Small Paws Rescue - NWI Times Article
Small Paws looks out for the Bichon Frise
BY JEAN STARR
The National Counsel on Pet Population has determined that
more than 56 percent of dogs entering shelters are put to sleep.
Humane Society of the United States estimates 25 percent of dogs entering
shelters are purebreds. From the giant Newfoundland to the tiniest poodle, each
breed usually has an organization that is involved in its rescue.
Small Paws Rescue, a group devoted to the Bichon Frise, has more than 800
volunteers throughout the country. According to Robin Pressnall, executive
director of the organization, Small Paws has rescued more than 3,500 Bichons in
its six years of operation. Each month, approximately 150 Bichons are taken in
through its foster program.
Two sources for the little white fluffballs
include owners who can no longer care for their pet, and shelters. Shelter
workers who find a purebred dog know that it might stand a better chance of
being quickly adopted through a rescue agency. Also, since most purebred rescues
operate out of foster homes, the dog can be better evaluated out of a shelter
An unsettling number of Bichons in rescue come from
commercial kennels, or puppy mills. These dogs have spent their lives in cages,
their sole purpose to breed and turn a profit for owners. They have not been
held or loved, and they do not know how to act in a home
"In most cases, their food is dropped to them through a
food chute, and their water comes through a rabbit bottle," said Pressnall. One
of the conditions of adopting a Bichon rescued from a puppy mill is that the
home already have a dog in residence.
As soon as possible after a dog is
removed from its present situation, whether it is in a home or in a cage, it
will be placed in a foster home. Marti Lindell of Noblesville, Ind., is one of
22 team leaders who oversee the rescued Bichons and the volunteers in their
areas. Lindell's area includes Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and
"Here in Indiana I imagine we take in half a dozen a month,"
she said. "We have a very good relationship with most of the shelters in the
state, so if someone brings one into shelters, I can get them into foster
homes." Small Paws Rescue does not discriminate when it comes to age, gender,
size and health. "Our mission is to save every Bichon," said Lindell. "We take
in 16-year-olds, dogs that are heartworm positive or have other health
Small Paws Rescue pays the vet bills for its foster Bichons,
which run about $25,000 to $30,000 per month.
The organization has come
under some criticism for purchasing Bichons at commercial kennel auctions. Many
purebred rescue organizations maintain that handing over money to the puppy mill
breeders only makes the problem worse.
Pressnall has been to these
auctions and said she will never forget it as long as she lives. At each puppy
mill auction there are hundreds of commercial kennel owners shopping for every
breed. Regardless of whether rescue representatives are present, the dogs will
Last month, 33 Bichons were in foster care in Lindall's four-state
As soon as a dog is ready for adoption, it is listed on
Petfinder.org, an online adoption service. Lindall recommends anyone interested
in adopting a Bichon fill out an application. The screening process includes two
interviews and a reference check. It can take a week or two from the time an
application is filled out and the dog goes to its new home.
about Small Paws® Rescue Inc. by visiting http://www.smallpawsrescue.org.