Nicky is getting up in age — he’s 11 — and his face is scarred, possibly because he was used as a bait dog.
Oliver has had a life of rejection. The 10 year old was picked up as a stray, adopted, and then abandoned.
Katie, 6, is a bit frail — she’s had a stroke.
These are some of the animals Hope Animal Shelter embraces — older, injured, sick.
Sometimes, someone comes along and is willing to open their heart and home to pets that aren’t necessarily cute and cuddly. Hope always works to have the animals adopted.
When that doesn’t happen, the no-kill shelter is committed to caring for those that others might euthanize if an adoption isn’t imminent.
And that costs money — the monthly overhead is about $15,000, says Susan Scherl, Hope’s founder and executive director. Vet bills can soar as high as $5,000 a month — everything is done to save an animal. Isabella, for instance, is an 8-year-old cat who was on a feeding tube for a little over a month before she became strong enough to eat on her own.
Animals are only euthanized when it is clear that there is no medical attention that can relieve their suffering.
“There is nothing we wouldn’t do to help these animals,” says Scherl.
Friday, there will be a “Happy Hour for Hope” at Cushing Street Bar and Restaurant. The admission is low — just $10 — and there will be music, magic, raffles and an auction of such items as vet services, an autographed Larry McMurtry book, and art by the likes of Tom Philabaum and Mark Rossi.
Right now, there are about 80 animals at the mid-town shelter. There have been as many as 100 there at one time.
The industrial building Hope rents has plenty of room — 3,000 square feet — and a large yard to exercise the animals.
Scherl has long worked in animal welfare. She started Hope in 2006 after a stint working at a local animal shelter that euthanizes animals which aren’t adopted out.
“I left because I refused to euthanize any more animals,” she says.
Hope is the only no-kill shelter in Tucson that accepts both cats and dogs. Sometimes a pet is brought by when the person who cared for them dies, or a vet sends an animal her way. But most of the dogs are rescued from Pima Animal Care Center.
“They send out a rescue list every day of animals that need special care,” she said.
But sometimes it’s more than perusing a list.
Scherl was at a shelter recently to pick up a dog for someone else when she came across an elderly animal.
“There was this old dog sitting in the kennel, in her pee, with cataracts, and I couldn’t resist her,” she says. “She’s the sweetest little thing.”
The upcoming fundraiser will generate some cash, but Scherl hopes it does more than that: She hopes animal lovers will sign up for monthly donations.
“We are trying to get enough donations monthly so that we at least have rent, utilities and payroll covered,” she said. Hope has four employees: three full-time and one part-time.
“Donating monthly is so easy and it’s so important. For the amount of a cup of a designer coffee, they could be helping an animal.”