Do you want to save a dog’s life? Become a foster volunteer!

Court and I at the Lucky Dog Adoption event on 1/6/13 in Falls Church, Virginia

Court and I at the Lucky Dog Adoption event on 1/6/13 in Falls Church, Virginia

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!!

 

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Waiting for the dogs to arrive. On Saturday, 1/5/13, adopters and fosters awaited the arrival of over 40 dogs from shelters in the South. In this photo we are all pretty mellow and just hang out – but you should have seen the excitement once the transport with the dogs pulled up. Especially the children of the families that were ready to adopt were brimming and smiling from ear to ear. The new family members arrive.

 

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Transport has arrived! Slowly and a bit unsure Leo takes his first step out off his crate. Leo was extremely emaciated and malnourished when he was dropped off at the shelter. I saw photos of him — the boy was nothing but skin and bones, horrific.  If it would not have been for Lucky Dog, Leo would not be alive anymore. ….. AND HERE’S THE BEST: ONLY ONE DAY AFTER THIS PHOTO WAS TAKEN LEO WAS ADOPTED!!

 

As Spot takes her first steps into her new life, two more puppies are awaiting their turn in the back. They've been in the Van for eight hours and ready to greet DC!

As Spot takes her first steps into her new life, two more puppies are awaiting their turn in the back. They’ve been in the van for eight hours and ready to greet DC!

 

Here he comes, my little big dog Court! While others were shy and unsure, this dog just could not wait to play and burn off some energy after the loooooong ride in the van!

Here he is, my foster dog Court! While others were shy and unsure, this dog just could not wait to play and run off some energy after the loooooong ride up here. 

 

Here he comes, my little big dog Court! While others were shy and unsure, this dog just could not wait to play and burn off some energy after the loooooong ride in the van!

Doesn’t Court look like a large sized dog? In reality, this boy is surprisingly small and weighs only about 33 pounds. He’s a big dog in a small body, I think. 

 

First stop: the fenced in dog park in our neighborhood so that Court and Georgia could get to know each other and run off some steam. Court is awesome with other dogs and plays and plays and plays and .... plays, of course.

First stop: the fenced in dog park in our neighborhood so that Court and Georgia (a former Lucky Dog rescue herself) could get to know each other and run off some steam. Court is awesome with other dogs and plays and plays and …. plays some more. Look at his fun little stub for a tail! This dog is certainly unique with a great temper to boot.

 

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I think I can read his mind: “Yippee, I get to play! DC is much better than I even hoped for!”

 

Sunday, January 6th, Court is putting on his Statesman face. We are at the adoption event, he shows off his best side.

Sunday, January 6th, Court is putting on his statesman face. We are at the adoption event in front of PetSmart in Falls Church, VA, and he shows off his best side.

 

Court and I taking a little break. Adoption events are exhausting! And soooooo worth it: 42 dogs arrived on Saturday, 37 of them had found their forever home by Sunday, yepeh!!!

Court and I are taking a little break. Behind us you can see other doggies with their fosters and potential adopters. Adoptions events are a bit exhausting (Court actually fell asleep briefly after this pic) and soooooo worth it: 42 dogs had arrived on Saturday and the following day 36 (!) of them had found their forever homes!!!

 

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COURT — A GREAT DOG WAITING FOR HIS FOREVER HOME!! I have no idea how this boy ended up in a high-kill shelter, but I can tell you that Court is a joy to be around. He is active and loves regular visits to the dog park or long walks but then he settles down nicely at home and enjoys plenty of belly rubs. Please check out Court’s profile on the Lucky Dog website. If you are interested in adoption Court, please download the Adoption Questionnaire and email it to Vernisha at Vernishat@luckydoganimalrescue.org!

 

PLEASE SHARE THIS POST AND HELP US SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT DOG FOSTERING!!

 

 

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Category: Explore the World With Me

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Explorer. Journalist. Trainer. Happy Camper (a trained skill). I LOVE hearing from my readers/viewers, so make my day and leave a comment or drop me a note at bettina (@ ) bettinagordon.com!!

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