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There are about 40 animals in the shelter and 220 in foster care. More than 2,000 have been placed in four years, said founder-executive director Jodi Polanski.
As a mortgage loan officer, Ms. Polanski heard story after story, so she started the rescue in her spare time. There was too much work, so she became full-time director, and now she and two employees work with 120 volunteers and fosters.
In Arizona’s Maricopa County, foreclosed homeowners have turned into renters. “Landlords can be pickier and not allow pets or they can require large pet deposits,” Ms. Polanski said, forcing people to give up some or all of their animals. The problem will exist until people can qualify for home loans again, she said.
“The economy is looking better in a lot of places, but it’s not better for the animals right now,” Ms. Polanski added.
There is no charge to a person relinquishing an animal, but adopters pay $150 per animal at FUPI, $75 for cats and $195 for dogs at Lost Our Home. A veterinarian’s exam, sterilization, shots and a microchip are included.
Ms. Polanski said the worst part of her job is turning away pets. “We do have limitations. We have a waiting list. It breaks our hearts every day when there are pets we can’t help,” she said.
In addition to a website and weekly adoption events, Mr. Croxson is taking part in county meetings designed to find ways to place more animals, and he does a weekly radio show to recruit volunteers and talk about pets.
For Mr. Croxson, the worst part of helping is the loss, guilt and remorse he sees when owners say goodbye to their pets. He works hard to find homes he believes would please them.
Mrs. Waller told him Jake needs someone by his side, day and night. “He’s an old person’s dog, though he’s great with kids. His favorite thing to do is lie at your side.”
No matter what, she said, “I hope my puppies are loved as much as I love them.”
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