SDHS’s network of trusted rescue partners chips in for Rice and Beans
Rice and Beans, a pair of stray poodles who landed at San Diego Humane Society last winter, are not the kind of pets who usually find a home quickly. For one, they’re seniors—estimated to be 11 or 12. They’re also sick. Beans, the darker of the two, has lung cancer. Her buddy Rice’s kidneys are failing. One also had an ear infection. Since they’re a bonded pair, meaning they must be adopted together, the expenses and responsibilities of their care would be doubled.
“They’re not a 1-year-old Lab wagging his tail in the
kennel,” says SDHS Director of Rescue and Recovery Sarah Thompson. “They would have been difficult to place based
on the medical conditions. They may have been here for a long time.”
Yet, less than a month after Rice and Beans showed up, they had a new home in Escondido, a happy pair of parents and three new dog siblings. How? A bit of teamwork between SDHS and its network of trusted rescue placement partners throughout Southern California. It’s difficult to place every cat, dog, pigeon, tortoise or koi SDHS takes in, given the sheer number of them and the varied challenges they face.
When SDHS needs a hand, it relies on a pool of 400 other animal rescues, whose own networks might be better situated to find the right adopter. Some partners specialize in small dogs, others, large dogs, or dogs who need medical care. There are bird rescues, rabbit rescues, turtle and tortoise rescues, wolf dog rescues, rescues seeking to save animals from euthanasia. This year alone, SDHS has connected animals to 57 different partners, where they can find the best possible owner and in turn make room for others in their shelter. “We are definitely not equipped to handle every exotic animal that comes into our path,” Thompson says.
After Rice and Beans came in, SDHS did a host of diagnostic tests, including bloodwork, X-rays and cytology. Then they reached out to different rescue placement partners. One stepped up right away: Frosted Faces Foundation, a Ramona-based rescue for aging pets that takes in about 150 animals a year and pays for their medical care for the rest of their life.
“San Diego Humane Society has an amazing network, but all we place are senior animals, so people come to us looking for them,” says Kelly Smíšek, the group’s executive director. “It’s usually not easy to place a pair, much less find a home for two dogs that are dying.”
Rice and Beans were groomed and then starred in a video showing their transport to Frosted Faces. “A lot of shelters transfer their senior animals to us because of a lack of funding, space or network. No one entity should have to bear that burden, so it’s good to reach out to groups that specialize in one thing.”