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There are people in the world who want to make a difference.

Not for themselves, but for others, including the animal world.

An organization in Fountain Hills run by two local women is being recognized for making a difference to people and animals. The Lower Verde Valley Hall of Fame will recognize the work of Christine Schaeken and Susan Dawson and will present them with a Humanitarian Award at the annual Hall of Fame banquet. The women founded Rescue Pals.

The organization was started 10 years ago when Dawson, Schaeken and another volunteer were training for a three-day cancer walk.

The three-day walk totaled 60 miles, so the women were training daily. When they learned Pal’s Inn was boarding rescue dogs, they asked if they could walk the dogs. They were able to walk every day, and the dogs got attention and exercise.

They have continued their work with rescue dogs, socializing the animals and finding them homes.

“We work with them to trust and be more open to people,” Schaeken said. “Some of them come to us pretty traumatized and afraid. We do our best to socialize and civilize, to make them the best dog they can be in the period of time they have them.”

Rescue Pals has rehomed hundreds of dogs and given them a second chance at life. Stray dogs and owner-surrendered dogs are accepted. Foster homes are always sought, as well as adoptive families.

In the beginning of the organization, Dawson and Schaeken were paying for vet bills, food and boarding with their own money.

They had held a garage sale to contribute money to the cancer organization and decided they could do that for the rescue animals. The sales have been a success, and Rescue Pals now holds two a year. The group just finished its 20th garage sale.

In addition to garage sale proceeds, donations from the community help defray costs. The group participates in adoption events in the area. Rescue Pals has a number of active volunteers and welcomes anyone who wants to help with the organization.

“We are so blessed in this community with all the support we have,” Dawson said. “Without Rescue Pals, these dogs would be going to Maricopa County Animal Shelter, and who knows if they would have a second chance.”

Dawson and Schaeken expressed their deep gratitude to the L. Alan Cruikshank River of Time Museum and the Hall of Fame for recognizing their work.

“We are so humbled by this honor,” Dawson said. “We do this for love, not for accolades. We truly appreciate the award.”