By Michele Young
The online ad selling an “outdoor pom” last September raised alarm bells to those who know Pomeranians.
The little dogs are better suited to laps and being companions than left outside.
Ariel was living in a back yard in Calgary, being bred repeatedly for six years to produce puppies for sale.
Dori McRae lives in Barriere. She was contacted about Ariel and couldn’t say no to the dog who had outlived her usefulness to the people who were breeding her.
The Pom arrived in Kamloops blind in one eye, a huge hernia growing inside, feces from another dog matted in her fur and so many fleas the vet deemed were eating her alive.
“She’d never been to a vet,” McRae said Sunday (July 27).
Ariel got the treatment she needed and a pampering home with one of McRae’s friends in the U.S. McRae got the start of a new dog-rescue group, based on one in Calgary. Pommy Country Rescue was born.
Less than a year later, McRae is working on charity status for the group, has a network of foster homes for the dogs she takes in and is raising money to pay for the growing vet bills. And she’s mothering her three- and five-year-old daughters while caring for her own dogs.
Pommy Country is a bit of a misnomer now, though. McRae has taken in a basset hound, Jack Russell terrier, Yorkshire terrier, a few Chihuahuas and a medium-sized Karelian bear dog cross.
And Jazzy, an emaciated Chinese crested who at 13 years old, doesn’t have much time left.
On Sunday, McRae had a dozen or so of the home-seeking pups with her at a fundraising yard/bake sale in Brocklehurst.
Bo, a four-year-old white Pomeranian, relentlessly clambered at the fence and yipped a few times for her attention as she stood talking nearby. McRae picked him up and he settled contentedly in her arms.
Often she gets calls from people looking to surrender their animals who won’t or can’t afford to pay a surrender fee at the SPCA (the society asks for a fee to help pay the costs of veterinary care and feeding the animals it takes in). McRae doesn’t charge anything, but welcomes donations, of course.
Pomeranians are known for their outgoing, energetic personalities, despite their small stature.
“With me, the dogs all stay in foster homes,” said McRae. None of them are kennelled, nor are they “outdoor poms.”
While the Kamloops Pommy Country group is still growing out its own puppyhood, McRae has contacted other pom and dog rescue groups to share information. In one case, a Seattle rescue covered the $4,900 vet bill needed for a foster dog who had been debarked and whose throat was growing shut.
Paying the vet bills is one of the biggest challenges she continually faces.
“It’s always a panic and a struggle,” she said.
But she keeps going. Pommy Country has a Facebook page and a web site and McRae is building a considerable network of Pomeranian lovers.
By the numbers:
Pommy Country marks one year of rescue in September.
The group has 20 dogs up for adoption right now.
Vet bills add up to thousands of dollars, with the group raising almost $800 to go toward that debt at a yard/bake sale on Sunday.
Pommy Country has 1,700 Facebook followers.