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From left: Heidi Barckholtz, Denise Vanden Bossche and Liz Waters of Ortonville Dog Rescue with Zane, Roxy, and Hailie. (click for larger version)
February 29, 2012 - Ortonville- About 4 million animals are euthanized at U.S. shelters every year, according to humanesociety.org.

Liz Waters is doing her best to save animals locally and with that goal in mind she, along with Heidi Barckholtz and Denise Vanden Bossche, recently founded Ortonville Dog Rescue.

The trio has applied to the state for 501c3 status to be a non-profit organization to which donations will be tax-deductible.

"There are always a need for more rescues, and a need for a local dog rescue," said Waters. "We are no-kill and don't have an actual facility. We are fostering dogs in our homes and are in need of more foster homes."

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Waters has been working with various rescues and finding new homes for dogs for the past 10 years. She visits animal shelters and pulls as many dogs as she can, placing them in foster homes until permanent homes can be found. ODR rescues dogs of all ages and breeds with good temperament.

Currently available for adoption from ODR are: Sonny, a 6-year-old sharpei/lab mix whose previous owners moved and left him; Roxy and Zane, 6-month-old shepherd/husky mixes who love children and are almost completely house-trained; and Hailie, a sweet 7-month-old weimaraner/pitbull mix who is recovering from mange, a non-contagious infection.

"We try to take in adoptable dogs, we don't take in aggressive animals," Waters said. "Animal control shelters send us a list of dogs that are going to be put down that week. We go to get the ones most likely to be adopted… I've actually had to go and walk past cages and they are crying. I can't take all of them and I've had to leave dogs behind and I cry. There is no way to get around it. There are not enough good homes and that is why spaying and neutering is so important."

All animals adopted out through ODR are current on vaccinations and have been spayed and neutered.

ODR is looking for families who are willing to foster an animal. The rescue pays all vet bills and food for fostered dogs, while families provide love and care for the dog until a forever home is found. The foster commitment could be for a couple days or a couple months.

Fosters can work full-time, be a single-person home or family, and don't necessarily need a fenced-in yard.

"Fostering is a short-term commitment for a long-term feeling of good," said Waters. "Some end up adopting the dog. We call them foster failures and we've all done it. But this might be for you if you're willing to give an animal short-term care so they can find a forever home. We provide support and training if needed. If you're going on a vacation, we will make it work and help while you're gone. Save a dog today. The sooner we have fosters, the sooner we can start saving lives."

To adopt a dog, you must be 18, and if you rent, must have a letter from a landlord stating that you can have an animal. Adoption fees are $150 for an adult dog, $175 for puppies, and $125 for seniors (animals over 6 years-old).

ODR's adoption fees are less expensive than most rescues because they do not have the costs of keeping up an actual facility.

Monetary donations are accepted to ODR to defray veterinary, food and care expenses for the animals and donations of blankets, towels, dog food, leashes, etc., are also appreciated.

The first Ortonville Dog Rescue fundraiser, a spaghetti dinner, is planned for 5-8 p.m., March 16, at the Edna Burton Senior Center, 345 Ball St., Ortonville. Tickets are $10 adults, $5 kids (under 12) and children under 5 are free.

Ortonville Dog Rescue is on Facebook and donations for ODR can be sent to Ortonville Dog Rescue, c/o Liz Waters, P.O. Box 22, Ortonville, MI 48462. For more information, call Liz Waters at 248-941-4152 or Heidi Barckholtz at 248-762-6788.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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