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To the Rescue

By Stephen Allen
The Times-Journal

Everything changed for Teresa Farmer fifteen years ago. Farmer grew up in Sherman County and her parents ran the Moro Café, grew up in Sherman County.

Later, she struggled with substance abuse and ended up in prison. It was there that she turned her life around.

While she was incarcerated, Teresa was enrolled in a canine training program. “They bring puppies in at about six to eight weeks and we would train them for search and rescue,” Teresa says. “We would go through and learn how to train the dogs to pass tests within the prison.” After the dogs would finish the training program, they would then go onto advanced training with Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) or with search and rescue groups. Others became service dogs for people with special needs.

Giving inmates the opportunity to work with animals is a proven way to improve moral in prisons. But for Teresa, it kindled a deep respect for dogs and started a lifetime pursuit for helping dogs and animals that need new homes.

Teresa says that she owns her sobriety and ability to stay free from drugs and alcohol to dogs.

“I used to keep things in a lot,” Teresa says. “Now, I don’t sugarcoat things and I just live my life to the fullest every day. I still consider myself an addict, but I keep busy.

Teresa is a mail carrier and is also active with at the Sherman County Fairgrounds. But it is her passion for dogs and other animals that gives her the most joy.

Several years ago, Teresa moved into the home of Dave Conley in Moro and helped him out with his medical appointments. She also helped to take care of his dogs and cat. It was shortly after moving in that Teresa found a small dog that had been lost in near Sawtooth Mountain in Southern Oregon. Teresa brought the dog home and nursed the pup back to health.

Teresa says that she and Dave formed a strong bond and when the end of his life neared, he gifted his house to her, on the condition that she care for his animals.

In recent years, Teresa has taken dogs from no-kill shelters and from people in the area that find abandoned dogs. Recently, Teresa housed two chihuahuas after the owner was hospitalized due to a car accident near Grass Valley. She also helps to save dogs from a no-kill shelter and has had success in rehousing dogs.

A mama chihuahua with new puppies are the latest addition to Teresa Farmer’s home in Moro. Farmer has helped to rehome dogs and provides vaccinations and microchips. (Stephen Allen/Times-Journal)

But recently, more dogs have needed her help and currently she has twelve dogs at her house in Moro.

Teresa learned how to give vaccinations to dogs while in prison and can give all vaccinations with the exception of the rabies vaccine. She also microchips each dog that she cares for and makes sure that all of the dogs are neutered or spade before rehoming.

Several of the dogs that she has rescued are border collie mix and Teresa believes that they would be perfect working dogs for a ranch. Several puppies between the ages of three and six months run laps around the house and play as we speak in her living room. With couches and furniture pushed up against the walls and covered in blankets, the job of rescuing animals is obviously a full-time endeavor.

A few months ago, Teresa took a dog named Simon that she believed was a miniature terrier. “Yeah, he was not a miniature,” Teresa says with a laugh. Simon is full of life, and does well with the other dogs but clearly has a lot of energy. With a slight limp, Simon has one leg that is longer than the other but seems oblivious to any of that.

Teresa says that she typically has had dogs for a short period of time before they are rehomed but recently, fewer people have taken the dogs and cats. She is hoping that more people will consider contacting her for a rescued animal. Teresa says that for a dog that has been chipped, vaccinated and neutered/spayed, she charges between $200 and $250.

“That is really just to recoup the cost of what I have put into it,” she says. “This isn’t a money making thing for me, it is about saving the dog and helping it to find a new home.”

Teresa also says that she is also spending a good amount of money on dog and cat food.

Amid the chaos in the house, Teresa is at ease and the dogs, while rambunctious, are well behaved.

“They teach each other how to use the dog door and of course, if one likes to get in trouble so do the others.”

While the dogs are looking for new homes, Teresa is committed to making sure the home is the right fit and will work with anyone that is interested in getting a new best pal.

If interested in finding a new pet or helping Teresa with dog food or supplies, contact her at (541) 993-7245.


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