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Small for its breed — for now
Pet rescue founded by area residents quickly lures pack of supporters
In the more than two years Michelle Saelin has fostered animals, she's taken some risks in order give dogs and cats a second chance.
She agreed to foster one dog, even though she was told he was aggressive.
"He had to be put down," she said. "That was a situation where that dog didn't get what he needed" as far as training and socialization from his previous owners.
"By the time he came to me, it was too late."
But that didn't keep Saelin from taking home Asher, who was known to nip when giving into a herding instinct from his herd-dog ancestry and was about to be euthanized. He was the first animal pulled from a shelter by a Twin Cities non-profit that got its start in the South St. Paul area: No Place Like Home Pet Rescue.
"No Place Like Home was the only place that would pull him and give him a shot," said Saelin. "I offered to foster him, knowing he might actually be aggressive and he may not be salvageable. There's something about him that just stuck with me."
Through training, the nipping's almost entirely extinguished, Saelin said. Soon realizing he was "meant to be a part of our family," she adopted him.
And many more
No Place Like Home's four directors all worked at the same South St. Paul area rescue before they launched their own venture in late July. Their hopes: to have as many happy endings like Saelin's as possible, while still giving each animal the attention, quality veterinary care and supplies it needs.
"We're trying to, in the beginning, stay smaller," said director/adoption coordinator Melissa Marchio. "We make sure that when we pull a dog, we have the means to get them completely vetted." That means making sure they're up-to-date on vaccinations and healthy.
In less than one day, the non-profit garnered 400 followers on its Facebook page, its primary tool in connecting rescued animals with prospective foster homes. In just weeks, the organization attracted hundreds more, topping out at over 1,000 "likes."
The directors are now trying to raise enough money to apply for 501(c)(3) status, making it a federal non-profit and allowing them to work with more shelters and apply for more grants.
In its first two weeks, No Place Like Home pulled five dogs and one cat from shelters, and had one pet adopted.
The rescue isn't a pound. It doesn't have a boarding facility or an office, because it's completely foster-based and the supplies are stored at the directors' homes in South St. Paul, Inver Grove Heights and St. Paul's East Side. So when the directors find a pet they want to pull by trolling Craigslist and various Facebook pages of rescues and pounds (which is how most rescues network), they have to find a foster home first.
"When (a lot of people) hear 'rescue,' they automatically shy away from it, because they think they're just going to be stuck in a pound somewhere, which is the furthest thing from the truth," said director/foster coordinator Lindsay Krieger.
A 24-7 job
Once a group of people decide to start a rescue, the process to launch it is pretty straightforward: assign jobs, and look for unwanted pets to save.
But between the vet visits, grooming and scoping out foster homes — not to mention tracking down unwanted animals, picking up donated pet supplies and keeping up communication with fosters — director/vetting manager Steffani Patrick, who's studying to be a veterinary technician, said the work seems constant. Her boyfriend, director/account manager Kevin Ward, agrees.
"I've never driven so far in my life," he said. "It's time consuming, but I'm not complaining a bit."
Each director said they've been amazed at the support they received so far in donations, time and connections. Even Saelin, who's worked with nearly a dozen rescues as a volunteer director of operations and just a solo advocate for animals, said she's been impressed by the positive response they've received and how carefully the team of directors tend to their fosters and the animals they rescue.
"That's one of the things that sets this rescue apart," Saelin said. "I've been able to communicate with them as a foster (in a way that) I haven't been able to with other rescues."
Krieger said the fundamental problem that makes organizations like hers a dog's last-ditch hope is that people have failed to understand, accommodate and train their pets. That's where her foster people step in.
"It just takes that one person who is willing to invest time in them and be patient."
Kaitlyn Roby can be reached at 651-748-7815 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her at twitter.com/KRobyNews.
Fostering is free, and all pet supplies are provided
No Place Like Home Pet Rescue's Facebook page is the best way to keep an eye on animals to foster or to find out how to help out: https://www.facebook.com/noplacelikehomepetrescue
To donate to the rescue, visit: http://www.gofundme.com/by5u2o
Donations can also be made via PayPal, using email@example.com.