Northern Elves Look Out for Shelter Pets

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All throughout the year we know that Santa and his elves work hard building toys for children to receive during Christmas. Well, in the northern hemisphere there is another “workshop” full of amazing elves that look out for the four-legged children that have been abandoned by some naughty humans.

Bethel Friends of Canines is a small group of independent animal lovers from Bethel, Alaska, that work hard year round, rescuing and re-homing Alaska’s unwanted pets.

Founder Joan Dewey getting ready to send puppies to Anchorage. Photo Credit: Bethel Friends of Canine
Founder Joan Dewey getting ready to send puppies to Anchorage.
Photo Credit: Bethel Friends of Canine

“[We are] a community organization that works in conjunction with the local animal care officer to find permanent homes for abandoned and neglected dogs and puppies,” said Bethel Friends of Canines.

Joan Dewey, Nancy Elliott and Janet Kaiser started the organization in the small rural village back in July of 2011.

“They were just appalled at how many animals were loose in town, and how many were being shot at the pound because people weren’t going there to adopt,” said volunteer Jesslyn Elliot. “In our tiny town we only have a population of about 6,000 and with hundreds of unwanted dogs, the percent of dogs getting out of the pound alive wasn’t pretty.”

In the 18 months after starting the organization, Bethel Friends of Canines saved the lives of 300 pets. This year they have saved 242 dogs and cats.

“We don’t just help the dogs in our community,” continued Elliot. “We have been contacted by people from different villages to help with their dogs. So those animals get put on a plane or boat and come to Bethel for a shot at a better life.”

Bethel is a remote town only accessible by plane, boat, or snow mobile (during winter months only). The town has limited resources and families able to adopt the many pets Bethel Friends of Canines rescues. This is why the organization has teamed up with Alaskan Animal Rescue Friends, Alaska SPCA, and Kool Kat Rescue in Anchorage, Alaska, where many of Bethel’s unwanted pets are finding loving forever homes.

Foster parent Russ and rescued Pit Bull terrier Roscoe and Sid. Photo Credit: Bethel Friends of Canine
Foster parent Russ and rescued Pit Bull terrier Roscoe and Sid.
Photo Credit: Bethel Friends of Canine

“The dogs and cats get loaded onto a plane and make the 1-1.5 hour ride into Anchorage,” said Elliot. “Thanks to companies like Era Aviation and Everts Air Cargo we are able to do this for free. Without these other rescues and airline companies we would not be able to save all of the animals that we have.”

Bethel Friends of Canines is a 100 percent volunteer run rescue. The small organization has 6 core members and about 10-15 foster homes. The town of Bethel does not have its own veterinarian, but thanks to Dr. Sept who flies in one week a month, the organization is able to run a low-cost spay/neuter clinic for resident who can’t afford  veterinarian care for their pets. The team of volunteers also delivers dog houses with straw to those dogs that don’t have adequate shelter to keep them safe from the harsh winters.

Bethel Friends of Canines depends on donations and fundraisers. Those funds allow the small town rescue to feed, immunize, spay, and neuter the area’s unwanted pets.

Currently, the organization is raising funds to build a small kennel that will home many shelter dogs that are running out of time at the local pound. These pets deserver a chance to know what it means to be a loved pet and the kennels are their ticket out of certain death at the pound.

Learn more about the year round elves from Bethel Friends of Canines on Facebook and make a donation to help them saved many more lives.

 

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