Parker’s Animal Rescue, a nonprofit organization that tries to find homes for dogs of all shapes and sizes, is attempting to raise $450,000 toward purchasing a new building to treat and house every rescue.
Lisa Parker and her volunteers have already managed to raise $150,000 of the $450,000 needed for the new building that will allow her to take in more rescues, including cats, which she has been unable to do thus far.
According to Parker, the Department of Agriculture, which oversees her licensure, requires certain stipulations based on the Colorado Pet Animal Care and Facilities Act.
“Cats require certain ventilation because of airborne diseases,” she said. “Our new building will have that physical space. I’m also looking at maybe rescuing a few miniature donkeys.”
PAR was officially founded in spring 2014, when Parker took in a litter of 6-day-old puppies and worked to find them permanent homes.
She had already been rescuing dogs before that, however, including a 65-pound pit bull named Granite, who had been abandoned at a gas station in Cameron, Arizona.
“I think he was dying and then I saw this tiny tail wag,” she said. “I put this leash around him, and I was like, ‘Hey, do you want to walk with me?,’ and he was like ‘OK.’ He drank a bunch of water, but he wasn't super hungry. He was sad. I put a blanket down, and he just curled up on it and literally looked at me like ‘If I die now, that's fine. I'm just thankful for your kindness.’”
Parker eventually found a home for Granite, who is still doing well with his new family a decade later.
“I had rescued probably 70 animals well before (starting PAR) all on my own, which is a lot of money and time,” she said. “And then I was just like ‘You need to do this.’ And then these puppies came in, and I'd already set up the infrastructure in my home. I started making posts on Facebook and found some fosters. People started donating, and I never looked back.”
Parker began the organization in her garage, washing the dogs in her sink, and eventually moved her operation into an abandoned ice cream shop in town. The space, however, is not big enough for the number of rescues PAR receives nor adequate enough for their individual needs, which include neutering, vaccines, medications and treatment for the animal’s stress and trauma.
PAR’s current network of rescuing abandoned animals and finding them new homes encompasses all of La Plata County and the Four Corners. Parker and PAR volunteers work closely with local and regional humane societies, as well as Durango’s Dogster Spay and Neuter program, to find homes for all of their abandoned canines. Ten more foster families just signed up with the organization, but Parker wants to see many more in the near future.
“All they (foster families) need is to give them some love and be able to take some direction, so I can help them,” Parker said. “Just be hands-on. They need nothing. We provide everything. I just need the space to do everything.”
Parker believes PAR’s new building will provide that space and help save many more abandoned canines, as well as cats and miniature donkeys in the near future.
“It will allow us to help save so many more animals,” Parker said. “They need somebody who can behaviorally assess them, which I do. I do assessments. I do aptitude testing. I do videoing, and tell them (foster families) what they need. We can bring them in and then slowly matriculate them into foster care. Plus, we’ll have so much more capability, taking other species. It's all about saving more lives but doing it the right way. I know we can't save them all. But what we can do, I want to do it right.”
Currently, the U.S. has the largest dog and cat population of any country, according to pedpedia.co. Only 23% of dogs and 27% of cats are adopted from shelters.
Donations to Parker Animal Rescue can be made on its website.