NewsMontana and Regional News


‘Hell House Hounds’ at PAWS of Chinook still hope for forever homes

PAWS of Chinook "Hell House Hounds"
Posted at 4:15 PM, Mar 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-28 12:03:01-04

CHINOOK — Back in August, we reported on the PAWS of Chinook Animal Shelter taking in an influx of dogs from a community member's property after they passed away.

The final head count for dogs on the property amounted to 40 - add the eight dogs already in the shelter and you get 48. For a shelter of just five kennels, it’s safe to say capacity was overwhelmingly full.

Seven months later, we report that the shelter is doing well and there are 10 dogs left of the original “Hell House Hounds."

“It's going well. Still over capacity, but the dogs have come around so much and they are just they've shown themselves to be the most trusting and loving dogs regardless of what they went through,” said Alissa Hewitt, director of PAWS of Chinook Animal Shelter.

The non-profit shelter has seen an outpouring of support from across the Treasure State - financial donations, adoptions, and gifts of support to help the private small shelter survive.

“They've gone down to Wyoming, Great Falls, Helena, Missoula, Kalispell, and a few here in Havre,” Hewitt elaborated on where the dogs have been claimed for adoption.

PAWS of Chinook Animal Shelter
PAWS of Chinook Animal Shelter is a five-kennel shelter in Blaine County.

The past seven months have been rough since a large number of the dogs were feral and lacked attention from humans, leading to the humorous nickname of "Hell House Hounds."

Some - including one missing a leg - needed immediate medical attention, and one even had a gunshot wound.

PAWS of Chinook Shelter is entirely volunteer-driven, from those who clean the kennels to those who spend quality time with the dogs. The team has had to adapt its processes to fit the needs of the pack of dogs that had received no formal care.

“My team has had to get more knowledge about these kinds of dogs. You know, we're not dealing with surrenders that come in from someone's house and they have comfort and knowledge and socialization. We're not dealing with those dogs.”

All remaining 10 dogs are up for adoption, and all but one are friendly with other dogs.

We feature one pup who has a friendly demeanor, and a smile that appears aggressive, but is happy-go-lucky, and loves her plush toys.

Casa is approximately two years old and ready to find her forever home. The only catch is that Casa doesn’t get along with other dogs. Hewitt believes that an elderly person who enjoys enjoying the finer days of relaxation in life would suit her best. Casa doesn’t need much; she just needs her human companion.

She began as a dog that strongly disliked men, but she quickly changed and warmed up to me.

MTN's Brianna Juneau playing with Casa
MTN's Brianna Juneau playing with "Hell House, Hound", Casa.

“You can't be in a bad mood. You can't be in a sad mood because she will cheer you up every single day.”

Casa is a prime example of how PAWS of Chinook have turned the absolute worst situation into something positive. Adopters have taken some of the “Hell House, Hounds” home, and have yet to touch the dogs because of their timid nature. Taking a chance on a shelter pet is the most rewarding experience one can have. It’s not for the faint of heart.

“We don't have a time limit here. We are a no-kill shelter. So, we just wait. We keep working with them and we just wait and someday we'll have room again, you know? But for now, and for as long as it takes, we spend time with them.”

No matter how many dogs the shelter takes in, the vision remains the same: “We're just a private group of people in a private building just caring about as many dogs as we can.”

If you would like to donate to the PAWS of Chinook Animal Shelter or fill out an application for adoption, click here to visit the website.



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