Rescue4All gives dogs a second chance at life
SPOKANE, Wash. — A dog is man’s best friend, but Spokane resident Jamie McAtee might have you thinking she’s a dog’s best friend, since she’s made it her mission to rescue unwanted and unadoptable dogs and give them a second chance at life.
Brinkley is McAtee’s latest rescue. An adorable pit bull puppy, like many of the dogs she saves, Brinkley comes with special needs. He was born with a bladder abnormality that will require surgery. The staff at Veterinary Surgical Specialists has partnered with McAtee to help keep medical costs down.
“We don’t discriminate based on the fact of what their breed is or what their genetic makeup is, or medical issues, so if we can help them we can and we will,” McAtee said.
McAtee’s non-profit, Rescue4All, takes in dogs that shelters won’t or can’t keep, those considered unwanted or unadoptable and, in some cases, just hours from being euthanized. She bring her special partner to every evaluation, her rescue labradoodle Weston.
“He definitely makes a big part of the rescue, because if a dog can’t get along with Weston when I evaluate them, then I can’t take that dog, because he’s the easiest dog in the world to get along with,” she explained.
Rescue4All started in McAtee’s northside home a year and a half ago. She had been volunteering at Spokane’s Humane Society after losing her lucrative job with a mortgage company during the recession.
“We were living the high life and having a great time, and with my job I lost my entire savings, so I lost like $300,000, all of my savings, and like, everything was gone, all my company stock, everything,” she said.
McAtee struggled to find a job, so she filled her time by working with animals at the shelter. It was a perfect fit.
“I always focused on the fact that you go in there, you take them out for a walk and that’s the best hour that they’ve had all day,” she said.
But it weighed on her heart to see some dogs, week after week, month after month, never get adopted and no other rescues stepping up to take them. So she started her own.
“There’s a need here, and I am confident enough to know that this is something that I can handle, and so i just was like, ‘Doing it, and these are the dogs I want to take and help,'” she said.
Daddy, a pitbull mix, is one of five dogs she’s adopted herself. He’s the rescue’s mascot, attending community events and fundraisers.
Rescue4All relies on a network of volunteers and operates solely off of donations and adoption fees. Rescued dogs are placed in foster homes, where they are rehabilitated and socialized as they patiently wait for their forever home.
“She’s just had some amazing dogs, with amazing stories. We’ve just stuck with her, we’ll probably get every dog from here on out through her,” Jeni Davaz said.
The Davaz family has two dogs from Rescue4All. Brothers Zach and Noah even saved their own money to adopt Madi and Captain.
“She is just vibrant when it comes to her animals and you just, you want to help her,” Davaz said.
McAtee’s passion for saving lives – more than 100 dogs to date – has ignited an entire community to join her in the cause.
“Every night I think about the blessings that I have been able to share, and that I have people, basically rallying and helping. That’s basically what it comes down to. By myself, I wouldn’t be able to do anything,” she said.
The staff at Veterinary Surgical Specialists plays a huge role, working to correct defects in most of her rescue dogs. Little Brinkley will be back for a CT scan that’ll help doctors determine how to surgically repair her bladder. It won’t come cheap. Rescue4All is actively raising funds to cover the cost. But to McAtee it’s all worth it and, when she’s healed, Brinkley will be ready to offer her family the unconditional love she longs to give.
“Everyone else says ‘Someone should do something’ and it probably sounds kind of cheesy, but I always said ‘OK let’s just do it.’ And it’s been amazing, and life-changing, and so humbling,” McAtee said.