Blythewood woman’s passion is dog rescue

Nelly Nevils with a neglected German shepherd named Buddy that she rescued.

BLYTHEWOOD – If there’s a dog out wandering the community in need of help, best believe Nelly Nevils will find it.

“I really think they find me,” said Nevils, who has rescued countless animals over the years – not just dogs, but also other pets and assorted wildlife. “I’ll be driving to work or to the store or to whatever I’m doing; they always find me.”

Sometimes, she said, they’re hard to rescue. If they’re afraid of humans, it can take time to gain their trust. But she puts in the effort – and she’s always ready in case she sees an animal in need.

Unique to Nevil’s rescue operation is that she works on her own and foots the bills for her rescues, though she said she sometimes receives donations from friends.

Saving animals is her passion.

“I keep extra blankets and towels in my car for the rescues I find,” she says. “I especially try to help pit bulls because they are so misunderstood. People are afraid of them. But they’re sweet dogs.”

Once Nevils brings a rescued animal home, she quarantines it away from other pets and cares for it until she can bring it to a veterinarian. After the animal has been treated for any medical problems, vaccinated and returned to health, she then sets out to find it a forever home.

Nevils said she recognizes the risks involved, but, to her, it’s worth the risks to help an animal in need.

“A lot of people don’t realize how hard it is for animals out there that have no help,” Nevils said. “It’s in my heart. I can’t drive past and just ignore them – I can’t do it.”

For two pit bulls, Beau and Mia, that forever home is with her.

Nelly Nevils’ two pets, Beau (left) and Mia (right), both of which she rescued and then adopted as her own.

“[Mia] was abandoned right here in my community, and she was wandering the woods for a week or so until I was finally able to trap her. She was skin and bones, with many, many ticks and contracted Lyme disease. Now she’s a healthy couch potato,” Nevils said.

“And Beau, I rescued him from Chester County. He couldn’t walk very well – he had a bad leg, bad hip, skin problems and a lot of worms. Now he’s healthy. So that’s what I do,” she said with a laugh and shrug.

After more than a decade living in the same community, her neighbors know her. Any time they see an animal in need – whether it’s a stray dog making appearances in the area or a bird stuck in a gutter – they call.

And Nevils comes to help – no matter what kind of animal it is.

A pit bull named Lola was sick with worms but desperate to find her recently born puppies. Nevils walked with the mama dog for days as she searched – but never found them.

“I took her to the vet and brought her back to health. She stayed with me for a while until I found her a forever home. The couple who adopted her send me updates of her, and she looks healthy and happy,” Nevils said.

Hank

“I have many, many more stories in my heart of dogs I have rescued, especially pit bulls.”

If she’s not out rescuing animals, it’s likely because she’s at work. She used to run a pet-sitting business and now works as an animal care coordinator for a nonprofit that trains dogs to help people, such as veterans who suffer from PTSD and children with disabilities.

While Nevils takes on the responsibility of funding her animal rescue efforts, neighbors and members of the community often contribute donations to help pay expensive vet bills. The veterinarian she works with, Dr. Wendy Lilly-Bare at Pet Friends Veterinary Clinic, also helps out with the rescued animals’ needs, she says.

One of her recent rescues went to a couple in Fairfield County who own a 10-acre fenced property. The dog accompanies the couple on boating trips to Lake Wateree and the beach. Nevils has made many dogs’ dreams come true.

For Nevils, the calls she receives about animals in need, the network she’s built up over the years to get her rescues help and good homes – it’s all a natural outgrowth of what is, to her, a calling.

“I really think I was put here to help… the voiceless and the defenseless,” she said.

But the message she’d like the community to hear most as a result of her efforts: “When the opportunity presents itself, be kind to animals,” Nevils said.