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By Najahe Sherman
Updated on: September 7, 2022 / 12:00 AM / CBS Miami
MIAMI – Tiffany Skuraton says her life is a miracle, and the former drug addict, now ten years sober, calls her story ‘from Park Avenue to park bench.’
“A little over 10 years ago I was a homeless heroin addict down here in South Florida. I got down on my knees one day and I just begged god for help I was so tired I felt so broken and so hopeless like I was never going to amount to anything,” Skuraton said.
Her parents had cut her off, finally, and she joined a sober home and program that worked and turned her life around completely.
“My dad said ‘if you find your passion and you do that for a living you will never work a day in your life.’ So, I said well, I love helping people and animals.”
Her vision was to help as many addicts as she could as well as dogs too.
“At first people told me I was crazy to have that dream because I was a waitress, I had no college degree, no business background and I didn’t have any money I didn’t know anybody with any money and I didn’t know anybody in the industry.”
But she knew one thing, her dog Isabel had never left her side throughout her addiction and recovery.
“When I wanted to give up I couldn’t because I had her.”
What a dog can do for someone in need of support is powerful, she explained.
“When you are just feeling so broken, and everybody has cut you off and you got that dog that comes up and loves on you and you know it’s gonna be okay you know there’s still love in the world.”
How did Blue Waters Dog Rescue begin?
Skuraton said that it started with the first pit bull she found on the street as a puppy, and she ended up keeping him and naming him Blue.
She opened her first sober living facility in 2015, and pairs the dogs that they rescue, many with known and unknown pasts, some with severe injuries that were discarded, with the clients who are working through the sobriety program.
“I basically rescue humans and animals alike, and we have sober living homes and in the sober living homes we have rescue dogs- and basically there, kind of foster each other each other in a way because they’re both so we need the unconditional love that each other can give,” she said.
In Miami-Dade and Broward, Blue Waters has grown to 172 beds for people, here in the Pompano Beach location there are 14 rescued dogs paired with clients.
Travis Dibble is a client.
“14 months ago, I was homeless and nobody would take me home this was the last stop on the block.”
The dogs have their roommates, and then the dogs are rescued, rehabbed, and put in permanent homes.
“We have adopters from all over, we have adopted 100, probably 1,000 at this point,” Skuraton said.
She is ever grateful for support from the local animal hospital, another lifeline.
“I couldn’t do this without Coral Ridge, I couldn’t without Dr. Gordon,” she credited his team for support and care of injured dogs, saying allowing her to carry a balance is key.
If she saved only one life, Skuraton would say its’ all worth it.
Like the clients who ‘literally were homeless came from nothing and now they’re successful businesses and families and kids – people the world definitely counted out.’
Like former client and now employee Peter Cunningham, who said he was ‘broken’ when he arrived.
“Tiff and Blue Waters (Rescue Foundation) took a chance on me when I had nothing. And over the next two years things started to happen for me, I went to meetings, did the program that was suggested and now life is a lot better for me,” Cunningham said.
Cunningham’s dogs are all rescues and come to work with him every day like Skuraton’s.
The recovery work is tough, and not everyone makes it, and yes Skuraton says it’s heartbreaking, but it is all about one day at a time.
“It’s a mission, I’m on a mission to change the world,” she said.
Blue Waters Dog Rescue rescue has a soft spot for bull terriers, pit bulls, and mixed breeds, whom Skuraton describes as “misunderstood.”
For more information on the Blue Waters Dog Rescue, you can visit them here.
For Information on the sober living, click here.
Najahe Sherman is a news anchor and reporter for CBS News Miami. She anchors CBS Miami news at 5:30 p.m. on weekdays and reports for the 11:00 p.m. news.
First published on September 8, 2022 / 8:14 AM
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