SPARTA, Wisconsin (WXOW) - "There's a need for a lot more places like this," said Tina Hanson, founder of Tina's K-9 Rescue and Sanctuary in Sparta. "Several of them."
Tina's K-9 Rescue isn't a traditional animal shelter. They don't take animal drop-offs and they provide long-term housing for unwanted, neglected, and abused animals.
"Some of the dogs and cats are available for adoption," said Kat Rau, volunteer at Tina's K-9 Rescue and Animal Sanctuary. "But the other animals come out here and live their lives out comfortably in good health with a lot of love and attention."
And instead of letting people choose a pet to adopt, they let the animal choose their person.
"The way animals are, if they're not happy, they're going to make the people's life absolutely miserable," said Hanson. "So I make sure that I know each and every one of them and know what will make them happy. And I need to make sure that I find the home that's going to provide for that."
Dozens of animals, from chinchillas to horses, call Tina's K-9 Rescue home. For the animals, the rescue is a safe-haven. And for those who work with them, it's a way to feed the soul.
"Most of these animals that have been abandoned and abused," said Rau. The neglected animals just want attention and love. And to be able to come out here and give them even just a few minutes of my time is just, it just touches my heart."
Hanson says running the shelter is quite a bit of work but it never feels like it.
"I'm doing this because I want to make a difference," said Hanson. "The pain that I see is what drives me. That's what keeps me going. That's what keeps us going… This is my life and it's not a job. I love what I do."
Tina's K-9 Rescue is non-profit and has been running for the last 15 years through donations.
"There's a lot of work that still needs to be done out at the facility," said Rau. "And there's always ongoing operating expenses whether it's for food, cleaning supplies, veterinary expenses."
This Saturday, June 29, the shelter is hosting a poker run and fundraiser.
"These [poker runs] are traditionally for motorcyclists," said Rau. "However, we have had people request driving their cars so they can help us out, so we do welcome them."
Registration for the poker run begins at 9AM on Saturday, June 29, at the Southside Saloon in Sparta, and costs $25 to participate. The poker run begins at 10AM with the best three poker hands winning $500, $250, and $100.
The poker run will be followed by raffles and auctions that are open to the public. Additional information can be found at Tina's K-9 Rescue Fundraiser Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tinas-K-9-Rescue-Poker-Run-and-Fundraiser/564255656940379.
All of the money raised will go directly to the rescue.
"One thing she really wants to do right now is purchase custom covers for the dog runs to protect them from the weather and the elements," said Rau. "Hopefully the snow won't build up, the leaves won't build up, and they can go comfortably outside when it's raining."
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