Rescue is Their Favorite Breed
By Susan Spisak
Fetching Hope Rescue (FHR) is an all-volunteer, foster-based group whose mission is to save neglected, abused, and stray dogs, then place them in loving, forever homes in New England. The 501(c)(3) was founded in 2012 by April Scott and Amber Olesen out of Westbrook. In the last decade, they’ve recued and rehomed nine hundred dogs.
FHR had a distinctive start back in the day. Amber and April’s first adventure was a trip to a south-central shelter, but they were sidetracked. They rescued two litters of puppies from a Walmart parking lot—the wee ones were being given away. Those litters, the U and V pups as they became known, were the first to be adopted out by FHR.
Since then, things have changed for the nonprofit. FHR’s Rescue Program Director is now Alissa Laitres. She’s been a volunteer and foster along with partner, Tim Aballo, for a decade. April does important and necessary admin work, while Amber has moved.
FHR remains a small operation. “We have a core group of four volunteers that run operations. April, Michelle McPherson (Transport Coordinator), Wendy Scott (Event Coordinator) and myself,” explained Alissa. They have six active foster homes in Maine, one in Vermont, and seven transport drivers who rotate as needed.
Other than a few local owner surrenders, most of their dogs come from shelters and rescues in the South. “We most recently pulled nine dogs from the euthanasia list at Polk County Florida Animal Shelter, and before that, we brought up two brothers from a small shelter in Virginia who saved them from a life of neglect,” said Alissa. She added that they try to be there for shelters and rescues that need immediate relief.
All out-of-state dogs are fully vetted and quarantined before they travel. FHR uses USDA Certified professional transport services for the trek. All dogs are safely inside the vehicles, and the drivers can see and hear them during the entire journey. “It’s peace of mind knowing that our precious cargo is well cared for from the moment we commit to them, and this includes their trip north.”
Alissa said one of her favorite stories goes back to a U pup, Uma, now named Cassidy. “Her dad (Nic) adopted her when he was living in Scarborough, Maine and shortly after adopting her, they moved to Montana. Their story is so telling of the incredible bond between a dog and their human, as well as the commitment that Nic had to his girl. A cross-country move, a new marriage, a child, and additional pets never broke Nic’s commitment to his dog, and that’s truly commendable in a culture where everything, even the family dog, is disposable.”
FHR is looking to add to their core group including southern Maine foster homes, transport drivers, and adoption event volunteers. They also need a southern Maine Foster Coordinator who is a compassionate and passionate leader. Interested in this volunteer position? Email email@example.com. For more on FHR including adoption requirements and available dogs, fetchinghope.com/.