Kat Ross and her husband love cats, but her allergy to them made having one impossible. Then one day, the couple and their four-year-old daughter found an unexpected joy in Fergus, a gray and white kitty. While shopping at the Flagstaff Mall, they met a volunteer from Rescue Me! Pet Adoption Center who was carrying Fergus. The family stopped to pet him and Ross soon realized she was not having an allergic reaction. So the family returned to Rescue Me!, spent an hour falling in love with Fergus, and immediately began the adoption process. “Fergus has enriched our lives,” Ross said. “He’s silly and playful one minute, and the next minute he’s snuggling in my lap and making me forget the stresses of the day.” The Rosses already had a dog, Samson, but Fergus walked in, announced that the family now had a cat and the two pets have become great friends.
Rescue Me! is part of Paw Placement of Northern Arizona, an all-volunteer foster-based rescue group. Diane Jarvis, the co-founder and director of Paw Placement says that adoptions have increased nearly 30 percent since the retail store and adoption center opened in June 2011. “Rescue Me! has been a huge help in our efforts to find homes for these deserving animals.” There are separate areas where people can visit cats (in Kitty City, sponsored by Canyon Pet Hospital) and dogs (at Bark Park, sponsored by Westside Veterinary Clinic). Rescue Me! is housed in a storefront donated by Westcor, owner of the Flagstaff Mall, whose corporate policy prohibits commercial pet stores in any of its shopping malls. The store sells a variety of gifts, artwork and craft items made by local artisans. Located near the entrance to Penney’s, Rescue Me! is open 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, and Noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays.
After losing their two older dogs earlier this year, Lee Carlson and Georgette Vigil went to Rescue Me! and adopted Domo, a five-month-old Schnauzer-Lab mix. The couple especially liked that Domo had been in a foster home environment rather than a cage. They also liked the added assurance of the steps before adopting and a trial period. Initially chosen for his size so he could accompany Georgette when she runs, Domo’s loyalty, bright eyes and extreme intelligence make him “the whole package,” said Vigil. She and Carlson thought Domo’s personality would make him a wonderful service dog, and he is now in a special training program.
Paw Placement is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to “ending the euthanasia of companion animals through rescue, adoption, spay/neuter programs, and education about responsible pet guardianship.” For the last three years, the group has received funding from the Flagstaff Community Foundation to provide no-cost spay/neuter vouchers to low-income families. Paw Placement also relies on donations from the public, private grants and support from local businesses. There are other ways to contribute, including volunteering at the store, helping at an adoption event, or fostering a cat or dog. To learn more, visit www.PPNAZ.org or call 928-699-7586.
If you enjoy fabulous food, another way to help is to attend “Paws for the Perfect Taste.” Featuring wine and beer tastings, marvelous food catered by Jake’s on the Green, and scrumptious desserts from Flagstaff’s finest restaurants and bakeries, Paw Placement’s sixth annual fundraiser will be held on Sunday, October 28th from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm at Jake’s on the Green at the Continental Country Club. Tickets are $40 per person or $75 per couple. To purchase tickets, go to www.PPNAZ.org. FBN