Petfinder Foundation News

After 6-month Wait, Dog Is Adopted Thanks to Great Photo

The photo that attracted Lindy's adopter

The photo that attracted Lindy’s adopter

After waiting six months in foster care — and watching all her puppies find homes — Lindy, an Australian cattle dog mix in Arizona, has finally found her forever family thanks to our One Picture Saves a Life program, which teaches pet rescuers to take great photos of their adoptable pets, and also grants DSLR cameras and Photoshop photo-editing software to adoption groups.

“Shortly after coming back from the One Picture Saves a Life seminar, we took new pictures of Lindy,” Tiffany Rosler, president of the Tucson-based rescue group In the Arms of Angels, tells us. “The lady who adopted her said her photos 100% were the reason she came in to adopt her. She felt a connection to Lindy off of the photos.”

Rosler adds that the techniques she and her volunteers learned at the One Picture seminar are making a huge difference for the harder-to-adopt dogs being cared for by her group: “Our adult adoptions have increased tremendously since getting the new camera, learning how to use it and working with Photoshop to take out leashes and add watermarks.”

Lindy before and after

With The Animal Rescue Site, GreaterGood.org, John Paul Pet and Underwater Dogs photographer Set Casteel, we’re hosting One Picture Saves a Life workshops around the country for shelter and rescue group staff and volunteers. In the Arms of Angels was one of 10 groups that attended the June workshop in Las Vegas, where participants learned how to groom their homeless pets for the camera and get high-quality images of them to share online.

Rosler said she’s used the program’s online tutorials to teach foster parents to take great pictures of pets like Ace, below, whose foster mom took new photos that helped him find a home.

Ace before and after

“We sent her the link to the online tutorials of what camera settings to use and other helpful tips,” Rosler says. “Ace had so much attention from his new photos that we were able to get another adult dog adopted as a referral off of Ace’s photos. His adopter said his pictures were awesome, and he knew Ace was going to fit in perfectly — which he did.”

The program has worked so well for In the Arms of Angels that Rosler has started teaching the tips to shelters and rescue groups around Southeastern Arizona.

“I love the online tutorials and have shared them with many rescue groups and shelters because the information is great,” Rosler says. “We are so excited about the endless possibilities these tools have given us.”

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Great photos helped Ace find his home.

Donate to help us save more homeless pets, and Orvis will match your gift!

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Keeping a Sanctuary’s ‘Fragile’ Cats Healthy and Clean

Ten-year-old Hannah is up for adoption at Shadow Cats.

Ten-year-old Hannah is up for adoption at Shadow Cats.

Our grant of John Paul Pet Ear & Eye Wipes to Shadow Cats is making a huge difference for the elderly and FLV+ cats being cared for by the Round Rock, Tex., sanctuary.

President Sheila Smith sends us this report of how the Ear & Eye Wipes have helped decrease the incidence of illness for the organization’s most vulnerable cats:

“Since we are a sanctuary environment and focus more on long-term and hospice care, we don’t do as many adoptions as other groups. We focus on long-term care for those cats who are perceived to be less-adoptable — feral, scared, seniors, feline leukemia-positive, etc. — although almost all of our cats are available for adoption.

“We currently have 86 cats at the sanctuary, and we primarily used the Eye & Ear Wipes with our 24 feline leukemia-positive cats. We most definitely saw an increase in overall health and cleanliness of the cats. We did not have an instance of upper-respiratory infection in this area, and I believe much of that was related to product usage and the ability to keep the cats cleaner and to clean off facial/eye/nose drainage as soon as it was observed.

Ashley is a feline leukemia-positive cat being helped by our grant.

Born as a stray in San Antonio, Ashley is a feline leukemia-positive cat being helped by our John Paul Pet grant.

“We love this product. It is handy and we are able to grab it quickly when we need it. It’s soft and we are able to wipe the cat’s eyes and face quickly without distressing the cat.

“We have one cat, Polly, who was rescued during Best Friends’ Great Kitty Rescue in 2007. She is feline leukemia-positive and has a blocked tear duct. Her eye often has drainage. She is now very used to us cleaning her eyes! I’ve attached a pic of her getting one of her frequent ‘eye baths’ from one of our volunteers, Susan VandeVoorde!

