By Jared Leone | Times Staff Writer
CARROLLWOOD — Amy Howland started out looking for a pet to adopt. Then she fell in love with Dakota. ¶ After adopting "Kotie," a golden retriever-chow from Lost Angels Animal Rescue a year ago, Howland wanted to do something to help the group. So she started taking in animals. ¶ "I know I can only help a couple at a time," Howland said. "But at least that is a couple." ¶ Hillsborough Animal Rescue impounded more than 15,000 dogs last year. More than half of them were euthanized. Lost Angels Animal Rescue is one of many animal rescue groups in the bay area working to reduce that number. They'll take any type of dog, with just about any problem. . See RESCUE,
"Lost Angels, unlike some groups, they stand out in my mind," Marti Ryan, spokeswoman for Hillsborough County Animal Rescue, said. "They (adopt) mixed breeds, which is very helpful to us."
Kelly Wilson started Lost Angels Animal Rescue with five friends about five years ago. The group takes in animals from shelters in Hillsborough, Pinellas and parts of Georgia.
"We wanted to do more than the average rescue group was doing," Wilson said. "What we take are literally death row dogs that are going to die, and we give them a second chance."
The group pairs puppies with foster parents. At the foster home, the dog is taken to the vet, trained and cared for. The animal stays with the foster parent until it can be adopted. The foster parents and their puppies line up from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays in front of the Petco at Fletcher and N Dale Mabry.
Amy Howland thought she would take one. Maybe she would foster a couple more dogs if Lost Angels needed. She never thought she would have helped more than 25 dogs in the past year.
Now, she takes care of six dogs, three of them foster dogs for Lost Angels, in her 1,000-square-foot Seminole Heights bungalow. It has not been easy, but it is a labor of love.
"Our feeling is that they stay in our home until that better home comes along," Howland said.
She and her husband, Chris, take care of five dogs in addition to Dakota: Frankie, a blackmouth cur (like Old Yeller); Toby, a pitbull mix; Elliott, a scruffy terrier; Molly, a beagle mix; and Carolina, a cattle dog mix.
Howland has to feed, walk and discipline the dogs. And like little children, the puppies get hungry and somtimes misbehave. She says she picks up 20-pound bags of food, four at a time, once a week. Dakota tries to keep the other dogs in line.
The animals typically stay with Howland for six weeks.
But there is no rush if a dog needs more training.
"It has just been an absolutely life-changing experience," Howland said.
"Not only do we have these dogs in our home, we get to see them go off to wonderful homes."