Partnership provides special care to sick shelter dogs - Tucson News Now

Partnership provides special care to sick shelter dogs

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A new partnership is helping Pima Animal Care Center keep more pets alive.

It is a program that gives special care to animals that get sick.

Sick pets at the Pima County animal shelter that cannot be helped immediately are euthanized because there is not a lot of time or room to help them there.

But what's going on here now holds incredible promise for those pets and the people who will eventually give them a home.

"I had always wanted to get the animals out of sick bay, first and foremost," said Kimberley Walker, Pima Paws For Life president. "I wanted to focus on the ones that had the lowest chance of making it out alive."

21 sick dogs were brought here to the Pima Paws For Life shelter from Pima Animal Care Center.

Pima Paws For Live, a private nonprofit, has a contract with Pima County to provide 14 days of health care to dogs that have upper respiratory ailments.

After a lot of hard work by volunteers, and donations from the community, Pima Paws For Life has the facility it needs.

Volunteers not only help treat the animals, they also socialize them and get them ready for new families.

"Our plan is to keep them and adopt them out from here," Walker said. "If it turns out that they have a more serious ailment, we also want to keep them, treat them and get them adopted out from here."

Pima Paws For Life has to come up with the money on its own to do that.

A local veterinary clinic provides low-cost care.

Dr. Erin O'Donnell of the Northwest Pet Clinic said this is giving back. It's emotional for her.

"Sick animals are often the last one to get adopted," O'Donnell said. "And sometimes get euthanized because of illness. So to have an opportunity to save pets from that fate and to improve their lives and be able to get them adopted is a wonderful opportunity for me."

The goal is to accept up to 80 county shelter dogs a month to free up room for more pets at the crowded facility.

The organization wants to build a shelter for sick cats and eventually save many more lives.

"That's basically what it comes down to is not having to have animals destroyed for something that's really an easy fix," Walker said.

Adoptions will be available at the Pima Paws For Life facility, as well as at regular offsite events to be announced on their website

and on their Facebook page

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