Sharing the care

Without a shelter, an all-volunteer foster program saves pets and finds homes for hundreds each year

The organization has no official dog shelter. It runs its website from and uses a post office box for the majority of its correspondence, including the mailing of a twice-yearly newsletter to its supporters.

But despite having a smaller physical presence and less of an electronic footprint than many other rescue groups, the Foundation for the Care of Indigent Animals does an enormous amount of work.

Penny Adams, who has been guiding the nonprofit foundation out of Spring Valley since 1981, is one of many of the group’s volunteers who foster the dogs until they can find “forever homes.”

Without a shelter, the dogs are brought by their temporary owners and shown every Saturday from 10:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. at various pet stores in San Diego County.

“We rescue homeless dogs — mostly from shelters — that are scheduled for death,” Adams said.

“We address their medical and behavioral needs, rehabilitate and then place them in a loving and appropriate home.”

The all-volunteer organization takes in small adoptable dogs — usually under 20 pounds, and some with serious health issues — that might otherwise be euthanized.

“We take out a lot of ‘medical’ dogs so they don’t die,” Adams said. “I must have been a dog in a previous lifetime because I think about the dogs being led down the corridor to be euthanized, and it makes me want to die.”

The foundation also helps pet owners who are struggling financially by paying for some of the medical care for their pets, including dental work.

Adoption fees range from $150 to $250, which covers spay/neutering, vaccines, worming, and some medical expenses plus licensing and microchipping.

Last year, the group saved more than 300 shelter and shelter-related animals, financially aided more than 160 families with impounded animals, assisted 75 more families with costs for veterinary care and helped 50 animals in need of surgery.

By Karen Pearlman of the San Diego Union Tribune.

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