Caring for animals is in her heart

It all began with Mama Dog, a small yellow lab who, with her purple tongue, looked like she might have some chow in her.

Andrea Fraser spent two years rescuing and socializing Mama Dog and some $2,000 in medical bills curing her of severe heartworms before finding a loving home in Mountain Brook to adopt her.

More than a year ago, her gate was accidentally left open, perhaps by a meter reader; her owners look for her still.

“If you adopt a dog from me and it doesn’t work out, I want to know and I will take the dog back,” said Fraser, who has now rescued and found homes for many dogs. “People are all too quick to abandon a dog that is too much to handle.”

Fraser drove to Tennessee to retrieve a blind Jack Russell terrier that spent two years with a family, and now is back with her and husband, Ray.

Her rescue efforts reach beyond the local area — she is in touch with shelters and rescue volunteers in other states, receiving as many as 100 e-mails every day, with information about dogs that need to be saved from euthanasia.

She also helps people whose dogs go missing.

“I try to help make people aware of resources such as the Lost and Found Cat and Dog page on the Helena city Web site.”

Kayla, their 12-year-old part-chow, was found neglected and somewhat abused. Kayla has a disorder that makes her fearful of steps and stays mainly in one room, but she is the watchdog and fiercely protective of the Fraser’s 2-year-old daughter, Sophia.

Sophia, too, loves animals.

“Her first words were “mama,” “dada” and “woof-woof,” Fraser said.

Fraser feeds several homeless dogs on a daily basis, no matter the weather, with no outside assistance.

When able, she takes them to be spayed or neutered, usually by Dr. Fuller at Hope Animal Clinic in Bessemer.

In 2005, Fraser lost her father, suffered a miscarriage and found herself in a deep depression.

She said it was knowing the dogs still needed her help that got her off the sofa and back into life.

“My dad was an animal lover; he was really proud and supportive of my efforts. From his death, I learned to appreciate each day. We are not promised a tomorrow. I can’t quit caring for these animals; it’s in my heart,” she said.

Laura Brookhart can be reached by e–mail at labro16@yahoo.com.