Twenty-six years ago next February, a South Bay woman found a white German Shepherd in a ditch with a litter of puppies - and a bullet in her jaw. The Good Samaritan didn't have the funds for the dog's veterinary care, so she told the San Jose Mercury News about the situation and donations poured in. So much so that after the little family had been well taken care of, their savior decided to use the remaining funds to start a rescue, which she called Nike, the name she had given the mother dog.
A quarter century later, Nike Animal Rescue Foundation is an all-volunteer rescue with foster homes from Gilroy to Sunol. Linda Pope, a founding member and the current president, says the group is particularly focused on rescuing "the in-betweeners," shelter dogs who, for health or behavioral reasons, are "not good enough to be put up for adoption [by the shelter's criteria], but too good to be put down." She tells of a recent rescue who was cowering with terror in his cage, but pranced happily the minute she got him out of the shelter.
On the kitty side, Nike's volunteers also come to the rescue of many stray
and abandoned litters of kittens each year. You can meet Nike's dogs (and cats) every weekend at adoption fairs around the South Bay, and also participate in their annual fundraiser, the Dog Walk-a-Thon, on the first Sunday of June at Vasona Park.