Sheila Ketchum and Deana Pilgrim said they helped rescue and transport around 400 dogs together over a two-year period, with the dogs making their way to forever shelters and homes across the country.
“We’re just saving dogs,” Ketchum said. “There are a lot of other people in McAlester who do it too, but she and I are friends and we’ve been rescuing dogs for several years. We saved a lot of dogs.
Rescuers said they often transported dogs to Joplin, Missouri, the furthest the two traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana.
Through the use of organized relay transports, dogs in the area have traveled as far as Pennsylvania and other New England states.
A large majority of the dogs that are rescued by the couple are local dogs that were found abandoned on a side road, stray or from the Pittsburg County Animal Shelter or Hartshorne Animal Shelter.
“We are removing a lot of dogs from the Pittsburg County Animal Shelter,” Ketchum said. “We pull them, encourage them and transport them. “
“Host families are hard to find,” Ketchum said. “Usually we don’t have host families. It would be great if people started doing foster care.
Pilgrim said she was welcoming 11 puppies eight of whom were orphaned after birth when their mother was hit by a car and died.
“She’s had these dogs this whole time,” Ketchum said.
People who wish to accommodate a dog can do so through Ketchum or the Pittsburg County Animal Shelter.
“Most of our foster families are foster families who adopt,” said Michele Van Pelt, director of the Pittsburg County Animal Shelter.
Van Pelt said most of the shelter’s foster families are young puppies “just to get them out of the shelter and into a home environment” to help them stay healthy before vaccinations.
Those who welcome from the shelter will pay the adoption fee of $ 20 and the animal will be brought back to the shelter to receive its scheduled vaccines and possible sterilization or sterilization.
“Everything is covered by the shelter,” Van Pelt said. “The foster home is only responsible until the last vaccination or surgery is food.”
Van Pelt also said it was difficult to find foster families with the number of pets in a November 4 foster family being 12 kittens and 35 puppies.
“It’s hard to find someone to welcome a dog,” Van Pelt said. “We have a lot of rescues and people volunteering for the rescues and they are also struggling to find foster families.”
Ketchum said if someone is interested in welcoming a dog from her, she and Pilgrim will cover the costs.
“Be prepared to keep it for a few weeks until its transport date,” Ketchum said. “We will pay for the food, the bedding. We just need a safe place for the dog or the puppies.
Ketchum said the number of dogs that can be rescued from both the shelter and her can double if they can find more homes for the animals.
“We just don’t have a physical place to keep them,” Ketchum said.
Those interested in facilitating or assisting in the transportation of rescues can contact Ketchum at 918-470-6646. The refuge can be reached by dialing 918-423-7803. For up-to-date photos of animals available for adoption, visit the shelter’s Facebook page by searching for “Pittsburg County Animal Shelter”.
The adoption fee for a dog is $ 20 and the fee for cats is $ 15.
Ketchum and Ven Pelt also accept donations and can be contacted to find out how to do so.
With the holiday season ahead, Van Pelt and Ketchum have both said that an animal should not be given as a gift unless the person is willing to commit to the life of the animal.
“You have to be ready to commit,” Ketchum said. “It takes a little while for pets to adjust, people don’t give them the chance and the time to adjust to a home. “
Van Pelt and Ketchum also emphasized the importance of sterilization and sterilization.
“Sterilize and sterilize, please,” Van Pelt said. “We have been open since 2008 and I know we have had to reduce the number of pets. We had to do it, but it doesn’t look like it, we continue to surrender, but that’s the only thing that will control it.
Contact Derrick James at [email protected]