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Novy's Ark rescue in Atascadero hopes to find forever homes for its dogs 

Home-based dog rescue Novy's Ark and its affiliated foster families are looking for forever homes for the nine dogs in their care.

Started in April 2022 by Woods Humane Society employee Anouk Novy, the Atascadero nonprofit looks after dogs from shelters in Bakersfield and Fresno who are facing imminent euthanasia.

"I've seen the amount of dogs, especially after COVID, that are in the shelters and the sheer amount of dogs that are being euthanized," Novy told New Times on Feb. 13. "I wanted to do something until I just decided I would start small."

True to the rescue's name, Novy's Ark began by taking in two dogs at a time. Novy said that her initial goal was to rehome 10 dogs that year.

"A little over a year and a half later, and we've done 113," she said.

Novy equates her calling to "trying to empty an ocean with a teaspoon." As a dog rescue, Novy's Ark receives many shelters' 24-hour lists—a catalog of all the dogs who are going to be put to sleep within 24 hours.

"People are not spaying and neutering," Novy said. "There are just litter after litter after litter of puppies right now."

As soon as a spot opens up in her Atascadero facility, Novy journeys to the Central Valley to place one of the dogs on that list in her care.

"What's really cool about our facility that's very different is that it looks like somebody's living room," she said. "So, there are couches and a flat screen TV and artwork on the walls and rugs, ... so it's like they're in a home. They learn not to go to the bathroom in the house and not to tear things up."

If any of the dogs are injured when they arrive at Novy's Ark, the founder takes them to a vet or an animal facility to receive medical care. Those visits are funded by sponsors and donations from community members. The bulk of those well-wishers interact with Novy's Ark through Facebook and fundraising events.

click to enlarge FRIEND IN NEED Novy's Ark is searching for someone to adopt Chance—a gentle Dogo Argentino—and his bonded dog partner, Chelsea. - PHOTO COURTESY OF NOVY'S ARK
  • Photo Courtesy Of Novy's Ark
  • FRIEND IN NEED Novy's Ark is searching for someone to adopt Chance—a gentle Dogo Argentino—and his bonded dog partner, Chelsea.

Once the dogs get fixed up, Novy's Ark looks for foster families who'd be willing to support them until others eventually want to adopt them. Currently, seven of the rescue's dogs are in foster care while a bonded pair, Chance and Chelsea, live at the Novy's Ark facility.

Chance, a Dogo Argentino, came to Novy's Ark from Reedley in Fresno County. He endured trauma because he was chained up for long periods of time and underwent surgery after Novy found him with metal wires embedded deep into his neck. Chance is now recovering at the Atascadero site and found a connection with a border collie mix named Chelsea. They do everything together, Novy said, from playing to hiking Bishop Peak and getting pup cups at coffee shops with volunteers.

"It's the first time we're trying to adopt out a bonded pair," she said. "It's difficult. A lot of people want a perfect dog, you know?"

On March 10, Novy's Ark dogs will be beneficiaries of a 5K run organized by Tooth and Nail Winery. People can also interact with the dogs at Benny's Pizzeria on April 27. At both events, people can meet the dogs and decide if they want to start the adoption process.

Until then, Novy's Ark is looking for more volunteers and foster households. Visit novysark.org, email [email protected], or call (805) 574-0320 to learn more.

"To be a foster, your commitment is a minimum of one week, a maximum of one month," Novy said. "If they have dogs at home, or kids at home, or cats, or whatever, we choose dogs that will specifically work in their home. It's really pretty open."

Fast fact

R.A.C.E. Matters San Luis Obispo County won a $21,250 grant from the California Arts Council as part of its Impact Project program. The award will help R.A.C.E. Matters host classes on caring for textured hair, especially compensating practitioners of hair braiding and other rituals for natural Black hair. Hosted at SLO hair salon Texture, the hands-on classes will include practical lessons on hair care as well as the cultural and historical significance of Black hair. Δ

Reach Staff Writer Bulbul Rajagopal at [email protected].

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