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“Generally, with technology today, we’re able to get photos and stay in touch with owners of our dogs so we know that they’re happy in their new homes,” Peterson said.

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Allison Peterson walks Cabella at Flower Garden Park in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Allison Peterson walks Cabella at Flower Garden Park in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015.

For 15 years, Animal Rescue Friends of Nichols Hills has helped stray animals find safe homes. As a nonprofit, volunteers and donations keep it operating.

However, as the number of stray dogs has increased, Animal Rescue Friends (ARF) has been working beyond its capacity. More than half a dozen animals needed immediate care in recent weeks, and the organization’s members are reaching out for help finding homes for the animals.

Finding strays

ARF’s primary goal is to reunite lost pets with their humans.

As of now, ARF works with local animal control to locate strays. Once found, dogs are picked up for processing, taken to a veterinarian for any treatments they might need and then examined for tags or microchips to identify their owners.

The city pound holds the dogs for seven days to allow people time to locate and pick up their pets.

Allison Peterson volunteers as an ARF board member, advocate and pet foster parent.

“The animals we have are brought to us by animal control, and then we maintain our own database,” Peterson said.

More than a dozen pets — including cocker spaniels, Labrador retrievers, Pekingese, beagle-boxer mixes and other breeds and mixes — await forever homes.

All dogs are fully examined and neutered or spayed before adoption. New owners pay a $100 fee to help cover the animal’s cost of care while it’s in the organization’s care.

Allison Peterson walks Cabella at Flower Garden Park in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Allison Peterson walks Cabella at Flower Garden Park in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015.

ARF’s needs

There are several ways volunteers can help. They can work at scheduled adoption events at PetSmart, 2932 NW 63rd St., or Blue Seven, 7518 N. May Ave. People also can foster animals in their homes while the animals wait for homes, Peterson said.

Sometimes, through fostering, volunteers form deep connections with the animals. And Peterson said that’s OK, too.

“If the foster family can’t allow the dogs to go to another home, then they can adopt the dogs,” she added.

PetSmart has a schedule on its website and hosts weekly events, weather permitting. ARF and Blue Seven agreed to host monthly adoptions at the boutique.

Screening adoptions

Adoption applications are available at both event sites. Those interested in owning a dog are required to fill one out and provide contact and background information.

Adoption applicants also must pass background checks. ARF calls references and makes house visits when the need arises.

“Generally, with technology today, we’re able to get photos and stay in touch with owners of our dogs so we know that they’re happy in their new homes,” Peterson said. “We just want to know the dog is going to a home that has the means to support the animal or has the ability for us to find the dog if we need to check up on him or her.”

ARF strives to maintain relationships with new owners to ensure the dogs are well cared for.

“These animals really become our own family members, so right now, I’ve got 17 little brothers and little sisters and I’m just trying to find them a home,” she said.

Peterson shared more about a dog that has waited a long time for the right forever home. Cabella is a 4- or 5-year-old boxer/shepherd mix that is “good with kids, rides well in cars and is a very smart girl.”

Needing shelter

The animals are now housed at a Nichols Hills veterinary shelter since ARF does not have one of its own. The vet operates near capacity, and there is a need to help find the animals homes.

“All of our animals are also listed on Petfinder, which is a website that specializes in listing animals in shelters around the nation,” Peterson said.

Print Headline: Forever families, Animal Rescue Friends of Nichols Hills is a small but important animal rescue and adoption group trying to find good homes for abandoned dogs.

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