Pitiful Paws Rescue

If there’s one thing the Forward Foundation can’t resist, it’s four paws, a sweet face and an innocent animal that needs TLC. Enter: Pitiful Paws Rescue.

A Rescue on a Mission
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Based in Chesapeake, Ohio, Pitiful Paws Rescue is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit animal rescue shelter dedicated to rescuing animals, educating humans and providing care for pets throughout the region through its robust Wellness Program. The Pitiful Paws team has earned their knight-in-shining-armor status by rescuing more than a thousand animals from nearly a dozen hoarding, abuse, and abandonment cases.
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One case in Adair County, KY sticks with Executive Director Desiree Flanery to this day: “We spent over 15 horrific hours on this property and found over 300 animals in shocking conditions. We worked alongside law enforcement to remove every animal from her property well into the night. I personally triaged every animal that came off the property and did medical that night. It was one of the worst cases I’ve seen.”

Pitiful Paws Rescue Logo - Illustration
Pitiful Paws Rescued Beagles - Photograph

But the case that caught Forward Foundation President Robin Lally’s attention was one that hit close to home: a beagle rescue in June 2021. Pitiful Paws began investigating a property owner after neighbors reported seeing many dogs running loose and one dying on the road. Along with local law enforcement, the Pitiful Paws team rescued 67 beagles from horrendous conditions.
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Area news outlets covered the story, shedding light on this problem that Robin Lally has experienced firsthand. “Several years ago, I adopted a senior beagle that had been removed from a hoarder by a local animal rescue,” Robin remembers. “She was in terrible health but was so happy to become part of a family. This case and the incredible impact of Desiree and her team really hit home for me.”

NewsChannel 3

Dogs recovering after mass rescue

IRONTON, Ohio (WSAZ) – A young puppy at Pitiful Paws Rescue in Chesapeake is lucky to be alive. He was among more than 60 dogs rescued from a residence along state Route 650 in Ironton.

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Inspired by Pitiful Paws’ incredible impact, the Forward Foundation provided the rescue a $20,000 grant in 2021. Pitiful Paws used the donation to provide food, supplies and veterinary care for the recovering beagles, as well as legal counsel to protect the rescue from threats of a lawsuit from the property owner who hoarded the beagles.
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Caring for the Community
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As the Pitiful Paws team continued to document their animal’s journeys on social media, the Forward Foundation knew the rescue needed more support for the recovering pets in their care. As emaciated dogs and abandoned cats filled Robin Lally’s timeline, she felt compelled to make an even bigger difference.
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In 2022, the Forward Foundation began an annual grant of $31,000 to cover vet bills, medications, supplements, special foods, vitamins and upgrades to the rescue’s facilities. Until rescued dogs are ready to be adopted, the Pitiful Paws team works tirelessly to rehabilitate the often-abused animals in their care. One dog, rescued in Fall of 2022, was so starved at the time of her rescue that she could not walk on her own. Within a few weeks, thanks to the team’s dedicated, nonstop care, she was stable, walking, and making incredible progress.

Pitiful Paws Rescue Puppies - Photograph
Pitiful Paws Rescue Free Vaccination Poster - Illustration

In addition to supporting in-house care, the Forward Foundation provided an extra grant in 2022 to help fund the rescue’s new Wellness Program. The program provides vaccinations, flea/tick prevention, dewormer and supplies to low-income families who could not otherwise afford to care for their pets. This free vaccine and wellness program helps stop the spread of dangerous contagions like Parvovirus to other animals in the community.
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Pet owners in rural areas throughout West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee can benefit from Pitiful Paws’ Wellness Program. “Many of these areas don’t have vet clinics within an hour or two of them, or owners can’t afford the vaccinations or microchips that could be life-saving for them,” says said Executive Director Desiree Flanery.
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At one wellness clinic in 2022, the response was overwhelmingly positive. “We ended up having cars lined up at our gate that had driven from 2 hours away at 10am that morning, and the traffic did not stop all day,” said Flanery. “We ended up starting early at around 11:40am and we ended up staying until 9:30pm that evening to accommodate people who had been waiting for vaccinations and supplies. We ended up vaccinating 86 pets that day!”

Thanks to the Forward Foundation’s support, the rescue was able to vaccinate 53 dogs and 33 cats, tested 43 dogs for heartworm disease, and gave out 74 doses of flea/tick preventative & 64 doses of dewormer. The Pitiful Paws staff also cleaned multiple animals’ ears, clipped nails and cleaned ingrown nails, provided vitamins and medicated shampoo, and provided information on preventative care to dozens of pet owners. “We were consistently seeing one pet every 6 minutes for 9 hours straight,” says Flanery.
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Looking to the Future
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As much as the Pitiful Paws team has accomplished, they face the harsh reality that animal abuse will not stop. “This is an ongoing issue, which is why we will continue to support Pitiful Paws,” says Lally. “Desiree and her small team have created a substantial impact in the lives of animals. Pitiful Paws is exactly the type of organization that the Forward Foundation seeks out to provide financial support.”
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The Forward Foundation continues to support the rescue through a $7,500 quarterly grant. The funding will help Pitiful Paws as they continue to rescue animals and develop local outreach programs.

“We work with domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, and rehabilitation centers as well to temporarily house and/or get medical care for animals with families experiencing an emergency,” says Flanery. “For people going into DV shelters, experiencing homelessness during extreme weather or hospitalization, or going through a drug rehabilitation program, we have space we will house pets while they get back on their feet. We try to help the community as much as possible.”
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All this work is done on top of the rescue’s frequent owner surrenders, gate drop-offs, and assisting other shelters in the area. Flanery and her team of staff and volunteers work tirelessly to rescue and rehome animals, giving a new lease on life to countless dogs, cats and other pets.
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Making life a little less pitiful, one paw at a time.

Pitiful Paws Rescue Dog With Viking Hat - Photograph