Offering Pets a Cage-Free Sanctuary While Waiting for their Forever Home
Rescuers found a yellow Labrador pup with a serious leg injury, most likely caused by being hit by a car. He was under a year old and needed a new hip, months of rehabilitation and a safe foster home where he could heal. Foothills Animal Rescue (FAR) made this all possible by holding a donation drive to cover his care. They named this little fighter Bronco, after the football team, and eventually he was adopted into a good home.
Bronco’s story is just one of thousands seen at FAR, most with bumpy beginnings and happy endings. They have rescued more than 2,000 dogs and cats in the past four years alone, and are proud to be one of about six private, non-profit rescues in the Valley to own their own facility.
A Unique Program
Foothills Animal Rescue offers a cage-free environment in hopes of creating a home-like living situation. Dogs stay in rooms with other dogs and enjoy daily walks, and there are two large cat rooms, one of which is reserved for cats with leukemia.
They are one of the few rescue groups who can accept cats with Leukemia, since it is highly contagious to other cats and the ones suffering from it must be quarantined until they are better. They also make special efforts to find these kitties homes.
Even though the rescue center has its own facility, it also utilizes foster homes.
“Space is what prevents us from taking on more. We want to create as close to a home as possible and try not to overcrowd the rooms,” says Eddie Nichols, the outreach and development director at FAR.
Nichols recruits, trains and manages their many volunteers, and sets-up and coordinates their adoption events that take place in Scottsdale pet stores.
“Younger kittens and puppies are in foster homes,” says Nichols. “We always have a need for foster families and would like to grow our foster program. The more fosters we have, the more animals we can save.”
The number of volunteers in the program greatly outnumber the paid staff members. Volunteers help with everything from rescuing animals from shelters to helping them get matched with the right people. There are also dog walkers, cat sitters and volunteers to help keep the rooms clean. The volunteers also play a major role in FAR’s Resale Boutique, which helps bring in much needed funding. There is always a need for volunteers, and it’s important to FAR that their volunteers are happy.
“We want you in it for the long run,” says Nichols.
She also spends time training and finding the right job for each person that signs up to help, investing time in the volunteers and doing her best to accommodate schedules, needs and wants.
For The Dogs
FAR chooses its dogs with their volunteers and cage-free environment in mind, taking in a variety of breeds. The breeds must be a good match for their facility with temperaments that the volunteers feel comfortable handling.
Most of their dogs come from Maricopa Animal Control, who sends a team to the shelter when they have available space. The public can also surrender pets to the rescue, but their acceptance is contingent on available space and a behavior evaluation.
When someone brings in a stray, they will do their best to offer assistance to reunite them with their owner, scanning for microchips in their clinic and offering advice.
“My favorite thing about this is finding homes for the animals, that’s what it’s all about. Maricopa County has a big homeless animal problem,” says Nichols.
They work hard to make good matches and allow adopters to bring the pet back if it isn’t a good fit, but they are proud to say they have a low return rate. They follow up with adopted families, and if there is a problem they are happy to offer advice. They also partner with local trainers who sometimes offer help at a discounted rate.
“We do our best to solve the problem,” says Nichols.
Bringing Home the Kibble
This non-profit organization is not government funded, but is supported through generous donations from the community, the Resale Boutique, and a variety of special events. One coming up is their Fourth Annual Whiskers and Wine event—a wine and food tasting with live jazz and a silent auction. The event takes place in October at Carefree Plaza.
While FAR has had calls for all varieties of animals, they redirect them to the appropriate rescues and stick to what they do best, rescuing dogs and cats of all ages.
Learn more about adopting or volunteering at FootHillsAnimal.org. No appointment is needed to visit FAR.