Woman Living in Garage to Save Dogs Gets Amazing Surprise

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Running an animal rescue isn’t easy. The sheer number of dogs needing homes, along with the high cost of food, medical and overhead, can make this calling a stressful career path.

“I always say be careful what you wish for, because I always said ‘I want to run a rescue,’ and then I thought what have I done,” says Sherri Stankewitz, founder of West Coast Animal Rescue, a Long Beach, Calif-based nonprofit dog rescue, in a video.

Stankewitz’s shelter is also her home. She lives in the garage.  “I was renting a kennel space and it was up, so I need to find a place for 30 days for 30 dogs,” Stankewitz told “A friend of a friend had a space, but I had to do what it took in the interim.”

Related: Dog Entrepreneur Rocky Kanaka Transforms Rundown Animal Shelters into Stunning Sanctuaries in New TV Series

But despite her living situation, she continues to tirelessly work for these animals, not having taken a vacation in years. “Whether they are 4 months old or 12 years old, I love them all the same,” she says in a video. They are like my family.”

Because of her devotion to more than 30 unwanted dogs, Prank It Forward, a company whose mission is to “spread joy through pranks,” decided to help out Stankewitz with many of her needs. But first, as the name implies, they decided to play a small prank Stankewitz and captured everything on video.

During her biggest adoption event of the year at the Long Beach Marina, the team behind Prank It Forward had an actor pose as a “pet investigator,” who had a bone to pick with Stankewitz over her event. The investigator told her the number of dogs at the adoption event violated some made-up Los Angeles code, and she must have them all gone within the hour.

Obviously, this news freaks out Stankewitz and before she can even devise a plan the investigator is back with a fancy trailer to take the dogs away . And this is when Stankewitz’s prank turns into a dream.

The team behind Prank It Forward finally let her in on the joke and then tell her they are there to take some of her worries away. Not only did the company find homes for all the dogs at the event (pre-vetted with the help of volunteers), but they also gave Stankewitz that trailer to help her rescue more dogs, a vacation to Aruba AND paid for overhead expenses for year.

Here is how it all went down: