Women's Efforts Save Lives Of All Dogs In Pawhuska Pound In 2016
PAWHUSKA, Oklahoma - A Green Country pound made it through all of 2016 without having to euthanize a single dog, and two volunteers led the charge, which has saved the city of Pawhuska thousands of dollars.
“This is the reward right here,” Susie Owens said, holding a rescued puppy. “The gratitude we get from rescuing the animal.
There were three dogs in Pawhuska's pound Thursday, but they won't be there for long if Owens and Vickie Godbehere have any say.
“We have to be the voice of these animals because if we didn't nobody else would,” Owens said.
The two have only known each other for about a year, and in that time they've built an unbreakable bond over their shared love for saving animals.
“Best of friends,” Owens said. “Couldn't do it without her, could not do it without her.”
Oklahoma state statute says pounds have to hold animals for 72 hours before putting them down. And Owens and Godbehere are doing whatever they can to make sure no dogs die in Pawhuska’s pound.
To help, the women created the Pawhuska Pound Pals Facebook page.
“They come in, we take a picture of them and I post it on Facebook,” Godbehere said. “Thank goodness for social media.”
In 2016 they found safe places for all of Pawhuska's 172 pound dogs. They said that saved the city more than $6,000 in euthanasia fees.
The women said many of the dogs went to out of state rescues in places like Colorado or Minnesota, where there are strict spay and neuter laws.
“They don't have the overabundance of animals sitting in shelters like we do in Oklahoma,” said Godbehere.
Together, the two have invested not only time but also thousands of dollars of their own money.
“If you don't do it, the alternative is death. It just is,” Godbehere said.
Godbehere said the two don't take all the credit, though, “We can't do this alone. We have incredible rescue partners, which we're so grateful for.”
The women also have great support from community donors, two local vets and the city’s animal welfare officer.
“He's also a Godsend to these animals,” Owens said.
They said, currently, there are only city pounds in Osage County, no animal shelters. So the women are also lending a hand in other rural communities in the county.
“We are now starting to help dogs from Barnsdall. We help rescue out of Fairfax. Recently we've got a couple out of Hominy, cause there's nowhere in this county to take these animals,” Owens said.
It’s not unusual for Owens to have several foster dogs in her house at a time, waiting for permanent placement.
“My house is a madhouse all the time,” she said.
And on the day we were there, she had two foster puppies with her at work.
“I'm fortunate my boss is an animal lover, so he allows me to bring these,” Owens said.
The women hope to one day open a shelter for all of Osage County's displaced animals - to give them a safe haven until they find their forever home.
“I think it's a mission, yeah. I do,” said Godbehere.
“And I have no desire to stop. I'm not gonna quit,” Owens added.
The women said they are always in need of dog food, collars, leashes as well as flea and tick medication. If you would like to offer and support, you can contact the women through the Pawhuska Pound Pals Facebook page.