For Hillary Barrows, her two dogs are her family. But the 57-year-old teacher found herself in a tough situation last summer when circumstances threatened to force them apart.
Hillary realized she could no longer afford to stay in her apartment in France and needed to move. She packed up her two rescue dogs, Robbie and Cleo, and set out looking for work teaching English, in Denmark.
But work did not materialize, so she headed back home to the United Kingdom. During her journey, she took refuge at Salvation Army shelters but was forced to leave her two dogs in the car.
Things did not get better when she returned home.
After several months of living out of her car with her dogs, she was offered emergency housing, but only if she gave up Robbie and Cleo. She refused. Her dogs were the only ones keeping her from giving up completely.
Robbie is an 8-year-old Egyptian Pharaoh hound and Cleo is a 5-year-old Labrador. Both were rescued in Spain.
Winter came and she and her dogs were practically freezing in her old car. She was skipping meals so she could afford to give Cleo and Robbie food and relying on the kindness of a few compassionate people. But the days dragged on with little change and little relief.
It was only after she agreed to share her story with a local newspaper to reveal the terrible position she was in – give up her dogs for shelter – that things began to get better.
During their trials and tribulations, Hillary spoke of the humiliation and embarrassment she felt during the trying times. She spoke to SWNS.com about her ordeal in the video below.
When an animal rescue shelter heard her story, they stepped forward to help and funded a bungalow where she and her dogs could live until she gets back on her feet. She also set up a fundraising page online and people from all over the world have generously donated funds.
Hillary is calling the days that followed an “amazing weekend of miracles”!
“It’s as if I’ve woken up one morning and been given a hundred million pounds. That’s the feeling,” she told Kent Online about the support she’s been receiving. “It’s not the monetary value it’s that sensation that your life changes in an instant.”
She says she is overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and kindness she is receiving. For now, she is simply enjoying the feeling of sleeping in a bed with a roof over her head.
The video below was filmed just after she received the bungalow and outpouring of support.
Hillary does not plan to rest until she has a home once again for her and her two dogs.
“I promised to love and protect my babies until the day they pass on,” she wrote on her fundraising page. “They need me and I need them.”
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