The Lonely Grave of Flossy Ferguson

July 01, 2015  •  Leave a Comment
This TATTOOS & RESCUES story definitely has a few unexpected twists and turns, even one that I didn't expect.  I recently became friends with a lady who volunteers with Stray Rescue of St. Louis, her name is Nikole Ventimiglia.  She had heard of the TATTOOS & RESCUES project from a mutual friend and reached out to me in early 2015.  We exchanged emails over the next few weeks and she told me about her rescue pit bull named Iris, how much of a sweetheart she is, and she was interested in being in a photo shoot with her rescue mommy.  St.  Louis is a bit of a drive from Nashville but Nikole was planning to be here in the late Spring or early Summer so we decided to carve out some time when she would be here for this special photo shoot and story we now call THE LONELY GRAVE OF FLOSSY FERGUSON (Iris' Rescue Story).
Nikole & Iris at Harlinsdale Farm for their Tattoos & Rescues photo shootNikole & Irisat Harlinsdale Farm for their Tattoos & Rescues photo shoot
Iris is definitely a city girl so I thought it would be a fitting photo shoot for her to be in the wide open spaces at The Park at Harlinsdale Farm in Franklin, Tennessee.  Harlinsdale Farm is now a city park but used to be a working horse ranch.  There are plans to create an equine friendly park at Harlinsdale for horses to return and use the park facilities.  Plus the park is HUGE, a perfect place for a city girl to stretch her legs.  As you can see from the photos in the blog Iris' mom is a pinup model, and what a great day to be outside and photograph these two.
"In the Autumn 2013 my fiancee and I were in search of a pit bull puppy to adopt" says Nikole.  "I volunteer for Stray Rescue of St. Louis and the plan was to adopt from them.  They had so many puppies."  My fiancee Karolyn and I have supported efforts of Stray Rescue of St. Louis and they do the very best they can with the resources they have but there is always more help needed.  Stray Rescue has numerous programs that help people connect with their animals in hopes of finding forever homes.  Iris is just one of the dogs helped by Stray Rescue and their dedicated staff and volunteers.
Nikole & Iris at Harlinsdale Farm for their Tattoos & Rescues photo shootNikole & Irisat Harlinsdale Farm for their Tattoos & Rescues photo shoot
Randy Grim, founder of Stray Rescue of St. Louis, had this to say..."I am often asked how I started Stray Rescue of St. Louis. I ask myself that, too. I never devised a game plan or had a vision; I guess it was born out of necessity. I hated my job as a flight attendant. I figured there had to be more to life than saying, "chicken or beef."  Little did I know that this career move would one day evolve into two no-kill shelters with a legion of 200 volunteers, and have an impact on the stray dog crisis in America. I love the dogs I save. I feel their pain, so I keep up the act of "Dog Man" or, as a homeless man calls me, "Coyote Man," so those canines don't suffer and die. That's pretty much why I became the founder of Stray Rescue."
Nikole & Iris at Harlinsdale Farm for their Tattoos & Rescues photo shootNikole & Irisat Harlinsdale Farm for their Tattoos & Rescues photo shoot
Nikole and her fiancee started the adoption paperwork process when there were puppies in a litter but had to wait until they were old enough to be adopted.  "It was around Thanksgiving 2013 that my friend Scott called to tell us that a mutual friend had rescued an older pit bull puppy.  We decided to meet her and when we arrived we met a skinny pit bull puppy with a TON of energy.  She was so excited that she jumped on the couch next to us and pretty much won us over."
Nikole & Iris at Harlinsdale Farm for their Tattoos & Rescues photo shootNikole & Irisat Harlinsdale Farm for their Tattoos & Rescues photo shoot
During their initial meeting they learned something interesting about this skinny puppy, now named Iris, "she was dumped in a cemetery and the workers there were feeding and looking after her" says Nikole.  "No one knew how long she had been there but she was found curled up on the tombstone of a lady named Flossy Ferguson, to this day that's one of her nicknames.  I guess in some way we have to thank Flossy Ferguson for bringing us together as a family, maybe she was lonely at that moment and needed a friend.  Iris happened to be there."
Nikole & Iris at Harlinsdale Farm for their Tattoos & Rescues photo shootNikole & Irisat Harlinsdale Farm for their Tattoos & Rescues photo shoot
St. Louis, like any large city in the US, has bad areas and the cemetery is located north of the city.  Nikole says "that part of town is known for animal abuse and many dogs are rescued from this area quite often."  Iris' rescuers just wanted to get her out of there before the weather turned cold and get her out of harms way.  "When we brought Iris home she only weighed 30 pounds.  We immediately scheduled her for vet visit, shots and her spay.  It's no surprise she bounced back right away and eventually put on 20 additional pounds.  She is one happy & healthy girl" says Ventimiglia.
Nikole & Iris at Harlinsdale Farm for their Tattoos & Rescues photo shootNikole & Irisat Harlinsdale Farm for their Tattoos & Rescues photo shoot
I as well as my makeup and hair artist Kaylahn met Iris in early June for her photo shoot and she is a very happy dog and shows no signs of her past.  Her mom Nikole says "we may never know what happened or why she wound up at the cemetery but I am so glad she got out of that situation when she did.  There are so many stories of animals that come from that neighborhood and they are all heartbreaking."
Nikole & Iris at Harlinsdale Farm for their Tattoos & Rescues photo shootNikole & Irisat Harlinsdale Farm for their Tattoos & Rescues photo shoot
Thankfully Iris is one lucky girl.  She will never have to worry about being abandoned or homeless ever again.  She attends doggy daycare at The Watering Bowl in St. Louis once a week, plays Frisbee, takes daily walks with her family, sleeps in the bed with them and gets the best food and toys.  Most importantly though Iris is loved and her family cannot imagine life without her.  Now that's a rescue story!
If you are in the St. Louis area and would like more information about the awesome animals available at Stray Rescue of St. Louis visit their website today!
Thank you for taking time to read Iris' story and if you have any comments or if you know someone who shares a unique bond with their rescued animals please CONTACT US!

 


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