PENDLETON — They’re three friends bonded by a cause, and the cause is, well, paws. It all started with a pit bull named Ninja.
In October 2011, the pregnant pit bull was found abandoned in Pendleton. Angie Webster and Kellie Riley-Borgman, both of Pendleton, rallied to rescue the dog. Jenny Hooker, a Knightstown resident, learned of the dog’s plight through Facebook and also became involved.
“She was really scared. We kind of had to earn her trust,” Hooker recalled. It took days, but eventually the dog was saved by the trio of friends and taken to a no-kill shelter. All of the puppies were adopted, and Ninja was, too. “We see her all the time,” said Riley-Borgman. The effort became the launch of the trio's not-for-profit Friends for Paws. Today, the group is Pendleton’s go-to organization to help out with lost or stray dogs. The three friends are on a mission to get pets spayed or neutered, and they also offer microchipping so lost pets can find their way home quickly.
“It really got really big really fast. It just all kind of worked out,” said Riley-Borgman. “One little pitbull being dumped has changed a lot for a lot of animals.”
“Half the time the dogs have just gotten loose,” said Hooker of calls that come in about strays in Pendleton. She said that Facebook has worked very well to get the word out. “It gets shared, and shared, and shared.”
Sometimes the dog will have a microchip, and that makes it easy to get strays with their owners. Other times, Friends for Paws needs to find a foster situation until either the owner is found or a dog is placed. Once in their care, the Friends for Paws folks make sure the dog has everything it needs before it is adopted.