In last week’s newsletter I encouraged you, my treasured audience, to commit to doing something that you love to do but don’t do often enough. Something that lights you up and brings you joy!
Heeding my own advice, I did what I LOVE to do: spending more time with dogs and volunteering my time and love to save a dog’s life.
And since I discovered this AWESOME organization that has rescued thousands of dogs in only a few short years, I am excited to share this story with you. Maybe it will inspire you to seek out a similar organization in your community or even become a foster parent as well!
Full disclosure: I am a dog nut. I grew up with dogs. As a teenager I spent my summers volunteering for the local animal shelter. With one exception (a poodle, that my mother wanted) all our dogs were rescue dogs. When my childhood friend Doris and I walked our dogs, we usually had a pack of seven dogs (she and her mom usually had five dogs, my family usually two at a time) to manage. Loved it.
When I moved to the United States though, my life with dogs came to an end (but not my love, of course). I moved to a high-rise building in Manhattan and traveled often for work as a journalist. I also flew back to Austria multiple times per year to see my family. Having dogs was not an option for me for many, many years.
Then I discovered: DOG FOSTERING! The perfect way to have a temporary dog companion and save a dog’s life.
In the spring of 2012 I came across an amazing organization here in Washington, DC, called Lucky Dog Animal Rescue. This non-profit organization has saved over 4,000 dogs from high-kill shelters in the South in just a few short years. These shelters are often in rural areas, where only a handful of pups ever get adopted. The vast majority of dogs – something like 99% of them – in these high-kill shelters have no chance of finding a new home. They are euthanized, often hundreds of them at a time.
Lucky Dog Animal Rescue and similar organizations are literally a dog’s last and only chance to live.
Here’s what I found to be most incredible about Lucky Dog: Lucky Dog’s founder, Mirah Horowitz, grew an organization with hundreds and hundreds of VOLUNTEERS, who work together like a well oiled machine. It’s really impressive.
Mirah works with the shelter’s personnel who identify the dogs that are most suitable for adoption. Volunteers drive these dogs – in their private cars – from the shelters up to DC, which for many means at least a four hour drive each way. In DC the “transport” is met by volunteers like me, who will take one of the dogs (or more) home. We provide temporary housing and feed/exercise/train/pamper (not necessarily in this order) our foster pups until they find their forever home. Fostering is extremely important. If a dog does not have a foster that will care for the pup when it first arrives, this dog CANNOT come up to DC and escape the shelter!
All dogs are showcased on the Lucky Dog website and dozens of volunteers work behind the scene to approve (or deny, if the applicants don’t meet the Lucky Dog standards) adoption and foster applications. Every weekend there are two adoption events in and around DC where the foster “parents” bring their dogs to meet potential adopters. If the match is made, thrilled adopters and lucky dogs wag off into their new lives together.
I was floored when I first learned all of this, especially because the whole process is, of course, a lot more complex than I have room for here. I have the utmost respect for Mirah (a full time attorney, as far as I know) and her team – YOU ROCK!!
I will write more about this extraordinary organization and others at a later time, but if you are interested in adopting a Lucky Dog or becoming a foster parent, please fill out the respective applications on the website. And check out the events page, as there are always volunteers needed as well.
Good news: Court found his forever home within three weeks of arriving in DC! His name is Juneau now and his new owner could not be happier – and so is Juneau. 😉
AND PLEASE SHARE THIS POST & SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT DOG FOSTERING!!
PLEASE SHARE THIS POST AND HELP US SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT DOG FOSTERING!!
Category: Explore the World With Me