Saving Animals & Serving Our Community
By Susan Spisak
Responsible Pet Care of Oxford Hills (RPC) is a 501(c) 3, no-kill, no-suffer shelter and adoption center in Maine’s Western Region. RPC has agreements with many area towns to accept strays and owner relinquishments. As space allows, they’ll reach out to other agencies and partner shelters out of state to bring in more pets in need. It is their intention that the shelter be utilized to save as many lives as possible.
RPC was operated informally for years by a small group of compassionate people who realized there were many homeless animals in need. In an effort to offer them safety, they opened their homes, garages, and basements. They formally incorporated in 1997 with the mission, “To Improve Quality of Life and Promote the Responsible Way to Treat All Pets.”
Their first shelter was in Norway and eventually they outgrew that space. They launched a campaign and thanks to community support, RPC purchased a large commercial building in nearby South Paris and their new doors opened in 2014.
The facility boasts more kennel space for dogs and a small pavilion so they can get outdoors, even in inclement weather (and a “catio” for their felines). There are gravel paths and bridges that were designed and built by Eagle Scouts. It’s a great place for the dogs to get outdoors and exercise with volunteer handlers.
RPC’s President, Shirley Boyce, said that in the first ten months of this year, they’ve adopted out 131 dogs and returned 98 strays to their owners. They work hard to ensure their pets are matched with perfect adopters. A prime example is Ollie, a deaf dog with special needs who’d been with them for over a year. They matched him with a loving couple who was thrilled to bring Ollie into their home. Knowing Ollie is safe and in good hands is a huge relief for the shelter staff.
Shirley shared that they have a unique shop that supports them financially. “Pawsibilities & Fabulous Finds” is a charming shop chock full of reasonably priced items, from new and gently used to vintage and antiques. “The thrift store is our largest fundraiser and our shelter and the store are in a low income demographic, so many folks go there to get items to save money in their budgets.” Thanks to ongoing donations from the supportive community, inventory continually changes, and you’ll find new treasures every time you stop in. Stop by the store at 24 Waterford Road in Norway. It’s well worth a visit, especially since it’s the holiday shopping season.
RPC needs volunteers for the laundry and kitchen area, feline and canine cage cleaning, and dog walking. They may need foster dog volunteers as the need arises. Cash donations are welcome. Tangible needs include paper towels, cat food, and Wellness and Purina Pro plan dog food. For all info, including all shelter info and adoptables, responsiblepetcare.org.
Blazer, 5 years old, Mastiff Mix
Ninety-seven pound Blazer can be shy till he gets to know you but has a HUGE heart ready with lots of love to give. He likes quiet walks and a quiet life, and he is ready to give his all to his own special person. He prefers humans over other furry friends. If you’re looking for a laid-back companion, Blazer is your guy!
Skip, 2 years old, Mixed Breed
Skip finds himself back at the shelter after his adopter suddenly passed away. Skip is super smart (he needs an adopter who is smarter than he is!) He's fun and athletic. He loves to play ball or have a good romp and then would love to hang out with you.
Shamus, 2 years old, Amer. Staffordshire Terrier
Friendly and sweet...and strong! He's very smart, a good snuggler, and he's a giant, rambunctious lovebug. Adults/teens are fine, but he's apt to knock over younger children. He is dog-selective and we aren't sure about cats yet.