Publication:

Annapolis Valley Register - 2021-11-25

Data:

Finding their forever homes

FRONT PAGE

KAITLYNN NORDAL SPECIAL TO SALTWIRE NETWORK

It has been said many times, and in many ways, that dog is man’s best friend. But sometimes, they are not always given the care they deserve. That is where Nahleen Ashton, president of Misfit Manor Dog Rescue near Kentville, steps in. Before starting the fosterbased rescue group specializing in special needs and senior dogs who need homes in 2015, Ashton worked with other rescue organizations for 20 years and noticed a gap for these dogs. “At the time, I was taking in a lot of dogs with medical issues, seniors, and palliative cases and finding fosters who were likewise attracted to that kind of dog,” said Ashton. “We decided, since there wasn’t a rescue specifically mandated for that, we would start one ourselves. “There was a rescue for all breeds or specific breeds but nothing that focused on dogs who had medical issues who might need long-term or palliative care before being adopted.” During the last six years, it has stayed a foster-based rescue, volunteer organization, and registered charity with 15 to 20 foster homes. The organization doesn’t have a shelter as any dogs that come in go to fosters throughout Nova Scotia until they are adopted. It has also continued to work with various vet clinics throughout Nova Scotia and has started to work with the Atlantic Veterinary College in Prince Edward Island while staying focused on dogs that are often overlooked. “Often people don’t think a dog, who has a major medical issue, can live a happy life or find a home who will appreciate or be able to give them the life that they need. In our experience, we have found that is completely untrue,” said Ashton. “We have taken in some really difficult cases, and we have had some of our dogs stay in our care for months to years for treatment and rehab for many issues and then when it comes time for the dog to be adoptable, we always find a home.” This is thanks to fosters having the same view Ashton does, that no animal is disposable. “Out of some miracle, we connect with people who appreciate these dogs as much as we do for their uniqueness and it’s always incredible the homes we find for them.” It is also important to Ashton and those who work at the rescue to stay a small organization. It does this to ensure it stays thorough and doesn’t rush a dog out who might not be ready. In addition, this ensures it does not overextend the rescue as it relies on donations and fundraisers to operate. “Before we take in a dog, we ensure we have whatever they are going to need for their care moving forward,” explained Ashton. Just like the rest of the world, the rescue was impacted by COVID-19. It now does everything over video chat when it comes to doing home visits. Ashton has noticed this has helped those looking to adopt any of the dogs get more involved in the process. Although it is not always easy, Ashton said she would not switch jobs. “Working with the dogs is my passion. I also work with dogs in my private life, so anything to do with dogs is a plus for sure,” said Ashton. “Watching these dogs grow and get better and eventually find homes that adore them for who they are is amazing. We have created such an amazing little team that they are up for anything whenever I ask.” However, things she sees daily do hurt. “It’s tough, and after years it takes its toll,” Ashton said. “But I always focus on the dog’s needs and try to move forward and give them a new life.”

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