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Rescue dogs at Felix Varela High School find homes before the deadline

 

About 100 rescue dogs have been placed locally and across the nation just in time for the school’s veterinary wing renovation during the summer.

 
Gabriel Ramirez, 16, a sophomore in Felix Varela Senior High School's veterinary science magnet program, invites Phineas, a greyhound/Dutch Shepherd, mix to cool off in a wading pool last month.
Gabriel Ramirez, 16, a sophomore in Felix Varela Senior High School's veterinary science magnet program, invites Phineas, a greyhound/Dutch Shepherd, mix to cool off in a wading pool last month.
Miami Herald Staff / Marsha Halper

cteproff@MiamiHerald.com

When the students and staff at Felix Varela Senior High School put out a call last month for help to place about 100 rescue dogs by June 6, they weren't sure there would be enough time.

But people — both locally and from across the nation — stepped up. And as of Thursday, a day before the deadline, every dog was spoken for.

"There has been an amazing response," said Yleana Escobar, the Veterinary Science Magnet lead teacher. “We couldn’t have asked for more.”

In May, the students and teachers learned they would have to scramble to place the rescue dogs in homes because the Veterinary Science wing was getting a makeover during the summer. For years, students and the staff at the school,, 15255 SW 96th St., have been saviors for countless sick, neglected and abandoned animals.

The converted lab, which now houses the dogs that the students care for, will get new flooring, new kennels and new paint.

So the dogs, who live permanently at the school, needed to leave.

Among the rescues: Phineas, a 4-year-old Dutch-Shepherd mix who has spent most of his life at Varela.

Phineas will soon take a journey at the end of the month to Wisconsin, along with about nine other dogs. A rescue group has already placed Phineas in a home.

Escobar said while about 20 dogs were adopted in South Florida, rescue groups in Chicago, Massachusetts and Wisconsin have come through.

Varela Assistant Principal Angela Holbrook said finding the dogs homes has been a “team effort.”

“We are so thankful to everyone for mobilizing and making this happen,” she said. “Everybody responded in the best possible way.”

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