Duma and Tandy at their Los Angeles layover. They had a blast!
By Kathryn Jones
SFACC Adoption Partner Transfer Coordinator
In my role as Adoption Partner Transfer Coordinator, it was a treat for me to provide input to the Friends of SFACC board during their annual process of inviting applicants to apply for a Rescue Partner Grant. Over the past few years, I have been able to see first-hand how very effective these grants are to our valued partners and how deeply they appreciate them. While partner rescue is more behind the scenes than an adoption or a brave wildlife rescue (hello, mountain lion in a tree!), I have found that these rescue placements and transport trips reveal a deeply passionate network of people who will go above and beyond for an animal at SFACC.
I cannot understate how valuable our rescue partners are to our shelter animals—they are a lifeline for dogs, cats, birds, rodents, wildlife, and beyond. With our extensive partner program and our wide reach, I have come to think of SFACC as a launching pad; oftentimes we are merely a pit stop on the journey to a bright future. It takes some creativity and persistence on my part, and at times some bribery (I’m not above sending a dog along to rescue with a few cases of beer and a cake), and a whole lot of folks willing to donate their time and resources, but it is incredible to be a part of such an effective chain of people.
Our master list has approximately 135 rescue partners that span from California to Idaho to Arizona and beyond. When providing feedback about which partners Friends should invite to apply this year, I considered a few things; like so much of the rescue world, this is a nuanced piece. The award decision-making process is not just about the number of animals the rescue takes from our shelter, but also takes into account the types of animals pulled and their specific needs. A rescue that specializes in high-risk dogs with extensive medical needs will often have a high cost of operation and the grants from Friends can be a lifeline these rescues.
One such story is of Duma and Tandy, a pair of adolescent Rottweilers. This brother-and-sister pair were surrendered to our shelter last month. These two dogs were inexperienced with much of the world, and deeply anxious in the shelter environment. Our fantastic behavior team saw their potential, worked with FETCH to increase Duma and Tandy’s comfort during their stay with us, and I got to work pounding the digital pavement in order to find them suitable placement. I found an excellent rescue that focused solely on Rottweilers and had experience with undersocialized dogs. They were the perfect fit for our twin Rotties—but they were located in Arizona.
With some luck and elbow grease, the rescue agreed to take Duma and Tandy. Our heroic LT, the supervisor of the Behavior & Training department, offered to drive the pair to a halfway point in Los Angeles. We loaded the pair up in crates and LT spent a day carpooling these two goobers down south. In LA, they spent a few nights at a layover with some friends of the rescue before being scooped up by a volunteer from rescue; he flew from Phoenix to LA, rented a car, and drove our Duma and Tandy back to Arizona with him. Both dogs are doing fantastically and already have potential adopters waiting in the wings.
These rescue stories happen every week. They involve volunteers, staff members, good Samaritans from the general public, and folks I’ve never even met on the receiving end of things. They take trust, persistence, an almost foolish level of hopefulness and faith, and they produce outstanding results. The grants from Friends help our partners continue to do the incredible work they do for our animals. It has been a privilege to spend the past few years growing this network and extending this chain on behalf of the dogs and other animals under our roof. I have met a lot of wonderful people who all have one thing in common: a love of animals.