German shepherd rescue group to raise funds at Applebee's in Cameron Park

By: Margaret Snider, Telegraph Correspondent
-A +A

By Margaret Snider

Telegraph Correspondent

It’s time to flip for flapjacks, all while helping a worthy cause.

From 8-10 a.m., Sunday, Feb. 17, a flapjack breakfast fundraiser will be held at Applebee’s in Cameron Park to benefit El Dorado County German Shepherd Rescue.

Cindy Williams of Shingle Springs founded the non-profit rescue organization 10 years ago. She had visited the Bradshaw shelter in Sacramento and was shocked when she saw a German shepherd there who was slated to be put to sleep.

“I thought pounds were only for mutts,” she said.

She and her husband, Jim Wirfel, adopted the dog and later Williams started calling other rescues in the Sacramento area. They fostered some dogs and finally decided since the El Dorado County area didn’t have a German shepherd rescue, they should start one.

She said that they are on e-mail lists from El Dorado County Shelter, SPCA, and Sacramento shelters.

“I’m on the PTS – Put To Sleep – list,” Williams said. “I get an e-mail of animals that did not pass their temperament test. A lot of times shepherds don’t do well in kennel settings.”

She and Wirfel then go and evaluate the shepherds.

“We’re on a lot of acreage and we have kennels, so they’ll come out either to me, or after I evaluate them, they’ll go into a foster home,” Williams said.

They have rescued, on the average, a dog a month, so during the life of their work they have saved around 100 to 150 dogs of various types and conditions, all German shepherds.

Williams tells the story of one couple who came by a couple of years ago who were losing their home and were looking for someone to take their old shepherd.

“I usually don’t take owner surrenders,” Williams said, “because I ask them to take their dogs to the shelter first, then if the dog doesn’t pass the temperament test, they’ll go to a rescue. The dog has an extra chance if it goes to a shelter.”

Nevertheless, she said she would see the dog, and when they came out, she agreed to take it.

“I thought, I’m never going to be able to place this 10-year-old shepherd,” Williams said. “Then in about two weeks, a couple came out from Reno and adopted her. I have another set of friends that just adopt older shepherds, and they totally taught me a lesson, to never say never, that you can’t place a dog, because you can.”

Williams is a third grade teacher in Folsom at Gold Ridge Elementary, and she has talked a lot about her dogs at the school.

Twelve-year-old Zoya Khan was in Williams’s fourth-grade class a few years back when she heard about the rescue organization. Now she attends Sutter Middle School in Folsom.

“During the summertime that year, I e-mailed her and then I finally got the opportunity to go up there, and I loved it,” Zoya said.

Ali Vakili, 16, who attends Folsom High School, also helps out at the Rescue, as does Ali’s younger sister, Kathryn Vakili, 12, who is one of Zoya’s classmates.

“We carpool, and then we just spend the entire day there,” Zoya said. “. . . We clean kennels, walk the dogs, feed the dogs, groom the dogs, bathe the dogs, whatever Cindy has open.”

The non-profit has just reformed their Board, and Lisa Warren of Folsom is one of the members.

“I adopted my dog, Bella, from the rescue in July 2009 and have gotten progressively involved with them over the years,” Warren said. “They put their heart and soul into this, they truly love the dogs. Every dog that comes through, they treat it as their own in many respects and always the goal is whatever is best for the dog.”

For more information on the Applebee’s fundraiser and the rescue organization, go to, or contact Cindy Williams at 530-677-6444,