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Animal Friends' New Year's Rescue gives pets second chance

| Friday, Dec. 29, 2017, 3:36 p.m.
Veterinarian Dr. Tegan Fuller kisses a dog named Creme Brulee  during Animal Friends' annual New Year's Rescue at the Ohio Township facility Friday, Dec. 29, 2017.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Veterinarian Dr. Tegan Fuller kisses a dog named Creme Brulee during Animal Friends' annual New Year's Rescue at the Ohio Township facility Friday, Dec. 29, 2017.
Veterinary technician Tori Panza examines the ears of a rabbit named Beignet as Maddie Camerlengo, also a vet tech, looks on during Animal Friends' annual New Year's Rescue at the Ohio Township facility Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. For the past 21 years, Animal Friends has been working with shelters and animal control facilities to take in adoptable pets in an effort to give them another chance at finding their forever homes.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Veterinary technician Tori Panza examines the ears of a rabbit named Beignet as Maddie Camerlengo, also a vet tech, looks on during Animal Friends' annual New Year's Rescue at the Ohio Township facility Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. For the past 21 years, Animal Friends has been working with shelters and animal control facilities to take in adoptable pets in an effort to give them another chance at finding their forever homes.
Veterinary technician Mark Anderson looks over a rabbit named Moonpie during Animal Friends' annual New Year's Rescue at the Ohio Township facility Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. For the past 21 years, Animal Friends has been working with shelters and animal control facilities to take in adoptable pets in an effort to give them another chance at finding their forever homes.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Veterinary technician Mark Anderson looks over a rabbit named Moonpie during Animal Friends' annual New Year's Rescue at the Ohio Township facility Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. For the past 21 years, Animal Friends has been working with shelters and animal control facilities to take in adoptable pets in an effort to give them another chance at finding their forever homes.
Animal Friends' volunteer Bob Dell of McDonald cuddles up to a dog named Cannoli during Animal Friends' annual New Year's Rescue at the Ohio Township facility Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. For the past 21 years, Animal Friends has been working with shelters and animal control facilities to take in adoptable pets in an effort to give them another chance at finding their forever homes.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Animal Friends' volunteer Bob Dell of McDonald cuddles up to a dog named Cannoli during Animal Friends' annual New Year's Rescue at the Ohio Township facility Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. For the past 21 years, Animal Friends has been working with shelters and animal control facilities to take in adoptable pets in an effort to give them another chance at finding their forever homes.
Animal Friends' volunteer Judy Faiello kisses on the head a dog named cuddles up to a dog named Creme Brulee as she dries her off after a bath during Animal Friends' annual New Year's Rescue at the Ohio Township facility Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. For the past 21 years, Animal Friends has been working with shelters and animal control facilities to take in adoptable pets in an effort to give them another chance at finding their forever homes.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Animal Friends' volunteer Judy Faiello kisses on the head a dog named cuddles up to a dog named Creme Brulee as she dries her off after a bath during Animal Friends' annual New Year's Rescue at the Ohio Township facility Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. For the past 21 years, Animal Friends has been working with shelters and animal control facilities to take in adoptable pets in an effort to give them another chance at finding their forever homes.
Animal Friends' instructor Trish Gainey holds a rabbit after taking it out of a box upon its arrival to the shelter during Animal Friends' annual New Year's Rescue at the Ohio Township facility Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. For the past 21 years, Animal Friends has been working with shelters and animal control facilities to take in adoptable pets in an effort to give them another chance at finding their forever homes.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Animal Friends' instructor Trish Gainey holds a rabbit after taking it out of a box upon its arrival to the shelter during Animal Friends' annual New Year's Rescue at the Ohio Township facility Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. For the past 21 years, Animal Friends has been working with shelters and animal control facilities to take in adoptable pets in an effort to give them another chance at finding their forever homes.

Life is sweet for Crème Brûlée and Cannoli.

The mother-and-daughter pups were among the 10 dogs, 14 cats and six rabbits saved during Animal Friends' annual New Year's Rescue.

On Dec. 29, staff members and volunteers traveled to partner organizations — the Humane Society of Greene County, Greenbrier Humane Society, Washington Area Humane Society and Erie Area Rabbit Society — to pick up the lucky critters, who were all named after desserts.

A holiday surge in adoptions (30 creatures found their forever homes on Dec. 23 alone), coupled with a growing number of foster families, allowed the Ohio Township shelter to make room for the new arrivals. In 2017, the no-kill organization welcomed more than 900 critters into its facility and placed 2,043.

"We have taken all of the long-term residents from the partners we work with, including a dog that had been at a shelter for five years," said Shannon Tremblay, Animal Friends' director of communications.

Waffles, a Benji-doppleganger, burst through the front doors and was immediately met with a wave of gentle applause and whispered cheers from a large crowd of people who had gathered in the lobby. The dog sniffed and licked outstretched hands as her tail wagged.

She then scampered down the hall where she and her furry pals were bathed, vaccinated, microchipped, given a behavioral evaluation and spayed or neutered.

Each year, Animal Friends conducts 15,000 of the surgeries, which are the only way to proactively relieve the pet overpopulation problem. A female cat can have up to 55 kittens in her lifetime.

Inside the new Howard Ash Animal Wellness Center, an 18,400-square-foot building that serves as Animal Friends' vaccination and medical hub, Dr. Theo Nelson soothed a nervous rabbit.

"It's OK, Moonpie," she said, stroking the bunny's black-and-white fur. "I know you've been through a lot."

Throughout the day, Nelson examined a line-up of other sweet fur balls, including Dumpling, Cheesecake, Froyo, Cupcake, Tort, Sherbert and Flan.

Kristy Locklin is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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