January 11, 1998 in City

Warm Hearts, Wet Noses Prospective Parents Line Up To Love Rescued Huskies

Virginia De Leon Staff writer
 
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Adopting a dog these days may be almost as hard as adopting a child.

At least 300 people have applied to own the neglected Siberian huskies rescued in Colville last month, but the process isn’t easy.

First, there’s the lengthy application form. Then the interview. Then getting judged on interaction with the dog.

Applicants also need to supply personal references and describe their family life. They must answer questions like these: “Where will the dog spend the day?” “How many hours will the dog spend alone?” “Have you owned a Siberian husky before?”

But that hasn’t stopped people from trying.

On Saturday, hundreds came to Petsmart in the Spokane Valley to visit the dogs and fill out adoption forms. Even more are expected today.

“I felt really sad for the dogs,” said Pat Belair of Spokane, who filled out an application Saturday. “I was really touched when I heard about the pet rescue.”

Two weeks ago, the animals were living in squalor. They were covered with lice and sores. The dogs had little food or water.

They were rescued after their owner contacted Partners for Pets, a nonprofit group. The woman, who has a mental disability and lives on state assistance, could no longer take care of the animals.

There were 34 huskies in all, between 10 weeks and 10 years old. Two of the most malnourished dogs later died. All but 15 of the rest were adopted by their foster homes.

“Every time I see the dogs on TV, I want to cry,” said Robin Kennedy, vice president of Partners for Pets. “It makes me sad to remember where they came from.”

The physical and mental health of the dogs has improved since the rescue. Many weren’t used to being touched. Most were shy and afraid. On Saturday, they obediently sat in their kennels while waiting for people to walk or pet them. They hardly barked.

They weren’t abused, Kennedy said, but they lacked care.

“As much as what they’ve gone through, they have such good dispositions,” said Ron Ellis, a Petsmart employee.

On Saturday, the dogs were surrounded by children and adults who showered them with attention. Each dog had a name. There’s Kelli, a 9-month-old female with only one eye; Frosty, with blue eyes and white fur; and Shy Anne, a sweet-tempered black puppy that became the center of attention.

Although the animals adapt easily, they’re not easy to take care of because they’re larger-than-average dogs and need room to run, Kennedy said.

Besides paying the $65 adoption fee, prospective dog owners have to fulfill several requirements, including having a lot with a fence that’s at least 6 feet high.

So far, only 10 of the 100 people interviewed have passed muster as qualified owners, Kennedy said.

She said the dogs will go to good homes, so “it’s not first-come, first-serve.”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 Color photos

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story:

DONATIONS

Partners for Pets is seeking donations to help pay for the rescued dogs’ care and housing.

Donations can be made to the “Timber Fund” at any Washington Trust Bank branch or sent to Partners for Pets, P.O. Box 364, Liberty Lake, WA 99019.

People interested in adopting the dogs can come to Petsmart, 14024 E. Sprague, today or call (509) 327-9514.

This sidebar appeared with the story: DONATIONS Partners for Pets is seeking donations to help pay for the rescued dogs’ care and housing. Donations can be made to the “Timber Fund” at any Washington Trust Bank branch or sent to Partners for Pets, P.O. Box 364, Liberty Lake, WA 99019. People interested in adopting the dogs can come to Petsmart, 14024 E. Sprague, today or call (509) 327-9514.


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