Theresa Strader – A Hero Among Us

We are very proud to announce that Theresa Strader, the founder of National Mill Dog Rescue, was selected by People Magazine as a “Hero Among Us” in their November 19, 2012 issueThe following letter was written by Theresa.

Dear friends and supporters of National Mill Dog Rescue,

In light of my recently being selected as a People Magazine Hero, I thought I would share my thoughts on what heroes mean to me.

When I ponder the word hero, endless images come to mind; military heroes, police officers, firemen, surgeons, civil rights leaders, artists, the list goes on.  I cannot on any level, equate myself to the people that I have always looked up to as heroes. I am of course, grateful for the recognition and appreciation for the work I do which is so important to me. Never could I have imagined that so many people would feel just as passionate as I do about this work; so much so that they give their time, their money and their backs to help care for our dogs each day and educate everyone willing to listen. What an astounding and humbling experience it has been for me to plant the seed and watch the organization grow and thrive, saving almost 7,000 dogs in just five years.
Across our lives, we’ve all heard amazing stories of animal heroes too – war dogs, messenger birds, service animals, the list goes on. These stories are always so touching, knowing that animals do not possess the mighty human intellect, yet learning of their highly intelligent, selfless and courageous acts makes a person wonder who indeed the “higher” beings really are…
By definition: he·ro [heer-oh] a being admired for his unusual strength, courage or ability.  When I contemplate this definition, a whole new world of heroes unfolds before me. Not the mighty warriors, not the uniformed protectors, not the fit and sturdy beasts. Indeed, a far less likely hero.
This hero has received no training, no conditioning. On the contrary, this hero often comes in a small, frightened package. This hero is a puppy mill dog. The attributes of this little hero possess a whole different meaning of strength, courage and ability. The strength to overcome serious illnesses and injuries, the courage to trust the very hands that were at one time calloused or unkind, and the ability to enrich our lives beyond measure.  I feel so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to give these animals a voice.
I have said many times in the past, right behind the dogs we rescue, I am the most blessed one of all.  To our volunteers and supporters, you are the lifeblood of this organization. National Mill Dog Rescue would not exist without you, and thousands of dogs would continue to languish or be destroyed, never having the chance to enjoy life as a member of a loving family.
The journey that brings us to where we are today has been back breaking, emotionally draining and consuming of every spare second of our lives. I don’t know a single one of us who would trade the experience. For me, I can say that I have never reaped such deep, personal rewards and to all the people who have stepped forward to support our efforts in so many ways, my gratitude is truly immeasurable.
The lessons of forgiveness and resilience that these dogs have taught us will stay with each of us forever. The updates from our adopters are the highlight of many of our days and give us the strength and yearning to go back for more.  What an incredibly fulfilling and special experience it is to be on this journey with all of you.
My most sincere thanks, 
Theresa Strader 
Please share!

10 Responses to “Theresa Strader – A Hero Among Us”

  1. Anonymous

    You are a true Hero to me and one of God’s Angels!
    Just to see the transformation of an animal from cage to human arms is awesome! God Bless you Theresa! Darlene Mapes

  2. Anonymous

    You’re beautiful humility,as well as you’re sincerely thankful acknowledgements of the people that are with you is exactly what makes you a hero. Kimberly Aldridge

  3. Anonymous

    Theresa… I have been with you since you brought Lilly home. I have taken in puppy mill rescues for the last fifteen years! I have taken the ones the shelters deemed “not adoptable”. It has been a hard road for most of God’s creatures when they come to me. I have always done all I can for these special babies, but you have inspired me to do even more! I certainly believe you are doing the Lord’s work in taking care of the unfortunate little babies stuck in puppy mills! Prayers for your continued success and such high regard for you as a person! Your heart is as large as they come. Thank you so much for all the endless hours and sacrifices you make to make sure these wonderful animals are taken care of. God bless you Theresa. and all the awesome people you have on board with you. If I lived closer to you, I would be helping in any way I could!

  4. Torisaur

    Oh how beautiful! Thank you for all you do and congratulations on your much-deserved recognition in People mag. What a great platform to get the word out!

  5. Anonymous

    You are so special to so many of us – I’m in south Texas – sure do wish I were closer to help in any way I could. To see you put that little put in a position to be able to lay in a bed brings me to tears of joy.. And so many of the others you have given that “spark” back to. I watched your video today and used nearly a box of kleenex – it was hard to watch – but you lived it with Lily. You kept putting one foot in front of the other – you kept on…keeping on. When you weren’t sure of what you would find – you went anyway. When you find a loving home, you rejoice. Yes, I think hero fits your crown quite nicely indeed. Linda Keith

  6. Lori

    Beautifully said. You were able to take the feelings of most animal rescuers, and turn it into this eloquently written post. You truly are a hero, taking rescue to a new level and raising the bar. I love to see rescue efforts start off as small hopeful home-based independents, and turn into nationally known organizations that encourage others to take part, to be advocates; to fight for a change.

    I hope that those who think to themselves, “Oh, I couldn’t do that. It would be far too sad to witness” look at this amazing woman as an example, a hero, and an inspiration, and take the necessary steps and actions to get involved. Maybe you can’t emotionally tolerate being front and center in a raid, but you can spread awareness, get online and help to network for donations for their efforts, be a foster! In all types of rescue, when we hit a wall it’s typically due to two things; funding and fosters.

    Get involved!

    Theresa, thank you for being the warrior you are.

    With love and admiration,
    Lori Crosby & The Staff at The Animal Pad

  7. Anonymous

    Congratulations Theresa on the People Magazine article. I was so very touch by your story and would like to thank you for all you do for these little angels.I pray for end of all puppy mills.
    Cherry Hill N.J.

  8. Anonymous

    She is a great role model and i like read about her because i like to read a about people who do something worthwhile
    in society. There is a special place in heaven for
    people like her.

  9. kattrinka

    Theresa Strader unquestionably deserves this honor and I congratulate her on the righteous recognition. Her eloquence and humility is apparent in her post–her gratitude to the volunteers and supporters is always foremost. And above all, as she has said and embodied in word and deed without fail, “it’s about the dogs.” Thank you, Theresa Strader, for the very real change you bring about and for the inspiration and hope you represent to so many….and most of all, for the lives you give to the dogs NMDR saves! I will continue to support and follow NMDR’s activities, and perhaps one day (come retirement) I might be in Colorado volunteering myself! Obrigado!

  10. Vicki Brown

    Great Lady!??? Such a credit to the human
    species!!!?❤? Thank you for all you have done
    and all your are doing!???
    God Bless!✨


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