ALEXANDRIA, KY (FOX19) - An Alexandria area animal rescue is honoring one of the organization's founders this weekend with a memorial event that doubles as an adoption opportunity.
Frankie's Furry Friends Rescue takes in all kinds of dogs, including a 16-year-old named Midge that spent 11 years in a puppy mill before she moved into a loving home. Living in rough conditions had already taken its toll though.
"She had such a bad infection in her mouth from not ever being taken care of or going to the vet, that it ate her jawbone, so she has no bone right here," said Maria Shanks with Frankie's Furry Friends Rescue.
Setbacks like that do not stop the rescuers from doing all they can to help dogs in need, like Midge.
"Adoptions are very important because there are so many dogs out there that are available that need good homes," Shanks said.
That's why the organization decided to host its first ever "dog reunion" at Alexandria Community Park on Sunday. The event brought pups that already have forever families together with canines that are still searching for the perfect fit.
"[Adoption] it'll change your life like it changed ours," L.A. Stopa, who adopted a dog from the rescue, said Sunday.
Jeff is one of the rescued dogs that already found his adoptive parents. He was with the rescue when he made his big screen debut and starred in a movie that was filmed in local locations.
Megan-Kate Hoover runs the training program, Midwest Animal Training, that worked with Jeff for the role. She said her relatives fell in love with Jeff, and her mother-in-law ended up adopting him.
"Jeff was pulled from a puppy mill, and he was a stud there, so he was an adult dog, and he had never been outside of a cage, and he went literally from being in a cage in a puppy mill to being on a movie set, so it was total rags to riches for him," Hoover said.
While part of Sunday's event was focused on fundraising and adoptions, it was a memorial too. The group walked around the lake and put out photo displays to pay tribute to one of the rescue's co-founders, Kathy Hornsby, who passed away in February 2017.
"Frankie's Furry Friends has rescued over 450 dogs," Shanks said Sunday. "None of it would have been possible if it weren't for Kathy Hornsby, so we're taking the time today to honor her."
Those who run the rescue say the best way they can truly pay their respects to Kathy is by continuing her mission of saving lives one dog, one event, at a time.