Downeast Dog News

Rescue of the Month: Fetching Hope Rescue

“Rescue is Our Favorite Breed”
By Susan Spisak | Jul 01, 2020

Fetching Hope Rescue (FHR) is an all-volunteer, foster-based group whose mission is to save neglected, abused, and stray dogs, then place them in loving, forever homes. The 501(c)(3) was founded in 2012 by April Scott and Amber Olesen out of Westbrook. They partnered with “sister shelter,” Wynne Friends of Animals in Wynne, Arkansas as the duo had worked with them while volunteering for another rescue group.

Since then, things have changed. FHR’s Rescue Program Director is now Alissa Laitres – she’s been a long-time volunteer with the nonprofit. Scott does backend paperwork – treasury and state filings - while Olesen’s moved. But perhaps the biggest change of late is that Wynne is being dissolved - they lost city funding.

Laitres feels it’s unfortunate – they’re dedicated and “amazing humans.” One volunteer even drove long-time shelter resident, Secret, to Maine in December, hoping that she’d find her person. In June, FHR found the perfect match, and this one-time street girl is home. Wynne still has a few adoptable dogs and FHR is attempting to place them. To continue their mission of helping southern dogs, they’ve teamed with Rescue Revolution of Mississippi.

FHR uses P.E.T.S. LLC Animal Rescue Road Trips company. Laitres said they’re a stellar company based in Cookeville, TN. The dogs ride safely in the climate-controlled trailer, each in their own USDA-approved plastic crate, and they have access to water. The transport team also stops every few hours to check on the dogs and walk them.

Between January 1 and mid-March, they’d transported up 32 dogs, then things were put on hold due to COVID-19. During that downtime, Laitres was busy. She posted an FHR Facebook fundraiser to feed the dogs of both sister shelters and was astounded with the response - $1,634 was collected and split between them.

Once May 30th hit and the state ok’d dog adoptions, applications poured in. “It’s nothing I’ve ever seen before in all my years in rescue. It’s exciting and overwhelming,” she laughed. When she comes home from work (she co-owns One Earth Natural Food Store in Shapleigh with her mother, Diane Laitres), she spends hours processing apps.

FHR’s next transport arrived in June. She indicated their biggest deterrent to pulling more dogs quickly is foster homes. They need dog savvy fosters who have experience owning dogs, understands their behavior and the need for decompression after transport, is patient and loving, and is knowledgeable on how to introduce the canine to family and pets in the home. FHR appreciates fosters who can begin basic training and housebreaking as necessary.

Laitres indicated that puppy fosters would be beneficial. They’re often matched with an approved adopter before transporting – but they must be quarantined with a foster for a short period before going to their new Maine home. “So it’s not a huge commitment,” she explained. (Please email for info.)

FHR, a Maine Permitted Importer, is a small rescue with a big heart. Check them out at To see their available dogs, visit