News 12 First at Five / Thursday, March 7, 2013
AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW) -- If you spend any time at all in Teresa Cox's home, you'd better like dogs ... because you're gonna be surrounded by them.
"Always," Cox said. "As long as I remember, there was pets in the home."
One of the dogs in her home is Ava, who was found locked in a garage after her owner died.
Cox remembers the day she met her.
"She tried to chew her way out of the garage, so she had ground her teeth down to the gums," Cox said.
The first few days she wouldn't even come out of her kennel.
Cox spends her time and money taking in dogs like Ava -- getting them well, restoring their trust and finding them a family.
She can't stand the sight of a dog in a cage.
"I like them in the home with the family," Cox said. "I don't like kennels and crates. I mean, they're fine for their purpose, but not for a dog to live in."
Most days, you'll find Cox online looking for loving homes for pets that find their way to shelters. A lot the faces on her Facebook page are furry, and each of them has a story to tell.
"Every morning I wake up and say, 'What will my heart see today and can I handle it?'"
And this Time To Care Winner is in no hurry. In fact, she's pretty picky about the people she matches with her pets.
"You turn down a lot of people. I had a foster dog here that I turned down about six people who came and met her, but they weren't the right home for her, " Cox said.
In the end, she says it's always the dog's decision.
"The family that adopted her, when the man walked through the door, she jumped up on his chest. And she had been with me three months and had never jumped on anybody. Not even me."
But for Cox, even the happy endings mean she'll be losing a friend.
"You get very attached to 'em. That's not heartbreaking. In a sense, your heart hurts, but for the right reason."
And that big heart is a big reason why Cox is our Time to Care Award winner for March.
She is always looking to match up pets with families and likes reunite pets and their families by posting pictures on her Facebook page.
She says if you're just not sure if you really want to be a pet owner but you'd like to find out, consider becoming a foster family for one of the local shelters.
Special thanks to our Time To Care partners for making the award possible: Academy Sports and Outdoors, the Ashley Furniture Home Store and Subway.
It's easy to nominate someone for our Time To Care award. Click here for more information.