There are seven puppies and their mother, appropriately named “Mom,” in one pen In Jean Favini’s garage. There is a young mother and her five kittens in an enclosure just a few feet away. And what Favini regrets most is that she hasn’t got room (at least not yet) for two more abandoned animal families that she can rescue, foster, and maybe offer life to.
Jean and Jerry Favini have been rescuing cats and dogs for about eight years now — frightened ferals, kittens who have lost their mother, pregnant dogs, abandoned pets or those surrendered by owners who are moving, or for whom their pets got too big, or too active, or too old.
They are among a dedicated group of people on South Whidbey who form a network of foster families for the animals who desperately need human intervention in their lives. The Favinis and others have worked with both the Whidbey Animal Improvement Foundation and Skagit County’s shelter. Now they, and several friends, have decided to offer another rescue venue for pets by forming Oasis for Animals, a not-for profit foundation that will provide foster care, spay and neutering services and other help to Whidbey’s pets.
“Our main focus will be spaying and neutering,” Jean Favini said. “We want there to be no homeless animals in 10 years.” It is a dream, she admits, but the Favinis and others believe it can happen if pets are altered before the litters start arriving.
Veterinarian Robben Jones has agreed to be Oasis’ vet, performing the spaying and neutering as well as other medical services.
Oasis will also help find homes for animals in shelters that have no room for them.
“We’re not competing with shelters such as WAIF,” Favini said. They have their responsibilities as a county shelter, she said, and Oasis is hoping to be an addition to their services.
“We can help animals who are at risk by taking them out of the shelter and fostering them and finding them a home,” Favini said.
“But it’s important to note that we can care for animals on a case-by-case basis depending on the funds we have available, as well as the number of foster homes we have,” Favini said.
Fund-raising — and increasing awareness — are the reasons behind a giant rummage sale being held by Oasis this weekend at the Island County Fairgrounds.
“We have wonderful things — so many, and so different kinds,” Favini said. “And we’ll bring a litter of adorable puppies and their mother whom we’ve been fostering, and maybe find homes for them.”
Oasis is also seeking people who will be available to foster animals until they are adoptable:
“Momcats and their kittens are the easiest,” Favini said. “Feral kittens are a little more of a process, and pups — you need a special area for them.”
But the Favinis and others have fostered dozens of animals during the years, and they assure others that it is not impossible. Working families or retired people can learn the basics easily.
Beyond the immediate need for spaying and neutering, caring for sick or at risk animals or fostering them for adoption is the long-term goal for Oasis: a sanctuary somewhere on the island for those pets who are unadoptable.
In the meantime, the cats and dogs of Whidbey will still have the Favinis and Oasis to come to their rescue.