Beyond a bone, a ball or a tug toy, for Brook, a 1-year-old Australian shepherd, receiving a new home was the best Christmas present of all.
Brook was rescued off the streets of Show Low and almost put down due to overcrowding in a shelter. Luckily, Payson’s Aussie and Friends Rescue scooped Brook up before it was too late and found her a new, loving home.
Simone Loetscher never dreamed she would find her ideal dog when she visited the annual Alpine Village Christmas lighting event in early December. On a whim, she decided to look through the Christmas Tree Forest sponsored by Rebecca Acord, owner of Crafters Cubbies.
The “forest” featured trees decorated by local businesses and organizations, including Aussie Rescue. The event was a way to collect food for the food drive and toys for area children.
Sitting near the Aussie Rescue tree, volunteer Jane Evans had brought two rescue dogs in hopes of drumming up interest for the group and to collect donations.
One of the dogs with Evans caught Loetscher’s eye and they arranged to meet to look at other dogs Evans was fostering.
Evans, along with a dozen volunteers, rescues Aussies from around the state. In the last six months, the group has rescued four dogs from the Humane Society of Central Arizona, all of which have been adopted out.
And in the past few months, four other Aussies from state shelters have been placed with Payson families, Evans said.
“This year, we have adopted almost 100 dogs and have rescued well over 100,” she said. “Most of our dogs come from shelters and many of them are on the “E” (euthanasia) list, mostly for fear.”
When an Aussie is put on the euthanasia list, someone from Aussie Rescue tries to pick them up, regardless of where they are in the state.
When they arrive in the Rim Country, the dogs are implanted with microchips, spayed or neutered, checked over by a veterinarian and given a rabies shot if needed.
A dog is then placed in a foster home, where they are evaluated and taken care of until they are adopted.
At any one time, Evans is fostering at least three dogs and Aussie and Friends Rescue founder Jane Burlison has up to 20 dogs at her home.
Why focus on Australian shepherds? Evans says they are wonderful dogs and there are already groups working to adopt greyhounds and smaller dogs, so why not Aussies?
“They live to please and are very bright, active dogs,” she said.
When Loetscher finally met with Evans to see if she was a match with Brook, an Aussie/Springer mix, she knew right away it would be her dog.
“I said, ‘Oh my gosh, she is so beautiful,’” Loetscher said of Brook.
And when Brook laid down next to Loetscher and put her head in her lap, Evans knew it was a match for Brook as well.
“Aussie Rescue is always in need of more volunteers, as we try not to turn away any Aussie that needs help,” Evans said.
“That means that most of our volunteers have multiple fosters and spend a lot of time rescuing and transporting.”
For more information and to see a list of adoptable dogs, visit www.aussiefriendsrescue.com.