A few days later, two of the surviving four also died from malnutrition.
“They didn’t feed Angel at the shelter,” Kantzabedian said. “In turn, she couldn’t nourish her puppies.
“It took me eight months to nurse Angel back to health.”
Sadly, she said, Angel’s story is an ordinary occurrence in high-kill shelters. It is for this reason that this animal lover has devoted the past 20 years of her life to saving pets’ lives through her Animal Crackers Pet Rescue organization.
The nonprofit, whose mission is to rescue adoptable pets and place them with loving families, is fully supported by proceeds from the pet supply store, which is now in danger of closing its doors.
“I opened the store four years ago to help support my rescue efforts,” she said. “All of the profits benefit these animals.
“If the store doesn’t make money, I no longer have [the means] to rescue as many pets.”
Unlike with most other pet-saving organizations, Kantzabedian’s rescues live with her.
“I keep them for 30 to 60 days, so I can get to know everything there is to know about them,” Kantzabedian said. “I know their personalities, habits and any health issues that come up in the time they’re with me. This helps me find the best home for them.
“And if no one adopts them, I keep them.”
Baby, a 3-year-old Chihuahua she adopted as a small puppy, is still with her.
In addition to high-kill shelters, she also rescues pets from locals who can no longer care for them or who simply don’t want them.
“I even had a lady drop her puppy off to me because it grew past the size she expected and didn’t fit in her bag,” she said. “Pets shouldn’t be treated as property, but as family members.”