Rizzo gets Christmas trip

Published 4:05 pm Tuesday, December 19, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The Chilton County Humane Society celebrated a “Christmas miracle” when Rizzo was given a safe place to have her pups with an animal rescue organization.

Board president Katherine Reece said the dog received “Christmas miracle after Christmas miracle to get to where she is.”

Rizzo was brought to the Chilton County Humane Society by Jemison Animal Control. Reece said the dog had been living on its own near the Interstate Exit for a few years.

Pregnant for the second time, Rizzo was taken to the shelter where the staff connected with Alabama Rescue Relay in Montevallo to find a better place for her. Reece said the shelter has worked with Alabama Rescue Relay for about eight years.

“In the last two years, we have really ramped up our rescue work with them,” Reece said.

Becky Harshman with Alabama Rescue Relay notified a breed specific rescue organization Florida All Retriever Rescue to see if they would be able to take her.

Reece said it can be hard to find a rescue that will take a larger dog.

“Pilots N Paws picked her up at the Clanton airport and flew her to Dothan,” Reece said.

Precious Paws Sanctuary of Dothan was able to provide a place for Rizzo until she gave birth to the puppies. Reece said Rizzo needed to be taken to an emergency veterinarian during labor.

Reece said if this had happened at the Chilton County Humane Society at night, there would not have been anyone around to know the dog needed help.  She said having the dog at the rescue saved Rizzo and the four puppies.

Rizzo stayed at Precious Paws for about four weeks.

“Now … She is in her foster home with Florida All Retriever Rescue,” Reece said. “This is the end of the road for her until the puppies are weaned. After the puppies are weaned, she will be spayed and she and all the puppies will go up for adoption through Florida All Retriever Rescue.”

By partnering with nonprofit animal rescues, the Humane Society has been able to achieve close to a 90 percent live release rate for dogs at the shelter.

“There are almost no rescues for cats,” Reece commented.

Partnering with rescues is a year-round initiative.

Earlier in December, 30 dogs were taken to rescues.

Harshman works to make sure the Humane Society knows what happens to each dog.

“We almost always see a picture of the animal when they are adopted, which is very helpful for somebody like me who fosters as well because a lot of times I will see the dog from the beginning when it got picked up all the way until it got adopted, ” Reece said.

Reece said the Humane Society would rather find a rescue to take an animal than simply euthanize the animal, even though finding the rescue costs more.

“We are not a dog pound,” Reece said. “We are a Humane Society.”

Reece said it is only possible through financial support from communities for the shelter and for the rescues it works with.