For a pup named Li’l Sebastian, his presence in Lacie Davis’ life has been anything but little. Lacie, who works at the ASPCA as Manager, Animal Rescue Technician, National Field Response, first met Li’l Sebastian when the ASPCA helped rescue him from a Lake Butler, Florida, property.
Rescued From Alleged Cruelty
Sebastian, a small, terrier mix, was one of 75 animals found on a Florida property when the ASPCA assisted local authorities in investigating suspected neglect in September 2019.
We discovered the animals living in substandard conditions—many housed outside in overcrowded spaces—and exhibiting signs of neglect, with some living in unsanitary kennels and suffering from various medical issues.
Sebastian was one of those animals who desperately needed medical attention—he had an injured jaw due to a severe tooth infection.
We transported the animals to a safe, temporary shelter and set to work providing the care they needed. Sebastian’s bottom jaw was so badly infected it needed to be removed along with his teeth.
A Safe, Temporary Home
Lacie first met the animals shortly after they were removed from the property and transported to our temporary shelter to receive daily care including: medical check-ins, behavioral support, nourishing food, clean kennels, playtime outside and more.
Li’l Sebastian receiving medical attention in our care.
“I would make a point to walk the shelter and put eyes on every animal, several times a day,” explains Lacie.
She noticed Li’l Sebastian was quiet and slept a lot, “He would curl up in a makeshift little bed with his lamb stuffed-animal.”
Before his rescue, Li’l Sebastian likely competed for space, food and a place to rest his head, so it seems that now Li’l Sebastian could finally get a good night’s rest and find comfort in a safe place.
“After several days of me checking on him, he eventually would crawl over to me and roll over on his back,” says Lacie. “The day he let me pick him up is the day I decided he was coming home with me.”
Although Lacie knew she wanted to adopt Li’l Sebastian, these animals would spend more time in our care before legal ownership was determined by the court.
Lacie, a Florida native, spent 3 weeks caring for the animals at our temporary shelter. “All of the dogs and cats, including Li’l Sebastian, made amazing progress at the shelter. Even though many suffered from medical issues, somehow they knew that they were safe,” Lacie says.
With their emotional and physical wounds beginning to heal, the dogs and cats loved seeing our team every day, some even climbing into outstretched arms when taken out of their kennels for playtime.
Many, like Li’l Sebastian, felt most at ease being petted or receiving a belly rub—truly just wanting to be loved. Little did they know that a lifetime of the unconditional love they craved was right around the corner.
Time to Go Home
In mid-January, the Union County Sheriff’s Office and local prosecutors announced 29 counts of animal cruelty to the owners of the animals.
Along with medical treatment and daily care of the animals, the ASPCA also assisted with evidence collection and forensic exams.
Once ownership was transferred to the ASPCA, we placed the animals in loving homes through our incredible network of response partners who were eager to help.
Lacie was even more eager to finally bring Li’l Sebastian home, “As soon as I got the call that he was ready, I hopped in the car and drove three hours to get him. I didn’t want to go one more night without him being in our home.”
Not So Li’l
Lacie is happy to report that life with Li’l Sebastian is as sweet as he is.
“He has such a personality. He does a little dance and barks at feeding time. He has a great time exploring the yard. His favorite thing to do is snuggle up in a big bed or hang out in my lap. He deserves the best life and we are giving it to him.”
Another one of Li’l Sebastian’s favorite things—hanging out with his 60-lb. big sister, Willa, who has warmed up to the idea of having a seven-lb. little brother.
Willa and Li’l Sebastian.
For Lacie, Li’l Sebastian is so much more than a new member of the family.
“He is a love and a reminder that no matter how bad it is right now, things will get better,” says Lacie. “If he can live his best life without a jaw, then I have no business complaining about the little things!”
During these tumultuous times, our pets serve an even larger purpose in our lives. They often take on many roles—our confidantes, our best friends, our shoulders-to-lean-on, and our sources of laughter.
Li’l Sebastian and Lacie.
Lacie adds, “Shelter animals are special and change your life. They teach us about resilience and unconditional love. They are not broken. They want to share your life and your home and deserve to know love and safety.”
Behind every animal rescued and every happy ending at the ASPCA is a generous friend like you. Please help us find loving homes for animals—and make more second chances possible—with your special gift today.
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