Volunteer Susan VandeVoorde gives Polly an eye bath.

Volunteer Susan VandeVoorde gives Polly an eye bath.

“It also makes a difference in some of the cats who are elderly and have less-than-stellar grooming habits. We are able to keep them clean. This really is a great product, and I feel safe using it with the cats. I have also asked my husband, Dr. Roy Smith, the 2013 president of the American Association of Feline Practitioners, his thoughts, and he feels this is a great product in helping us help the cats to live healthier lives.

“Thank you for choosing Shadow Cats and our community of fragile sanctuary cats to help — we sincerely appreciate it!”

Polly Relaxes

Polly looks looks clean and happy, thanks to our John Paul Pet Ear & Eye Wipes grant.

Donate to help us keep more homeless pets healthy, and Orvis will match your gift!

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What Happened to Oklahoma Tornado Pets?

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Chance was treated for facial fractures and lacerations from flying debris.

Thanks to donors like you, in May we gave nearly $50,000 in cash and product grants to shelters impacted by the Oklahoma tornado. What happened to the animals who lost their homes to the storm? Grant recipient Central Oklahoma Humane Society, one of the shelters charged with rescuing pets displaced by the disaster, providing medical treatment for them and reuniting them with their owners, took in 151 dogs and cats. Amy Shrodes, the shelter’s manager of development, tells us nearly all have been reunited with their families or adopted into new homes — and those who haven’t are being lovingly cared for by shelter staff.

Here is the full grant report from Shrodes:

“The Central Oklahoma Humane Society (OK Humane) applied the grant from the Petfinder Foundation towards outside emergency medical expenses associated with animals injured during the May 20, 2013, tornado that devastated the city of Moore and parts of South Oklahoma City.

“The grant provided by the Petfinder Foundation covered a portion of reimbursement to outside veterinarians who assisted OK Humane with the treatment of critically injured animals found immediately following the tornado. Gifts like the one given by the Petfinder Foundation enabled OK Humane to take in a total of 151 animals at our temporary disaster-relief facilities. We were thrilled that 67 of the dogs and cats OK Humane took in were reunited with owners during the 45-day reunion time frame. At the end of the 45 days, OK Humane hosted a special adoption event for the animals who did not have families come forward for them. The event was called ‘Hope After The Storm,’ and it was hosted on July 13. Adopters from all over the country pre-registered for a chance to win a ticket to attend the private adoption event. Almost all of the remaining tornado animals were adopted at the event. OK Humane is still caring for several dogs and cats displaced by the storm, and they will receive love and attention until they are adopted by new families.

“We are now in the process of launching a long-term area resource plan for residents in disaster-affected areas. OK Humane is a member of the Long-Term Area Resource Committee for Oklahoma County and plans to assist owners with outstanding vet-bill reimbursement for injuries resulting from the disaster. OK Humane will also be offering free spay/neuter surgeries, free vaccinations and free microchipping. The plan is to offer these resources through at least the end of 2013.

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Chance’s grandmother broke down in tears when she discovered he was alive.

“Chance, a brindle-and-white boxer, was in horrible shape when his rescuer found him the night the tornado ripped through the City of Moore. The fact that he was in an airline carrier is probably the only thing that saved his life.

“Chance was sent to the OK Humane disaster-relief facility from the triage unit in Moore. Upon arrival, we knew that he needed immediate medical attention. As soon as a volunteer was available, we had him transported over to an emergency center where he was treated for facial fractures and lacerations from flying debris on his legs and face.

“We are excited to say that several days later Chance was reunited with his family. The person who found Chance was his grandmother, and she could not believe he was still alive. Her house had been completely destroyed by the storm. She thought Chance was lost forever, and broke down in tears immediately when she saw him come around the corner at our facility. Known as his ‘Oma,’ she had been keeping Chance for a few weeks for her son in California when the storm hit.

“Chance’s owners stayed in constant contact with us during his sheltering and treatment, and even allowed us to neuter him for free at our high-quality public spay/neuter clinic. One month later, an OK Humane board member flew Chance in a private plane back to his mom and dad in California. This sweet boy truly received a second ‘chance’ at life! Following the progress of his story during the 30 days that we cared for him was an inspiration to the entire OK Humane team.”

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A month after the tornado hit, Chance was reunited with his owners.

