About Fetching Hope Rescue
At the age of 20, April, Co-founder of FHR, adopted her first two canine children from a shelter in Key Largo, Florida. April’s love for animal rescue started when she was young, and since that first adoption, April and her family have welcomed 13 additional dogs into their home. When they adopted their bassett/golden retriever baby, Finny, from Arkansas around 12 years ago, they were introduced to a Maine rescue. April volunteered with that Maine rescue for a couple of years, where she met Amber Oleson. Amber and April became fast rescue friends, and they decided to start Fetching Hope Rescue in 2012. At that time, they also volunteered with Julie Smith. Julie and her friend, Meghan, fortunately, decided to join Amber and April when they formed Fetching Hope. They both pitched in to help get the rescue group off the ground.
Right at the beginning of Fetching Hope in 2012, April and Amber made the trip to Arkansas to visit two partner shelters, HSSC and Wynne. It was a life-changing trip as April and Amber witnessed firsthand what the volunteers go through to save these precious dogs.
On that trip, Amber and April saved two full litters of puppies from people giving them away at a Walmart parking lot. Those litters, the U pups and the V pups, were the first dogs to be adopted out by Fetching Hope. Because the rescue was so new, they did not have many volunteers so April had both litters of puppies at her home.
At that time, April, Amber, Julie, and Meghan were doing everything – vet checks, reference checks, setting up transport, and home visits etc.. Those were crazy times!
Shortly after the rescue was founded, April and Amber recruited several additional volunteers to help them, including Wendy and Alissa Laitres who are still part of the rescue group today.
When Amber eventually retired from rescue, and April wanted to take more of an administrative behind-the-scenes role, Alissa stepped up to become the director of FHR.
Though April is no longer the face of FHR, she is still very much working to ensure FHR is a success. She handles much of the administrative side of the rescue operations, and she does almost 100% of the phone interviews to ensure FHR dogs go to amazing forever homes. April remains committed to the work, is extremely appreciative of all of the FHR volunteer contributions over the years, and she is very proud to say FHR has found forever homes for 700+ dogs since 2012.
As Director of FHR, Alissa works tirelessly to keep the rescue moving forward, adapting to pandemic conditions so that FHR was still able to help dogs in the South during such a difficult time. The need became greater, and so did the health and safety challenges.
It was the Spring of 2012 when April recruited Alissa and her partner Tim to be fosters for the rescue. They took their first dog on June 2, 2012, fostered 7 dogs that summer and the rest is history!
Alissa and family have fostered 39 dogs for the rescue, adopting 2 of her foster pups — Marty McFly in September 2012 and Keegan in May 2018. Due to the immense responsibilities that she carries for the rescue, Alissa doesn’t foster as often as she used to. Her home is reserved for special fostering cases.
Aside from fostering, Alissa has held many roles within the rescue. She was our Transport Coordinator from August 2012-August 2017. In December 2013, she took on the additional role of Foster Coordinator and juggled both roles until January 2016, when she became the Director.
As Director, Alissa wears many hats and takes on multiple responsibilities such as:
- handling all of the State of Maine reporting; managing our group of volunteer coordinators;
- processing adoption applications and screening adopters
- liaison with southern partner rescues and shelters
- evaluating southern dogs for adoption
- managing our social media accounts
- organizing fundraisers and adoption events
- and the list goes on!
In addition to her regular work for the rescue, Alissa also leads initiatives such as the 2019 food drive & fundraiser for a southern shelter — this secured over 3500 pounds of food! A great help all of their dogs awaiting forever homes.
Alissa lives and breathes dog rescue. She leads by example and is motivated every day by the millions of neglected and homeless dogs across the country.
Alissa’s selfless advocacy for animals and tireless rescue efforts won’t stop until all dogs have safe and loving forever homes!
As we are a shelter-less rescue, our foster homes are a critical part of the rescue. Our Foster Coordinator, Justine Bartlett, started in rescue almost 2 decades ago by helping to organize cross country transports for at-risk dogs from high kill shelters.
Justine stayed involved in rescue and advocacy groups over the years, including being an active Fetching Hope Volunteer and occasional emergency foster home. In October 2017, she took on the role of Foster Coordinator. More recently, Justine also assists in processing adoption applications by calling landlord and vet references.
Justine has had many rescue animals over the years, currently, a shelter cat named Finnegan and Fetching Hope alumna Evie, formerly Allie Gator.
Justine works hard for our team to make sure that we have amazing foster homes that we can count on to help us save as many dogs as we possibly can!
Volunteers Julie and Wendy on Channel 5 News Center Maine in December. Also check out this older clip from 2019
Our Rescue runs on volunteers!
Huge shout out to our great volunteers, some of whom have been with us for years and some who are newly getting into rescue — fosters, transport drivers, event organizers — and all who have donated or adopted dogs from us.
Foster homes are the critical link for us as a shelter-less rescue….for every foster home, a dog in the South is directly saved. Fosters both allow us to meet New England’s strict dog health regulations, and provide a loving link for a dog on the journey to their forever home. So many lives saved! To learn more and join our foster home network — fostering
We welcome you to be part of the story of Fetching Hope…