Left Behind: Pets Abandoned in Foreclosure

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Tippery's Calling

When Tippery and her colleagues found an animal before the waiting period was up, they made sure that each day someone from their office stopped by to feed and play with the pet. Figuring out the logistics of the animal-care duties was often part of the team's weekly staff meeting.

"It's not as if I made it a rule that you have to do this if you're gonna work here," says Tippery. "It's just part of who we are. Luckily, most of us have that connection to animals."

Tippery's foreclosure real-estate business is booming. Still, she continues to squeeze rescue efforts into her erratic schedule, simply because she must. So far Tippery and her colleagues have been able to help as many as 20 animals. "Most people would do the same," she says.

Tippery has become a kind of spokesperson for foreclosure pets. With help from local news outlets she is spreading the word about the issue in hopes that more pet owners who are facing foreclosure will take steps to ensure their animals' safety. She has also found homes for several pets in her office's care by publicizing their plight.

Another bonus to the exposure? It helped her and her colleagues connect with community members and other real-estate agents who are sympathetic to the cause. Now an informal network of would-be competitors are working together. After one news story aired Tippery got a call from an agent who's caring for more than a dozen rescued foreclosure pets in his home.

Tippery even found a solution for saving one pet that would work for her allergy-prone and already-pet-filled household. "I think I'd been through that house four times before I saw him," she recalls. "Then one day I was cleaning up in the kitchen and there was this overturned light fixture sitting on the counter, filled with dark water. I dumped it out into the sink, and a little goldfish flopped out."

Tippery scooped it up and put it in the first clean container she could find, a plastic soda cup, then filled it with bottled water from her car. "Mr. Fish" traveled with her for the rest of that day -- a little orange copilot in her cup holder -- before Tippery herself was finally able to take him home.

Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, June 2009.


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