By Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
Dozens of abandoned, lost and stolen animals have been rescued by Linda Rowe of Browerville and Sabrina Meek of rural Staples throughout their lifetimes. That number has been rising sharply since June, when they decided to combine their efforts and organize a rescue network.
“We’ve been rescuing animals since we were kids,” Rowe said. “We met in June and decided to join forces.”
“We were doing separate rescues,” said Meek. “We have so much in common. Working together will mean a better chance for the animals. Being half an hour drive apart, we cover more area between the two of us.”
The women are calling their operation “Rowe-Meek Ranch and Rescue” and are preparing to file 501(c)3 paperwork to be designated a non-profit organization.
They are also forming a board of directors, which so far includes Amy Allen of Long Prairie and Kathleen Trana of Motley.
“We are looking for more board members,” Meek said.
The need for such services is so great, that both Meek and Rowe and the foster homes they have recruited are full much of the time.
“We have foster homes in Bemidji, Brainerd, Alexandria,” Rowe said. “We’re always looking for more. People have volunteered to help with home inspections and transportation.”
“We work with sick, disabled and injured animals too,” said Rowe.
She has been nursing ailing creatures back to health since she was five, helping mice, frogs and snakes recover to be released in the wild or go to new homes.
“We’ve had a lot of support from (former Long Prairie veterinarian) Ann Brunswig,” Rowe said. “She encouraged us to start a shelter.”
Rowe has dogs and cats, while Meek has cats, dogs, ducks, chickens and horses. Foster homes are also able to accommodate snakes, mice, rabbits, goats and guinea pigs.
It isn’t just the easy animals that are accepted. Rowe and Meek will be receiving training in rehabilitating aggressive animals from Thomas Cole of Hastings.
With a 501(c)3 designation, the rescue will be eligible for help from Minnesota Spay Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP) with spays, neuters and vaccinations.
“They offer lower rates,” said Meek.
Another group in the state offering reduced-price spay and neuter surgeries with a mobile unit is Kindest Cut.
“They travel around the whole state,” Rowe said.
Rowe and Meek call local radio stations, the police and local veterinarians and post notices with photos on their webpage, Facebook page and Craigslist.
The rescue’s logo declares their mission, “Each animal deserves to be safe and loved.” Logowear is being produced by Knotty Pine Embroidery in Browerville.
In addition to animals being abandoned or lost, there is a concern about dog fighting.
“We’ve seen several stolen animals,” said Rowe.
Animals are not allowed to go to just anyone who expresses an interest. Care is taken in finding the right home for each animal.
“We don’t just give animals to anyone,” Rowe said.
“A surrendered terrier mix found a new home with a woman west of here who is dealing with PTSD and used to be reclusive,” Rowe said. “She talks with us on Facebook and leaves her home now.”
The rescue sponsors a continuous Facebook fundraising auction. Donations come from all over.
“One woman found out about us on Facebook and donated horse equipment,” said Rowe.
For more information, call Rowe at (320) 461-0017 or Meek at (218) 296-1503. Visit online at www.foreverfurryfriendsrescue.org.