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A New "Rescue Ranch" For Dogs Can Mean Saving Hundreds Of Tail Wagging Lives

<i>Every Saturday the Phoenix dogs are displayed at Petsmart for adoption. (Dyann Lesnever/WUFT News) </i>

Phoenix Animal Rescue has saved the lives of many stray dogs and brought joy to many families. After helping to reduce Levy County's dog euthanasia rate by 70 percent, Phoenix is now fundraising to make their dream "Rescue Ranch" a reality.

Project final web

Man's best friend comes in many colors and sizes, all of which are welcome byPhoenix Animal Rescue, an organization whose mission it is to provide sanctuary and new homes to dogs that have been abused or abandoned.

Given only six months to live, Linda Powell has made saving a dog's life a priority.

"Well Simba is now Foxy. He's right there with me," Powell said. "I wake up in the morning, he's there. I switch seats or go to the restroom or go upstairs, he follows me. He's with me everywhere."

Powell said giving her time and affection to a dog is an easy choice to make when the alternative is putting a dog to sleep.

"I think it's a mutual experience. The dogs get love and family that they want, and you get this little sidekick that adores you when no one else in the world does," she said.

Having saved 158 dogs so far in 2013, Phoenix is currently raising money for  15-acre "Rescue Ranch" property in Levy County. Volunteer Consultant and Treasurer Cathy Coe said having a facility of their own will give people the opportunity to engage with the dogs in a living room setting instead of the chaos of Petsmart.

"It's kind of wooded and peaceful and the idea is it's a place dogs coming from a shelter will be able to decompress for a couple weeks, get their vetting and their spay-neuter taken care of, and then they will be placed in foster homes and made adoptable," Coe said.

Coe said having a centralized location will help improve adoption rates as well as promoting education on caring for dogs. Their goal for next year is to save around 350 dogs, almost double 2013's year-to-date total.

"Fostering is great, it's so rewarding. You spend time, you get to know these dogs and you know you can't keep them all but seeing them go to wonderful homes and being able to say that dog is going to have the best life possible is a great feeling," Coe said.

Phoenix will continue to raise funds until mid-September, when the group hopes to purchase the property.

<i>Every Saturday the Phoenix dogs are displayed at Petsmart for adoption. (Dyann Lesnever/WUFT News) </i>

<i>Phoenix Animal Rescue bring their dogs to Petsmart every weekend. (Dyann Lesnever/WUFT News)</i>

<i>Foster parents bring their dogs to Petsmart every Saturday to get adopted. (Dyann Lesnever/WUFT News)</i>


<i>Linda Powell and her roommate play with the newest addition to their household Foxy. (Dyann Lesnever/WUFT News) </i>

<i>To raise money Phoenix Animal Rescue sells T-Shirts. (Dyann Lesnever/WUFT News)</i>

Dyann is a reporter for WUFT News and can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing