James Croall sent in this article he wrote about his experiences with some local rescue groups. Purebred rescue groups, although every bit as deserving, often don’t get as much attention as larger groups, so I thought you might enjoy this.
So you love animals and want to volunteer your time to help them? Great, you’re hired. Welcome to the world of animal rescue. How soon can you start?
That’s more or less how quickly Beth Maryan went from dog owner to foster home provider when she contacted the English Springer Rescue of America (ESRA) here in North Texas just over six years ago. Already the owner of two English Springer Spaniels, the idea was to foster a third dog to see if she wanted to adopt it. “The advantage of them going into a foster home, is you get to know so much more about that dog. They get house trained…and they become more adoptable.”
A few fostered dogs and a few years of involvement later, Maryan is now the ESRA’s North Texas Coordinator, overseeing all duties from rescue tracking to website maintenance. “Once you get involved, you’re just hooked,” she smiled. “I think anybody in rescue would tell you that if we had a choice, we would quit our day jobs and that’s all we would do.”
It is a sentiment that resonates with Dru Milligan, who spent the majority of her weekend in Waxahachie while attending last month’s Ellis County Expo Center Cat Show. Milligan is the founder of DFW Purebred Rescue, a group that specializes in rescuing purebred cats from euthanasia and placing them into foster homes. “That’s all we want is to find them a good home. We don’t have a shelter. We are strictly foster based so we are limited by the number of fosters that we have,” Milligan stated.
Cat shows are a prime venue for adoption, raising awareness and recruiting new potential foster families. Darlene Thomas owns Cats Unlimited in Bedford, a retail store complete with grooming and boarding services. She has been fostering cats for going on four years, her most recent a fourteen year-old white Persian, which she obtained through Milligan’s services.
“His owner got old and couldn’t take care of him,” Thomas said. Now she will play the role of caretaker until the cat is adopted, if ever.
But that’s nothing new. Animal rescue is at best a break-even business. Adoption fees are mainly offsetting costs for prior care, much of which is paid out of pocket by the rescue group and its volunteers. These folks are in it solely for the animals.
Fortunately this ‘animals first’ approach can be seen locally on a larger scale as well. The DFW Humane Society in Irving, a no-kill shelter, opened its new state of the art facility in March of last year featuring larger cages, healthier air exchange and an increase in spaces for rescues. The facility logged more than 7,000 volunteer hours just last year.
In fact, Animal Services owns and resides within the same building, making for a unique business model.
Animal care expert and Executive Director, Sarah Kammerer, has been with the DFW Humane Society for seventeen years and loves the new arrangement. “Through our partnership, we rescue thirty percent of our animals from animal services. We have a great relationship…and they do a great job,” she said.
Recognizing that the new facility is a huge morale boost for both the animals and faculty alike, Kammerer did acknowledge one of their ongoing challenges, which is that of owner released pets due to economic reasons, a now common trend affecting all rescue efforts.
“In these situations it’s just heartbreaking. These are great pet owners. They really want the pet and it breaks their heart to leave it and it’s just circumstances beyond their control. So that makes it real tough,” she said.
With the pet population already at an overflowing level, it certainly adds an extra wrinkle. In addition to spaying and neutering, Kammerer’s best advice to any potential pet owner is to think of a pet as a ten to fifteen year investment.
“A pet is a part of family,” Kammerer emphasized. “It’s not just something you throw away when you move across town…the value of the pet in the household, they make all the difference to us. I just wish everyone felt that way.”
For more information, or to find out how you can adopt a pet, become a foster or volunteer your time with any of the aforementioned rescue groups, please visit their websites: DFW Humane Society, English Springer Rescue Association, DFW Purebred Cat Rescue.
Photos: “Orvis”, courtesy English Springer Rescue. Orvis and his brother Tahoe are available for adoption – visit Petfinder for more information. “Sammie”, courtesy DFW Purebred Cat Rescue is available for adoption – visit Petfinder for more information.
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Copyright 2011 Rebecca Poling. All rights reserved.
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