Taking a moment out of your busy day to stop and throw your dog’s favorite squeaky toy, or to stroke your cat until she purrs, is not just lovely. It’s healthy. Our fur babies are not only cute and cuddly. They are family. The simple act of petting our four-legged companions creates a surge of oxytocin, an essential hormone that helps us feel calm and to form necessary social bonds.

Scratch needs a new home and can be adopted from Homeward Bound Pets in McMinnville. Photo credit: Homeward Bound Pets

Numerous studies show that raising a pet can help reduce blood pressure and improve your quality of life. This story is about rescue animals and highlights a couple of no-kill animal shelters on the North Oregon and Washington Coast where you can adopt a pet. Soon, you might just find yourself wondering, “Who rescued who.”

Talk with your friends and neighbors, and you’ll find lots of families that rescued a pet only to fall head-over-heels in love with their new four-legged family member. From assisting a kid with autism to helping wounded warriors recover from the physical and mental scars of war, pets help us feel needed and love us unconditionally.

One of the more famous pet rescue stories is “Finding Gobi.” It’s the story of how a Scottish professional runner, Dion Leonard, was competing in an ultra-marathon in the Gobi desert when he began to be followed by a tiny dog. It was the second day of a seven-day race, and the dog kept up with him for an astounding 80 miles! Soon Leonard put his competitive nature aside to care for the dog and share his food rations.

That started the heartwarming tale of how he had to put the dog, now named Gobi, through a lengthy quarantine process, only to learn that she had escaped! In desperation, Leonard flew back to China to find her. During his tedious search, he realized he had no choice but to reach out to the locals for help, but he couldn’t even speak the language. In the process, he overcame some personal battles and faced buried childhood traumas, and was eventually reunited with Gobi.

Sasha is a 4 year old cat at South Pacific County Humane Society that needs a family.

If the story of Leonard and Gobi inspires you to rescue a pet of your own, there are a couple of wonderful no-kill shelters in the area ready to help you find the perfect four-legged companion. For over 40 years, Homeward Bound Pets, in McMinnville, Oregon’s has been helping cats and dogs find new homes. As Oregon’s first no-kill animal shelter, they’ve saved countless animals and have a knack for matching pet to human. Just ask them what makes their shelter unique and they’ll tell you. “Every animal that comes to our shelter stays with us until they are adopted. We believe that each animal has unique qualities that someone is looking for in a companion and that time increases the chances of them finding each other.” The organization is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and operate solely from adoption fees, donations, and fundraising activities. All Donations are tax-deductible, and they invite you to pay them a visit and find your new four-legged family member.

South Pacific County Humane Society

Since the beginning, pets at the South Pacific County Humane Society have received vital medical care and socialization. All of the animals adopted from the shelter are spayed or neutered. When the shelter opened in 1997, it was an unofficially no-kill shelter, but during its first year in business, the Board and volunteers decided that no-kill should be part of its mission. No animal at the shelter is ever euthanized unless its poor health requires it, or it’s un-adoptable due to aggression or some other issue.

Fireball needs a new home. She is a 3 month old Black Lab and Collie mix currently at South Pacific County Humane Society. Photo credit: South Pacific County Humane Society

One full-time Shelter Manager and half a dozen part-time workers make sure that all of the cats and dogs in their care receive proper medical care, exercise, and feedings. The rest of the operation is entirely volunteer-driven.

These shelters desperately need volunteers and donations, as well as people to adopt one or more pets. Just take a moment to look deep in the eyes of the animals in these shelters, and you’ll undoubtedly find the one for you. It won’t take long, and you’ll be wondering, “Who rescued who?”

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