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Animal Lifeline of Iowa: Special Needs Animals Have Special Shelter

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Animal Lifeline of Iowa is a unique rescue operation with a mission to aid animals with special needs.  The message they share on their website is simple:

ALI does not kill animals simply because they have not been adopted within a certain length of time. We keep the animals until we are able to find homes for them. It doesn’t matter if it is two days or over the years. At our shelter, we try to provide as home like an environment as possible, until they find their forever home.

Life With Dogs had an opportunity to check in with ALI’s  Director of Development,  Stacie (Garmon) Leinen, to learn more about this very important organization and the services they provide.

Gypsy was found all alone with no mom or siblings in sight, she was thought to be only 5 weeks old. ALI took her in to ensure she grew strong and healthy before finding her forever home.

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Life With Dogs:                        How did Animal Lifeline find its commitment to working with special needs animals? Did it start out that way, was in an inspiration, or something that happened because a need for that population was seen?

Animal Lifefine of Iowa:     Sam, a Chesapeake Bay retriever, was found teetering near death living near junkyards along the Des Moines River. At only 52 pounds he had over five types of parasites attacking his defenseless body; too sick and weak to even handle vaccinations for over a month. After unconditional love, medical care and time he regained his strength and nearly 30 pounds. Sam’s rescue revealed the community’s need for a special-needs shelter that would help sick and injured dogs and cats.

In 1986 Animal Lifeline of Iowa (ALI) was founded by Ava Bothe in her rural Carlisle, Iowa home; dedicating resources to rescuing unowned, sick, injured, handicapped, pregnant and nursing moms and orphan babies that required bottle feeding; the dogs and cats that had a slim chance of survival in a traditional shelter.

This is Scarlet and her story. She is one of the special animals that was with ALI and found her forever home.

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LWD:       How do special needs animals find their way to you?

ALI:          Animal Lifeline of Iowa partners with local veterinarians, including an emergency veterinary clinic, and smaller shelters in rural Iowa and throughout the Midwest to save dogs and cats that are in need of immediate or long-term medical treatment from euthanasia.

 

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LWD:       Have you found success with placing your animals in forever homes?

ALI:          Yes, on average ALI adopts 200 animals each year.

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Donna was found as a stray, a loving individual took her in and discovered she was blind. She came to Animal Lifeline to receive medical care, she is estimated to be 12 years old. After time, she has started to come out of her shell – loving booty scratches and to be brushed. This lovely senior is looking for a forever home.

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LWD:       What might surprise people about special needs animals they may not realize?

ALI:          Just because an animal arrives to ALI with a special need, does not mean they are adopted with that need. Pregnant/nursing moms are adopted as healthy pets post weaning. Babies born at or cared for at the shelter are also adopted as healthy animals.  Many times once ALI determines what causes a special need, it can be easy to maintain throughout their lives. Sometimes the issue could be a food allergy and a strict diet is all that is needed for a long healthy life.

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LWD:       What are your greatest needs for Animal Lifeline?  How can people help?

ALI:         Monetary donations are the most important as ALI does not receive any government funding. We rely solely on fundraising events, private donors and the sale proceeds at our Thrift Shop. Other items that are very important include supplies such as bleach, paper towels, trash bags, baby wipes, cat and dog toys, metal belt buckle style collars in all sizes, Fancy Feast canned cat food and kitten food. We have a full Wish List on Amazon.

This amazing video shows the good work that ALI did with Sadie who had tragically lost her right forepaw due to a hunter’s trap injury and frostbite. She, too, now has a forever home.

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LWD:       Anything else you would like to share?

ALI:         I think people don’t realize that our vet expenses are much higher in comparison to a traditional animal shelter. Going the extra mile hits the bank account! On average our vet bill is $80,000 per year. Every dollar we raise towards our vet expenses means more animals can be rescued. Each animal adopted from ALI is microchipped, spayed or neutered, completely up to date on all vaccines including rabies, heart worms and flu, treated for heart worms and fleas and cats are tested for feline FIV and leukemia.

Buster was found with a severe leg injury – possibly bitten by a fox! He came to ALI and battled side effects from the bite being left untreated…staph infection and a skin infection that caused the skin to fall off. He made a full recovery and found a forever home.

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This is Louise, who was waiting for someone to take her to a forever home which she now has. (All photos: ALI)

You can find more information about Animal Lifeline of Iowa and the wonderful animals they have for adoption, or to see how you can help, at their website, on their YouTube channel, and on Facebook.

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