Perla Medina-Kinne said she and her husband have always been drawn to special-needs animals, whether the have health issues, were neglected or have physical handicaps.
“We were just drawn to them,” Medina-Kinne said. “The first time we went to the pound I told him ‘get the ones with one eye, three legs.”
She said her love for adopting special-needs animals evolved after they adopted their first pet.
“We are good at taking care of animals with special needs,” Medina-Kinne said. “We wanted to do more.”
So Medina-Kinne gave up her day job as an engineer, and began devoting herself to saving animals including special-needs animals, large breed dogs, cats and more.
“That was my career, this is my life,” Medina-Kinne said.
She named the organization Angel’s Rest Animal Sanctuary, and the relatively new non-profit is steadily growing in New Richmond.
“In about seven months we were able to accomplish what some people can’t do in 20 years,” Medina-Kinne said. “(People) like our mission.”
Angel’s Rest Animal Sanctuary, which at first was run out of Medina-Kinne’s home, is a safe place for unwanted animals. Medina-Kinne said their mission is to take animals out of situations where they would be facing imminent danger and provide them with a place to spend the remainder of their lives.
Some animals that come to the sanctuary go up for adoption, while others live the rest of their lives either at the sanctuary or with foster parents.
“There are 3-5 million animals being put to sleep in shelters every year,” Medina-Kinne said. “I encourage people to adopt an animal that has been turned in, they make wonderful pets.”
She said adoption fees at Angel’s Rest Animal Sanctuary range from $150 to $200, but their ultimate goal is to find the animal a good home.
“We are very upfront with people about the pet’s issues,” Medina-Kinne said. “The last thing we want is for the pet to come back. We make a lifetime commitment to the animal.”
She said all pets up for adoption are microchipped and have been fully examined by a veterinarian.
Because the sanctuary is a 501(c)(3) organization, donations are tax deductible, and donations are also what Medina-Kinne relies on to support the animals at the sanctuary.
“Money is always an issue,” she said.
But Medina-Kinne has worked hard to raise funds and partner with organizations so that she can continue to bring more animals to the sanctuary.
Her Facebook page has become popular, and her Facebook fans helped Medina-Kinne win a Toyota Highlander Hybrid from Beechmont Toyota as part of Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good program.
“It’s amazing, I still can’t believe it,” Medina-Kinne said about winning the car.
She also works with local businesses to hold fund-raisers and has several upcoming events where people can meet some of the animals and help support the sanctuary.
The sanctuary also matches dogs with senior citizens who need a companion, and offers boarding for pet owners leaving town. Medina-Kinne said she hopes to begin a therapy dog training program in the near future.
The sanctuary is still relatively small because Medina-Kinne said they stick to their goal of helping one animal at a time. And while she admits running the sanctuary is not easy, she is also dedicated to the cause.
“It is hard work because a lot of them only have a short time,” she said. “But it is also very rewarding. I think animals have the capacity to be grateful.”