“Paws For A Cause” Finds Homes For Local Stray Dogs – Cleveland County Herald
RISON -This Wednesday afternoon, a van will stop at a pre-established location along the highway. 79 to Rison to retrieve Shadow and his eight puppies.
Their destination is Passion for Pets Rescue, located in Bowdoinham, Maine, an agency that provides foster homes for pets until adoption.
It’s a scene that plays out twice a month for Rison Paws for a Cause, an all-volunteer group that rescues stray and abandoned dogs.
Now in its third year, Rison Paws for a Cause has made strides in eliminating dogs from the streets and back roads of Rison, Kingsland and all of Cleveland County. Once the animals are in their care, the group works to bring them back to health so they can be adopted into loving homes, many of which are located hundreds or even thousands of miles away.
Rhonda Fletcher from Rison, one of the volunteers who had been with the group from the start, said they had 34 dogs in their care as of Tuesday. She noted that the number is constantly changing as some animals are transferred to adoption agencies while new ones are introduced.
Many of the dogs they care for end up out of state, usually somewhere in the northern United States.
Previously, Rison Paws for a Cause worked with a group that took animals to Illinois and Minnesato for adoption. Fletcher said he started working with Passion for Pets Rescue last year. She said she especially enjoyed working with this group of volunteers because the dogs are placed in foster homes rather than kennels once they reach their destination.
According to the Pew Charitable Trust, there is a growing movement to bring rescued dogs from southern states to northern states where regulations have resulted in a shortage of pets for adoption.
Since launching in March 2019, Fletcher has said that most of the stray animals encountered by Rison Paws for a Cause are picked up by members of the group or some of their friends who know they are saving dogs.
Fletcher said one of his last foster dogs, Angel, came through a recommendation from a friend of his. The small black and tan dog was found in a deer concession off Dunkeffie Road, north of Rison.
When the dog was discovered, Fletcher said he couldn’t walk. An examination revealed that Angel was apparently struck by a vehicle, fracturing both of his hips. The wounds healed on their own, but in such a way that they prevented Angel from walking.
After rescuing her, Fletcher said they immediately took Angel to a vet. The first vet they visited told her there was little they could do for Angel and suggested that she be euthanized. Fletcher said they decided to get a second opinion and this time the vet said he could help. Angel had surgery on Monday, November 22, and that same evening Fletcher said she was out for a walk.
While Angel suffered a major injury, Fletcher said many of the dogs they rescue have health issues, ranging from heartworms and illnesses to physical conditions like Angel that may require surgery.
And since the group is only dependent on donations and the money they can raise through various fundraisers, finances are a consideration.
“We are doing everything in our power to help (dogs that need medical attention),” she said. “If a vet is willing to give it a try, we’re willing to try and raise the funds to do it.”
One of the most common health problems they encounter is heartworms. Pet adoption agencies like Passion for Pets Rescue require that any dogs they accept be vaccinated and be in good health, which means they are free from heartworms.
Heartworms are a persistent problem in many dogs that they get. Fletcher said it costs between $ 700 and $ 900 to treat a dog for the parasite. On top of that, Mark Pitchford, another volunteer in the group, said the dog had to first undergo three months of treatments and then wait another three months before he could be tested for heartworms again. That means an additional six months to house, feed and care for the dog, which is an additional expense.
Rison Paws for a Cause has two ways to house the dogs they receive: a kennel located under a storage shed owned by the Town of Rison, and local people who volunteer to provide foster homes for the animals. .
Currently, the group has five pens set up at the Rison Kennel and another temporary pen that has been covered. On Tuesday, of the 34 dogs taken care of by the group, 15 were at the kennel, including Shadow and his puppies. The remaining 19 were in foster homes.
Fletcher said one of their biggest issues is finding local foster homes for the dogs they welcome. In some cases, she said she had to place the dogs in homes as far away as Benton. She noted that there is no cost to the foster home since the group covers the cost of food, vaccinations, medical care, etc. they are ready to be adopted.
Fletcher said they might need some extra help around the kennel as well. Currently, Pitchford cleans and disinfects the pens on a daily basis. She said that a little help with the daily care would be very helpful as well as for the improvement of the kennels.
The group’s wishlist for the kennel is to build an enclosed enclosure that would provide storage space as well as space to provide special care for animals in need. Besides. Pitchford pointed out that there was no electricity at Rison’s kennel.
Rison Paws for a Cause, Inc. recently became a formal 501 (c) 3 nonprofit, meaning all donations to the group are tax deductible. Anyone wishing to make a donation can send a check made payable to Rison Paws for a Cause to: Rison Paws for a Cause, PO Box 123, Rison, AR 71665.
To become a volunteer or foster home, contact Rhonda Flecther at (870) 814-0185.