A group of about 10 dog foster families said a good job turned into a frustrating experience in the past few months.
PHOENIX – They answered the call for foster dogs, but for at least a dozen families around Arizona, the process was fraught with expense and little communication. Now, a good deed has turned into a disappointing experience.
In April, Ashley Stockton’s family welcomed eight-month-old Doodle Stella, whose litter had just been rescued.
“They were filthy, they were gloomy, they smelled,” Stockton recalled. “It was so sad, they were cornered and piled on top of each other. I assumed Pawfect Match was the savior and I was going to sponsor him. I was excited because they were going to train and help, so I thought it was a perfect situation. .
Pawfect Match is a Mesa pet service and they say on their website that they breed, train, transport and rehome pets.
The family provides a loving home and lots of attention. The shelter provides funds for vet visits, medications, training and other expenses. Except for some, the experience is not great.
“The last four months have been very stressful to say the least,” said Laura Studebaker, who is also raising a puppy from the same litter. He says something doesn’t feel right about the situation.
“We spent hours and hours trying to figure out what was going on and we were left in the dark,” he said.
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What started as a Facebook request from Pawfect Match’s Renee Wierz turned into a litany of unanswered requests and unpaid expenses. They say Wierz told them all costs would be settled, but that didn’t happen.
“We have this dog that has fear, extreme fear and anxiety,” Studebaker said. “He needs medicine, we asked for it. He was able to get a 5-day supply. After that, he couldn’t fill his prescription.”
“He told a bunch of groomers that we can’t take dogs to the vet,” Stockton said. “Because she said we don’t have them. I finally said, ‘You know what? It’s Renee’s neglect and abandonment, and we took Stella to our vet.’
Stockton also says she asked Wierz about training because she had never rehabilitated a traumatized dog.
“When I realized the training wasn’t happening because he wasn’t responding to any basic texts, I turned to the dog trainer we used with our other dog,” she said.
Now, four months and hundreds of dollars later, they say the families involved want answers.
“This dog is essentially mine,” Stockton said. “I paid for everything for this dog, I have all the documents and receipts.”
“Reaching him a few times, he was often out of town, I’m working, I’ll call you later,” Studebaker said.
Bretta Nelson of the Arizona Humane Society says this is not standard practice. Usually, organizations will try to make it as easy as possible for foster families and pay for things like food, supplies and medical care, she adds.
“And they should be able to share with you records, medical records, intake profiles, ages, things like that,” he said.
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Without dog profiles, medical records and a lack of communication, Stockton and Studebaker say the situation hasn’t improved. Especially after saying that Wierz asked about her adoption plans. Because even though women are told in advance that they will be charged for adoption, there is confusion as to why it is so much.
“I asked him if he could give us a detailed breakdown of the cost of the dogs,” Stockton said. “He says it’s $1,200 and we don’t understand why the rescue is charging so much when we pay for everything.”
12News reached out to Wierz several times for an interview. He announced via text:
“It costs money to work with foster dogs for adoption. I wish we could give adoptable dogs to good families for free. Actually, that’s not possible. We pay the vet fees. We check all the dogs, we have other expenses. We pay the transportation costs and we work with the groomers. we provide. You can contact all dog handlers and all other involved.”
He also directed us to talk to other grooms he’s worked with, saying “reluctant groomers are the real story.” 12News again requested an interview and did not receive a response.
“We’re willing to pay for the dogs,” Studebaker said. “For us, we just want to make sure that other people don’t have to go through the heartache, stress and general awfulness that we went through. He’s more interested in money than dogs.”
“I don’t care if Renee wants to save dogs,” Stockton said. “But he can’t handle it the way he’s doing. He’s abused people and he’s charging people exorbitant prices. I’d like to ask him something, can you give us a clear answer? I want transparency, I want to understand what’s going on.”
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