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Surprise Squad donates $3,000 to Mesa woman’s dog rescue

Surprise Squad is sponsored by Valley Toyota Dealers.
"We can save at least 30 [dogs] with this," said Debbie, the founder of Follow Your Heart...
"We can save at least 30 [dogs] with this," said Debbie, the founder of Follow Your Heart Animal Rescue in Mesa.(Arizona's Family)
Updated: Jun. 24, 2021 at 9:05 AM MST
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MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Debbie runs the Follow Your Heart Animal Rescue in Mesa. Its mission is to save unwanted dogs abandoned in the Valley.

To accomplish this, it relies on hundreds of foster homes in Arizona to take care of the dogs until a forever home can be found. Jennifer is one of those foster parents who was so impressed by what Debbie does, she reached out to the Surprise Squad and told the team all about Follow Your Heart.

Debbie was quite surprised when 3TV’s Tess Rafols and the Surprise Squad walked into her shop. “Why are you shaking?” Rafols asked.

“Because I’m just very surprised.”

“What does this rescue mean to you?” Rafols wanted to know.

“I just knew there’s such a big problem in Arizona. My mom died and my dos really did save me. And I wanted to save some dogs back. We probably have a couple of hundred dogs in rescue right now and probably close to over 300 participating fosters.”

“That’s amazing number because all you ever hear is a shortage,” Rafols said.

“A lot of people turn them loose on the street, they turn them loose in the desert. They hand them off to people that maybe shouldn’t have them. I can tell you that almost every dog we’ve taken in, even severe medical, has made it to the other side. And gotten into a really good home even when we felt like they wouldn’t survive.”

“So you put in some of your own money into the rescue?” Rafols asked.

“Oh yeah,” Debbie said with a laugh. “Thank God my dad left some. Yes, I do. But you know what? If I can’t put money into what I believe in then nobody else should. We have so many wonderful people that will help me. And even if it’s only $5, you know $5 buys a Parvo vaccine for dying puppies. If they had the vaccine they wouldn’t be in the situation that they’re in. So even $5 makes a difference. My dad gave a lot of money and my mom would have given everything she had too. And I think they’d be proud of me.”

Rafols handed Debbie an envelope. “On behalf of your Valley Toyota Dealers and Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad, we are thankful that Jennifer let us know about you and we wanted to help out and give you this to help Follow Your Heart as you continue to save more pups.”

“Thank you,” Debbie smiled as she opened the envelope. She took out a certificate that said the Surprise Squad was donating $3,000 to the nonprofit.

“Will that be able to help?” Rafols asked.

Debbie began to get emotional. “You have no idea. You know if you really look at this, this is the equivalent, I kid you not, of saving at least 30 dogs. We can save at least 30 with this. Thank you. I’m sorry I’m crying but I’m just so happy. That’s so sweet.”