From Trauma to Triumph: Poppy’s Story Continues To Inspire Us All
Janet Buntain’s life changed the day she rescued Poppy, a dog found chained to a stump in a drug bust in rural Kentucky. Including Poppy, 20 dogs were discovered and rescued from a terrible situation.
“I don’t really know what happened to a lot of those dogs. Unfortunately, a lot of them probably didn’t have a happy ending. But when Poppy was taken to the county shelter, he just had this great personality despite what he had been through and so the shelter really did their best.”
Fortunately, Poppy was one of the lucky ones, and he landed in the care of PBSF Dog Rescue in Louisville, Kentucky. Janet’s friend and former roommate, Sarah, founded the rescue, and Poppy was taken in as a long-term foster where he underwent surgery.
“He had an eye removed. He couldn’t see out of it,” Janet says. “It was really painful. He had abscesses in his mouth. He was full of worms and all those things. So while he got healthy and just rested, he stayed with that foster and then eventually made his way to Louisville.”
That’s when Janet took him in.
“He came to our house and we both just fell in love with him,” she says. “He was such a sweetheart and he was very much attached to women in particular. If you were one of his people, he just absolutely loved you and was very attached.”
Poppy loved to snuggle, was eager to please, and always charmed everybody he met.
Janet says it was exciting to see Poppy come out of his shell. He became very trusting, despite everything he had been through, and he loved to be around his family. He and Ginger, Janet’s older dog, got along great from the beginning, and they became the best of friends.
Both Janet and her roommate Sarah had experience fostering dogs in the past, and knew how to help dogs that had experienced trauma.
“There are extra precautions to take, like giving them a lot of time to decompress, being aware that they might be a little nervous around other dogs or people they don’t know, and giving them the time and the space to get comfortable,” Janet says.
Poppy quickly became a beloved member of the family, and for that time Janet could not imagine life without him.
When Janet moved to Old Louisville, she and Poppy would go on walks through the town.
“We took so many walks through that neighborhood. I miss still being able to go on walks with him,” she says. “I had a spot on the couch. It was my spot and he was always right next to me, kind of draped over my lap. I remember having this moment where I was watching the snow come down outside through my window. Ginger was kind of laying in her bed by the window and then Poppy was on my lap. Just sitting there, drinking my coffee and thinking, ‘this is a really great moment.’ He was so snuggly.”
Janet is still heartbroken since Poppy passed away. She misses him and wishes he were still here, but she is grateful for the time they had together and for the joy he brought into her life. Janet is also a strong advocate for rescuing dogs instead of buying them from breeders. She knows that there are so many dogs out there that need homes. Through Poppy’s Instagram page and in person, she encourages people to adopt if they are able to do so. Janet is also an advocate for pit bulls.
“I still communicate a lot with people who have adopted pit bulls and love their pit bulls and feel like they are kind of given this bad persona that they don’t deserve, this bad rap that they don’t deserve,” Janet says.
About a year after Poppy passed away, one of the dog’s Instagram followers reached out to Janet and said she wanted to do something in his memory, and fostered a dog herself.
Since then, others have reached out to share how Poppy’s story has inspired them.
“That’s just been a really lovely thing to see,” Janet says. “Despite his struggles, he was a very loving dog. It’s just nice to share his story. People have told me, ‘I really needed to see this today. I’ve never seen your account before but I came across it and I just kind of needed that inspiration.’ I think that he is still very inspiring to a lot of people even now.”
In the end, Poppy’s life was one of love and happiness. He overcame the trauma of his past and learned how to play, how to trust, and how to love. Janet will always cherish the memories she has of him and the love they shared. Poppy’s legacy lives on, and he will always be remembered as a sweet and gentle soul who touched the lives of everyone he met
Learn more about Poppy on his Instagram page and in the video below.