Mike and Karen Schaver had long dreamed of buying a big ranch to provide a safe haven and lots of TLC for homeless dogs (and other critters), and get them ready for new families. Finally, in 2004, they found an 80-acre property in Clearlake, each of them working several jobs to build a house and hospital facility as they welcomed their first foundlings. Orphan Dog Rescue was born.
Since those days, more than 3,000 dogs owe their lives and new families to the Schavers and the troops of dedicated volunteers who pull at-risk dogs from overcrowded shelters in Lake County and beyond, then bring them to the ranch or individual foster homes for vet care, socialization, and general de-stressing. Orphan Dog also helps the Lake County community with spay/neuter assistance. Says Karen Schaver, who still teaches full time in addition to her work at Orphan Dog, "Lake County, for the most part, is doing better in terms of animal care than when we started 20 years ago, but there is still a great need, especially in the city of Clearlake. Economically we're suffering because of the fires, and there hasn't been any sort of rebound yet."
When the dogs are ready to seek their new families, the Orphan Dog crew shuttles them to mobile adoption events and other meet-and-greets around the North Bay.
Recently arrived at the Ranch is Dixie here—just under a year old, a blend of border collie, McNab, and other herding breeds. With the brains and energy level you'd expect from her gene pool, she's just starting to get the training, play time and attention she needs, and she's responding well. She'll be looking for a person who knows and loves herding breeds, and how to direct their focus and work ethic in positive ways. Meanwhile, as you'll see in this video, she's having fun chasing hummingbirds around the pasture.
Photo: Dixie – Orphan Dog Rescue