The Arizona Small Dog Rescue no-kill rescue shelter nonprofit is outgrowing its facility, and needs the community’s help to fund its next one.
With plans to open its new facility in the northern Phoenix/northern Scottsdale area on Jan. 1, 2020, AZSDR is hosting its second annual Bets for Pets charity casino night at Maggiano’s in Scottsdale on Saturday, March 16.
The evening will include Vegas-style casino, live music, hors d’oeuvres, a full bar, a silent auction and a raffle in the hope of raising money for both AZSDR’s spay and neuter program and its new facility. Last year’s Bets for Pets event raised $11,000.
Founded in 2002, AZSDR does not have the exact location of the new facility, as leaders are still scouting possible land plots and/or structures.
“There’s really nothing as far as a rescue in that North Phoenix/north Scottsdale area that would have a shelter,” said Shelly Parker, AZSDR board vice president.
The new facility will be nearly double the square-footage of its current facility located off Hatcher Road and Seventh Avenue.
Currently, the facility is 7,000 square feet, indoor and outdoor space combined; The new facility will be around 12,000 square feet.
A larger space means AZSDR can hold and tend to more animals.
Currently, the facility, which is almost always at capacity, can hold 75 animals, but AZSDR has anywhere from 150 to 300 dogs when including those in foster homes.
“We have a strong foster base, so a good chunk of our dogs are fosters as well,” Parker said.
The new facility will also feature many additions, including a space dedicated to cats.
“Our current shelter situation is not conducive to cats,” Parker said. “They require a special environment because they can get stressed easy.”
It will also have a quieter wing specifically for senior dogs.
“Everyone wants their cute, little puppies, but sometimes the senior dogs get overlooked, and there are people that do adopt senior dogs,” said Parker, who fostered a senior dog for three years. “A few of us that feel strongly by having a senior ward area.”
Parker added that the senior dog wing will also be a place where dogs can live out their remaining years. “It would be a better place for them to spend their last few years, months, whatever the time frame is, and provide them with a loving environment for whatever time they have left,” she said.
Other additions and upgrades include an animal enrichment area – or, a social play yard for dogs, as Parker puts it – and a larger puppy-isolation area.
AZSDR is also toying around with the idea of putting up a webcam inside the play yard, so prospective adopters can watch the dogs play 24 hours a day on the group’s website.
Leading up to opening a new facility, the rescue’s board partnered with fellow nonprofit organization Experience Matters to work on organizational development, growth and strategic planning.
“Overall, we’re revamping the structure of the organization,” Parker said.
“We’re reaching out into the community to get people involved and engaged and bring more awareness to what we do and the rescue community,” she said.
Parker continued, “We really want Arizona small dog rescue to be the best rescue it can be and be one of the best rescues in Phoenix is our goal.”
In 2018 alone, AZSDR saved 1,196 animals, reunited 35 animals with their families, provided $144,287 worth of medical care to animals and microchipped 842 animals.
The nonprofit also has more than 40 foster families and over 300 trained volunteers.
Parker is one of those foster families.
“Dogs have always been my passion,” she said. “My husband and I, we don’t have any kids, so our dogs are kids, essentially. They’re just near and dear to our hearts, and I wanted to do whatever we could to help out.”
Molly, her last senior dog, had cancer and was slated to be euthanized, so Parker adopted her right away.
“As soon as I went and got her, she was a different dog from barking in the kennel down at county, scared and not knowing what was going on,” she said. “She must’ve been chewing on blocks or something because her teeth were kind of bad.”
Parker immediately groomed Molly and bought her treats, toys and a bed, and gave her a loving household to spend her remaining three years.
“We only had her a few years, but they were great,” Parker said.
AZSDR also will host the fifth annual Putts for Mutts golf tournament at Stonecreek Golf Club in Phoenix on April 6.