Animal rescues are not always the most cheerful places.
Working with animals in need of homes, some of whom have medical or behavioral issues, can take its toll on everyone involved — both humans and animals.
It was with this in mind that gave the co-founders at Motley Zoo the idea to do things a little differently.
Brooke Mallory, who co-founded the nonprofit organization alongside Bryan Thomas and his wife Jme Thomas, said the three of them had volunteered at various animal rescue organizations for a number of years and in founding their own, wanted to do something fun that would involve the community and focus more on the pets’ needs as a priority.
HELPING THE HARD- TO-PLACE ANIMALS
Motley Zoo, which started in 2009, is a 100 percent foster-based rescue. Mallory said instead of keeping animals in a shelter environment and in cages, they have foster homes for them, where they stay until they are placed into permanent homes.
By placing the animals into foster homes and out of the shelter environment, they are able to tell how the animals will behave in a home. Mallory said this helps them to better match animals in the long term. She said in a shelter, animals can become stressed, which could lead them to become subdued or go in the other direction and become agitated.
Motley Zoo supports area shelters, taking in animals when they don’t have room. Mallory said they also take in animals who have been surrendered by their owners, those with medical issues such as broken legs or ringworm as well as animals with behavioral issues.
“They’re really at their last resort,” she said about the animals.
On Dec. 3, Motley Zoo will hold its 3rd Annual Yappy Holidays Craft Bazaar &Bake Sale. The event will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 16715 Cleveland St., a location the organization uses as a doggy daycare. There will also be a pet adoption event running from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mallory said there will be more than just pet-related vendors. There will also be jewelry, artwork, baked goods and more for sale. All of the proceeds go toward veterinarian care costs. Mallory said unlike shelters, which receive government funding, Motley Zoo is paying “retail” for the animals’ medical expenses, which comes out to be about $15,000 a month.
Mallory said when it comes to matching pets with potential owners, it is more than just a transaction. She likened their process to online dating in that Motley Zoo works carefully to make sure the environment the animal ends up in is the right fit. Mallory said they consider things such as the family the animal is going to and their “vibe.” She said they take the task seriously.
AN UNUSUAL APPROACH
In addition to cats and dogs, Motley Zoo has taken in common pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs as well as the occasional cow or pig. She said they will take in any animal they have a foster home for.
And while taking in farm animals may be unusual, Mallory said those are not the animals that Motley Zoo has taken in that stand out to her.
In September 2013, they received a call from a shelter that had a dog who had terminal cancer and only 6-8 weeks to live. Mallory said the shelter asked if Motely Zoo could take him in as they did not want the dog — Edward Carter — to die alone; they wanted him to pass in a home.
“He was my foster baby,” Mallory said about taking in the dog.
She recalled Edward Carter’s zest for life and his energy and the fact that he did not appear to be sick until his final days, which were well past the initial two-month diagnosis. Mallory said they had him for about five months.
During this time, they created a bucket list of adventures for Edward Carter, which even included flying in a private plane to the San Juan islands. Mallory chronicled his adventures on his Facebook page, Edward Carter’s Stairway to Heaven.
“He has tons of fans who still look at his pictures,” she said.
The name Motley Zoo is a play off the band, Motley Crue. Mallory said it ties into the rock-and-roll theme of their organization.
One of the things the nonprofit does is coordinate with production managers to set up meet and greets between animals and musical artists as they come through town.
Mallory said their meet ups have included Seattle-based Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Snoop Dogg and Elle King. She added that the latter even ended up adopting one of her dogs through Motley Zoo.
“It’s super fun,” Mallory said about the events, which have also included rock heavyweights Motley Crue, of course, along with Slayer, Testament and more.
The meet and greets are just with the musical acts but they take photos of them with the animals to increase exposure.