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American Gymnast Kristle Lowell and Eskie Dog Koda

American Gymnast Kristle Lowell and Eskie Dog Koda


American trampoline gymnast Kristle Lowell has a secret weapon to her training – Koda, her rescued American Eskimo dog.

Kristle earned a spot on Team USA at the National Championship competition in July. She’ll compete in St. Petersburg Russia at the World Championships in November. She credits Koda with helping reach her gymnastic goals – and for adding fun and happiness to her life.


Kristle rescued Koda, who was from a puppymill, three years ago. At the time, Kristle had never even heard of an American Eskimo dog. As a puppymill dog, Koda had a horrific start to life. He was on the bottom cage with wire under his feet. All the other animals had to potty on top of him.

“I wasn’t planning to adopt a dog that day,” she said. “The minute I saw him I just knew we were soul mates. We took him out to play and he stopped shaking and fell asleep in my arms. It came time to give him back to the caretaker and I couldn’t do it.”


She later told her dad that the dog was special and he was the one.


Kristle suffers from depression, but says that Koda has been the one thing in life to make her continuously happy. “I know even if I have a bad day there is my best friend at home,” she said.

For Kristle, the hardest part about going to competitions is being away from Koda. “Koda loves holidays and it kills me if I have to miss a holiday with him due to a competition,” she said. “No matter what, we make the best of it.”


Koda’s birthday is on Cinco de Mayo, which usually overlaps with Kristle being at the Olympic training center. However, this year she was home, and she treated him to a huge birthday celebration. “We brought Koda to every pet store in Orland Park that allows dogs, and then went to a Mexican restaurant that allows dogs,” she said.

The national competitions were especially hard this year for Kristle because they overlapped with the Fourth of July holiday. “My mom makes videos for me and sends them to me so I know Koda is being spoiled enough,” she said. “I was so nervous going into finals. I just wanted to rank top 3. I was so nervous my mom let me FaceTime with Koda until 1:00 a.m. in the morning before I competed. My mom and I had fun making different noises into the phone to see Koda’s reaction.” Kristle earned a bronze medal at the competition, and was named to Team USA.

Kristle went home to celebrate with her pup. Unfortunately, both of them ended up in the emergency room on the same day. Koda accidentally ripped one of his back toenails and Kristle had an adverse reaction to a routine medical procedure. “I was so worried about him,” she said. “My dad took him to the emergency vet and my mom took me to the ER. When we were both released, we spent the next couple days in bed resting. I never felt so connected to an animal before in my life.”

Kristle has Raynaud’s disease, which limits blood circulation in cold temperatures. Because of the disease, she has never been able to go out and play in the snow. This past year, her family bought Kristle an Antarctica-approved jacket. “I got to play with Koda in the snow and it was one of the happiest moments of my life,” she said. “I’ve not been able to go outside in 15 years in winter and it was so nice enjoying this moment with my boy.”

Koda also got to go on a road trip from Orland Park, Illinois to York, Pennsylvania and came to Kristle’s modeling shoot at Alpha Factor leotards. On the way home they stopped at Hershey, Pennsylvania. “We took Koda for a walk in the parking lot at the Hershey factory and Koda started sniffing in circles and didn’t even know what direction to go. He just kept spinning around, completely in heaven from smelling all the chocolate, even though we don’t let him have any. We joked the whole way home that he blew a fuse in his sniffer.”


At the end of the day, Kristle’s Dad comes to the gym to help put away the trampoline. Koda comes along and has become a very important part of Kristle’s training. “I started working at Morgan Park Sports Center, and all the athletes I coach, know Koda,” she said. “He is a very famous dog in the city of Chicago.”

This year, Kristle will miss spending Halloween with Koda as she will be in Azerbaijan training for the World Championships. She plans to celebrate Halloween with him this year even though it might not be exactly on October 31.

Kristle also is saving up to buy a special camera so Koda can chat with her at competitions. Koda has many more road trips planned for this next year, too. “I hope more people read Koda’s story and become inspired to adopt and help an American Eskimo rescue dog,” she said. “I knew nothing about American Eskimos before meeting Koda, and it was love at first sight. Who would have known I would have found a circus dog just like me at heart.”

LILLIAN helped by The Petfinder Foundation

The Petfinder Foundation Senior Pet Adoption Grant program is used to assist Petfinder members to help facilitate the adoption of senior pets. Lillian, a 12-13 year-old senior Reskie from American Eskimo Rescue of St. Louis, was selected for this grant. Lillian was transferred from another shelter in St. Louis and was so scared and untrusting. Lillian did not like to be picked up so we wondered if she was in pain. After completing blood tests and an ultrasound the doctor diagnosed Lillian with gallbladder/liver disease. So Lillian was prescribed medications to help her condition. Lillian’s medications cost about $150 per month. Since Lillian started the medications, she is doing better and has been adopted! Thank you to Jordan and Gary (pictured here) for adopting Lillian!  And thank you, Petfinder Foundation, for helping Lillian. There are so many senior dogs needing homes and this grant made it possible to get one more senior into a forever home. Be sure to visit and support Petfinder when possible.




This year has been terrible for rescue dogs coming in with kennel cough. AERSTL is in need of foster homes without any pets to take care of a dog with kennel cough for about 2 to 3 weeks. Medication would need to be given. Most of the time, the dogs do not feel well but once they begin taking medications they soon get better. If you can help in this way, please call 314-647-1112. Rescue dogs with kennel cough must be isolated from other pets so this would really help. Thank you very much if you can help.