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SNAP-X Grants Help Rural Pets Find Homes Faster

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Clockwise from top left: Miss Kaye, Heidi, Kurt Russell and Katie

We got these reports from two recipients of our SNAP-X spay/neuter grants.

Patricia Beam, director of Mitchell County Animal Rescue in Spruce Pine, N.C., writes:

“Thanks so much for the Petfinder Foundation grant. We have used it to spay/neuter our shelter animals. Miss Kaye was a stray. An out-of-state adopter walked in the door and said he was here to adopt her based on her profile on Petfinder.com. Heidi was a stray kitten whom we were able to quickly get spayed and into her new home. Kurt Russell could jump three feet high flat-footed. He was adopted off Petfinder and fixed with the Petfinder Foundation grant funds. Katie was born in a ditch and her mother was feral. She and her five littermates were all fixed with the grant money and all were quickly adopted. Petfinder is an animal shelter pet’s best friend!”

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Cassidy with his new mom

Pat Getter, president of Doberman Rescue of Nevada in Las Vegas, tells us about one dog who was neutered thanks to our SNAP-X grant:

“An 11-month-old Doberman was brought to an animal hospital and the owners asked the vet to euthanize him — they said he was showing residual signs of parvo he supposedly previously had. The vet examined the dog, asked some questions, and basically determined that he was a healthy, energetic puppy who did not deserve to die because the irresponsible owners had no clue how to handle him. The vet asked the owners to surrender the dog to the animal hospital, which they did.

“The vet got the medical records from the owners’ previous vet clinic and the clinic said the owners told them the puppy ‘had parvo last week’ so it was never documented by any identifiable veterinarian that the dog had been sick or treated. Vet No. 1 did some additional testing, including an ECG when they thought they might have detected a slight arrhythmia, but the test came back normal. So, once the puppy had a clean bill of health, they called Doberman Rescue of Nevada and asked if we would be able to find a home for this Doberman.

“We were happy to help. Vet No. 1 proceeded with the puppy’s neuter. DRNV was only charged for the neuter and not any of the additional testing.

“Once we posted a photo of Cassidy, we received more than a dozen applications. We are particularly diligent when we have a young, classic-looking Doberman — black and tan, cropped and docked — because it is considered the breed standard and people come out of the woodwork wanting one, many of whom are not qualified to adopt and some of whom want Dobermans for the wrong reasons.

“We ultimately selected a woman who was raised with many dogs growing up, including Dobermans, worked in kennels as a teenager and is dedicated to not only loving and nurturing the boy, but giving Cassidy the obedience training he needs right away at this developmental age to turn him into the fine Doberman he can be.”

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Our Grant Gets 25 Shelter Cats Spayed or Neutered

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Fiona and her kittens were altered thanks to our grant.

Twenty-five shelter cats were spayed or neutered — and made more adoptable as a result — thanks to our Light Up a Life grant to Coulee Region Humane Society, Inc., in Onalaska, Wis., last year. We received this report from grants assistant Peg Zappen, who tells us, “We are so grateful for this grant support for our cats.  You make our world a better place for animals.” We are so glad we could help!

Zappen writes: “Coulee Region Humane Society is an open-admission shelter at which cats still face space-related euthanasia. We are in a community that has an ordinance requiring that animals adopted from the shelter be altered. One outcome of this is that altering shelter animals post-adoption is a source of income for local veterinary clinics. This is very positive but the reality is that people have become accustomed to finding animals who are already altered at limited-admission shelters in our region. Having the expense of spay/neuter puts cats at our shelter at a disadvantage when it comes to adoption.

“Over the past 20 months, we have been working with local clinics to build support for spay/neuter of shelter cats at a price we and grantors can afford and accept. For this grant we had three clinics — a record number — alter cats for $50 each. This is very significant for us to have moved from no support to having three participating clinics in this time period. Twenty-five cats were altered with this grant.

“All these cats have similar stories — they found themselves in an open admission shelter, unaltered and in need of help. Here is a little information about a few of the cats who you helped:

“Fiona is a fabulous, beautiful calico who was surrendered to us with two 2-day-old kittens. Fiona and her kittens were fostered by a staff member. All are adopted and much loved in their new homes.

