MY VIEW: Foreclosure crisis snares rescuers, rescued - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

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MY VIEW: Foreclosure crisis snares rescuers, rescued

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Posted: Monday, April 25, 2011 1:30 pm

While the prospect of losing ones home to foreclosure usually means packing up your dreams and uprooting the family, imagine if that family included dozens of rescued dogs and cats.

That’s the challenge facing Robin Hood Animal Rescue.

Over the past two years, the non-profit, all-volunteer rescue group’s founder, Bob Spangler, 51, and administrator/chief foster mom, Shellie Denne, 54, have both fallen on hard times and have lost their jobs and homes.

Spangler’s Glendale home was auctioned off recently, and he received notice the eviction process began Thursday. Spangler thinks they have a few weeks before they officially have to vacate the premises.

That’s put the rescuers and rescued in a housing limbo, between the impending eviction and an affordable solution.

There’s no time for worry or self-pity, though.

“We’re not going to skip a beat,” Spangler said.

Spangler said one of the group’s volunteers has pledged down payment assistance and another committed to purchase alternative housing for Spangler, Denne and the rescued animals. The volunteer  would then rent the home to the group and it would serve as the rescue group’s headquarters.

Robin Hood Animal Rescue was formed in 2004 after Spangler became disheartened while volunteering with another rescue group, which chose to ban certain breeds and select dogs it deemed most adoptable when pulling animals out of the county shelter.

By contrast, Robin Hood Animal Rescue is known to be one of the most open-minded in the local rescue community, rescuing dogs without regard to breed, often plucking them right off the streets.

“We can’t let a dog run around the street and get hit — (we pick) up strays,” Spangler said. “(Other rescues) do cherry picking based on the shelter’s temperament tests and pull the ones they can flip quick, like investers do with houses.”

“We pick up the dogs and worry about the temperament later,” he said. “We believe there’s a home out there for each and every one of them.”

Some of the recent rescues include Chihuahuas, huskies, boxers, a German shepherd and a Great Pyrenees. The group posts ads in local papers in hopes of reuniting the dogs with their owners. When that fails, they get the dogs vetted, spayed or neutered and ready for adoption.

Robin Hood Animal Rescue does not have a physical shelter, relying on volunteer fosters to house the dogs and cats until they are adopted out. Spangler estimates there are more than 30 dogs and 16 cats available for adoption currently. Lightening the load would make it easier for the transition to the new housing. And more foster homes means more animals can be helped.

The group recently adopted out the sibling of another rescue cat that was adopted several years ago. Spangler was touched the family remembered the group and chose to adopt from them again.

Success stories like that buoy Spangler and Denne and reconfirm they are doing their life’s work.

“People ask us, ‘Why are you picking up dogs?’ It’s what we do. It’s our passion, it’s a business and it’s saving an animal’s life,” Spangler.

Robin Hood Animal Rescue can be reached at 623-931-7499 and 623-680-1170.

Joy Slagowski is a copy editor/page designer at the Daily News-Sun. She can be reached at 623-876-2514 or

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