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Pet Adoption

Our Mission

Our Mission:

To rescue American Eskimo dogs in life-threatening
situations and place them in loving homes.

Welcome to American Eskimo Rescue (AER) of St. Louis. We are a Heartbandits representative of eastern Missouri and western Illinois.

We are a group of dedicated volunteers, working together for the benefit of helpless and homeless Eskies. Our program is funded by donations and adoption fees. Our volunteers spend endless hours of rescue work which involves transporting, fostering, and networking to save American Eskimo lives.

Adoption from American Eskimo Rescue/Heartbandits includes medical attention that each rescue dog deserves, including all vaccinations, spay/neuter, fecal check, heartworm check, and microchip. These rescue Eskies are then placed in loving foster homes until their forever home is found.

Rescued animals often make the best pets. Pets from American Eskimo Rescue seem to understand they have a second lease on life. In return for a little affection and attention, these remarkable animals reward their new owners with a love and loyalty unmatched anywhere.

If you would like to adopt a lovable Eskie, please fill out and mail in an Application for Adoption. If you would like to become a foster home, please fill out and mail in a Foster Home Application. You can find these forms here on-line or call 314-647-1112.

The loving dog you will adopt will be spayed or neutered, all necessary vaccinations, checked for heartworm, and all medical conditions as necessary. Eskies 1 yr. and under will have an adoption fee of $250, all other adoption fees are $175. This fee covers some of these medical expenses.




Would you like to foster American Eskimo dogs? Please read on.

You might say:

“I can’t foster, I will get too attached.”

“I would keep every dog I fostered!”

“It would be too sad to see the foster dog leave.”


Due to overcrowding at shelters and many requests to help save homeless dogs, we are in desperate need of foster homes. If you can foster, here’s how you help:

1. When you foster, you will give a homeless dog another chance at life — you will save an Eskie’s life. AER does not have a building and we work out of our homes, so foster families are needed to house the Eskies.

2. A foster family is a “vessel” for the Eskies until they are adopted to their forever homes. Foster families play a major role in bringing the Eskie from a dangerous situation to foster care, and finally to his or her new home.

3. You will receive gratification knowing you saved a dog’s life, and that you played a critical role in helping place a homeless dog in his or her forever home! If we don’t have a place to house them, we can’t save them.

4. You will help a family adopt a new family member – families are so happy when they adopt their new dog. You, the foster family, helped place that dog in his or her new home. What a sense of accomplishment and a significant contribution to the community – that you helped take care of and place a homeless dog.

5. Volunteering is a community project. Get the entire family involved. Children love to help take care of pets. Working with American Eskimo Rescue counts as volunteer hours too!

6. Eskie Rescue pays for all of the necessary medical work. The foster family helps transport the dog to adoption day events and vet visits. You treat the dog as if it were your own. If you wish, we can also help pay for dog food.

7. We would love to have your involvement as a foster family. Help us achieve the AER mission: To save the lives of unwanted American Eskimo dogs and place them in loving homes. Eskies know when they have been saved – your foster dog will be so thankful to you and so will we.
A foster home application is available for you to fill out.

Proper Dog Care

Proper Dog Care

Many of the reasons we at AER have to rescue dogs are because he/she was the victim of improper care or treatment. Anything from total neglect, abandonment, or abuse to simply an owner giving up a dog because it was sick and just needed proper medical care. In some cases the owners just needed ‘education’ on proper dog health care. A lot of hard work and love have to be given to a dog that has had improper care.
Owning a pet is perhaps one among the biggest blessings for people at any age. Owners of these pets sometimes treat these creatures as best friends. They can be a food companion, rest companion, or play companion. These pets can also make you feel comfortable during your life’s hardest time. Indeed, pets are gifts to humans.

Dogs are among the choicest of pets of the people. The owners need to learn how to care for their dogs so their pets can be the cleanest, healthiest, and the greatest dogs in the entire world. However, if you want to own a dog you need to be concerned about the dog’s health at all times.

You can maintain dog health through proper dog care. It is very important to your dog. By doing the proper health care you will be able to make your dog strong and healthy. The reason why some dogs are neglected is because of selfishness of some dog owners. Only a little time is spent to caring for dogs. If dog owners do not give some of their time, energy, affection and healthy dog habits, the result is unhealthy dogs which are prone to allergies and malnutrition.

It is very important for you to feed your dog with healthy foods. Never overfeed your dogs. Overfeeding leads to indigestion and overweight. It is never easy for a dog that has indigestion. You will need to bring them to a veterinarian to relieve it. Feed your dog with enough food and always on time. Never feed your dog your ‘table scraps’. This is very unhealthy for your dog as they are not designed to eat many foods you eat. Carefully prepared natural foods for your dog can be a great asset, but you must first totally educate yourself to have your dog eating ‘human’ foods.

Proper hygiene care is also important to improve your dog’s health. You do not have to take him/her to bathing everyday. Use shampoo for dogs as it contains the right pH level for your dogs. Human shampoo can cause some serious problems like excessive hair fall or allergic reaction. If your dogs have fleas, treat them by using and flea shampoo. Some are not effective so you should choose the ones with the trustworthy name.

Have your dog checked for Heartworm once a year by your vet. Aside from checking for any visible signs of problems with the dog, the person can do better by bringing the pet in for the regular examinations with the vet. Shots and other cleaning can be done once a year or every three years depending on the strength of the drug.

Owning a dog is a big responsibility. The best way to make sure this pet will live for many years will be to provide some preventive health care. The person can read up or learn some things from the vet which will surely be useful. Never underestimate the importance of dog health.