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Rocky

Rocky, right, enjoys life in his new home with friends Willow and Piper. The German shorthaired pointer was one of four dogs taken in by the WGSPR in May.

After years of turmoil, the “fabulous four” finally found life outside the confines of a kennel with the help of the Wisconsin German Shorthaired Pointer Rescue. The WGSPR intervened in May to save Missy, Max, Rocky and Daisy, and all four were settled into happy homes just in time for the organization’s 10th anniversary last weekend.

Volunteers and adoptive families gathered Saturday at a 40-acre dog park in Weston to celebrate the Alma-based organization, which has saved almost 400 pointers and pointer mixes since 2006. The nonprofit is run by 100 volunteers, including many from the La Crosse area, who foster and transport the dogs and host fundraisers.

Terri Roehrig, president of the WGSPR, has been involved with the organization for five years and owns two German shorthaired pointers. She has also fostered more dogs than she can count.

“This job is important because there are too many dogs that need rescue — no fault of their own. People don’t understand the breed and (their) needs,” Roehrig said. “They are so versatile: a great family dog, excellent hunting dog, have great agility and live a long life.”

The organization frequently takes in dogs with health problems or that have suffered trauma. The “fabulous four” were used for breeding and housed in cramped outdoor kennels year round, sleeping on cement slabs. Each suffered from spinning disorder and was in desperate need of dental and nail care. A trio of elderly pointers that were rescued in February from a hoarding situation tested positive for two tick-borne diseases, Lyme disease and anaplasmosis, which led to other ailments. Others have arrived emaciated or fearful of humans.

Roehrig has fostered two German shorthaired pointers with Addison’s disease, a deficiency in hormones produced by the adrenal glands that can cause lethargy, dehydration and abdominal problems. She also owns a pointer with the affliction.

“I was able to give both of these dogs a second chance at life, where their previous owner wanted them put to sleep because they had a disease,” Roehrig said. “It is one of the easiest diseases to treat, doesn’t cost much to treat and the dog can live a very normal, happy life. Both of them are living life large with Addison’s and acting like the silly energetic dogs they should.”

The dozens of dogs at the anniversary event had their own chance to be silly, posing for pictures and wading in a pool before leaving with a care package of toys and treats.

Though the “fabulous four” were unable to make the celebration, Roehrig was pleased with the canine turnout.

“The event was a huge success,” she said. “All of them got lots of petting.”

For more information about the organization, visit www.wgspr.com.

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General assignment reporter

Emily Pyrek covers human interest stories, local events and anything involving dogs for the La Crosse Tribune. She is always interested in story ideas and can be contacted at emily.pyrek@lee.net.

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