Welcome to Summer Camp: Rescue program provides a lifeline for four-legged friends during hardship

River Eure, pictured here with Misfit Mountain dog Zennia, has worked in animal shelters in the past, but Koda was the first dog he’d fostered for the rescue. Kyle Perrotti photo River Eure, pictured here with Misfit Mountain dog Zennia, has worked in animal shelters in the past, but Koda was the first dog he’d fostered for the rescue. Kyle Perrotti photo

Summer camp. Memories of the great outdoors, new friends, fun adventures. But around Misfit Mountain in Haywood County, the rescue’s Summer Camp Program means something entirely different, and that vital service may have just saved Frankie Scott’s life, if not his dog, Koda’s. 

Frankie Scott, 41, was in the Army from 2001-2009 and was a forward observer, a job that took him to the front lines.

“As a forward observer, I was responsible for observing enemy locations and calling in field artillery, naval gun fire or air support, if available — being the eyes on-target during initial combat operations and assessing aftereffects,” Scott said.

Scott deployed to Iraq from late 2003 to early 2005, a period when the fighting in that country was particularly intense. Once he got out, Scott, a Rowan County native, moved around a bit but ended up coming to Asheville the first time he experienced homelessness. He said that while it’s hard to overcome homelessness while battling depression and anxiety from stemming from PTSD, Asheville Veterans Restoration Quarters has been vital in helping him get back on his feet. He’s been in Asheville now going on about 11 years.

Scott wanted to point out that homelessness doesn’t always affect who people may think based on the stereotypes.

“I’m educated,” he said. “I have a degree in psychology and early U.S. history.” 

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While times had been tough over the last year or so, beginning with Scott coming out of a long-term relationship and eventually again experiencing homelessness, his dog, Koda, helped him immensely. But it’s tough to try to get back up on your feet with a dog to take care of.

“When I was homeless, the thought of putting him back in a shelter was unthinkable,” he said. “I could live in a cardboard box, but I just want to make sure he’s taken care of.

After having the husky by his side for four years, it was time to find someone to take care of him. A case manager at of AVRQ he’d been working with told him about the summer camp program. The folks at Misfit Mountain immediately took Koda in.

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Frankie, pictured here with Koda, credits the Summer Camp program with saving both of their lives. Donated photo

Misfit Mountain was technically founded in December 2021 but got moving in February 2022 after founders Tera and Amy McIntosh bought the property where the rescue is now.

The summer camp program is unique in that it allows someone experiencing hardship to leave their pet in good hands while they sort out whatever issue they may face. And it’s done without judgment. Tera said they have taken in animals whose owners are experiencing addiction, brief incarceration, homelessness or even domestic violence. They are also willing to do it anonymously. For example, in a domestic violence situation, it’s not uncommon for an abuser to try to use an animal as leverage against their victim, so the last thing Tera and Amy want to do is make it known where the animal may be. While the period they will take an animal is usually capped at three months, that can be flexible depending on the situation.

“And when they come into the summer camp program, we get them vaccinated, spayed and neutered if they’re not already,” Amy said. “So they’re you’re also preventing more accidental litters.” Those services alone can total around $500.

Tera wanted to be clear that no one should feel hesitant to reach out if they may be in a situation where the Summer Camp program can help.

“We had one case where a nurse called us and said ‘hey, the owner of this dog is being admitted to the hospital,’” Tera said. “He was disoriented and didn’t know what was going, but he told the nurse ‘my dog is at home and nobody is there. I don’t have anyone.’ Amy said, ‘what’s your address, and how can I get into your house?’ He ended up being in the hospital for a week and then a stepdown facility for a couple of weeks, so we fostered his dog for about three weeks total.”

In Scott’s case, Koda was fostered by River Eure from December of last year until early March. Eure is the shelter manager for the Madison County Animal Shelter and has a husky of his own named Griffin. He said Koda and Griffin got along well and that fostering was essentially a breeze.

“He’s actually happier when we have a foster dog in the house, so it just worked out,” Eure said. “I saw their Facebook posts looking for a foster that didn’t have any cats. And it was some weird, serendipitous thing because my cat died three days before the universe brought [Koda] to us.” 

“River was amazing,” Scott said. “They lived like two or three miles down the road from me, so I was able to come see Koda any time and spend time with him.” 

Earlier this year, Scott found housing. Two men, whom Scott referred to by first name, Patrick and Chuck, wanted to use an extra room in his home to provide housing for a veteran experiencing homelessness, especially since Patrick is a retired Navy Lieutenant Commander. Scott, now with stable housing, was able to take Koda back.

“I was completely over the moon elated about it. The reunification was amazing. Koda was over-the-top excited,” Scott said.

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Clockwise from top, Tera McIntosh, River Eure and Amy McIntosh. Kyle Perrotti photo

Scott made a point of expressing how thankful he is for the likes of Patrick and Chuck, as well as Veterans Restoration Quarters. Without the help of others, he said, he may have never made it out of his dire circumstance. Likewise, he had tremendous gratitude for Misfit Mountain and Eure.

“They saved Koda’s life, and they probably saved my life,” he said.

Eure said programs like Summer Camp are becoming increasingly vital as shelters and other rescues spend months at a time at or exceeding capacity.

“It’s absolutely, from a sheltering standpoint, a necessary program,” Eure said. “The future of sheltering and how we get out of the nationwide problem that we’re currently having is rescues offering fosters. In this case, like everybody has tough times, everybody needs help sometimes, and that’s totally okay. There are owners who love their animals who don’t necessarily want to have to surrender their animals, but they need help.”

In addition, if one person uses that service, that’s one fewer dog in the shelter system

“You keep that dog out of the shelter, so not only do you potentially save his life, you have a shelter space open to save another life,” Eure said. “You can theoretically run eight to 10 foster or shelter dogs through that one kennel in three months, whereas if a shelter was expected to hold him, that’s one dog and all of those other eight to 10 dogs are being told, ‘you have to wait until we out in space.’”

As successful as the Summer Camp program has been, Tera and Amy wanted to make it clear that they hope to grow as much as they can within the limitations of their space and the time they can put into the rescue. For those looking to help, Amy has the answer.

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Tera McIntosh does the rounds and checks on some of the animals at Misfit Mountain. Kyle Perrotti photo

“Obviously, financial donations help, and supplies help,” Amy said. “But there’s nothing that compares to someone’s time.”

She specified that while there is a lot of time and work that needs to be put into maintaining the facilities, fostering an animal may be the most valuable thing to the folks at Misfit Mountain.

“Bonding with an animal, connecting with them, taking them on an adventure really means a lot to us,” she said. “I would say foster help and volunteer help are probably the two biggest things we need.” 

For those who feel like money or resources may be a barrier to fostering, Misfit Mountain will provide just about everything needed, from food to leashes to crates.

Anyone interested in adopting, fostering, volunteering or donating can visit

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