PORT RICHEY — For the past several years a church in Port Richey sat vacant until two sisters decided to buy it and turn it into an animal shelter.
“Ever since we were little me and my sister would basically try to save everything, like if a bird fell out of a nest,” said Danielle Giroux. “So we were always into animal rescue and then when we got into our 20s [and] we started volunteering and we really started to realize our passion and this is what we wanted to do.”
Danielle and Alyssa Giroux used to drive by the abandoned church for years until they decided to buy it in 2021.
“It was huge so we knew we could get a lot of animals, there was a lot of space and I thought it was a perfect location,” said Danielle.
From dogs to cats to pigs, they can hold more than 100 animals at a time, but it’s the ones with special medical cases, like Crumpet, that sets this shelter apart.
“So Crumpet is a two-year-old pit bull just found on the side of the road in Tampa,” said Danielle.
Crumpet was about to be euthanized, until The Runaways not only gave the pup hope but freedom, by way of a wheelchair.
“It was custom built for her, so we called the company, got the quote and knew it was going to cost $1,000 so we took to the Internet to raise funds to get her the chair that she needs,” said Melissa.
It’s these types of stories that fill every corner of the shelter.
“He had his eyes removed and he is doing really really well and he is up for adoption,” said Melissa holding up one feline lucky to be alive.
“And someone reached out that they have these two tiny newborn kittens with their umbilical cords still attached,” said Danielle pointing out two kittens born just one week earlier.
The rescue said none of their life-saving efforts would be possible without a dedicated community, volunteering time and donating money every step of the way.
Alyssa said working out of an old church brings a sense of goodwill.
“Because it was a church it served the community in multiple ways and now we can kind of have a newborn purpose in the community,” said Alyssa.
The Runaways is having a special adoption event Saturday, Sept. 17, and Sunday, Sept. 18.
For more information on the event, volunteering, donating or adopting visit www.runawaysanimalrescue.org.