Oregon Dog Rescue in Tualatin is a busy place, with lots of dogs and people going in and out over the course of each day. “There is never a dull moment in dog rescue on all levels no matter what job you do,” laughed Lindsey Quinn, the public relations coordinator.
Since Oregon Dog Rescue was started in a garage as a foster program by Debra Bowen, who is still with the program, and Krystina Schmidt, thousands of dogs have found their “fur-ever” home thanks to a cadre of animal-lovers which now includes 23 paid staff and countless volunteers.
“I’m a lifer,” Quinn said. “I’ve been here six-plus years, and it’s pretty addicting. We have a small team and quite an amazing volunteer base.”
The facility is set up like a daycare, with the larger dogs playing freely in one pen while smaller dogs have their own space to interact during the day. “They are not in kennels all the time,” Quinn said. “It’s a pretty neat set-up.
“The support from the community has been tremendous. Some volunteers work scheduled shifts here, and some sign up for dog-walking. Some take dogs on field trips, like to the beach for a day or hiking in the Columbia Gorge. We also have a foster program, which is usually used for puppies.”
The in-house dogs get a lot of stimulation too, rotating through different activities, like playing with a Kong or bully stick, getting one-on-one time with a volunteer or eating a special favorite, an ice treat. A large chart of the wall tracks which dogs have engaged in which activity so they get rotated through all the experiences.
“Our manager works with our shelter partners and our transport partners to coordinate the movement of dogs,” Quinn said. Oregon Dog Rescue works with kill shelters, primarily in Mexico, Texas and California but also Hawaii, to take their overflow dogs. The facility also takes in local dogs when they are surrendered due to financial hardship, behavior issues, a change in housing that prevents the owner from keeping them, or the dog develops health problems that the owner cannot afford to pay for.
Last year, the no-kill Oregon Dog Rescue adopted out about 1,800 dogs, and although the number ebbs and flows, the monthly average works out to be 150 to 155. The facility can hold up to 75 dogs at one time.
When a transport comes in, it’s all hands-on-deck, according to Quinn. “Last week we have a transport come in with 40 dogs,” she said. “We try to have all the staff here. When the dogs come in, we potty them and check their records. We provide flea protection and a vet exam. We work with Willamette Valley Animal Hospital in Tualatin and are lucky to have a vet on our board. The dogs get micro-chipped and spayed or neutered. They get the individual care they need, and we take their photos.”
The adoption process operates like a fine-tuned machine as well and takes an hour, and sometimes people come for one dog and leave with another.
“We have perfected our adoption process over time,” Quinn said. “People apply online, and everyone from the household must come to meet the dog. If they rent, they must bring proof of landlord approval. They must be willing to work on house-training and other skills and provide exercise.
“And if people have another dog, they need to bring it too. We also have a resident cat here to see how the dogs get along with it.”
She added, “We have photos of dogs online, and our website is very up-to-date. As soon as a dog is adopted, they are removed from the website.”
The staff likes to stay in touch with the adoptive families and hosts an alumni page on their website where people post photos of their dogs. “Some people who adopt our animals like to stay involved, and we are so grateful to them,” Quinn said. “We couldn’t do this without their support.”
Fees are based in part on what services the adopted animal will need in the future and range from $395 to $500. For example, young puppies that will need to be spayed or neutered cost more because the surgery is included, and the vet appointment is already scheduled.
Not surprisingly, the bustling facility has reached maximum capacity. “We have definitely outgrown our space,” Quinn said. “We are looking to expand and want to stay in Tualatin. We have been on the hunt for quite some time, but it is hard to find a location that would serve all our needs.”
Oregon Dog Rescue is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and accepts monetary donations as well as dog food and other items. It is located at 6700 S.W. Nyberg St. and is open seven days a week for adoptions by appointment from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
For more information, call (503) 612-0111 or visit oregondogrescue.org.