Ellensburg new foster based rescue helps animals with special needs

Courtesy of Marla Pugh | Nick Fury

Milenne Quinonez , Staff Reporter

Josie’s Misfit Ranch, a foster-based animal rescue in Kittitas County, offers special care for dogs and cats with disabilities and behavioral issues. 

Marla Pugh, the founder of the rescue, started it in December of last year. She has a large board of animal advocates.

“We rescue animals because there is just so many out there that are fantastic animals that need a lot of love, and they most likely know they’ve been rescued, that you saved them,” Pugh said. “They just give so much love and joy and they really need help.”

Pugh said she has four dogs and seven cats of her own. The rescue earned its name from one of her rescue dogs named Josie. Josie was saved by another rescue facility in North Carolina, hours before being put down, according to Pugh. She later adopted Josie from the rescue. Pugh said she was inspired to acquire the ranch because of her love for Josie and wanted to give the same support for other animals like her. 

Pugh said she chose the Ellensburg area because the local shelter is dealing with staffing shortages and is not open to the public regularly. The rescue also serves Yakima and Chelan counties. 

Pugh said there is a need for more animal rescues in the county. 

“I always wanted to help animals and do something along the lines of rescue,” Pugh said.

The rescue primarily works with animals that have special needs, which means they evaluate the animals to identify any issues or which ones might require medical care. Then they place the animals in foster homes to experience being in a regular family receiving the attention they need.

Since they are still at the beginning stage, the rescue has currently helped three dogs but are looking for more fosters and volunteers to help them grow. 

“I think people get a little scared of adopting a disabled animal, but really they’re just like any other animal. They might need one or more eye drops once a day. But most of them are just like any other animal; they have a lot of love to give,” Pugh said. 

Josie’s Misfit not only provides rehabilitation opportunities for animals, but they also provide various resources for people looking to adopt or foster animals temporarily by training them in the needs of troubled animals and ongoing support. 

“We’ll teach them how to administer meds; we’ll explain to them what the condition is and what kind care is needed; and we’ll always be there if people ask questions,” Pugh said.

According to Pugh the goal is to help people become better pet parents, increase the number of responsible pet owners and to partner with college students who are interested in pursuing a career with animals.

“I just think college kids have so much to offer and they have a lot of energy too and these dogs need that,” Pugh said. “They need someone that can keep up with their energy and it’s an opportunity to learn more. So, I would love to have more people volunteer from college,” Pugh said. 

CWU student, Hunter Korf, is a double major with climate behavior in ecology and biology with a focus in pre-veterinary studies. 

Korf began her work with Josie’s Misfit Ranch back in 2020 and is the primary caretaker. She assists by staying overnight at the ranch with the animals when needed and transporting any fosters, while learning about the dogs and figuring out ways to get them adopted. 

“I’ve always loved animals and I grew up with pets and grew up around pets and working in animal shelters, so it was a logical job for me to have while in college,” Korf said. 

Korf said she has adopted two dogs from the rescue and said that Pugh has been there every step of the way in the adoption process and still checks up on the dogs. 

“All the animals that end up there have one issue or another that makes them a little harder to adopt. What our focus really is about is highlighting those animals and giving them an opportunity to find a good home,” Korf said.