Most of HEART’s dogs are rescue animals from the Northwest Territories. Photo submitted

Rossland dog rescue group seeks foster homes

Animal group brings dozens of dogs a year here from Alberta

A Rossland-based dog-rescue society is looking for some caring homes to foster animals this summer.

“The summer’s always a busy time for rescues,” says Ida Koric, president of Hope Emergency Adoption, Rescue and Transport.

“The perfect home we’re looking for is people who are patient and love dogs, but can’t commit to the long term.”

It’s already been a busy year for HEART. In their first six years of operation (they started in 2008) they rescued 200 animals. This year already, they’ve found homes for 50 stray or abandoned animals.

But things really pick up in the summer.

That’s when Koric, a teacher, and other supporters travel to Alberta regularly to pick up stray or unwanted dogs, and bring them back to find homes in the Kootenays and points west.

“Once a month there’s a group in Alberta that holds spay and neuter clinics in rural and remote communities,” she says. “It’s like a conveyor belt of cats and dogs — hundreds of animals.”

And among those animals are ones their owners don’t want anymore.

Those are the ones Koric brings back to the West Kootenay.

“We can usually take six or seven dogs, then we bring them back and drop them at foster homes along the way,” she says. Those homes can be anywhere from Nakusp to Nelson and Rossland.

There’s no great problem with abandoned dogs in the Kootenays, says Koric, and there’s always some demand for new pets. So bringing animals from out-of-province to Kootenay homes makes sense.

She says everyone wins.

“If we don’t bring them in, they’ll go to breeders, and that encourages people to have puppies when there’s a lot of adult dogs that need homes,” she says. “There’s just not a lot in our area.

“So we’re trying to make them more accessible, and bring them here so people don’t have to travel to get them.”

It can take time to find a permanent home for those dogs, so in the meantime, Koric’s looking for foster homes.

“Do you want a companion for the summer, but can’t commit to a permanent home?” she says. “I’m looking for people with travel plans for the fall, or who might be heading out to school. They love dogs but they can’t care for one for 14 years.

“But if they can have one for summer, that would really help out.”

It’s a no-risk way to test drive to see if a dog is right for you.

“It costs nothing. We pay for everything — food, bedding, crates, leashes, everything,” says Koric.

“You just have to love them and spend time with them. If you’re not into training, we can bring you an easy dog. If they’re willing to spend time and try an energetic one, we can provide that too.

“And if it doesn’t work out, it’s not a problem. You’re never stuck with a dog.”

Being strays or abandoned dogs, Koric says some do have issues. While they never bring violent or dangerous dogs here, potential fosters should be aware that these are animals that haven’t often been well cared for.

“Not all come with baggage, and it’s amazing, how resilient they are,” she says. “Some have issues, they may be shy, or nervous, and shouldn’t be around other pets or small children. But we get many that are well-adjusted as well.

“And it’s an amazing opportunity to see them grow. They can come with issues, but you bring them out of their shells and see their personality grow.”

Indeed, she says sometimes the toughest part for a foster family is saying goodbye to the pet they’ve taken care of.

“Fostering’s hard. People get attached to the dogs and then, when letting them go, they get emotional about it.”

If you think you’d like to foster a dog, contact HEART through its website, heartanddogrescue.com.

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“They can come with issues, but you bring them out of their shells and see their personality grow,” says Ida Koric of the dogs her group tries to find homes for. Photo submitted

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