary’s Dogs is an advocate for organic, all-natural dog foods and treatments. Mary’s Dogs is a member of the Green Alliance, a union of eco-friendly businesses on the Seacoast that educates consumers and businesses about sustainability. According to Doane, adopting a homeless dog is “an ultimate act of sustainability.” It sustains the life of the dog as well as the planet.

As Doane started to make an effort to rescue Victoria, she worried that Victoria wouldn't make it. She posted to the Mary’s Dogs Facebook page writing that Victoria’s rescue probably wouldn't be successful. However, everything changed overnight for Victoria. The instantaneous response on Facebook was incredible. Hundreds of animal lovers commented on Victoria's picture with hopeful pleas. Donations piled in from those who wanted to give Victoria a new home.

Soon after the original Facebook post, a potential foster family from Vermont contacted Doane. She arranged for Victoria to travel to her new home in The Green Mountain State. But Victoria's story takes a strange turn. After a few days, the new foster family came to the realization that Victoria was not the dog they thought she was. The Facebook photo and real-life rescue dog did not match up. Sure enough, the family was right. The mixup happened because the shelter had too many similar-looking black dogs. The shelter working with Doane only had access to one photo which could have also led to the confusion.

“It wasn’t the dog we were expecting, but we know that with so many black heart worm positive dogs on death row, hundreds dying every day, a mixup, mistaken identity, is just something that happens,” Doane said.

Victoria was taken to Dr. Fiona Reeve at Suncook Veterinary Clinic in Epsom, NH for heart worm testing. Sure enough, it was the wrong dog. More mishap with paperwork caused further identification problems. The real Victoria is mostly black with some pit-bull features mixed in.

A New Hampshire trainer fostered Victoria for a week during the transition process. Once Victoria was cleared for heart worm, a local New Hampshire family from Barrington noticed the up-to-date photographs posted by Doane and swooped in. Victoria was adopted right away.

Doane contacted the shelter and informed them of the mixup, but she was never informed whether or not the first dog from the picture was ever identified or rescued.

“My heart breaks for that hollow-eyed girl we all saw that night. I don't know what happened to her,” Doane said.

Victoria’s unique story represents the many challenges that surround dog rescues and adoptions. Although things didn't work out as planned, there was still a happy ending for Victoria.

“There’s got to be a reason why this dog made it to New Hampshire. She pushed through until the end,” Doane said. Although things didn’t work out as planned, a happy ending resulted.

Join the Green Alliance today and receive a FREE gift basket from Mary’s Dogs complete with informational books, organic shampoo, wipes, and other accessories when you adopt a dog through Mary's Dogs!