Tara Vreeland, News On 6
BRISTOW, Oklahoma -- Walk into the doors of PAWS Inc. in Bristow and you are greeted by Elsy. The blind and deaf Boston terrier used to be puppy mill breeder stock.
It wasn't a romantic beginning for Romeo either. The giant Mastiff looked more like a greyhound when PAWS rescued him.
In the two months that he's waited for a home, he's nearly doubled his weight.
"They fought like little Trojans to save these dogs. They were saved, and they are getting homes. It just cannot happen," said Melanie Cassady, Bristow business owner and PAWS volunteer.
PAWS manages up to 75 dogs at a time. They take in about 300 a year. If you count massive Romeo as one dog - 16 are searching for homes right now.
Unless donations or sponsors come in, PAWS says they will find homes for the final 16 and close the doors on July first.
If they can make it that long.
"Financially we have hit the bottom of the bowl. The money is gone," Cassady said.
"Losing another business in town - not only do we not want to be a ghost town - this is just something unique in Bristow and we offer," she said.
PAWS says the community's heart is in the right place.
"There's a lot of hours. Sweat equity and dedication. It's just, when you looking these faces, where are they going to go? And that's hard. It's hard," said PAWS Inc. Executive Director Debbie Bingham.
But it will take more than love to keep the tails wagging at PAWS.
"It is a sense of failure in some degree because you commit 10 hour days do doing this, but I guess you have to realize at some point that it takes more than what you can do," she said.
Bristow has a city shelter, but PAWS is the only dog rescue in the area. And it's privately funded and does not receive money from the city. They have one big fundraiser a year - a car show - over Labor Day weekend, but that isn't enough to carry them.
Bristow's PAWS is located at 711D S. Roland and is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Call them at 918-367-0111 or go to their website.