There are shelters and kennels nearby in Idaho, but Ani-Care is the only one in Malheur County – a no-kill shelter – and the it gets dogs from all over the land. The shelter has contracts with the cities of Ontario and Nyssa as well as the county. And the owner needs grass.

Oreo has been at Ani-Care Animal Shelter since last winter. He doesn’t get along with other dogs, so placing him in a home has been a challenge Amanda Grosdidier, the shelter’s owner, said. But she is optimistic. “We’re a no-kill shelter. The right family will come along,” she said. (The Enterprise/Rachel Parsons)

ONTARIO – Amanda Grosdidier stood in the middle of the outdoor asphalt yard on a recent warm afternoon, squinting in the sun. The sound of baying dogs floated in the background. The four dogs at her animal shelter, Ani-Care, were inside the adjacent kennel building, safe from the heat. 

“I had to fire my mom,” Grosdidier said, talking about the abrupt changes caused by state restrictions related to COVID-19. Her mother was in a vulnerable age group. She had to tell all of her volunteers to stay away, too. 

For now, she runs the shelter, a large rented concrete building on an industrial lot by the train tracks, by herself. 

But demand did not wane when her staff did. 

“People were throwing out dogs left and right in the beginning” of lockdown, she said, though things have returned more or less to normal.

On any given day, she takes in five dogs brought in by county or city authorities and four of them go home. They are typically pets gone missing.

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There are shelters and kennels nearby in Idaho, but Ani-Care is the only one in Malheur County – a no-kill shelter – and Grosdidier gets dogs from all over the land. She has contracts with the cities of Ontario and Nyssa as well as the county. 

And she needs grass for her charges.

“I miss grass so much,” she said, looking at the hot asphalt inside the fenced compound in the shadow of a water tower. “It’s amazing how many dogs will come in here and they will not poop anywhere unless it’s on some piece of something that reminds them of grass.” 

She lets the weeds grow through the cracks and puts out scraps of green turf. 

She has a plan to get the green she needs.

Grosdidier said she has picked out seven acres of land nearby for a future site, replete with plenty of grass and, envisions ultimately, swimming ponds for the dogs to beat the summer heat, but she is waiting on a Small Business Administration loan for the down payment. Then the fundraising will begin. Grosdidier estimates that it will take about $200,000. She intends to raise enough to build all of the facilities the shelter will need. 

Shelter owner Amanda Grosdidier tosses a toy to Chuck the German Shepherd. Grosdidier is running the shelter on her own until she is confident she can have her staff back in the space and stay healthy. It also cuts down on the cleaning she has to keep up with. “Sanitation-wise, if you were to open a kennel door to let a dog out or put a dog in, I now have to wash that kennel,” she said. “So it’s just a lot easier if it’s just me touching [it].” (The Enterprise/Rachel Parsons)

Six-month-old puppy Oliver plays with a stuffed toy in his kennel. (The Enterprise/Rachel Parsons)

Chuck, a German Shepherd, strikes a profile pose. He has been at Ani-Care since June 13. None of the animals pictured were happy to have the photographer close to them. Kennel doors remained shut. (The Enterprise/Rachel Parsons)

“I miss grass,” said Grosdidier. She added most of her animals do, too. Grosdidier hopes to move to a new location and build new facilities within the next couple of years. She said she plans to mount a fundraising campaign and accept in-kind donations. (The Enterprise/Rachel Parsons)

A tub of toys waits for cooler weather so the dogs can come out to play. The kennels outside remain empty when hot weather sets in. Animals are kept inside instead. (The Enterprise/Rachel Parsons)

Oscar (front), and Chuck spend hot days inside an air-conditioned building while they wait for prospective owners. (The Enterprise/Rachel Parsons)

Tug-of-war toys. People and companies donate playthings for pups to Ani-Care. (The Enterprise/Rachel Parsons)

The number of animals at the shelter fluctuates day-to-day, and most of the dogs brought in are pets who have gone AWOL and are usually reunited with their owners. (The Enterprise/Rachel Parsons)

People and companies, such as Petsense, donate collars to Ani-Care. (The Enterprise/Rachel Parsons)

Six-month-old puppy Oliver plays with a stuffed toy in his kennel. (The Enterprise/Rachel Parsons)

Amanda Grosdidier, owner of Ani-Care Animal Shelter in Ontario. Grosdidier said people come from as far away as Portland and Washington to adopt dogs. (The Enterprise/Rachel Parsons)

“I miss grass,” said Grosdidier. She added most of her animals do, too. The shelter’s current location at Northeast Second Avenue in Ontario is meant to be a temporary stop. Grosdidier hopes to move to a new location and build new facilities within the next couple of years. She said she plans to mount a fundraising campaign and accept in-kind donations. (The Enterprise/Rachel Parsons)



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