Q&A: Founder of Pekes, Paws & Tails Rescue Tanya talks about her non-profit animal rescue and how you can help her cause.
The founder also talked about how one rescue in particular helped her cope after experiencing the mass shooting at Route 91 & losing her friend on that tragic day.
Q: Have you always been an animal lover?
A: I’ve always been an animal lover, but what got me, really, into starting a non-profit dog rescue was a pit bull [named Kia] that was found in Chicago. She was given away on Craigslist, [under the ad] “Free to a Good Home”. Two years later, she was found brutally tortured, every limb was ripped out of her body, [and] she was stabbed in her face. Everything imaginable…They called her puppy though, they didn’t know her name at the time…they tracked down where she came from and [found] her name was Kia. When I saw that, I started reaching out to people on Craigslist and started warning them about the dangers of offering their animals, “Free, to a Good Home”, on Craigslist.
Q: When was your rescue open?
A: I started rescuing around seven years ago. The last three years, my rescue took off and I’ve been working with other states. I’m not just in Nevada. I also work with other countries. I’ve rescued in Mexico, I’ve worked with Canada. I’ve worked with other countries. The last three years, we’ve gotten very busy and then I finally filed for my non-profit status last year so I can help get them government funding, additional funding. Right now, I’m in the process of looking for a grant writer but right now, I still rely on fundraisers and public donations, stuff like that, to run my rescue.
Q: What have you seen is the number one reason people give up their pets?
A: I think, sometimes, people bring on an animal and they don’t really understand the responsibility. And, then when they see them, it’s too much. A lot of people will get a puppy and then when they figure out, oh my gosh I need to train this puppy to go potty outside, train them not to chew on the blinds, not to tear up this house, you know. You have to be committed and you have to be able to train this animal through repetition, so people working are sticking an animal in a crate, and they think that’s going to fix it. It’s not. So then, they give up on the dogs and they dump it…I applaud people for reaching out to our rescue. That is the responsible thing to do. Not just dump the animal in a park or at the kill shelter or selling them on Craigslist to somebody that you don’t know. So, people do like to work with me. A lot of people recommend me to other people who need to re-home their animals because I don’t judge them on that decision. When I know that that decision is the best decision they could be making for that animal. That’s what’s important.
Q: Is there a particular rescue story that stands out to you the most?
A: Yeah, there is. I recently rescued Ajax, he is an eight pound Pekingese that was on the kill list at Animal Foundation, which is our local kill shelter. He couldn’t walk. He had the worst heart condition. They took him to a cardiologist, worst heart condition. He had seizures, he had an anal tumor, [and] he had dental disease so he couldn’t be put under. They told me that Ajax would live, maybe, a week. Maybe four weeks tops. And Ajax ended up living 18 weeks. And, ended up running. You know, I got him a wheel chair, because he couldn’t walk. And, he ended up running. So, it was really, really great to see that. And, I rescued Ajax two days before I was in the mass shooting at Route 91. That was October 1st and I didn’t go see Ajax October 2. I went to see him on the third, and every day it seemed like he was getting a little stronger. And, he was actually giving me hope that I needed to get stronger. I actually lost a friend at Route 91. And so, it was a really, really difficult time for me, October. And to watch Ajax, he motivated me. He gave me a reason to get out of bed and keep going.
Q: I see, he helped with your emotional healing?
A: Yeah, he played a huge role in that. And he just left us this month, but he had the most amazing 18 weeks of his life…
Q: What kinds of volunteers does your rescue group need at the moment?
A: We need fosters. Really bad.
Q: Can you explain what a “Foster” can expect to do?
A: Fosters provide the animal with a safe loving environment. While the rescue pays for the medical expenses. We ask that fosters take the animal to the vet when they have [an] appointment. If they have an adoption event, if they could take them to the event that would be great. Not all fosters can do that, which is fine. Then we can find transporters to pick up the animal. It would be ideal for fosters to be able to transport them where they need to go, while the rescue pays all of the bill. We pay medical supplies. [We] make sure the foster doesn’t have to pay anything other than open up their home and their heart, like we say. And really work with the animal. We rescued some animals with behavioral issues or medical conditions and some of them really need socialization. So, once they start working with animals, one-on-one, they either come out of their shell and it’s a whole other personality than what they were in the shelter.
Q: If Nevada residents are unable to volunteer being a Foster, how else can they help?
A: We always want people that will network our events. Basically, get the word out there on fundraisers. Let people know that we have AmazonSmile. We are connected with iGive. So, even shopping on a daily basis. So, it will help the charity, which costs them nothing. Just a little pretense to get the companies to give back to us. Even with dog food, dog supplies. We are always willing to take items that aren’t being used.
Q: Where can someone interested in either donating, volunteering, or adopting; go to get more information?
A: Right now they can email us PekesPawsAndTails@gmail.com. We are in the process of getting our website back up. For donations, we use PayPal, which is PekesPawsAndTails@gmail.com. We also use Venmo, which is @Tanya-Keith we have a mailing address as well…Pekes Paws & Tails, 8020 South Rainbow Boulevard Las Vegas, Nevada 89139. They can also call the vets directly. One of our main vets is Haven Animal Hospital, their phone number; its 702-260-6260 the address is 775 South Rainbow Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada 89139.
Q: Is there anything else? Any other information, that you want readers to know?
A: I hope that people do consider adopting. The overpopulation problem is pretty out of control, especially here in Vegas, on the West Coast in general, California. So, considering adopting is saving a life, would be awesome. About 10 thousand animals a day get put down in the U.S. So, it’s an alarming rate…you can find any breed that would need rescuing. So, if they’re willing to wait … Some breeds are harder to find than others, especially puppies…are hard to find in rescue. But, I see two, three year olds Pekingese, English bulldog. I mean, you name it, if you’re willing to wait and talk to different rescues about it, you’ll be able to find it.