JUSTIN, Texas — A small, yet vital dog rescue in rural Denton County is being showered with goodwill after Wednesday's storms heavily damaged its property.
Apollo Support and Rescue has helped rescue and find homes for thousands of dogs in its 7-year existence in Denton County.
For the past few years, it's been operating on several acres of land in Justin.
It serves as a no-kill animal shelter and rescue for not just Justin, but also New Fairview and Rhome too. Right now, they have around 100 dogs on the property.
Early Wednesday, as severe weather moved through North Texas, high winds damaged about 25 kennels, knocked over fences connected to play yards and moved two mobile office trailers off of their foundations that house dogs.
The winds also severed electricity and plumbing to those trailers, leaving no way to clean kennels or keep any dogs hydrated who are supposed to be housed in them.
The good news? No dogs were injured, and the surrounding community has been dropping off water and food.
But when Danielle Stewart, President of Apollo Support and Rescue, spoke to WFAA on Wednesday she needed an estimated $5,000 to get both trailers stabilized and functioning again.
Not an easy feat for the non-profit.
Stewart, an Army veteran who served in Iraq, said she didn't have much in the rescue's coffers.
On Wednesday, about $900 was in the rescue's bank account before the storm hit.
Stewart said that's pretty normal and that she often ends up paying for bills out of her own pocket.
"We pay the electric bill, then we pay the mortgage, but then we can't pay the vet bills," Stewart said. "Or we pay the vet bills, and then we can't pay the electric bill. It's a constant battle back and forth. We're always going month-to-month."
"The damage was very devastating, I was going to have to beg for help."
But Stewart didn't have to beg.
After our story aired on Wednesday, donations started to pour in from all over Texas and beyond.
"Our very first donation like right after the newscast was a $5,000 donation," Stewart said.
Perfection...but then things continued to grow.
"All these donations kept coming in, and I kept scrolling and scrolling and I just couldn't believe it," Stewart said. "I logged onto our PayPal and we were over $10,000."
Since that moment, Stewart said donations haven't stopped. As of Friday night, around $43,000 had been raised for her rescue through online donations.
"I just don't even have the words to thank everyone for their support--it's beyond what we've ever imagined and we've never received this amount of support," Stewart said.
But that's not all, the Petco Foundation also reached out to Stewart.
Last year, Stewart applied for a $35,000 grant through the foundation to make upgrades to the property but never heard back.
Petco heard about her troubles and informed Stewart that they were approving her grant immediately.
"They said they were going to FedEx a check to us so we can make all the permanent repairs that we need to make," Stewart said. "They're also going to be donating some dog food to us."
All told, almost $80,000 has come to Stewart in 48 hours. More than enough to make the rescue whole again and plenty left over to grow.
Stewart said that she'll use the money for dog food, vet bills, general repairs and repairs to the trailers, but she also plans to permanently anchor her outside kennels to the ground so they don't blow away again in the future.
Stewart said the money would additionally go to making outside kennel runs for the dogs housed in her main building that was not damaged. Stewart said that she hopes to create dog doors for those runs too so the animals can go back and forth from inside to outside.
"Right now, we have to walk them outside and place them in the kennels," Stewart said.
"Those are the things that I have been dreaming to do and I think we're going to be able to do that now."
In a matter of days, Stewart went from no options to so many. The storm that hit her property is simply a blessing in disguise for her.
"We've always had to say, 'let's figure out where the money is going to come from,' so this is overwhelming," Stewart said.
"The struggle...the heartbreak...it turned out to be able to reach a lot of people who now know what we do here every day."