S.A.F.E. kicks off Pet Pal program


S.A.F.E. Pet Rescue, Inc. in St. Augustine Beach recently launched a program that allows animal lovers to house long-term shelter dogs on a short-term basis.

The Pet Pal program kicked off in February and is designed for people who are unable to adopt a dog for a lifetime but are still interested in the companionship of a furry friend. That amount of time varies per person, said S.A.F.E. Founder and President Robin Kantner-Nordan, but it can range from a weekend to several weeks.

The initiative started, said Kantner-Nordan, after the nonprofit organization realized that many of its shelters’ long-term dogs were being overlooked. Pet Pal launched to help these dogs find homes, even if only for a short period of time, while also providing company and enjoyment for the person taking care of the dog.

In many cases, Kantner-Nordan said these people are unable to adopt a dog on a full-time basis because of their employment situation or financial state. The program is also perfect for seniors or responsible college students who feel they are too old or young, respectively, to take on a full-time pet, she added.

In each case, S.A.F.E. works with the interested party, pairs the person with a dog and delivers the dog to the home to ensure it’s safe and comfortable. Kantner-Nordan said the dogs arrive freshly groomed and flea-free, and the organization provides food and necessary medications and equipment, such as a bed, crate, collar, leash, etc.

“Whatever the dog needs will be provided to make this time away from the shelter enjoyable and a wonderful experience,” said Kantner-Nordan in a text message to the Recorder.

The S.A.F.E. founder added that the organization will offer a small financial stipend to the people who take in the dogs as a token of appreciation. She noted that the experience is helpful to S.A.F.E., as it provides information about the dogs that would have previously been unknown, such as how the dog behaves in the home environment.

Overall, Kantner-Nordan said the program offers dogs that are both small and large, and young and old.

“We have a dog for every personality,” said Kantner-Nordan, who did note, however, that puppies are excluded from Pet Pal.

Interested people should visit any S.A.F.E. location or contact Kantner-Nordan at (904) 325-0196. Those in Ponte Vedra should contact Lisa Wargo at (914) 420-5769.

For more information about S.A.F.E., visit http://www.safe-pet-rescue-fl.com/.