Puppy store raises funds for kennels

Rebecca, the two month old mixed breed puppy, checks out a guest at the Arizona Animal Welfare League East Valley Adoption Center inside the Chandler Fashion Center Mall. (David Minton/Staff Photographer)

Rescue dogs usually come with a not-so-happy back story. So, they are not for everyone.

“Over the last few years, even just the last two years, I’ve noticed a huge shift in how people view rescues,” said Quinn Borchardt, who manages the Arizona Animal Welfare League (AAWL) adoption center at the Chandler Fashion Center mall.

“We do get people who are still wary about rescuing, but are starting to change their minds about getting a rescue animal versus a puppy mill.”

Rescue dogs could be older, they may have been abused, and they may lack the social skills families are looking for.

The Chandler AAWL location is in the process of raising the money it needs to replace the kennels. Alessandra Navidad, AAWL’s president and CEO, says they need $105,000. They have about $40,000 so far.

“There’s many of them that are unusable,” Navidad said. “It just means we can’t have as many animals up for adoption. We can’t put those animals in those kennels.”

AAWL took over that Chandler location in 2012, replacing a puppy mill. That’s where dogs are breed specifically to sell to families.

AAWL has its primary location near Sky Harbor Airport in central Phoenix. The Chandler adoption center is its only other location.

Navidad said they usually send puppies and smaller dogs to Chandler to be rescued.

She said what sets AAWL apart is that they offer a full-range of services. They provide veterinarians, do dog training and adoptions.

Many of the dogs sent to them require vets right away.

“We just took in, over the weekend, 12 Parvo puppies from one of our partners here in Maricopa County.”

The parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease that usually impacts dogs between 6 and 20 weeks old, but can sometimes impact older dogs as well.

When their partners don’t have the success to treat Parvo, they send the dogs to AAWL.

“We have the medical capacity to be able to provide that intensive treatment for those animals until they recover,” Navidad said. “We have a great success rate with Parvo and the puppies are doing well.”

Many of the other dogs AAWL receive come from Arizona’s rural counties.

“About 60% of our animals come from rural shelters across the state of Arizona,” Navidad said. “These are tiny shelters where most of the time they’re open intake. They’re government run shelters, they don’t have a lot of resources.”

Some of those resources that are lacking include vaccinations, which is why they send the dogs to AAWL.

Borchardt said most of the dogs that arrive in Chandler are usually adopted within a week. Some, she says, go home with a family in less than 24 hours.

She said the longest it has taken to adopt a dog during her tenure as manager of the Chandler location is three weeks. They also occasionally get cats and kittens.

For now, the workers at the Chandler Fashion Center are looking forward to getting new kennels.

“We have two or three that we just can’t use,” Borchardt said. “We’ve been patching the up, using silicone, glue and screws and stuff. They’ve just been overrun by puppy teeth, and digging, and everything. It will be our biggest renovation project here since we took over the store about 10 years ago.”

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