Pet rescue asks for community help to support veterinary care

Apr. 22—SOAP LAKE — Shawna Kluge, operator of The Rock Bottom Rocker Pet Pantry, said the vet bill the organization has at Pioneer Veterinary Clinic illustrates the challenges associated with helping animals in need.

Kluge put out an appeal for donations to help pay the vet bill early last week.

"In normal (pet) rescue fashion, we got a donation," she said.

Dick Maier, veterinarian and owner of Pioneer Vet Clinic, allows the Rock Bottom Rocker to carry a balance of up to $5,000, and as of last week the bill had grown to $4,700. A $3,000 donation helped cut the bill — but then she got a call about Moses.

Moses is a husky mix with one brown eye. He was actually pretty lucky; for whatever reason he was out on his own, but he found a family willing to help him.

One of his back paws was injured and infected; he had puncture wounds on his head that indicated he'd been in a fight and quills to show where he had encountered a porcupine. He needed surgery on his foot — he lost some of his toes — and treatment for the wounds from the fight and porcupine.

The family who found him worked to care for him but had no way of treating his injuries. They were willing to take him temporarily after treatment.

"They wanted to do right by him, but they needed help," Kluge said.

Pioneer Veterinary readily performed the emergency surgery, neutered Moses and chipped him. But the emergency added to the pet pantry's balance again.

About six weeks earlier Rock Bottom had received a grant that allowed them to pay the vet bill in full, but that's kind of how it is when helping animals, Kluge said. There might be an emergency — or two or three — or people who need pet food, or a dog or cat bed or other pet supplies. Kluge said there are a lot of people out there who are willing to help, but Grant County has a lot more animals that need help.

She cited her 2023 vet bill as an example. Pioneer Vet Clinic provided about $30,000 in care for Rock Bottom Rocker's animals.

As of Thursday, Rock Bottom Rocker was boarding 29 dogs, 36 cats and kittens, about a dozen farm birds and one horse.

"We rescue anything with a heartbeat except a human," she said.

She moved to Soap Lake from the west side of Washington, Kluge said, and was surprised by the volume of stray or abandoned animals. Not only is Rock Bottom busy, so is every other pet rescue, she said.

"In this area there's just so much need," Kluge said. "Animals are showing up by the dozens."

She had been involved with pet rescue organizations on the west side, she said, but expected to be doing other things in Grant County. That wasn't how it worked out.

"It started with a rescue here and there," she said.

The project got bigger, and eventually expanded to Rock Bottom Rocker Pet Pantry.

"I had the time and the knowledge, and I wanted to help bridge that gap," she said.

Grant and Adams counties have several animal rescue organizations, some municipal, some that contract with municipalities and some like Rock Bottom that are privately funded and operated. They're all busy, Kluge said.

With all the animals that need help boarding space is at a premium, and many organizations need people willing to allow animals to stay with them temporarily.

"We are so dependent on fosters," she said.

In addition, Kluge said she has noticed a decline in the number of adoptions, especially for bigger dogs like Moses.

There is a network of individuals and businesses, like Pioneer Vet Clinic, that work together to help animals in need and animal rescue organizations. Another business helps Kluge find dog and cat beds, and others help buy pet food. People who got involved with Rock Bottom Rocker have helped form an organization and sit on its board of directors.

"It's a community coming together and finding the help," she said.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at

Want to lend a paw?

To donate toward The Rock Bottom Rocker Pet Pantry's vet bill, bring donations to:

Pioneer Veterinary Clinic

827 E. Sharon Ave.

Moses Lake, WA 98837


Those who want to support the pet rescue in other ways may contact them:

The Rock Bottom Rocker Pet Pantry