Cabin Critters Animal Rescue saves dogs, educates people


When Cabin Critters Animal Rescue gets a call about a dog in need, the volunteers there don’t like to say no.

The last few weeks, the local 501(c)3 non-profit the volunteer organization has taken in more than 40 dogs. The dogs were being released from a puppy mill situation and were in immediate need.

“We’re getting dogs from an Amish puppy mill. They needed them gone immediately,” said Co-founder and Co-Treasurer Catherine Del Valle. “If not, they just put them down.”

So the answer was easy when the call for help came from another rescue on Easter Sunday. Absolutely yes.

“We ended up with 40 dogs and apparently this particular Amish breeder was closing his barn and he needed to get rid of the dogs,” Del Valle said. “We go up and try to get whatever we can get. We’re trying to adopt them as quickly as possible.”

Oftentimes, these dogs are purebred or close to it; they’re the mother dogs of the puppies found in pet stores. They have often been kept in cages and were not socialized, so those are issues the volunteers at Cabin Critters work on. For some dogs, being at Cabin Critters Animal Rescue’s facility on Mead-McNeer Road is the first time they see, much less put their paws on, grass.

“We’re getting the mommies and, sometimes, the daddies of these Amish mills,” Del Valle said. “If a pregnant mother comes in, we don’t spay them. Some rescues do, but we don’t.”

The dogs are vetted by Cabin Critters’ preferred veterinarians in Jackson and Barboursville, where they are also spayed or neutered. Usually, the group transports about 20 dogs per month for spaying or neutering; this month, it’s double that.

“We could probably triple it if we wanted to,” Dell Valle said.

The group is looking for volunteers to help out in any way they can. Fostering, playing with the dogs, taking them out for a day or a few days, transporting, walking dog, bathing dogs for prep for surgery — there’s a volunteer opportunity for anyone and everyone.

“We are actually a very small group, we’re always looking for people to come in and volunteer,” Del Valle said. “We have a volunteer who just came in today and she’s bathing dogs for us for tomorrow.

“We do have some dogs that are in fosters, we only foster locally.”

More people are fostering dogs through Cabin Critters, which gives the dogs an opportunity to decompress from the shelter environment and also to gain skills needed to live in a home.

“We’ve had a lot of fosters lately and a lot of them become adopters,” Del Valle said. “Fostering can be for a weekend, for a week. We try to get the dogs fostered out as quickly as possible.”

Locals can even just take a dog for a day. Maybe a trip to the dog park and a pup cup is just the thing a volunteer and a dog need to break up the monotony of their day.

“It really does make a difference,” Del Valle said. “They come back happy, it gives them a break from the everyday.”

The organization has been around for five years and is currently looking for young blood. There are six members of Cabin Critters’ board and they do almost everything across the board, from using their own vehicles to transport dogs to the work of just maintaining a non-profit organization. They’ve always stuck to their mission of saving dogs and finding them homes.

“We’ve learned this is very hard work. Some of the things we’ve been trying to do is just get our name out there,” Del Valle said. “We’re here to help with animals that are in serious need at the moment. Rescue them from an abusive situation or where they’re endangered and put them in a better home.”

The organization also helps locals who find themselves with a pregnant dog. They may not want the litter of puppies, and Cabin Critters has a program to keep the pregnant dog until she gives birth, then the organization takes the mother to be spayed. Cabin Critters keeps the litter and the owner can have their newly spayed dog back.

“We’ll try to contact them and say listen if you want to surrender the puppies, we will take the entire litter. This way we can make sure those puppies are spayed and neutered and we will spay mommy at our cost. They can have their dog back,” Del Valle said. “We’ve done that quite a bit in the area. We have done that with a lot of local people. We will take all the puppies. We’ll take the mommy and have her spayed and we will give her back.”

Cabin Critters is having a puppy yoga fundraiser at noon, Sunday, at the New Boston Eagles. In July, the organization has its biggest fundraiser, an annual motorcycle ride on Saturday, July 27. For more information find their page, Cabin Critters Rescue, on facebook.

“That is usually sponsored by a women’s riding club,” Del Valley said. The ride starts at 1 p.m., at Ponderosa in Wheelersburg. The ride draws motorcycle enthusiasts and animal lovers from all over. “We have had women ride in from Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri.”

In the future, the organization hopes to raise enough funds for an official transport vehicle and enlarging the facility’s outdoor play yard. The Cabin Critters board is also looking at creating a pet pantry for those who may be having difficulties affording food for themselves, much less their pets.

But what Cabin Critters immediately wants and needs is people.

“Volunteer really is the biggest thing,” Del Valle said. “Even just getting somebody to walk the dogs, taking them into the play yard.”

Reach Lori McNelly at [email protected] or at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1928. © 2024 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

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