When Chantilly arrived at Sunny Sky’s Rescue, the corgi puppy had a wound around her mouth where a rubber band had been placed to prevent her from barking.
The band was so tight that the dead tissue that surrounded it had to be removed surgically. Chantilly was left with deep wounds and scars.
As she healed, she waited for adoption. Eventually, she found a loving home with a mother and her children who delighted in watching her play and in hearing her newly discovered bark.
Chantilly is one of 2,000 animals that have been rescued, many from unsafe conditions, since the nonprofit opened in 2010, said Genevieve Wallace, Sunny Sky’s volunteer coordinator.
Sunny Sky’s Rescue is among the few no-kill shelters in the area and depends on charitable donations to survive. Wallace said the shelter’s founder, veterinarian Illina Berton, never turns away a needy animal. She often performs surgeries at her own expense since the modest adoption fee won’t cover those costs, Wallace said.
“I don’t know of another veterinarian who donates so much,” Wallace said.
Now, Sunny Sky’s needs to be rescued. About to lose its current building, it will close unless another affordable location is found.
Because all donations go to the shelter’s services, there is no money available for a building, Wallace said.
The shelter’s December Christmas Benefit not only helped to raise initial funds, it increased public awareness of the shelter’s plight, volunteer Sharon Ward said.
“We are still in limbo,” Ward said.
Even while the shelter is struggling with housing, there are animals that need special help. Whether it’s Chantilly or the chihuahua brought in with two broken front legs after it was thrown from the top of a Jungle Gym, all animals are welcomed with the same devotion to healing, Wallace said.
The staff members at East Main Animal Hospital and the volunteers who help at Sunny Sky’s Rescue share a passion for finding the animals new, loving homes, Wallace said.
“We began with a core group of four to five volunteers, and now we have 40,” Wallace said. “Even the veterinary staff members volunteer on their time off.”
Wallace doesn’t know for sure what will happen to the animals currently at the facility should Sunny Sky’s close. She anticipates some would be placed in foster homes while others may be divided among other shelters. There’s no guarantee, though, they would all find no-kill shelters.
Sunny Sky’s Rescue opened in 2010 as part of Berton’s veterinary practice with a goal of rescuing animals in need and finding them safe homes. For more information or to donate, visit www.sunnyskysrescue.org.Linda Henry is a freelance reporter for the Herald.