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Archimedes

“Archimedes is a short-haired orange guy who is the life of the party, really a goofball in the nicest sense of the word. He was altered, recovered, appeared on a local TV station and was adopted within two days.

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Whisper, left, and Diamond

“Whisper and Diamond are two gray-and-white girls who were surrendered from the same home. They are now altered and living together in our communal room, awaiting their forever home.”

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Litter of Puppies Was Thrown Over Shelter Fence

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These pups and their littermates were thrown over the fence of a Texas shelter.

We received this grant report from Kay Hill at Humane Society of Harrison County in Marshall, TX. The shelter was a recipient of one of our Shot at Life vaccination grants.

“We have used the donated vaccine to vaccinate all dogs and cats that have been surrendered for adoption at our facility. Adoptions go through periods where some of the pets that we take in from their owners are harder to place than others. When we take in these pets, they get an initial vaccination and we hope that they are adopted out before the next set of shots are due. Sometimes that doesn’t happen.

“On April 4, 2013, we arrived at work to find a litter of Border Collie mix puppies that had been thrown over the fence. The pups were evaluated and put through the pre-adoption work-up. All received their first vaccinations and wormings. Several of the pups went really fast. Two pups stayed in the kennel until July 3. They have received a series of four vaccinations that they normally wouldn’t have received due to us having the free vaccine. We feel they are fully covered now that they are in their new home.”

If you are with a Petfinder shelter or rescue group and would like to apply for a vaccination grant, click here.

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Rescue U Turns a Former Schoolhouse Into a Cat Sanctuary

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A volunteer with her favorite cat

In May, Rescue U volunteers from Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia headed to Grafton, W.V., to renovate a cat shelter called P.U.R.R. (People United for Rescue and Rehabilitation) West Virginia. P.U.R.R. is housed in an enormous former elementary school that needed a lot of renovation. Projects included painting, organizing and hanging fiberglass, as well as some fairly heavy construction work.

The team replaced the shelter’s entryway with a new porch after the existing porch, which had been held up with wood that rotted over the years due to water damage, collapsed. Volunteers also created a new storage room and built a new loading entrance to it. A section of the brick wall had to be demolished in order to install a new door.

To create the storage room, the team removed 7,500 pounds of scrap metal from an old schoolroom and built a ramp leading up to the entrance (the scrap metal was recycled and the proceeds went to the shelter!). Volunteers demolished its bathrooms to create a cat intake area, removed the railings from the sidewalk outside the new room and expanded the sidewalk to allow shelter staff to move supplies in via pallet jack.

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The artists’ studio that became a cat colony

An old artists’ studio was cleared of debris, its walls scraped, repaired (P.U.R.R. owner Sarel Venter strapped on stilts to plaster hard-to-reach spots) and painted a “purplicious” color to create a new cat colony room.

The major renovations to the shelter have made life easier for the shelter staff and volunteers, and most importantly, more comfortable for all the adoptable cats. As P.U.R.R. wrote on its Facebook page: “Pawesome job at P.U.R.R., Rescue U volunteers!!”

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A volunteer makes some new friends.

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Maimed Dog and Puppies Are Rescued Just in Time

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Sissy and her puppies soon after their rescue. Note Sissy’s deep neck wound.

After spending her entire life on a chain that eventually became embedded in her neck, a dog named Sissy, along with her severely neglected puppies, was saved thanks to our Shelter+ Challenge grant to Start Over Rover in Hastings, Neb.

Start Over Rover Vice President Amy Michalek tells us how the grant, made possible by our partnership with The Animal Rescue Site, gave Sissy and her family a second chance:

“Start Over Rover was asked to help a mother dog and her seven puppies. Located approximately 1,000 miles away, this canine family was scheduled to be euthanized the next morning. They were being temporarily housed at the St. Martin Parish shelter near St. Martinville, La. They were all victims of severe abuse and neglect. The Sheriff’s Department had taken the animals from their abusive owner and they were taken to the local municipal shelter. Because no one had adopted them within seven days, they were slated to be euthanized. The shelter manager posted a plea on the Internet, hoping that someone would come through for the family of dogs. Everyone involved hated the thought that they had been rescued from their abuser only to face being euthanized seven days later.

