LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Vickie Parish has 20 dogs at her farm. They don't belong to her, she's just fostering them. Seven years ago, she founded Swampy Paws Canine Rescue, a group that fosters older dogs and dogs with special needs.
"We take dogs that other people won't take," said Parish.
They also get calls to pick up strays and dogs that have been hit on the side of the highway and occasionally help out the Livingston Parish animal shelter.
In some cases, dogs are with her group for up to a year or more before a forever home can be found. That means several vet visits to get them healthy enough to be adopted.
The organization is asking for donations due to rising medical bills. Parish said the bills run anywhere from $30,000 to 40,000 a year. Swampy Paws only collects a $150 adoption fee.
"Some dogs may cost $3,000 to get ready," Parish said. "You may have a $1,500 surgery. You hold them for six months to a year. It mounts up."
Dr. Jason Farrell, a veterinarian at Hickory Small Animal Hospital in Pontchatoula, is one vet that sees Parish's pups.
"To me, I think, this ought to be a call out to Livingston Parish to get a parish-wide shelter to help people like Ms. Vickie. So they're not as dependent on her to do the work," he said.
Parish said people do donate food but without monetary donations, she's not sure how long she can continue to operate.
"My tax lady said do you want to go to a good nursing home or a bad nursing home because you're running through your retirement fund," said Parish.
She has asked that if people would like to donate, they can contact the vet and put money toward the current bills.