Unwanted dogs given chance of new life
Growing up, Cherie Baker was the kid who brought home sick animals.
Her love of animals remained and has led to DC Rescue Dogs, a dog rescue shelter in Taupiri.
Baker has been running the shelter for two years. She says she loves it, that it's addictive.
The idea for a dog shelter came when she bought her property and realised the section was perfect for dogs.
Baker also knew someone in Auckland involved in dog rescue and this person approached her about fostering dogs.
The rest is history. She takes in dogs and puppies from all over the North Island. Pound dogs on death row, dumped puppies, private re-homes, overflow from other rescue shelters, and puppies taken to vets for euthanasing.
Baker said most were hungry, exhausted and scared but with a little care they blossomed into awesome family members.
"We open our hearts and home to those poor souls less fortunate than our own."
Baker said the best part was when the dogs became healthy again.
"They get in somebody's car and they don't even look back to say goodbye, they're so excited to be going to their new home. It's so cool to see."
There are some situations Baker comes across that reinforce why she runs a rescue shelter.
"You come across dogs in pounds having puppies. It's pretty sad. The public needs to step up and be responsible and start de-sexing pets. I know it's expensive but there are organisations out there that can help you."
She said there were dogs that were 2 or 3 years old and they had spent their lives on a chain.
Baker said she initially approached pounds but now she was sent pound lists once a month.
She tries to wait until the last minute so the dogs and puppies have a chance to get adopted.
"But often you get a pound list and there are heaps of dogs and D-day is tomorrow."
There's only so much one person can do, but Baker does the best she can.
When dogs come into her care, she starts vaccinations, registers them, gets them microchipped, desexes them, puts them on the companion animal register and worms and fleas them before they find a new home.
She gets a lot of public support for fundraising. She goes to the Huntly West Church car boot sale once a month to raise funds. She started there with secondhand clothing, but now sells just about anything.
"That raises funds for the shortfall, because I charge an adoption donation to try and cover some of what it costs but you're never going to make money when you're dealing with animals."
But Baker's love for animals means she continues to do it anyway.
She had a few people willing to foster dogs until they were ready for their new homes.
Others offered transport and took photos of the animals along with Hamilton Vets in Te Rapa, who she said were really supportive.
Baker owns three dogs and tries to stick to just two others at a time but has had nine or 10 on her property on occassion.
"It's hard saying no sometimes."
To find out more about DC Rescue Dogs or to get in touch with Cherie, visit facebook.com/DC-Rescue-Dogs.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Adopting a new companion. This helps two at once. It not only gives a great home to a pup or dog but it also makes a space for another death row dog in need. Donations to the shelter's vet rescue account are greatly appreciated and are essential for Cherie and her team to continue helping those in need. DC Rescue Dogs: 03 1318 0515375 000. Fostering, transport, media sharing, fundraising. Donating quality secondhand clothing for the shelter to sell at car boot sales for fundraising.