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Gil the Wonder Pup surveying his new home.

Featured Article

The Truth About Rescuing a Four-Legged Friend

An incredible, surprising journey from a scared (but sweet) street survivor slowly blossoming in her new family.

Every year nearly 20,000 dogs and cats (and sometimes other creatures) end up in animal shelters in Pima County.

Thankfully, a network of big-hearted volunteers, professional caretakers, and civic leaders dig in, dedicated to an endless mission to get these stray or abandoned creatures into loving homes. These match-making efforts focus on pairing the right animals with the right homes.

The work is endless. It plays out in massive facilities like the world-class Pima Animal Care Center (PACC) and storefront rescue centers in malls like Rescue Me Marana. And the caring work is done by hundreds of foster families who bring frightened animals into their homes for gentle care and a little peace.

In fact, these animal lovers seemingly go to the ends of the earth to help keep animals in their original homes or find new families to take them in. And some of the situations are heartbreaking 

Kimberley Kelly is one of those crusaders who just can't stop. She found a home for Gil the Wonder Pup, paralyzed from the waist down. Today, Gil is living his best life on the Mroz ranch near Durango, Colorado. Today she is trying to rescue two paralyzed dogs.

"I'm currently working on rehoming two other paralyzed pups," she said, adding that "One is Jazmin, from Mexico, who had horrible, horrible injuries and was never supposed to recover and yet is thriving. The other is a border collie mix named Luna who was shot in the spine in a drive-by shooting."

What is striking is that, in the face of such cruelty, these rescuers are full of love and optimism. Maybe that comes when all the pieces come together and an animal finds their forever home. Like Gil. Or Royal.

Cindy Hefley is a board member and volunteer at Rescue Me Marana in the Marana Premium Outlet mall. She said that a family from Las Cruces happened to be shopping at the mall when they met Royal, a german-shorthair pointer. "It was a perfect match. They wanted a strong active family dog to be a jogging companion." Royal was the perfect fit and is now home in New Mexico.  

Cindy has been working at Rescue Me Marana since it opened a year ago. In that time, they have found homes for more than 350 cats and dogs. Nancy and her husband XXXX has converted a retail store into a buzzing hive of caregivers and animals. "We are part of a huge network of shelters across the state," she said,

"Until there are none, save one," is her mantra.

Monica Dangler, director at PACC, said they are currently in a "code red" status with their extensive facilities overflowing with stray or surrendered animals.

Our mission, supported by loving volunteers and staff, and enlightened leadership with Pima County, is three-fold, she said.

"As a community shelter, our core efforts are focused on public safety with aggressive animals, helping sick and injured animals on the street, and trying to keep animals with their families," Monica said.

A surge of evictions, post-COVID life changes, a 30% increase in pet supplies, and a shortage of veterinarians push many families to the brink of surrendering their family pets "out of desperation," she added.

  • Our Honey, happy at home! Her spirit renewed!
  • Gil the Wonder Pup surveying his new home.
  • Jabba kicking back. All ears and eyes focused on getting home.