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Bakken Paws has rescued 70 dogs since October

Bakken Paws is a non-profit animal rescue and foster group started by animal lovers who saw a need for dogs and cats in and around Dickinson. The group didn't start out with the intent to adopt out pets, however. Bakken Paws began as a fundraisin...

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Kylee Bittner spends time with Sunday, an English Setter that is available for adoption from Bakken Paws. (Press Photo by Kalsey Stults)

Bakken Paws is a non-profit animal rescue and foster group started by animal lovers who saw a need for dogs and cats in and around Dickinson.

The group didn't start out with the intent to adopt out pets, however.

Bakken Paws began as a fundraising effort to provide medical funding for stray or lost animals that need immediate attention.

"There's so many animals that are strays or that get dumped," said Bakken Paws member Brenna Hutmacher. "They could get hurt or need medical attention, but there's nobody that has the funds to do that."

While that might have been true in the past, Bakken Paws has been able to raise more than $9,000 to go directly for vet bills, spay and neutering procedures, and pet food.

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Tasha Hermanson and Amanda Paulson were rescuing dogs with their own money until the group formed.

"When we moved to Dickinson, I was picking up malnourished dogs for free or cheap and getting them fattened up, then rehoming them," Paulson said.

The group started off with a few dedicated fosters and people willing to rescue animals, but has since grown to seven fosters and around 25 people in the group.

Since October, when the group officially formed, Bakken Paws has rescued and adopted out 70 dogs and 22 cats.

Hermanson said Paulson is the foster that has taken in the most dogs for the group-8 dogs and 14 puppies.

The group took in a large amount of dogs and puppies in the past two months, mostly hunting dogs. Hermanson said she has seen a lot of those breeds either being abandoned or surrendered.

She and Paulson fostered a large amount of those dogs taken in during that time, which came with challenges.

"The two (English) pointers I had-out of the 11 Bakken Paws took in-wouldn't eat for me," Paulson said. "I had to make gravy and put on top their food. It took awhile for them to gain weight, especially with them having puppies here as well."

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Paulson said she has seen a larger amount of dogs being dumped since the oil industry's slowdown.

"At first, I didn't see the connection while the boom was here because everyone had pets," she said. "But now that the boom has slowed way down, I am seeing a lot more animals abandoned and being rehomed because families are moving and can't take pets with (them)."

Hutmacher said it's hard not to get attached to the pets.

"Sometimes you just want to cry because they are innocent," she said. "It's heartbreaking what they go through and they don't know what they did."

Katie Culver is a new foster to the group who was tasked with fostering Mamba, a lovable three-legged dog who was rescued after someone noticed he had a lame leg that looked like it wasn't healing.

Culver said she was expecting Mamba to have a hard time adjusting to losing his bad leg. But after surgery, he was as happy as he could be.

"He is just doing marvelous," she said.

Culver calls Mamba a ball of energy that she loves very much.

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"I will definitely be sad to see him go," she said on his future adoption.

Mamba is up for adoption and is one of 12 dogs available for adoption. The group only has one cat available currently.

Hermanson said they try to take in as many as animals as they can, but sometime they get overwhelmed and inundated with the amount. An example is Sunday, a 5-year-old English Setter who had 10 puppies while being fostered. Though she comes from an impressive hunting lineage, the dog was surrendered when her owner left town.

To alleviate some of the costs associated with taking care of that many dogs, as well as covering the emergency vet bills, the group holds fundraisers and meet-and-greets for the community.

The group will be outside of Tractor Supply Co. in Dickinson from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday with available pets for adoption. They will be giving free dog baths and nail trims for those who come out. There will also be foster and adoption applications for those interested.

Culver said she is "looking forward to seeing the community come out and support the new organization in the community."

 

If you go

What: Bakken Paw Meet and Greet

Where: Tractor Supply Co., Dickinson

When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday


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