Local Arizona Dog Rescue Opens New Facility

By on January 13, 2021 0 86Views

In 2012 Geri Hormel had her first kennel space built in her backyard so that she could start fostering animals in need on her own. During her visits to local shelters she would ask which pups were most difficult to place into a foster home. Countless volunteer hours and multiple shelters later she learned that large breed pregnant and nursing mama dogs were the ones most difficult to place, and that was the beginning of Almost There Rescue.

Recognizing the special accommodations these dogs required she transformed the original location into a space where she and a small group of passionate volunteers could safely care for these dogs and deliver new litters in spacious kennels. As her passion grew so did the need and subsequently, the rescue. In January 2013 Almost There Rescue became a 501c3.

“We were lucky to have had such a positive impact within our community. We became a go-to resource for individuals and other rescues with pregnant mamas and new babies. In 2019 alone, we were able to save and adopt out four hundred and seventeen dogs, making it clear that our nine kennels wouldn’t keep up with the demand,” said Geri Hormel, Founder of Almost There Rescue.

The brand new location is nearly 14,000 square feet complete with nineteen kennels, six of which are dedicated intake kennels. These kennels are used for the first fourteen-plus days of each dog’s stay to monitor for any sign of illness. Each intake kennel is equipped with its own air filtration and entry room for staff and volunteers to fully suit up to prevent any cross contamination.  Every single kennel in the building is capped at the top with an isolated supply and return airflow, and a separate drainage system to keep all pups healthy and safe from their neighboring animals.

An Animal Care Specialist welcomes the first mom and pup to the new facility

“We are so excited about our new intake kennels. It is so critical to have a space like this so we can ensure these delicate lives can grow and heal in a safe and sanitary place while remaining separate from others. These kennels are completely independent from the other thirteen kennels, and includes a play yard designated just for them. We dedicated a lot of time to the thoughtful design of this space. Many of these dogs can’t go outside just yet so we made sure a wall of the play yard was made of glass and exposed to natural light so that the space feels more open,” said  Annie Vederame, Director of Communications.

Turf play area with special glass encapsulated quarantine play yard

“Some of my favorite features are the new Mutternity Suites. The electronic key entry doors make it much easier and safer for staff and our volunteers to work with the dogs. The doors also feature hand painted numbers from local artist Alexandra Onken and windows big enough for us to see in but are high enough so resting moms and pups are not disturbed by volunteers and other dogs that may pass by. By far the sweetest feature has to be the nightlights. Each kennel has a dim comfort light so that our mamas and puppies don’t have to be in complete darkness at night” said  Megan Wiewel, Director of Operations.


(Left) Main kennels and supply hub, (Right) night light inside a Mutternity Suite 

The facility has a medical intake room designated for vaccinating, microchipping, evaluating and bathing all pups upon arrival. All Almost There dogs are altered, micro-chipped, and up-to-date on vaccines prior to adoption.

A new puppy gets a bath in the medical intake room

“Over the years we continue to be so grateful for all of the support we’ve received from the community. Without our dedicated staff, loyal volunteers and generous donors this project would not be possible. Year to date we’ve saved over 1,200 dogs, and with this new property nearly doubling our capacity we are very excited to grow those numbers exponentially. We can’t wait to start saving even more pups,” said Hormel.


Almost There Rescue specializes in large-breed pregnant dogs and their pups who need time and space to grow and become socialized. Our dogs have significant social time with adults and other dogs, and we provide them with experiences that will help shape them into the very best pups they can be. Our mama dogs work with on site behaviorists who develop personalized programs to prepare them for life as your new forever family member. ATR is determined to give adopters all the information we know about our dogs so we can help find the perfect match for families. All of our dogs are altered, micro-chipped, and up-to-date on vaccines prior to adoption. Almost There Rescue opens to the public on January, 9th! To learn more about Almost There Rescue and to get involved visit: https://www.almostthererescue.org/