Power of the Paw - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Power of the Paw

Organization has saved more than 400 dogs from being killed this year

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Posted: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 9:48 am, Fri Nov 16, 2012.

It was in January that Autumn Jolley got the call.

The Blackfoot Animal Shelter had a litter of five newborn pups, staff told her, abandoned by their owner within two hours of their birth.

The mother had been attacking them, and they weren't likely to survive.

If someone couldn't care for them immediately, staff told Jolley, "we'll euthanize them."

Jolley, a Rathdrum resident then attending school at Brigham Young University-Idaho, didn't hesitate.

She covered the 45-minute drive, picked up the puppies and brought them home, where she bottle fed them on the hour in her one-bedroom apartment.

"They all stole my heart," said Jolley, who now holds a degree in veterinary technology.

Not only did the pups survive after eight weeks, but Jolley found them homes: One went to a classmate, two to her mother, one to a dog-lover in Texas, who Jolley met halfway in Colorado to make the delivery.

The last is now named Kovu, living with Jolley and her other rescued dog, Sage.

"There are about five times I thought he was going to die," Jolley said of Kovu. "I basically said, 'If you make it through, you're not leaving.'"

Does it need to be said that Jolley, 21, really cares about canines?

And the pups she saved aren't the only dogs she has helped find a happy ending - or better put, avoid an ending.

Since last November, Jolley has operated Power of the Paw, a group of volunteers that finds dogs in need of rescue from kill shelters, and that organizes folks to foster or adopt them.

The set-up is pretty basic, Jolley operating entirely through Facebook while she works on achieving nonprofit status.

Jolley networks with shelters across the region to monitor which dogs are on death row, or simply struggling with shelter life. She posts information about at-risk dogs on Facebook, with requests for folks to take them in, adopt them and transport them to their new homes.

"Sometimes we offer gas money, but a lot of people just do it out of the goodness of their hearts," she said, adding that the group relies on monetary donations for much of its efforts.

Jolley also connects with many rescue groups in the Inland Northwest to take in dogs, she said.

She estimates Power of the Paw has rescued 442 dogs since January.

"It's never a dog's fault they end up in a shelter," Jolley said. "I think all dogs deserve a second or third or fourth chance to find their forever home."

Twin Falls Animal Shelter staff said Jolley has already found homes for a dozen of the shelter's dogs since June.

"We're a very large shelter, we gets lot and lots of dogs, so even that has made a tremendous impact," said Anne Hecht, adoption specialist at Twin Falls.

Hecht is impressed by Jolley's ability to find contacts and resources in other states, she added, to help with transportation and rescues.

"It's a lot of work for her to do, and I know with any resource or shelter that money is a big issue," Hecht said. "She works really hard on her end to save as many lives as she can."

Jolley has saved several dogs from the Idaho Falls Animal Shelter, too, transporting the animals herself, said Officer Bryce Papke.

"She's definitely helped us with getting some dogs out of here," Papke said. "Space is a big deal here."

JayLyn Scholes of Post Falls said Jolley spent more than 20 hours on the phone with her and the Twin Falls Animal Shelter to set up Scholes' adoption of chocolate lab Bear.

"It's not just about getting the dog to a home, but to the perfect home, so they don't go back to the pound," said Scholes, who also fosters children and needed a kid-friendly animal. "When we met Bear, we loved him so much fostering wasn't even an option. We had to go straight to adoption."

Jolley said she is focusing on Power of the Paw during her pregnancy.

Her hope, she added, is to expand from five foster families to 50 by the end of next year.

She is always looking for folks to help take in dogs or assist in other ways. For more information, go to www.facebook.com, and type in Power of the Paw-Idaho in the search box.

"I have a lot of faith in humanity," Jolley said of finding volunteers.

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  • voxpop posted at 2:33 pm on Tue, Sep 18, 2012.

    voxpop Posts: 738

    Yes indeed. Those are a couple of nice puppies.

  • fourdogmama posted at 10:09 am on Tue, Sep 18, 2012.

    fourdogmama Posts: 25

    This sweet puppy has one of the prettiest faces I've ever seen!

  • Bob Loblaw posted at 8:53 am on Tue, Sep 18, 2012.

    Bob Loblaw Posts: 375

    Thanks for what you do. I can't believe people still go to breeders to get dogs. You can find every kind of dog at shelters, including purebreds. Most are good dogs who had owners that didn't or couldn't spend enough time and attention with the dog. My best dogs were/are rescue dogs.

  • Reality posted at 7:16 am on Tue, Sep 18, 2012.

    Reality Posts: 28

    Well done, autumn, well done!

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