What inspired you to get into animal rescue?
Starting animal rescue goes back several years before the creation of Tanner’s Endless Love. It actually started with some friends of mine who were doing transport for animals…that were in jeopardy of being euthanized…We would meet on weekends and would start [rescue transport in] North Carolina [or] South Carolina and every 45 minutes to an hour [we] would change off volunteer drivers until we got [the dogs] as far north as Connecticut or Maine to the rescues. So, that started me in the rescue world and it’s just morphed over the years…Tanner’s Endless Love [then] started [after] the loss of my special needs boy, Tanner. My husband helped me create the name Tanner’s Endless Love because… he was full of love. He just wanted to give love. And, that was our intent with the creation of Tanner’s. To continue to spread His love by helping other people with special needs animals, because we would not have been able to do what we did for him without the support of others. So, he was born with spina bifida. I had fostered his mother, so he and his litter of eight were born in my basement. Unfortunately, about four weeks old, we noticed that he had some medical issues… [H]e lived 14 months, but he made such an impact on everyone that met him that we felt the need to create Tanner’s and continue to help other animals and families in need.
“[Tanner] just wanted to give love. And…our intent with the creation of Tanner’s [is] to continue to spread His love by helping other people with special needs animals”
What is the most rewarding thing about what you do?
It’s hard to narrow it down to one thing, because when I look at the efforts that we do with feral cats and the ability to help the caretakers that feed them, provide TNR [Trap-Neuter-Return] to stop that overpopulation of animals. The thought that those mom cats are not continuously out there on their own, trying to fend for themselves, caring for kittens… it’s rewarding to know that we’re stopping that. It’s rewarding when we get a call from a family that would potentially have to put their animal down because they can’t afford the medical care and we’re able to help them. So there are so many different aspects of what we do. I don’t know if I can narrow it down to just one.
Have you also helped animals internationally?
Yes. I made a compassion trip to India in 2019, and … it still gets to me to this day how… animals are not valued as pets there as much… [T]here are street dogs, and they’re just scrounging for food, hundreds of them, everywhere. So it was a real eye-opener, and I think that changed my perspective. We went there, we helped humans, we helped animals, we brought animals back to rescue here in the US. So we continue… [A] rescuer in India…reached out to me… She had a street dog that was adopted out, is in a loving home, met an unfortunate accident— it has a broken leg. Now that surgery here in the US would cost probably three to $4,000. For 300 US dollars, I can get that dog the surgery and ensure that it stays in a loving home. And that’s more than twice his owner makes in a month. So…we raise money every holiday for new beds. They are street dogs, and they kind of live in colonies used to their feeders. So, she has beds made for them that will withstand the winters in India, so we send those over. Right now we’re working on a very fun fundraiser to send to some of the rescuers in Poland and Ukraine that are helping with the rescues over there for the animals that are fleeing. So, we do limit the amount of support we give internationally, but we do absolutely help. And right now with the Ukraine crisis, that’s one that we felt passionate about helping
“people hear the word special needs, and they think ‘all these huge medical cares’…they’re not, they’re just different. They’re imperfectly perfect…”
What do you want people to know about special needs animals and animal rescue, in general?
Oh, my, I will tell you that my first special needs animal… Jessie, came from a shelter in South Carolina. At that point, we had no idea that she was going to be special needs. She came in, Animal Control had found her and they posted a picture, fell in love with her, knew that she was going to be mine one way or another, even though the husband was saying we needed no more animals at that point. About 60 days after we adopted her, she started to show signs. And, we found out that she had neurological issues which in the end after MRIs determined, was due to a previous distemper infection that she had long before animal control even picked her up. So basically, her brain was shrinking and filling up with water. So she was my first introduction, and they’re just as wonderful as any other animal. So she lived a very full life. There were minor adjustments that we had to make in medication. But I think people hear the word special needs, and they think “ all these huge medical cares”. And, there’s so many that are classified as special needs, and they’re not, they’re just different. They’re imperfectly perfect, is how we like to call them. So they’re perfect in their own way. And everyone just needs to give them an opportunity to show the same love and care that they have for you. They will change your life in ways you never knew was possible.
What change do you want to see in the world? And how are you aiding that cause?
It sounds very cliche, but we all just need to be kind to one another. We’re all fighting battles that we may not understand. I made a post the other day, I was like, “You know, 2022 has been very challenging, but every day you may see me on Facebook, and on social media, with a smile on my face”. That doesn’t mean that someone’s not going through a challenge. And, don’t judge people before you know all the facts. I think we tend to do that a lot in animal rescue… We assume that there’s not a good enough reason why a person has made this decision or that decision. Just take five minutes and understand what’s going on and see how you can help. They may think they only have one path out; where you can provide information or a path another way that will help them that they just simply didn’t know. So just be kind, honestly, to one another.
“every step that we take forward, every dollar that we raise, every can of food that we can provide is continuing to help”
How did you push through a turning point in your career or life?
I honestly feel like I’ve kind of been there in 2022. It’s been a difficult year of loss, both in my personal life and with the rescue itself. There have been some challenging days in the last month where I’ve questioned what we do and why we continue to do it. So, it is just knowing that every step that we take forward, every dollar that we raise, every can of food that we can provide is continuing to help. And I try to find comfort and… encouragement to keep me going forward, to push past those.
Success is: “A life saved. A lending paw.”
How do you define success?
A life saved. A lending paw. Helping someone. There was an animal that we helped. It was a little girl and her dog was sick and we needed to help. So that thank you that we got from the little girl. You know, thank you for saving our dog. It’s the little things that matter. My house right now… looks like a total disaster right now because we’re in the middle of planning for our biggest fundraiser of the year. But, it doesn’t matter because I know the result from that fundraiser will be multiple animals’ lives saved. That’s what’s important right now.
Nominated by Naomi Girke
“When Linda had to face the heartbreaking decision to let her young dog, Tanner cross over the rainbow bridge, due to life threatening medical issues she made sure his legacy would remain to help others. She created Tanners Endless Love, a 501c3 nonprofit who helps animals in need of medical, emergency and non-urgent care & so much more. TEL has helped locally, nationally and even took a trip to India to help rescue there! Linda & her TEL team are just simply amazing, caring and dedicated to helping as much and wherever they can. Linda is a woman so deserving of this nomination- she is incredibly inspirational and even in the face of life’s toughest challenges she finds a way to rise above and help the less fortunate.”
Why Linda Quinn is On this List
“Linda Quinn’s dedication for helping animals with special needs is inspiring on so many levels. Whether it’s providing medical care to beloved pets whose families cannot afford treatment, to compassion trips to aid animals in India, Linda is showing the world that animals with special needs are perfect in their own way.”
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