Paws of the Pines provides hope for canines

Jessica Jones isn’t in real estate, but she does find homes.

A co-owner of Paws of the Pines Rescue, along with Courtney Harris, Jones got the idea for the business after working at a county animal shelter. The experience left her wanting to do more.

“I have such a passion for it — and it kind of took off from there,” Jones, who grew up in the area, said.

Paws of the Pines opened at the end of September. The goal is to match unwanted dogs with potential homes.

“We’re a foster-based service,” Jones said. “We eventually want to do this for cats.”

As the service finds its legs, having a staff to assist is out of the equation. The owners are wearing several hats at this juncture.

“It’s primarily Courtney and I,” Jones said. “She is who I founded the rescue with.”

Jones and Harris met when both worked at a rural shelter. It soon became clear they were on the same page in helping animals short on hope. A certified veterinary assistant, Harris started working at a clinic at 16. Her ability — as well as that of Jones — faced a tough test during the recent power outage.

“We ended up taking in 11 puppies on one day,” Jones, the owner of four German shepherds, all of them rescues, said.

An essential part of what Paws of the Pines does is to bring dogs — on the verge of being euthanized — north. According to Jones, regions around the country have different approaches to dealing with homeless animals.

“North Carolina has had one of the top euthanizing rates,” she said. “Northern rescues do have a tendency to pull dogs from the South.”

Due mainly to policy differences on spaying and neutering, Jones has transported as many as 40 dogs — at one time — to other states.

“The laws on spaying and neutering are much more established up North,” she said.

For Jones, having to hit the road to prevent dogs from being put down is a labor of love.

“It gives them another fighting chance in a new area,” she said.

Without stricter measures, many people breeding dogs have litters multiplying continuously. The situation has made the role Paws of the Pines plays critical.

“I go to the shelters myself to evaluate the dogs,” Jones said. “I bring them to my home first.”

Jones realizes having a dog available, and a family looking for a pet, doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a fit. She accepts the lack of certainty as inevitable in the field.

“We have fosters that fail, which is fine,” she said.

Despite the disappointment that may bring — and the challenges generally faced by rescues — Jones sees the rewards far outweighing any drawbacks.

“A lot of rescues fail within their first year because they take in more than they can handle,” she said. “But nothing beats matching a dog with a new owner.”

To learn more about Paws of the Pines, go to:

Photo: Co-founder of Paws of the Pines, Jessica Jones, and her friends. Photo provided.

~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Dave Lukow.

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