A New Friend

Angie Esposito of Port Orange adopts an adorable puppy during the Florida Pointer Rescue's adoption event at Pet Supermarket in New Smyrna Beach on Saturday, Oct. 2. It is Ms. Esposito's second adoption from Florida Pointer Rescue.

Florida Pointer Rescue Inc. is an all-volunteer no kill dog rescue based in New Smyrna Beach.

Everyday they rescue dogs from overcrowded kill shelters, unwanted litters and from owners no longer able to care for them. They rescue dogs, puppies, seniors and pregnant dogs from Florida and bordering states, and provide shelter, food, medical care, transportation, and affection to homeless dogs of all breeds.

The rescue is the brainchild of Heidi Klem, 55, who lives with her husband, Richard, near New Smyrna Beach on five acres where they keep the dogs. That will change when her partner, Debbie Druan, returns from Massachusetts soon and will house some dogs on her acreage in Oak Hill. Space remains an issue with the amount of care each dog requires and the number of dogs already present.

A visit to Ms. Klem’s property shows several different areas where 40-plus dogs are separated into groups for various reasons with plenty of room to run and play while waiting forever homes. There is an adult dog section, juvenile section, puppy section (in a barn for closer monitoring) and a section for dogs with behavior issues.

For those with medical issues (they call it fospice – foster/hospice) or are too old to have a good chance at adoption, they have found a loving forever home there. Volunteers also provide homes for some of the dogs, such as ones that are pregnant.

Ms. Klem's first dog was an English pointer.

“She was a bird dog, but she was gun shy and wouldn’t hunt, so she slept in the bed with me every night,” she said. “What started Florida Pointer Rescue was I found the need because there was not a pointer rescue in the area.

The rescue effort quickly expanded to other dogs, Ms. Klem said.

“People need to spay and neuter their animals. There are so many dogs sitting in shelters it is horrible,” she said. “Every shelter in this area is overflowing. If I could, I wish I had a thousand acres so I could take more. We try to have a dog park atmosphere here.”

Many of the dogs come from Volusia County shelters, but the rescue also works with shelters throughout Florida as well as Alabama Rescue Relay and Diamonds in the Ruff rescue in Georgia. The shelter dogs tend to be older, have impairments or are not having luck getting adopted.

Ms. Klem has been running the rescue since 2010, changing to its current name in 2013. She has always loved animals and also owns quarter horses, including a newborn foal. At one point in her life, she was a thoroughbred jockey running races in several states. She had a full-time career as an Allstate insurance agent, but now works part time. Her husband works for the City of New Smyrna Beach. Her son, Brent, died of Duchenne muscular dystrophy in February at age 30. He was (and his spirit remains) a motivator and source of inspiration for her. Adult children also include son Elliott and stepdaughters Nicole and Shae.

Every adopted dog and puppy must be spayed or neutered. The rescue primarily works with Oviedo Veterinary Care and Emergency. Applications are needed from prospective adopters and background checks are done. If for any reason, even years later, someone is unable to keep their dog, the rescue will take the dog back. All dogs brought into the rescue are examined by a licensed veterinarian and are given complete vet care, including age-appropriate vaccinations, deworming, and placed on flea and heart worm preventive, and adults are heart wormed tested.

The rescue is a registered nonprofit with Florida and operates solely on the generosity of donations and adoption fees. Dog food and medication donations also are needed.. The mission is to provide the gift of life to as many dogs as compassionately possible, to provide hospice and senior sanctuary as necessary, and to enrich the lives of those who adopt them.

Adoptable dogs can be seen at Pet Supermarket in Suite 40 at 1938 State Road 44 in New Smyrna Beach from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. the first Saturday of each month.

For more information, email floridapointerrescue@gmail.com or visit floridapointerrescue.com/.

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