Ruff Start is giving dogs a second chance at life by bringing them to Kamloops.
The newly formed group, officially called the Kamloops Ruff Start Rescue Society, started in August, says society vice-president Brenda Sawada, to bring dogs from a kill shelter in California. Kill shelters are animal shelters that euthanize animals if they aren't able to rehome them.
"It's my understanding, (this shelter) will take dogs in from any source," Sawada says. "They'll keep them for a certain amount of time, and then they'll put them down, due to overcrowding."
Ruff Start preselects dogs they believe they can rehome, Sawada says, and they're trucked north via a specialized semi-truck called the "Rescue Express." Ruff Start volunteers (the organization is 100 per cent volunteer-run) travel down to the meet the truck in the northern part of the U.S. and bring the rescued dogs back to the Tournament Capital.
Sawada says, so far, the group has rescued over 30 dogs from the Golden State, with over a dozen adopted out and another 16 currently in foster homes.
The history of each is different; one (who was adopted by Sawada's parents) was a certified therapy dog.
"This little dog they got is a 14-year-old chihuahua," she says. "My mom and dad, they're 78 years old; she's a service dog, she's absolutely lovely."
The society is holding a meet-and-greet on Saturday, Nov. 23 at the Aberdeen Bosley's, from 11 a.m to 2 p.m.
"Not all the dogs will come, some dogs are nervous around busyness," Sawada tells KamloopsMatters.
The event will give the community a chance to meet the dogs and the members of the organization. Many of the four-legged companions are small, chihuahua crosses. All are looking for a new home.
However, people won't be able to just show up and take a dog home.
"We're very selective that our dogs go to forever homes," Sawada says. "They've had some trauma so we want them to be in a long-term position."
The adoption application is around eight pages, with a fee of $350 to $550, depending on the age of the dog. Sawada explains that all the dogs are taken to a vet, spayed or neutered, microchipped and get dental work if they need it.
"They all go through Tranquille Veterinary Clinic," she says. "Our vet bills are our biggest expense."
She notes the clinic gives them deals, but there are still costs.
"They're really generous, but it's not free," she says.
She adds the society has also rehomed some local dogs.
"People bring dogs to us because we have a diligent adoption process," Sawada says.
For those who would like to lend a hand, the group is looking for more foster families. To be one, you don't need to have previous experience, but having cared for a dog, in general, is required.
They're also planning on holding events on a regular basis to help fund their activities. A recent pub dinner fundraiser sold out, and Sawada is hopeful a spring dance will help alleviate costs as well.
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