Cocker spaniels rescued for love of the breed

“These are healthy, young, adoptable dogs and they’re being euthanized for no other reason than lack of space,”

  • Nov. 28, 2011 11:00 a.m.

Buddy was a calm guy, always loyally waiting by the door for Lisa Atterby when she arrived home. And he was smart, never backing down from a round of hide-and-seek games with his owner.

The cocker spaniel was also Atterby’s inspiration behind founding Angels Under Our Wings Cocker Spaniel Rescue, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to saving the dogs from high-kill shelters, primarily in Los Angeles.

“Once you own one, you just love the breed,” Atterby said. “(Buddy) was such an amazing dog. He made me so passionate about cocker spaniels and the breed that I wanted to help other dogs that weren’t as fortunate.”

When Atterby says she loves the breed, what she also means is she has no qualms about housing up to 12 dogs in her West Saanich home at any one time. She also finds suitable foster homes and permanent homes for the dogs, originally bred for hunting.

Atterby and her husband Tony Rich run the organization, which is in the process of attaining charity status. In the five years since they began their work, they’ve taken in, given medical care to, rehabilitated and re-homed 150 dogs.

While Atterby does accept dogs locally, the majority of them come to her from outside of Greater Victoria. She has regularly travelled to California to pick up abandoned dogs on death row.

“These are healthy, young, adoptable dogs and they’re being euthanized for no other reason than lack of space – just too many animals and not enough homes,” she said.

Take her current pups up for adoption: Enzo, a happy seven-month-old with no health or behavioural problems, or Brandi, another puppy without issues, save a few of the usual house-training speed bumps that most animals encounter.

“We have a lot of awesome dogs and they’ve been given up for no other reason than the economy…not by any fault of the dog.”

While many are healthy, others suffer from easily-remedied conditions such as cherry eye, a prolapsed gland of the third eyelid. The operation costs anywhere from $350-$500 on average.

In the last year, the Victoria B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has also taken in 12 cocker spaniels suffering from the condition.

Rose Harding, veterinary assistant at the Lifeline Animal Clinic, has gotten to know Atterby through her constant visits to the clinic.

“We see her here sometimes a few times a week,” Harding said. “She’s constantly getting new dogs.”

Atterby is in immediate need of new permanent and foster homes for the dogs, but remains admittedly, quite picky about to whom she’ll adopt them out.

A fenced yard to contain the active dogs is on the wish list for potential adoptees, although Atterby will adopt out to people living in condominiums.

“She’s had some dogs that I swear she’s had for months and months before she’ll adopt them out,” Harding added. “That’s something that’s really great about her. She’s really particular. She wants to make sure they go into the best care as soon as she’s got them back to health.”

Adoption of one of Atterby’s angels comes with a minimum $500-donation toward the cost of caring for the animals, including having every dog spayed or neutered. Atterby also needs volunteers and cash donations to continue with her work – work that began thanks to her Buddy, who passed away from intestinal cancer last March, just two months shy of his 14th birthday.

“He was an ambassador for the breed,” she said.

Contact Atterby at 250- 889-8880 or fill out an adoption application at www.angelsunderourwings.com.

nnorth@saanichnews.com

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(BC Hydro outage map)
UPDATE: Power restored to more than 3,000 Sooke residents

Two polling stations impacted by outage

The mottled sky, the lights coming on at water’s edge and in Victoria West, and the reflections on the building windows make for a scenic sunset photo in Victoria’s Selkirk neighbourhood. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Sunset on the Selkirk in Victoria

Send your photos to editor@vicnews.com for a chance to see them in the paper

Christopher Mauro, right, assistant manager of the Sidney Save-On-Foods, and Nick Luney, youth initiatives director for the Victoria Pride Society, celebrate the success of a pandemic fundraiser for the local Pride Society. (Courtesy Save-On Foods)
Grocery managers across the Island pull together for Queer youth

With Victoria Pride Parade and Festival cancelled, Save-On-Foods staff found a way to raise funds

Shay Baker, 17, hasn’t been seen or heard from since Oct. 21 and is wanted on outstanding warrants. (Victoria Police Department)
Victoria police searching for high-risk missing youth

Shay Baker, 17, is wanted on outstanding warrants

Plastic Ocean by Oak Bay resident Gabriela Hirt is in the Federation of Canadian Artist’s “Crisis” exhibition on now in Vancouver. (Gabriela Hirt/cropped to fit)
Oak Bay artist wins juried show in Vancouver

Pair of Oak Bay artists part of ‘Crisis’ exhibition

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

Most Read