BUFORD - About two years ago, Trooper, a labrador retriever mix, was seriously burned when some paint cans overheated and exploded.
His sister, Cindy, was adopted, but Trooper still needs a home.
Finding him one became a bigger challenge earlier this month when the rescue facility he was getting foster care through, Pup and Cat Co., began having financial trouble.
Its director and founder, Ursula Miller, had some medical problems, Pup and Cat Co. Vice President Sandy Hammer said. And since she was fostering 26 of the group's animals, finding the pets a new place to stay became a scramble.
"We're just trying to keep the ship running," Hammer said. "She needs a break; she needs time to recover."
The Winder-based rescue operation has been around for 15 years, Hammer said. Miller recently purchased five acres of land in Auburn, and the group planned to build a shelter there. But that project is on hold while they regroup and figure out what to do.
"If we had a shelter, we wouldn't be in this mess," Hammer said. "We're not bringing anything new in; our rescuing's kind of at a halt right now. We just need to get these guys adopted."
In the three or four weeks since Miller's medical problems began, Hammer estimated 12 or 13 dogs and cats have been adopted out. There are still 20 cats and 25 dogs that need homes.
The group's foster families are overloaded, but Hammer said a number of veterinarians have stepped up to help care for the animals.
Gloria Hallen, who is fostering Trooper, said she was afraid that the group would have to disband if a solution couldn't be found. But Miller would have eventually retired anyway, she reasoned, so the problems Pup and Cat Co. are having are a way to spur people to think about the organization's future.
"I'd be sort of lost now without this group," said Hallen, who drives from Snellville to the Mall of Georgia PetSmart where she helps with adoptions for four hours on Saturdays. "It's like a little family."
Hammer said the animals have been moved around recently, but are otherwise fine. The group can use any help they can get, she said.
"We want to keep this thing up and open," she said.
Pup and Cat Co. holds adoptions from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. every Saturday at the Mall of Georgia PetSmart at 1705 Mall of Georgia Blvd. For more information about the group, visit www.pupandcatco.com or call 770-867-1622.