Rescue One fundraising for new facility that would include low-cost vet clinic

Jackie Rehwald
Springfield News-Leader

Rescue One, a nonprofit animal rescue organization based in Springfield, has helped save thousands of dogs and cats since it was formed in 2013. 

Rescue One is not an animal shelter — all of the animals in Rescue One’s care live in foster homes until they are adopted.

Maci came to Rescue One July 12th and was severely emaciated. Her x-rays showed she had a gastrointestinal obstruction and needed surgery. To further complicate her condition, it also showed she had an abnormal amount of fluid in the tissue that surrounds the lungs, in her case this was most likely caused by trauma to the chest. 
Under sedation, the fluid was drained and she was then taken into surgery where bones she had ingested were removed from her stomach. The odds were against this girl but we are happy to report that she is doing well and is gaining weight! We are so thankful to have a great clinic staff and a veterinarian who goes above and beyond every single day!

But Rescue One’s mission goes beyond finding forever homes for homeless dogs and cats. 

“Our main goal is to educate the community and provide resources for them to be able to care for their animals,” said Rebekah Redwing, finance officer for Rescue One. “We can keep picking up animals and rescuing them, but if we don’t teach our community how to properly care for them and why spaying and neutering is important, then there’s still going to be an overpopulation of neglected and feral animals out there that will always need to be rescued.”

With that mission at heart, Rescue One started offering resources like low-cost vaccination clinics open to anyone in the community.

“I want more people to realize how much we can offer to help out the community and for people to take advantage of those resources,” Redwing said. 

As Rescue One expands and grows the services it offers, the nonprofit is planning to build a 14,000-square-foot facility that would house both the Rescue One Center and a low-cost community veterinary clinic.

More:Missouri nonprofits kick off fundraising for Gannett's A Community Thrives program

"This will not be an animal shelter and we have no intentions of ever becoming one," the group said in a recent Facebook post about the plans. "Warehousing animals is not the solution. Education, assistance, and spay and neuter is."

Rescue One found a four-acre piece of property in northwest Springfield and is currently raising money to purchase it. 

Redwing expects the building project to cost anywhere from $3.5 million to $4 million.

To help fund building the new facility, Rescue One is among the three local nonprofit organizations participating in the Gannett Foundation's 2021 A Community Thrives program.

A Community Thrives is a $2.3 million initiative sponsored by Gannett, the News-Leader's parent company, and is marking its fifth year supporting groups that address social issues.

Last month, organizations applied to raise money for specific projects and will first raise money on their own through crowdfunding campaigns. Then, they will be eligible for one of 15 national grants of up to $100,000.

(Springfield Chamber Chorus and Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks are also participating in the Community Thrives program. Stories about their projects ran in Saturday's and Monday's papers.) 

More:Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks hopes to create program for women under 35

About the planned facility

Currently, Rescue One operates out of two small, rented spaces: an office that is used for storage and donations and an internal veterinary clinic. 

When the new facility is complete, it will have two sides: the Rescue One Center and the low-cost community vet clinic. 

Rebekah Redwing with Rescue One

The Rescue One Center side will have 10 emergency boarding kennels to be used primarily for assisting law enforcement.

"Over the years, we've worked with law enforcement and surrounding communities that don't have animal control," Redwing explained. "A lot of times, if there is an injured or abandoned dog — instead of having to kill them like they used to — they call us and we go get them.

"Sometimes it's 2 or 3 in the morning, and we don't always have fosters that are available to open their home at that time," she said. "These emergency kennels would assist us with being able to take them in."

Those kennels will also be used for Rescue One's partnership with local domestic violence shelters. 

More:Springfield Chamber Chorus and Street Choir hopes to reach new audiences

The Rescue One Center side of the building will also have five larger and heavier boarding kennels for dogs that are hard to place or feral and just "need a little time to decompress" before going to a foster home.

There will be meet-and-greet rooms for people who want to spend some time with a particular dog or cat before pursuing an adoption.

Plans also call for a space for adoption events and dog training, as well as a room for sick and injured cats. 

The low-cost community vet clinic will be able to help those who can not afford to take their sick or well animals to receive vet care or spay/neuter. The clinic will give Rescue One five times more space to hospitalize unowned pets or animals in its care. 

To donate to Rescue One's A Community Thrives crowdfunding campaign, visit acommunitythrives.mightycause.com/organization/Rescue-One.

Foster homes needed for animals in Rescue One's care

Zander was rescued in Stone County. It would have been impossible to count all of the punctures on his poor body. Some of his teeth had been pulled, which is not uncommon in bait dogs. He also had a fractured scapula and broken ribs. He was hospitalized for over a week and was unable to get up for 5 days. After several months of rest and love, he recovered! He is a wonderful, loving dog.

Rescue One currently has about 260 animals in its care and only about 150 foster homes, which means some fosters have multiple animals.

"We always have a waiting list, and we always have emergency situations," Redwing said. "And it's so hard to say no. They are like, 'This dog just got hit. It's been abandoned and starved.' So we can't really say no and we take them."

It doesn't cost a penny to foster an animal, Redwing said. Rescue One pays for everything: food, supplies, vet care. Rescue One has volunteers that will help with training and behavioral issues, if needed. 

"There's volunteers and other fosters that help. If you need to go out of town, they will watch them," she said. "It's really just a place for the dog to sleep and eat and be cared for until they get adopted. And that can be as short as a couple days or few weeks."

If you are interested in fostering for Rescue One, donating, adopting an animal or helping in some other way, visit rescueonespringfield.com.