Saving dogs and cats is one big, ginormous, huge, complicated puzzle for those of us in animal rescue.

While “saving” is possible, where each rescue fits in the picture is a challenge.

Too many people think “shelter” means you can walk through the door and hand us a dog or cat and we immediately have a place for it in our piece of the puzzle.

Oh, if only.

Municipal shelters, by law, have to take in unwanted animals – in metropolitan areas, this can include birds, pigs, horses, donkeys – you name it.

In rural areas it is usually just dogs – sometimes cats as well.

They are then faced with “what to do next”… if the animal has no illness, health issues …. Whew…that helps.

Of course, then there’s the aggression evaluation….is your hand seen as friendly or the enemy?

For those who work in this part of the puzzle, it is one of the most challenging, difficult…sometimes rewarding… pieces of the puzzle.

501©3 foster based rescues can control how many unwanted pets they rescue.

There’s a direct correlation between the total number, the number of fosters, and each fosters breaking point… i.e. the absolutely maximum they say “yes” to.

All other rescues (with buildings) then fill in the gaps with specific puzzle pieces needed to complete the puzzle.

Most say “yes” as often as they can and they usually rescue (pull) from municipal shelters that are their partners.

If someone tries to relinquish an animal, they will be directed to the municipal shelter.

They don’t say “yes the animal can come in” because if it has anything that’s contagious …. The shelter then goes into “emergency” mode and chaos rears its ugly head.

PAAS is a transfer hub for Oklahoma municipal shelters and foster-based rescues.

To date, more than 3,700 homeless, unwanted, pets have found a new home through our partner “Dumb Friends League” in Colorado.

We’ve been able to save that many because we have to tightly control who comes into our shelter.

One contagious dog or cat will jeopardize 25 – 40 animals making it safely to a new home in Colorado (each week).

Soooo if we have to stop the weekly transfers- hundreds will not find a new home and our Oklahoma partners will have to make gut-wrenching decisions.

We’re all working together to make the puzzle pieces fit…but none of us have the ability to be a complete puzzle by ourselves.