TAMPA (FOX 13) - Alicia Duval's home has gone to the dogs. And not just any pups -- this Hometown Hero has a heart for dachshunds.
"I've always had a love for dachshunds. They were the breed I had growing up so I've always been close to the breed," Alicia explained.
Alicia is the president of DARE, Dachshund Adoption Rescue and Education. She's one of dozens of volunteers helping find homes for displaced and unwanted dachshunds across Florida.
"They are so dependent on love and happiness and good medical care. It sounds like basic necessities but when they don't have that, just showing them kindness is incredible," said Alicia.
DARE rescues abandoned, neglected, abused, orphaned and surrendered dachshunds. But their top priority is shelters dogs on the euthanasia list.
"I have a thing for the underdog. It's really easy to get puppies and adopt puppies out, it's easy to get an adult housetrained dog and get that dog adopted. It's the ones that you know -- if you don't help them --they are going to get put down. Those are the ones that really dig into my heart," she continued.
So she opens her door to any doxie in need. She's helped more than 100 dogs in the last 10 years.
"It has changed me in a profound way. I have grown as an individual way more than I ever thought I would," said Alicia.
She's currently fostering four dogs, plus she's got five of her own. And one time, just for a few hours, she made room for 17.
"There are nights that I am sitting there with five dogs on my lap. Thank God my chairs recline; I'll have two on my feet, one on my arm and I'm hoping the phone doesn't ring because I'm not going to be able to get up," Alicia laughed.
Some of her rescues need extra care, including the dogs she's fostering right now. When she got them a few weeks ago, they had parvo and they were barely alive. But thanks to Alicia's love and attention, they're healthy and full of energy.
"We realize, as rescuers, that we can't save them all,” she added. “But we give it our best effort.”
LINK: For more information: www.daretorescue.com