Dignified Pet Services presents 'People in the Neighborhood'
A fearless defender of pets in need, she is occasionally daunted — like the time three corrections officers pounded on the door as she was rescuing a cat. Georgia's big, country music-loving heart champions pets that others have deemed unadoptable, "and we always manage to find them homes," she says with satisfaction. "It just takes a little more work."
A 10-year volunteer for the Humane Society of Cowlitz County, in 2006, Georgia and four animal-loving friends — two of them former HSCC board members — formed Rescued Paws no-kill shelter in Longview, WA. They patterned it after the philosophies of Best Friends Animal Society.
"All our animals live with us, and our own cats, dogs, kids, grandkids,” says Georgia. “We learn what kind of a home will best suit our fosters, so placement is more accurate. We have taken many animals with medical issues that would just be put down. We also have taken in old decrepit dogs deemed unadoptable."
Fond of her team, Georgia says co-founder Susie Theriault "looks innocent, but she's conniving! I love her. She once asked me to take her to a house, ‘just to assess the situation and maybe take photos.’ Yeah, right! I end up bringing home a mama cat and kitten, and committing to take in all 24 purebred Siamese. We had to scramble to find foster homes for all these unaltered cats that were multiplying like bunnies. That was about two months ago. We now have spayed/neutered all the cats, and have found homes for all but two."
About that “raid” mentioned earlier? "We went to pick up a cat to be spayed. Susan stayed in the car while I was picking up the cat. While getting the cat in a carrier there was pounding on the door, and in came three DOC officers. I didn't know if I was in a raid or what! Turned out they were there for the homeowner's daughter, who had just run out the back door. Walking the cat to the car Susan was laughing so hard I think she peed her pants!"
Georgia laughs over her rescue German Shepherd, Dakota. "Like when he decided to take a bite out of the security monitoring sign, and then posed for a picture with it," she laughs. "He runs around with a two-by-four in his mouth — he just makes me happy. I love training him. He was originally an unmannerly 85-lb farm dog, and he’s become a rock star, thanks to Karin Hadderly at Fido Beta Kappa.”
Georgia hopes people see that "I’m honest, that I have a passion for animal rescue, and that I would go the extra mile for family and friends."
Her most treasured possession? "The family and friends who make up my inner circle. People I can count on, day or night. You can’t put a price on a ‘possession’ like that."
While the shoes that ‘say Georgia’ are athletic walking shoes, her true favorites are "my husband's work boots — which I planted with succulents and keep on the porch next to his favorite chair." Just one way she lovingly remembers her husband, who passed six years ago from ALS.
If she could have two homes, she'd keep the one she loves on the Kalama River and, "my second home would be on Maui." Here she lives with Dakota, and a rescued Persian who was a barn cat she acquired about 3 years ago. “Once I turn off the freeway and head up the river road the mosses and ferns hang from the cliffs — the smell is different — you can inhale the river smell. And then Dakota runs to greet me in the driveway — that always puts a smile on my face."
A ridiculous lottery win would fund a cruise for family and friends to the South Pacific, and then “come home and build a shelter for our rescue!"
About our Sponsor
Dignified Pet Services has served the Portland-area community for 13 years. In addition to their core business of cremation and memorial services, Dignified co-sponsors the beloved annual Service of Remembrance at The Old Church in downtown Portland, as well as serving as wonderful supporters and friends of pets and those working in animal welfare. Proprietors Michael, Randy and Hunter live in Sherwood.
Christy Caballero bought a new sofa and still doesn't have enough room for herself, although the three BIG RagaMuffin kitties and Mojo the retired greyhound are pretty impressed. Meeting new friends via People in the Neighborhood interviews makes her day!