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From 'fraidy cat to a dog's best friend

Laura Cloose used to be terrified of dogs.

"You wouldn't find me near one," she said.

Boy, has that changed. On Oct. 1 the longtime Rosemount resident started her own animal rescue group called Amazing Animal Advocates. Since then her life has been take over by the animals she once dreaded.

Cloose warmed up to dogs when her daughter worked at Shamrock Animal Hospital cleaning kennels and walking dogs. Cloose would occasionally help her daughter and got more accustomed to dogs.

Then four years ago, after years of saying "no," she finally let her family get a dog.

The adoption of that one dog started a domino effect that would lead to Cloose starting her own rescue group. After getting involved with other rescue operations Cloose became consumed with helping pets. Finally it came to the point where it made sense to create her own operation.

So with her husband, Steve, she started the paper work to become a non-profit rescue operation.

"Dogs are my favorite people. They never lie to you or judge you. They just always love you," said Cloose.

The mission of Amazing Animal Advocates is to save the lives of animals that can't save themselves. That mission speaks to others and since October Cloose has been able to put together a group of volunteers and foster homes to help the animals.

"I've sucked in whoever I can and they've all been great," said Cloose.

Foster homes take in the dogs until permanent homes can be found for them. Cloose said the time pets are in foster care varies. Anyone can foster pets. Cloose said there is no training required, just a big heart.

Amazing Animal Advocates takes in abandoned pets from all over Minnesota. Cloose said they have even rescued dogs from Sioux City, Iowa. Once they get the dog or cat the group makes sure they receive medical attention.

Cloose said they have partnered with several vet clinics including Shamrock Animal Hospital in the area to provide the necessary services. After that the animals are put into foster homes until someone adopts them.

The animals up for adoption are put on several different web sites including Cloose said they keep adoption rates low to help get the animals into homes. Since Oct. 1 Cloose said more than 30 animals have been adopted from Amazing Animal Advocates.

Still in its infancy Amazing Animal Advocates is already overwhelmed with animals. Cloose said hard economic times have led to a lot of people abandoning their pets. In addition not as many people are willing to foster.

"I just have to remember I can't help every dog," said Cloose of the harsh reality. "I do what I can though."

Despite frustration Cloose is dedicated to helping animals. She hopes others will step forward to help as well. Cloose said more foster homes are needed.

For those who can't, Cloose said Amazing Animals also needs donations including cash, food and equipment such as collars and leashes for pets. For more information on Amazing Animal Advocates visit or call 651-808-4056.