Normally, the front lobby area of the Camas-based Mostly Mutts animal rescue is a place where folks can meet with a potential new furry family member. But on this particular day, a mama dog and her litter of pups are occupying most of the space.
They need to be separated from the rest of the rescue dogs because they are healing from mange, a skin disease caused by parasitic mites that causes itching, hair loss and scabs on affected animals, explains Mostly Mutts founder and day-to-day operator, Amy Reed.
The rescue received the mother dog and pups after they’d already contracted mange, and Reed has been treating them with medication prescribed by a local veterinarian as well as bathing them multiple times each week. The mama and pups are beginning to recover, Reed says, it just takes some time. Soon, they’ll be able to find their “forever home” like so many of the young puppies that pass through the Mostly Mutts rescue.
“That’s our specialty,” Reed says of helping pregnant dogs or those that have just recently given birth. In another corner of the rescue, a volunteer is petting a pregnant dog due to give birth within the next couple weeks.
Many of the dogs that come to Mostly Mutts in Camas began their journey at overflowing dog shelters in Mexico, southern California and Arizona. Overwhelmed by the number of dogs in their care, these shelters often euthanize pregnant dogs, Reed says.
“We rescue from shelters that are so full,” adds Linda Strobeck, Reed’s mother and partner in the Mostly Mutts rescue operations. “Oregon and Washington do a good job of taking the dogs that those shelters (cannot care for).”
Every month, Reed and Strobeck are able to see the dogs slated for transport to northern rescues in Oregon and Washington, and pick the dogs and puppies they have room for at Mostly Mutts.
Many of the dogs up for adoption at Mostly Mutts are living today thanks to the California-based nonprofit, Shelter Transport Animal Rescue Team (START), which relocates adoptable dogs from high-kill shelters in southern and central California to rescues and humane societies throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Mostly Mutts cares for these animals until they find a new home. In 2018, the Camas rescue expanded into its new building, which includes 10 indoor/outdoor kennels, a washing station, reception greeting area, a restroom and laundry room and a spacious, outdoor grassy area where the older dogs get running and play time while puppies stick to another, smaller and more “puppy-proofed” area in the front of the property for their time in the sunshine.
Some of the dogs find homes without a hitch. A litter of pitbull-border collie puppies brought to the shelter from a person living near Goldendale, Washington, for instance, found homes within just a few days after Strobeck posted a video of the winsome pups tumbling and playing and generally looking irresistibly cute. But some dogs at Mostly Mutts have been waiting a while to find the right home.
Reed tries to match her dogs with the proper families and says she will not allow an adoption — particularly of puppies and larger breed dogs — that has a good potential of sending the dog back to the rescue. Often, families who are renting homes or apartments want to adopt rescue dogs, but Reed says she is cautious since rental situations can change and people may have no option but to surrender their dogs back to the rescue. That’s something Reed and Strobeck say they try to avoid.
“My first priority is the dogs,” Reed says. “And it seems to be working. Our return rate is very low. In 26 years, I can think of maybe 10 that have been returned.”
One dog that is still waiting for the right family is Lizzy, a medium-sized girl who came to Mostly Mutts with her two babies after being found by animal control in Porterville, California. Lizzy’s babies have found homes, but Reed is hoping Lizzy — a loving pup who, according to her Mostly Mutts rescuers, gets along with other dogs, loves all humans, is highly treat-motivated and will stick by her person’s side and cuddle in their lap — will also find the right family to love and care for her.
All of the dogs at Mostly Mutts have a backstory. Some came to the Camas rescue with medical issues requiring several thousands of dollars worth of veterinary care. And even with local veterinarians who offer discounts to the rescue — including and the Companion Pet Clinic off Mill Plain Boulevard in Vancouver — medical costs eat up about 80 percent of the rescue’s funds.
That’s why Reed and Strobeck have planned a second annual fundraiser to benefit Mostly Mutts Animal Rescue.
Featuring food, drinks, raffles for gift baskets, and a chance to meet some of the residents at Mostly Mutts who are seeking their new families, the fundraiser is open to the public and will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 17, at Mostly Mutts, 26100 N.E. 36th St., Camas. The rescue is a 501 c3, all-volunteer nonprofit organization, and all donations are tax deductible.
For more information about the animal rescue, the fundraiser or the available pets up for adoption, visit mostlymuttsrescue.com or search for @mostly muttsrescue on Facebook.
Second annual Mostly Mutts fundraiser
What: Fundraiser with raffles, refreshments to raise money for Mostly Mutts animal rescue, a no-kill, all-volunteer animal rescue in Camas
When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 17
Where: Mostly Mutts, 26100 N.E. 36th St., Camas