2015-08-04 / Front Page

Owen Rescues Receive Free Spay And Neuter Certificates

by Michael Stanley
Staff Writer

Joanie Zupan of Indiana GSD (German Shepherd Dog) and Siberian Husky Rescue loves on ‘Hank,’ a Red Healer/Australian Shepherd mix. (Staff Photo) Joanie Zupan of Indiana GSD (German Shepherd Dog) and Siberian Husky Rescue loves on ‘Hank,’ a Red Healer/Australian Shepherd mix. (Staff Photo) From bringing in homeless people to her mother’s home as a teenager to filling her and husband Chris Galliher’s home with playful pups, Joanie Zupan has been in the habit of rescuing those in need for decades.

“I would find a homeless woman and man, take them home to my mom and tell her they had no place to go. So that’s how it started, me caring about everything beside myself,” she said. “We were always taking in dogs, even as a child, my dad brought in a dog from the army when I was five years old. I wanted to figure out how to become a non-profit, but before that, I always rescued dogs I saw on the street.”

Zupan’s Indiana GSD (German Shepherd Dog) and Siberian Husky Rescue was one of four local animal rescues among 14 across Indiana to receive free spay and neuter surgery certificates through a recent award from the Spay-Neuter Services of Indiana.

Thanks to the SNSI’s Pet Friendly Group Grant, the Rescue Farm and Our Lil’ bit of Heaven Animal Rescue in Poland and Coal City’s Caring Canine Animal Rescue have each received certificates to assist with the cost of spay or neutering a dog in their care.

“The animal shelters and rescue groups work hard with a shoestring budget, so the help we can provide to them makes a difference to the community and the animals they are caring for,” SNSI President Cheri Storms said in a press release. SNSI facilitated surgeries for 9,231 dogs and cats statewide, working through 105 veterinarians in the SNSI network in 2014.

The Owen County Humane Society is also a frequent recipient of certificates covering the costs of spay and neuter services.

“Owen County Humane Society certainly appreciates the tremendous support our local rescue organizations receive from SNSI. Our community has many needs and financial help for folks spaying and neutering their animals goes a long way to help reduce unwanted litters. We appreciate SNSI’s license plate program and how it assists Owen County residents and our pet population,” former board member and volunteer Becky Brown Cunningham said.

The funding for the Pet Friendly Group Grant is made possible from revenues received from sales of the Indiana Pet Friendly License Plate. For more information or to apply for the grant, visit http://www.spayneuterservices.org/our-programs/programs-for-animal-welfare/. To purchase an Indiana Pet Friendly License Plate to support these grants, visit http://www.in.gov/bmv/2818.htm.

Zupan’s Quincy-based operation completely rehabilitates dogs, from spay and neuter surgeries, to shots, worming and micro chipping.

“We bring the dog in, but after we quarantine it, we bring them in to associate them with the pack. There are a couple we do, but we don’t have to leash them when they go out, we train them off leash,” she explained. “We have kennels, but we don’t put them in there unless they are aggressive or we have to. We treat them all like family members.”

The 5.5 acre property includes the family home, or the ‘Dog House,’ which is filled with more than 20 dogs, while another five or so are outside in shaded kennels.

“My husband is a disabled veteran and it helps him with his PTSD and things like that. It keeps him on his toes and gives him something to care about, other than worrying about his PTSD or things like that,” Zupan explained. “I work on training them for things like aggressiveness and try to acclimate them with the pack. We feel no dog should be left outside. I know some dogs are aggressive and you can’t heave them around people or kids, but there’s no dog out there that can’t be rehabilitated.”

She explained home visits are always required, and ask those with other dogs to bring them to the rescue to see how the prospective new family member will interact.

“We will only pick the person or family who is best for the dog. If they are a great family and when they show up, the dog is offish towards them, we won’t let the dog go with them,” Zupan said. “It’s not about the money, it’s about the dog’s safety, what the dog wants. We want the dog to be happy. It’s a lot of work, it’s 24/7, but when you have those eyes looking at you, it’s more than worth it.”

Zupan also said she provides dogs at no cost to jails and prisons, such as Putnamville, Pendleton and Wabash.

“If we get a dog in we feel would be good as a working dog, rather than in a family, we do donate to them,” she said. “We have a deal with the prisons that if the handler gets hurt or dies, or can’t take care of them when they retire, we will take them back and they can live their life out with us.”

The couple has resided in Quincy for the past 12 years and have operated the rescue since 1997. One large effort Joanie is responsible for was created four years ago, with transport groups for rescue dogs in all 50 states and Canada.

“I created all the state transport groups on Facebook, which are volunteer based. We don’t transport for breeders; we transport for rescues, people who have adopted from a rescue or shelters who need to transport a dog to a humane society or rescue,” she explained. “Nobody can exchange money. Right now for instance, I have a dog here going to California. It’s a two-week transport, because I will go to Terre Haute with the dog, someone will meet me there and go an hour and a half, to another person, and so on until night time. Then the dog will stay over a week until the following weekend and it starts off again. It’s been very successful. I started this because I was trying to get a dog from Florida. We have 2,000 to 5,000 people in each state’s group, and it has saved rescues all across the country a lot of money.”

Indiana GSD and Siberian Husky Rescue can be found online at indianagsdhuskyrescue. myresq.org, on Facebook or available by phone at 765-795-2991.

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