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The reality of this busy city animal shelter is truly heartbreaking

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Every few months, Dog Tales Rescue co-founders Danielle and Rob head south to Miami. No, not for some R&R. They’re there to rescue dogs. As many as they possibly can.

Miami-Dade County’s Pet Adoption and Protection Center is the only open-admission shelter in the area, which means it’s required to accept any stray that comes through its doors; and it receives anywhere from 30 to 50 dogs a day. Humane euthanasia is a reality for a busy shelter like this one, and partnerships like the one it has with Dog Tales Rescue offer a much-needed lifeline for many of its animals.

Danielle and Rob look for dogs with a lower chance of adoption–older dogs, sick dogs, dogs who have been there for a while–whom they can bring back to their rescue. But the sad truth is they can’t save them all.

“There’s tons of dogs. A lot of old dogs, a lot of really, really scared dogs that you walk by and they’re shaking,” says Danielle. “We have no room in our shelter. If we had another building then I would’ve taken them.”

Rob and Danielle take every dog they can, more than they’d planned to–24, to be exact–but it’s bittersweet for Danielle, who can’t help but wish they could do more to help the animals here.

There’s one case in particular that’s weighing on her this time around, a bonded pair of senior father-son Cocker Spaniels, Sparky and Junior, whom she wants to see kept together. Unfortunately, it’s out of Danielle’s hands: The two are slated to be adopted by different families, which means they’ll be separated.

Junior’s adoption proceeds as planned, but when the family never shows up to pick up Sparky, Danielle refuses to let this dog be abandoned yet again and decides he, too, is coming home to Dog Tales Rescue with her and Rob.

“There’s not much I can do, but come and save dogs, you know? That’s all I can do,” she says. “I’m going to take him. I’m not going to leave him here.”

Get to know more of the dogs Rob and Danielle rescued in Miami on Dog Tales Rescue, Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. ET on Gusto.

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