Making it happen: A journey to opening a community-based dog rescue
Updated: Mar 24, 2021
ANIMAL WELFARE AND THE NO-KILL 2025 MOVEMENT
I was at the Best Friends National Conference in 2017 when CEO Julie Castle announced the 2025 No-Kill initiative. This goal would mean that by the year 2025, no healthy, adoptable animal would be euthanized simply due to lack of space. This moment inspired me and began my journey towards fufilling my dream of opening my own dog shelter. In 2020, 675,000 healthy and adoptable animals were euthanized due to overcrowding in shelters. It is time to work together to reduce that number and have all shelters producing a 90% live-release rate.
TAKING THE STEPS
Since 2017 I have attened semiars, webinars and read to many books to list. In 2020 while attending the Best Friends Professional Symposium, I was made aware of a graduate degree program at Southern Utah University. Best Friends and SUU collaborated on a degree focused on contemporary animal services. I was sold! I applied and was signed up for my first graduate class a few days later. After taking my first two classes, the course of my mission changed. My eyes were opened to the movement animal welfare has taken towards keeping pets with their families and out of the shelter, focusing on community needs and equity. This brings me to where I am now. I have created Better Together Dog Rescue, a non-profit, community-based dog rescue.
PLANNING FOR BETTER TOGETHER DOG RESCUE
What started as a facility that would focus on the transport of dogs from other states that suffer from overcrowded shelters, has now expanded to engaging, educating and supporting the community around us. We will still be transporting dogs in to adopt out. Here in Western Massachusetts we have a high demand and a low population rate for dogs. While transporting dogs in will help fill that need, we are also focused on helping our partner shelters alleviate the overcrowding issues plaguing them. This will be done through financial support of spay/neuter clinics and vouchers. On a local level, we will be providing temporary housing and foster care options for the dogs of those who are:
- deployed for active military duty
- have sudden medical issues
- are victims of domestic violence
Those in the above categories will be able to leave their dogs in our care on a temporary basis, free of charge, until their situations have turned around. We will be providing educational materials, vaccine & microchip clinics and pet food and supplies to locals in need. We will work closely with the two largest survival centers to bring services to people who need it. Our building will have a community room that can be used for educational purposes as well as local meetings. Those who believe the presense of dogs will benefit those attending their meetings (ie: AA, OA, youth groups) will have the opportunity to book the space with a suggested donation. The organization will not only be out in the community but will also welcome the community in with programs such as children reading to dogs plus many various volunteer opportunites and events. Finally, we will have a robust foster program, not only engaging the community but keeping as many dogs out of the shelter setting as possible.
TRUST AND TRANSPARENCY: WHO IS THE PERSON BEHIND THE ORGANIZATION?
I know that trust and transparency make the difference, especially in the non-profit world, so let me tell you a little bit about the person behind this organization.
- I am a Mom of two boys (10 and 7) and married 13 years to my husband Nate.
- I am a foster parent for a local, foster-based rescue, fostering 14 puppies so far!
- My family has three rescued dogs of our own, Wren (4), Callie (3) and Marty (1).
- I graduated from the University of Massachusetts- Amherst in 2002.
- I worked as a tax accountant for a New York firm until 2008.
- In 2008 I became the Executive Director of the Howard E. Stark Charitable Foundation.
- In 2015, I co-founded the Belcertown Animal Relief Committe (BARC), working closely with our municipal shelter and remained as President until 2017.
- In 2017, I was the Director of Marketing, on a one-year grant for Rainbow Rescues, Inc, a local, foster-based animal rescue.
- In 2018, I became the President of the Pelham Elemenatry PTO and will be resigning my role this June 2021.
- In 2020, I began my graduate degree in Contemporary Animal Services at Southern Utah University and am expecting to graduate in the Spring of 2022.
- In September of 2021, I will be completing a five-week internship at Best Friends Animal Sanctuarys Dogtown in Kanab, Utah.
I have a great business ethic, excellent customer service skills and a deep knowledge of the non-profit sector. Most importanly I love dogs and I am ready to make a difference.
BE PART OF SOMETHING GREAT!
I welcome you to join me on this journey and be part of something great! Subscribe to the blog, find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Share with friends and families! Donate to make a change!