Pet Rescue is asking for help from the community to support veterinary care

SOAP LAKE — Shawna Kluge, operator of The Rock Bottom Rocker Pet Pantry, said the organization’s vet bill at the Pioneer Veterinary Clinic illustrates the challenges associated with helping animals in need.

Kluge appealed for donations early last week to help pay the vet bill.

“In normal pet rescue fashion, we received a donation,” she said.

Dick Maier, veterinarian and owner of Pioneer Vet Clinic, allows the Rock Bottom Rocker to carry a balance of up to $5,000, and last week the bill had grown to $4,700. A $3,000 donation helped lower the bill, but then she got a call about Moses.

Moses is a husky mix with one brown eye. He was actually quite lucky; for whatever reason he was out on his own, but he found a family willing to help him.

One of his hind legs was injured and infected; he had stab wounds on his head indicating he had been in a fight, and quills to indicate where he had encountered a porcupine. He had to have surgery on his foot – he lost some toes – and treatment for the wounds from the fight and the porcupine.

The family who found him worked to care for him but were unable to treat his injuries. They were willing to admit him temporarily after treatment.

“They wanted to do the right thing for him, but they needed help,” Kluge said.

Pioneer Veterinary immediately performed emergency surgery, neutered Moses and chipped him. But the emergency added to the pet pantry balance again.

About six weeks earlier, Rock Bottom had received a grant that helped them pay the vet bill in full, but that’s just the way it goes when you help animals, Kluge said. There could be an emergency – or two or three – or people needing pet food, a dog or cat bed or other pet supplies. Kluge said there are many people who want to help, but Grant County has many more animals that need help.

As an example, she cited her 2023 vet bill. Pioneer Vet Clinic provided approximately $30,000 in care for Rock Bottom Rocker’s animals.

As of Thursday, Rock Bottom Rocker had 29 dogs, 36 cats and kittens, a dozen farm birds and one horse on board.

“We save everything with a heartbeat except a human,” she said.

She moved to Soap Lake from the west side of Washington, Kluge said, and was surprised by the amount of lost or abandoned animals. Not only is Rock Bottom busy, but so is every other animal shelter, she said.

“There is so much need in this area,” Kluge said. “The animals show up in the dozens.”

She had been involved with animal rescue organizations on the west side, she said, but expected to do other things in Grant County. That wasn’t how it worked.

“It started with a rescue operation here and there,” she says.

The project grew bigger and eventually expanded to Rock Bottom Rocker Pet Pantry.

“I had the time and the knowledge, and I wanted to help bridge that gap,” she said.

Grant and Adams counties have several animal rescue organizations, some municipal, some that contract with municipalities and some like Rock Bottom, that are privately funded and operated. They’re all busy, Kluge said.

Because there are so many animals in need of help, space is scarce and many organizations need people who are willing to let animals stay with them temporarily.

“We are so dependent on foster parents,” she says.

In addition, Kluge says she has noticed a decline in adoptions, especially for larger dogs like Moses.

There is a network of individuals and companies, such as Pioneer Vet Clinic, who work together to help animals in need and animal rescue organizations. Another company helps Kluge find dog and cat beds, and others help buy pet food. People who became involved with Rock Bottom Rocker helped form an organization and serve on its board of directors.

“It’s a community coming together and reaching out for help,” she said.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at [email protected].

Would you like to borrow a paw?

To donate towards The Rock Bottom Rocker Pet Pantry’s vet bill, please send donations to:

Pioneer Veterinary Clinic
827 E. Sharon Ave.
Moses Lake, WA 98837

Those who would like to support the animal shelter in other ways can contact them:

The Rock Bottom Rocker Pet Pantry
[email protected]

Rock Bottom Rocker Pet Pantry operator Shawna Kluge gives a hug to Vaquero, one of the rescue dogs who came aboard the rescue in the summer of 2023.
Moses needed emergency care when he encountered a family willing to help him, and the family received support from the Rock Bottom Rocker Pet Pantry.