One person is all it takes to make a difference in the lives of many. Our story began with one veterinarian, one old city bus, and a dream.
It was 1999 when Dr. Illina Berton began practicing veterinary medicine on East Main Avenue. Her passion for animals had been a constant throughout her life, and for the next ten years the staff of the animal hospital were frequently involved with rescue. But in 2009 Dr. Berton knew she wanted to do more. After seeing a dog named Spike online, she drove to Southern California. Spike was due to be euthanized for minor medical issues. She knew she could help. When she arrived to the shelter, her world was forever changed. Seeing the perfectly adoptable dogs being euthanized due to overcrowding, she decided to dedicate her life to saving them. Dr. Berton adopted Spike, who became nicknamed "Sunny Sky" as his gloomy days were far behind him, and soon there would be sunny skies for thousands of ill fated animals. It only seemed fitting to name our shelter after the dog who inspired what is now known as Sunny Sky's Animal Rescue & Hospital.
In 2010, Sunny Sky's Animal Rescue, a 501(c)3 Non Profit Organization was founded as Dr. Berton converted her practice into a shelter. Together the team fundraised to purchase an old city bus that cost $5,500. February 27th of 2010, the team made the 17 hour journey to the East Valley Shelter in Van Nuys and packed the bus with over 40 dogs, and drove them to safety. It was a success! With an abundance of adopters in Northern Washington, people were eager to rescue the dogs saved by the Rescue Bus. Many trips were made, and hundreds of dogs and cats were saved from overcrowded shelters. Taking advantage of the unique opportunity of having a dedicated veterinarian, the rescue was able to take on dogs and cats who needed medical care no one else was able to provide. As the shelter grew, the demand for dogs and cats in Washington grew with it.