Saving Norma & Norbert

Before and After of Norma and Norbert

An eventful outreach trip

On a frigid winter day, GEARS outreach volunteer, Courtney, heard a faint cry. She discovered a puppy buried underneath the straw in a doghouse, stiff as a board and unresponsive. Fearing the worst, she quickly wrapped his frozen little body up in her jacket.

GEARS volunteers rushed the lifeless pup, Norbert, and his tiny and frail sister, Norma, to the vet. GEARS’ partner vet placed Norma and Norbert on heating pads. After a few overnight stays, the puppies started to move around. They were doing well enough to go to their first GEARS foster home!

The puppies still had a long road to recovery. Their back legs had minimal function. They required aggressive treatment for their skin condition and internal parasites. Tiny Norma still weighed only five pounds at three months old!


After a challenging six months, Norbert and Norma found their forever families. Despite being near death when found by GEARS volunteers, Norbert was now thriving. He was even learning new tricks. Norma still had a few challenges to work on, struggling with anxiety and reactivity. Luckily for her, her furever family was right in front of her the whole time. Her GEARS foster family couldn’t bear to let her go. They continue to make small victories in her training progress. Norma loves to run and play in the snow with her family and is often found guarding her dad while he sleeps. She is a happy girl with a tail that rarely stops, who is fiercely loyal, full of love, and always wants to be close.

Your support matters

Norbert and Norma’s veterinary care cost a total of $3720. Thanks to GEARS donors and supporters, puppies like Norma and Norbert get a second chance at life. Join us in our efforts by donating $5, $20, $50, $100, or whatever feels right. You’ll build a future filled with hope for animals in need by supporting:

  • Emergency veterinary care 
  • Outreach community support, including spay and neuter clinics 
  • Vaccinations and veterinary care for our foster animals, and more

This December, anyone who signs up to be a monthly donor will receive a thank you card from one of our foster animals.

Sign up today!

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About the authors

This blog is written and maintained by GEARS volunteers! We are a mix of animal behaviour enthusiasts, storytellers, adoptive parents, and just plain animal lovers.

Do you have a great GEARS “Happily Ever After” story to share? Are you an expert on dog/cat training methods? We’d love to have you guest post! Send an email to [email protected]

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