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New group saves dogs from fate in shelter
For more information about this organization, go to resQpaws.org.
Buddy, aka Louis, made a lot of friends in a short time Saturday. So many, in fact, that his handlers opted to pay a Sutter County Animal Shelter adoption fee and have him taken him off a list of dogs to be euthanized.
"He's not going back," said Kristi Rymer, who heads a new animal rescue organization called ResQpaws.
This news elicited smiles and sighs of relief from the group's volunteers at Saturday's adoption fair at VIP Pets in Marysville. They had been smitten by the brindle pit-bull mix.
Though Buddy has not yet found his forever home, for now, he will live in the home of a foster care provider — a ResQpaws volunteer — until he can be placed with a suitable family permanently.
"If you go into the shelter, you just don't see their (animals') personalities. You don't see this," Rymer said, gesturing to the perked ears and hard-wagging tails nearby.
Conditions at a crowded animal shelter can cause even occupants with a strong immune system and good temperament to show signs of trauma and thus make them difficult to adopt out, Rymer said.
But after a bath and a break from the overcrowded facility in Yuba City, the lucky few chosen for the adoption fair pranced and played at the back of the pet supply store as if they had been pampered and loved all along.
"When they get socialized in a calm environment, it prepares them to live with a family," Rymer said.
Four of Buddy's former shelter mates were adopted Saturday through the group, which holds weekly events in the cavernous D Street store. Buddy and three others headed to foster homes at the end of the day, where they will be cared for until their next public showing.
"We're buying them more time," Rymer said of the program, which requires close interaction with the shelter staff and constant expansion of the group's foster home network.
"We desperately need foster homes," said Rymer.
Shelter Supervisor Cheryl Bohanan and her staff keeps a constant lookout, she said, for animals that show particular promise for adoption events.
Most of the time, they are slated for euthanasia, or will be before long.
The selected animals are examined and vaccinated by veterinarians who donate their time to the program. Currently, the group primarily fosters dogs, but cats are part of the agenda too, Rymer said.
Saturday is show time.
Jayme Burnside, a college student who lives in Citrus Heights, was one of a half-dozen volunteers handling dogs and answering questions of prospective adopters this past weekend.
Burnside travels each week to help Rymer in Marysville. Like most of the group's 26 volunteers, she is new to the animal rescue business.
"I found a shelter that was really in need and ResQpaws, which was just getting started," she said of her new avocation. "I always dreamed of doing this kind of work."
Ella Hutchinson of Loma Rica cautiously made her way to the adoption area Saturday. She had come in hopes of finding a shepherd mix — one with the same level of pathos, athleticism and loyalty as her best friend who died seven years ago.
There were no shepherd mixes at Saturday's event, and Hutchinson looked forlorn.
Staff at the Sutter County Animal Shelter can stay alert for animals to show her, Rymer told her.
"I hate going in there," Hutchinson said of the shelter.
Rymer gave her contact information for the organization. ResQpaws would help her look for a new best friend, she told her.
Just before the dogs' time in the spotlight was over Saturday, Rymer watched Buddy perk up at the sight of a newcomer.
He greeted the customer — as he had all the others who came to say hello — with a friendly nuzzle and full-body wag. And when the woman ventured to lean in close, she got a slightly slobbery kiss.
The interaction brought smiles to the volunteers' faces, and the three other love-hungry dogs trotted over for a share of the customer's affection.
"It's the community's responsibility to step in and do something about this," Rymer said of Sutter County's troubled shelter and her role in running ResQpaws. "We all know their (animals') fate if they're out of public view."
CONTACT reporter Nancy Pasternack at 749-4781.