“The momma dog, whom we now call Sissy, had been chained to a tree when she was just a pup. As Sissy grew, the chain grew into her neck. She gave birth to a litter of puppies when she was approximately six months old and still chained to the tree. After neighbors complained about Sissy’s embedded collar, her abusive owner tore the chain out of her neck; she then had no way to ‘keep’ Sissy except to put her in a chicken coop with her puppies. They all became flea-infested. Chickens are omnivorous, and as they pecked at the fleas on the puppies, some drew blood and then the chickens ate off part of the limbs before Sissy was able to get them off of the puppies. This resulted in two of the puppies missing limbs or parts of limbs. Sissy had a two-inch deep wound around her neck after the embedded chain was removed.

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Sissy nursing her puppies

“Two of Start Over Rover’s board members flew to Louisiana to retrieve the family before they were euthanized. The Rover volunteers arrived at the St. Martin shelter at 11:30 that night, retrieved Sissy and her babies, and started the 19-hour drive back home. During this time, they grew especially fond of the smallest puppy in the litter, whom they named Runtley. He was the sickest of the pups, so he got to ride up front, being cuddled and loved during the trip home. About six hours into the trip, Runtley suffered severe diarrhea and started crying out in pain. He ended up passing away in the volunteers’ arms just as they entered a veterinary clinic in Oklahoma to get him some help. The volunteers were heartbroken.

“The emotional Rover volunteers arrived back in Hastings around 6 p.m. that evening. They arrived to a TV truck with cameras, and lots of volunteers to greet them, as well as a newly built isolation room. Volunteers at Start Over Rover worked around the clock to build the air-conditioned, separately ventilated room in only 24 hours, just in time for the arrival of Sissy and her pups.

Aggie was missing a limb and suffering from a staph infection.

Sissy’s pup Aggie was missing a limb and suffering from a staph infection, which is visible on her torso.

“Momma Sissy was named after St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. Little Fay was named after Lafayette, La., which was the city into which the Rover volunteers flew. (Fay passed away shortly after arriving in Nebraska due to complications from a staph infection.) Marty was named after the St. Martin shelter which saved the dogs initially and then put out the nationwide call for help. Aggie was named after a woman on Facebook who aptly applied a not-so-nice name to the abuser of this family. Beau was named after a town near the St. Martin shelter, Breaux Bridge, and we swear that the staff at the shelter were all pronouncing it ‘Beau Bridge.’ Annie, who is the largest of the puppies, was named after the director of Start Over Rover, Anne Halbert, who was one of the volunteers on this rescue trip. Selah was given her name because God clearly had His hand in all of this.

“Finally, there was little Runtley, our sweet baby who passed on the way home. His and Fay’s ashes are in two urns located inside Start Over Rover. We are sad they are gone, but we are so happy that they knew that they were loved before they passed. All of the remaining puppies have been adopted and are doing very well.”

Momma Sissy’s neck wound was too wide to be stitched or stapled, so volunteers treated her with hydrotherapy three times a day until it could be stitched closed. “Today you can’t even tell that Sissy had such a severe wound,” Michalek says. “Her coat is shiny, she has put on weight, and she loves to play.”

And in even happier news: “Sissy is finally adopted and in a very happy home where she is much appreciated,” Michalek says. “After hearing Sissy’s story, her new family promised that they would never ever put another collar around her neck! She uses a harness when needed.”

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Sissy today

Donate to help us save dogs like Sissy, and Orvis will match your gift!

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Our Cooling Grants Help Homeless Donkeys Too!

We're helping keep Storm E. the donkey cool this summer.

Storm E. has a condition called string halt which causes her to walk funny, but with minimal pain.

We’re keeping homeless dogs — and donkeys — safe this summer, thanks to your support of our Summer Cooling Campaign.

Lusco Farms Rescue in Malvern, Iowa, and HOPE Animal Shelter in Tucson are the latest recipients of Summer Cooling grants. Each has received $1,000 to help keep the animals in their care cool, comfortable and safe in the heat.

For Lusco Farms Rescue, that means donkeys like Storm E., who came there with multiple medical issues caused by a lifetime of poor nutrition, will finally have new, shaded lean-tos in her pasture.

“Because we’ll have more areas covered with shade, we can take in more donkeys,” Lusco Farms President Lura Shehan tells us.

