CHINOOK — PAWS of Chinook is a five-kennel shelter - but overnight, it added 22 dogs. The head count doesn’t stop there - they are expecting the number to rise to 30 over the next few days.
“Food is our main concern,” said Alissa Hewitt, director of PAWS. She recently received a phone call from Blaine County Dispatch Center, explaining there was a death of a community member who had approximately 30 dogs on his property.
The PAWS team set out with a plan - ten volunteers with hot dogs, cold cuts, and any treat to lure dogs into a horse trailer.
By the end of the night, out of the scorching heat, bitten, clawed, and covered in fleas, PAWS rescued 22 dogs including a litter of six puppies.
About 15 of the dogs are a Golden Retriever-Labrador-Corgi mix. The short-stubby legs are a giveaway to a dog like a corgi. While there are several mixed breed puppies and other dogs to come with the pack - two Border Collies are the outliers, both eager to run and play, and most importantly, they appear ready to fulfill what they were bred to do.
Hewitt wants the public to understand that a problem like this starts with one litter of puppies - now they sit way over capacity, on top of the dogs already in the shelter.
“We do not get any government assistance. We are not on any county budget. We're not on any city budget. Without private donations, we don't exist. And adding 22 overnight is a big cost,” explained Hewitt, “I have 30 dogs and I don't have enough food and we don't have enough money for their vet care.”
PAWS of Chinook say they’re asking for monetary donations via their website, and gift cards to Walmart so they can purchase food for the animals. The monetary donations go to the vet bills, while they also take donations to keep the lights on and for water.
This is a prime example in the epidemic of overflow in animal shelters.
Hewitt wanted to add that Walmart in Havre donated a major sum of money on a gift card to buy food in their store.
To donate to help doctor and feed these animals, click here to visit the website, or drop donations off at 300 Cleveland Road in Chinook - PAWS is located inside the Blaine County Fairgrounds.
Once the dogs get the "all clear" from the vet, they will be available to adopt. PAWS is open for people to visit and spend time with the dogs, allowing the animals to get comfortable before they transition into a new household. Many of the dogs that have been rescued are not aggressive, but have lacked social interaction with humans.
“Dogs give us so much and they ask for zero."