Many of the group’s donkeys come from people who acquired them as pets without thoroughly researching the care the animals need, she says. Still more come from cattle ranchers, who purchased the donkeys to protect their herds but lost the herds when the economy worsened.

In Tucson, HOPE Animal Shelter will use its grant to install a new misting system and sunshades so dogs can be cool in their outdoor runs.

“It has been over 100 degrees for 24 days in a row,” Executive Director Susan Scherl tells us. “Because of our hard water, the inexpensive mister we currently use keeps getting clogged.”

Our Executive Director Lisa Robinson with Rizzo from HOPE Animal Shelter

Our executive director, Lisa Robinson, chills with Rizzo, an affectionate 10-year-old at HOPE Animal Shelter in Tucson.

The improvements will help dogs like Rizzo, above, get more socialization and exercise time outdoors. HOPE has a soft spot for senior dogs, Scherl says, so she works with other local shelters to take in older dogs who are at great risk of euthanasia. She also takes in abused and abandoned dogs like Evie, below, who was tied to the shelter’s fence overnight and spends many hours in its outdoor runs.

Evie is waiting at HOPE Animal Shelter.

Evie waited for days for the person who abandoned her at HOPE Animal Shelter to return.

“We don’t have air conditioning, so anything that can cool off the dogs outside in this Tucson heat is wonderful,” Scherl says. “The misters will be a great addition.”

Donate to help us keep more pets safe and cool this summer, and Orvis will match your gift!
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A Flood Threatens Reservation Dogs in Montana

George had to be evacuated from RezQ Dogs.

George has been evacuated from RezQ Dogs’ shelter because of the flood.

When the shelter housing pets rescued by RezQ Dogs — which saves extremely at-risk dogs from two isolated Indian reservations in Montana — was destroyed on June 4 by a flood, we rushed $3,000 in disaster aid to Dodson, Mont., where RezQ Dogs is building new kennels so it can keep saving the area’s stray, abused and unwanted dogs.

“Every inch of the property is covered with three to four inches of silt and mud,” RezQ Dogs President Anita Wilke tells us. “Ten kennels are destroyed, as is the perimeter fence. All of the dog houses are either contaminated or destroyed.”

Flooded dog runs at RezQ Dogs.

Flooded dog runs at RezQ Dogs’ shelter

RezQ Dogs takes in dogs, cats and other animals from the Fort Belknap and Rocky Boy’s reservations. Together, the communities cover roughly 1,200 square miles in North-Central Montana, and the prospects for homeless dogs are dire in both, Wilke says.

On Fort Belknap, Wilke says, “Dogs spend their mandatory three-day hold cramped into the live trap in which they were captured.”

“Because there is no budget for animal control, there is no budget for medical needs or even food for the dogs that find their way to ‘animal control,’ ” she adds. “Prior to RezQ Dogs, the Fort Belknap Animal Control euthanized 95 percent of all incoming dogs. Only 5 percent were reclaimed by owners or found new homes. Strays on Fort Belknap were held for three days, if they didn’t cause a problem, and then were euthanized by gunshot. Owner turn-ins were shot immediately.”

There is no animal control presence on Rocky Boy’s Reservation, Wilke says.

“Their customary response to the ‘dog control issue’ is to conduct round ups which result in the animals being hunted and shot,” she says.

In the last three years, RezQ has saved and found loving homes for more than 800 dogs, Wilke says.

Katniss, who's eye had to be removed because of a porcupine encounter, was evacuated.

Katniss came to RezQ Dogs with a porcupine-injured eye that had to be removed.

Wilke says Dodson’s heavy rains began several weeks before the June 4 flood hit. Fearing the weather would worsen, RezQ Dogs transported 11 of its dogs to a boarding kennel 180 miles away in Great Falls. Eight dogs remained in the group’s care when the flood struck, and they were evacuated by boat. Some of these displaced dogs have been taken in by shelters and rescues in the region, but the demand on RezQ Dogs to take in imperiled dogs from the reservations has not slowed down.

“We are looking forward to making the necessary improvements to continue helping dogs from the Fort Belknap and Rocky Boy’s Indian reservations,” Wilke says. “Everyone at RezQ Dogs is very grateful for your support!”

Donate so we can keep helping pets when disaster strikes.

Evacuation by boat.

Evacuating RezQ Dogs by boat

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